MOUNT JAHORINA (Bosnia-Herzegovina): The presidents of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia agreed on Friday that their countries must increase cooperation in order to survive the economic crisis gripping the continent.

The meeting on Mt. Jahorina underscored how far the one-time Yugoslav republics have come in the two decades since the federation fell apart in a series of bloody wars. It comes as Croatia is due to join the EU next year, while Serbia and Bosnia also aspire to join the bloc.

The leaders discussed several areas where cooperation would be beneficial, including fighting organized crime, sharing consular offices abroad, and applying together for certain European Union funds.

But the economic crisis added a sense of urgency to the talks, and prompted the realization that this stretch of the Balkans may have to rely more on internal resources in coming years.—AP


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