Western Balkan countries in talks to help each other on path toward European Union membership

Foreign ministers from several Balkan countries are to meet in the Albanian capital Tirana to discuss regional cooperation in their efforts to join the European Union.

Friday's meeting brings together representatives of countries that have long had troubled relations in the volatile region: Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. It comes ahead of a planned historic visit to Tirana next week of Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, the first to Albania by a Serbian prime minister.

The talks are part of gatherings organized for Albania's presidency of the South-East European Cooperation Process, a regional grouping of 13 Balkan nations set up to promote cooperation. The country's presidents and prime ministers are to meet in Tirana next week.