"New Balkans for new integrations"
A two-day international conference on reconciliation, tolerance and security in the Balkans opened on Friday in Belgrade.Source: Tanjug
The gathering, organized by the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD), brought together ministers, ambassadors, public figures and experts in various fields.
Former UN secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who was supposed to open the conference, canceled his arrival for health reasons, but his welcome speech was read by Algeria's permanent representative at the UN office in Geneva Idriz Jajairi.
Ghali said he believed the people of the Balkans shared a common future that would be built by the generations to come.
The great family of nations, ethnicities and religions that the former Yugoslavia represented will be restored by future generations, helping achieve global peace, Ghali stated.
Former coordinator of the Southeast Europe Stability Pact Erhard Busek said the new Balkans was a sign of hope, a new form of cooperation and that it was moving towards a shared Europe.
Serbia should not focus on the start date for the EU accession talks, but on improving its laws, he pointed out.
Membership depends on different things, and candidate countries should make interior changes, which is not easy, he remarked. On the other hand, EU members should change their view, since they sometimes have the wrong arguments, he said.
The Serbian government should focus on changes, and it is also not good that the court system practically does not function, he stated.
Former UN envoy for the former Yugoslavia Yasushi Akashi, who also could not appear at the conference, said that more needed to be done to achieve reconciliation and mutual trust in the Balkans.
The conference is part of an ECPD project on Balkans in the 21st century and building peace and stability there.