NIS, Serbia — Business representatives from Balkan rivals Serbia and Albania have met in an effort to boost economic ties and stabilize the troubled region where tensions still simmer following the 1990s’ war.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama inaugurated the gathering Friday in Serbia’s southern city of Nis, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of Belgrade.

Serbia and Albania remain at odds over Kosovo, the predominantly ethnic Albanian and former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia does not recognize the split, which Albania supports.

Both countries want to join the European Union.

Albania’s Rama told the business gathering that “Our aim is to turn our borders that separate us into bridges that connect us.”

Serbia’s Vucic says his government would welcome Albanian businesses.