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Greece hosts assembly of a number of Balkan leaders; stories that Ukraine’s Zelenskyy may also attend

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The leaders of a number of Balkan international locations are gathering within the Greek capital of Athens together with prime European Union officers to debate the area’s European future

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, left, welcomes his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenkovic earlier than their assembly at Maximou mansion, in Athens, on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.(AP Picture/Petros Giannakouris)

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ATHENS, Greece — The leaders of a number of Balkan international locations gathered within the Greek capital on Monday together with prime European Union officers to debate the area’s European future.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hosted an off-the-cuff dinner Monday night in Athens for the highest officers from 9 Balkan nations in addition to European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council head Charles Michel.

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Greek media stories that the dinner would even be attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy weren’t formally confirmed.

Zelenskyy was in Denmark earlier Monday, the place he thanked Danish lawmakers for serving to his nation resist Russia’s invasion, a day after Denmark and the Netherlands introduced they are going to present Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.

The dinner was being hosted on the twentieth anniversary of a summit between the European Union and western Balkan international locations within the northern Greek metropolis of Thessaloniki as Balkan states sought to hitch the European bloc.

The presidents of Serbia, Montenegro and Moldova, the prime ministers of North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania, and the top of the council of ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina had been to attend the dinner, whereas Mitsotakis was additionally assembly a number of of them individually on Monday and Tuesday.

A notable absence was Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. Relations between Greece and its northwestern neighbor have soured over the jailing of ethnic Greek minority chief Fredi Beleri, who was arrested earlier than native elections in Could on vote-buying allegations.

Beleri was elected mayor of the southwestern Albanian city of Himara regardless of being in pre-trial detention. Athens has insisted his detention is politically motivated and has referred to as for his launch.

“I imagine all of us perceive that it was not doable to ask Mr. Rama to such an necessary initiative,” Greek authorities spokesman Pavlos Marinakis mentioned throughout a press briefing when requested concerning the Albanian prime minister’s absence from Monday’s occasion.

“After we say that Albania’s European path passes by the essential respect of European guidelines and the foundations of justice, we imply it,” he added, noting that Albanian President Bajram Begaj had been invited to attend however had declined.

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