Western Balkan leaders seek to create region without borders

OHRID, North Macedonia (AP) — Leaders in the Western Balkans say they are committed to working closely together to remove barriers on the free movement of goods and people between their countries.

The prime ministers of Albania and North Macedonia — Edi Rama and Zoran Zaev — along with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic gathered in the lakeside town of Ohrid to discuss concrete measures for establishing a free trade zone in order to boost economic growth and foreign investment. It is dubbed "little Schengen," after the European Union's free transit zone.

Bosnia and Montenegro are willing to join the zone. Kosovo did not send a representative to the summit Sunday.

Zaev said the initiative aims to create a completely different Balkans that will make it a better place to live.

Relations among Western Balkan countries still remain tense after the wars amid the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.