kolinda grabar kitarović, joe biden.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ POOL/ Damir SENČAR /ds

An extraordinary summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Presidential Process started in Zagreb on Wednesday bringing together heads of state from the countries of former Yugoslavia and Albania as well as special guests: U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and European Council President Donald Tusk.

The summit, co-chaired by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and her Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor, was taking place in the presidential offices in the Croatian capital.

In attendance were Albania's President Bujar Nishani, Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency members Dragan Covic, Bakir Izetbegovic and Mladen Ivanic as well as Presidents Atifete Jahjaga of Kosovo, Gjorge Ivanov of Macedonia,  Filip Vujanovic of Montenegro and Tomislav Nikolic of Serbia. Also,  Austrian President Heinz Fischer came in Zagreb for this event, and he had been present at the previous regular summit.

The regular annual Brdo-Brijuni summit was held in the Montenegrin coastal resort of Budva this June, with Austria's President Fischer also attending it.

The extraordinary gathering in Zagreb is marked by the re-inclusion of the United States into processes in the region, as evidenced by the attendance of Vice-President Biden.

Apart from topics concerning the integration of south-east Europe into Euro-Atlantic processes, also to be discussed at the summit are the current migrant crisis, security challenges and the fight against terrorism against a background of the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, and energy.

Grabar-Kitarovic has recently said that the summit will be held at the right time, and she perceives Biden's attendance as a sign that Washington wants to be more involved in discussions on security, terrorist attacks and risks in this part of Europe.

Biden is the highest-ranking White House official to visit Croatia during the term of President Barack Obama.

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