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World: Balkan States End Summit, Push To End Conflicts

Salonika, Greece; 11 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Foreign ministers from the Balkans ended a two-day summit in the northern Greek city of Salonika yesterday by saying their countries should cooperate more closely to secure peace and prosperity in the region.

The ministers issued a joint declaration that urged peace in the region and emphasized the integration of the Balkans into European institutions. The ministers also urged Albania to hold free elections and the former Yugoslav republics to fully implement the Dayton peace accords.

Representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Turkey and Serbia attended the meeting. Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said the ministers pledged to boost cooperation in the fields of energy, industry, banking and telecommunications.

Meanwhile, Greece and Russia unveiled a major initiative yesterday on the sidelines of the Balkan summit that could lead to Russia's participation in a southeastern European economic union. Pangalos said that since the U.S. and the EU already have initiatives in the region, Athens "thought it would be a good idea to have a common action with Russia."