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Albania to sign EU association agreement

June 8, 2006 at 4:43 PM   |   Comments

TIRANA, Albania, June 8 (UPI) -- Albania's prime minister says he will sign an association and stabilization agreement with the European Union, ending three years of negotiations.

A government statement said Prime Minister Sali Berisha will travel to Luxembourg to sign the agreement Monday, Belgrade's Beta news agency reported Thursday.

Albania and the EU began negotiations on the association agreement in January 2003.

EU officials have asked the Albanian government to speed up administration and economic reforms, to promote freedom of media, autonomy of the judiciary, property owners' rights and to contain corruption, Beta said.

Out of the five countries of Western Balkans, Croatia and Macedonia have concluded association and stabilization agreements and achieved the status of candidate for EU membership.

Bosnia-Herzegovina began association negotiations in January.

Serbia and Montenegro began their association talks in October but the EU on May 3 adjourned them until war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic is arrested and handed over to the U.N. tribunal.

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