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Croatian President: It's better to be encircled by good neighbours than by best fences

24. June 2010. | 07:08

Source: RadioNET

Addressing a conference of the South East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) in Istanbul on Wednesday, Croatia's President Ivo Josipovic said that it was better to be encircled by good neighbours than by the tightest fences and that in order to achieve this everybody should first be a good neighbour themselves.

Addressing a conference of the South East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) in Istanbul on Wednesday, Croatia's President Ivo Josipovic said that it was better to be encircled by good neighbours than by the tightest fences and that in order to achieve this everybody should first be a good neighbour themselves.

Josipovic said he was glad to be in Istanbul which he described as a magnificent city and a symbol of connecting the past and the present as well as different cultures.

The Istanbul summit meeting will finish with the adoption of a declaration, marking the end of Turkey's one-year chairmanship over SEECP. The next chair is Montenegro.

It is better to be encircled by good neighbours than by the best fences and in order to have a good neighbour, we ourselves must be good neighbours, the Croatian head of state said in his speech.

He reiterated Croatia's commitment to Bosnia-Herzegovina's sovereignty and wholeness, recalling that he has recently paid tribute to war victims in Bosnia being accompanied by representatives of all three constituent peoples.

Josipovic thanked the European Union for assistance in integration processes and reaffirmed Croatia's readiness to help others in those processes.

Croatia will never use EU integration processes to thwart progress of its neighbours on that path. We will remain a staunch advocate of the entire region's integration into Europe, he said.

The event's host, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, gave the opening speech at the start of the event.

Speaking on behalf of Bosnia-Herzegovina, its collective presidency's chairman, Haris Silajdzic thanked Turkey for an initiative on trilateral meetings including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey which he said improved the relations between Bosnia and Serbia.

Participants congratulated President Danilo Tuerk on today's admission of Slovenia to SEECP, and applauded the European Commission's recommendation for lifting visa requirements for Albania and Bosnian nationals,

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