A two-day international conference against organized crime and terrorism in Southeastern European countries started Wednesday. Besides police and other officials from Southeastern European countries, officials from the European Union and the United States took part in the conference on "Trans-border challenges for Southeastern Europe: fighting organized crime and terrorism."
"Terrorism and organized crime can jeopardize everything else that we are working for for ourselves and for our children," said U.S. Ambassador to Tirana Marcie B. Ries. "All of you have your work cut out for you because crime and terrorism know no borders."
"It is among the highest priorities of the United States," she said. "The fight against organized crime and terrorism requires a concerted, patient, and courageous effort on all our parts. The United States remains ready to help," the AP says.
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said his government has put the fight against organized crimes and trafficking, money laundering and funding of terrorist organizations at the top of its agenda.
Human and drug trafficking has boomed since the Balkan wars in the 1990s, in part due to a lack of border controls and weak judicial systems. Many smugglers use these countries as transit points for reaching the West.