A summit meant to show that Balkan nations can finally overcome past enmities has proved the opposite as a key regional player -- Serbia -- refuses to attend it.

Serbian President Boris Tadic has decided not to join other Western Balkan leaders at the summit in Slovenia on Saturday, protesting that Kosovo -- which split from Serbia two years ago -- was invited as a state.

Serbia, backed by Russia and some other states, doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s independence and vows never to give it up. Washington and most European states back Kosovo.

The summit, organized by Slovenia and Croatia, was supposed to gather all Balkan leaders for the first time after disintegration of Yugoslavia led to bloody wars here in the 1990’s.

The countries are expected to discuss how they could help each other reaching their common goal -- the European Union membership.

Slovenia joined the EU in 2004; Croatia could follow by 2012, while others lag behind.

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