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Prague to support launch of EU-Albania accession negotiations

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Tirana, March 31 (CTK special correspondent) – Prague will support the launch of the EU’s accession negotiations with Albania as soon as the EC decides that Tirana has met all necessary requirements, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said after meeting his counterpart Ditmir Bushati yesterday.
The Albanian government strives for the accession talks to start later this year.
Albania has proved recently that it helps maintain stability of the region, Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) told a press conference.
He said stable Balkans is in the interest of not only the Czech Republic but the whole of Europe.
“Albania sets good relations with its neighbours as one of its foreign political goals, which is something we cannot but support,” Zaoralek said.
He and Bushati also discussed opportunities for economic cooperation between the two countries.
Zaoralek said the planned renewal of the railway network in the region, construction of a gas pipeline and quickly developing tourism offer opportunities for Czech firms.
Czech-made trains were used in Albania in the past.
“On our part, there is a strong interest in the construction of railways, gas distribution and tourism,” Zaoralek said.
This morning, Zaoralek attended a meeting of foreign ministers from the Western Balkans in Durres, Albania, where the EU commissioner for enlargement, Johannes Hahn, was also present.
At the meeting Zaoralek spoke on behalf of the Visegrad Four (V4) group, which also includes Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
He proposed joint consultations to the Balkans partners.
Zaoralek also had several bilateral meetings with Albanian representatives, such as parliament chairman Ilir Meta and President Bujar Nishani.
He is to meet Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama tonight.

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