TIRANA, May 2 – Albania, Croatia and Macedonia signed a joint statement here on Monday, pledging to strengthen cooperation to promote regional security and stability.

     

The document was signed by Albanian Foreign Minister Kastriot Islami, Croatian Deputy Premier Damir Polancec, Macedonian ForeignMinister Ilinka Mitreva and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Cathleen Stephens at the end of their meeting within the frameworkof the US-backed Adriatic Charter.

The participants agreed to deepen cooperation for the improvement of security and stability in Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, and to encourage Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro to enhance cooperation with them, the statement said.

Albania, Croatia and Macedonia reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of the Adriatic Charter and common vision of a united, free and peace Europe, it added.

Under the Adriatic Charter, signed here two years ago by the foreign ministers of Albania, Macedonia and Croatia and the then US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the three Balkan countries aredeveloping a common military strategy and promoting regional cooperation with the aim of eventual NATO membership.

During the meeting, the three Balkan nations expressed again their desire for receiving a clear deadline from NATO about their membership.

At a joint news conference after the meeting, Stephens confirmed that Washington fully supported the Adriatic Charter andwould continue to cooperate with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia ontheir road to NATO.

“We are convinced that in the future this cooperation will be developed serving the joint interests,” said Stephens.

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