- Title: LITHUANIA: Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan sign agreements with EU
- Date: 29th November 2013
- Summary: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA (NOVEMBER 29, 2013) (REUTERS) EU AND EASTERN PARTNERSHIP COUNTRY FLAGS OUTSIDE SUMMIT VENUE
- Embargoed: 14th December 2013 12:00
- Location: Lithuania
- Country: Lithuania
- Topics: European Union,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA9ZYUBILC2MTL27T1ECWY7HC2A
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: The EU signed agreements on Friday (November 29) with ex-Soviet states Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan at a summit aimed at bringing six countries in eastern Europe and southern Caucasus closer to the European Union.
The goal of the project, the Eastern Partnership, was to reel in Ukraine, a country of 46 million people, but this will probably not happen for more than a year, diplomats said.
Instead, the EU initialled political association agreements with two other former Soviet republics, Georgia and Moldova, putting them on track to sign formally in around a year. A visa agreement with Azerbaijan was also signed.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Georgia's President Georgy Margvelashvili said the agreement with the EU would improve security situation in the world.
"Georgia has extensive experience in serving the international peace-keeping mission since 1995. We expect that Georgia's participation in EU's CSDP mission and operations will bring added value to common dowers aimed to ensure peace and stability in the world," Margvelashvili said.
Moldovan Prime Minister Lurie Leanca highlighted the common history and culture his country shares with Europe and its wish to share the same values.
"Moldova is an European country, sharing the same history, the same culture, belonging to the same civilization, but it is also an European country which wants to have the same common skies and to belong to the same family," Leanca said.
Also attending were Belarus and Armenia, though there seems little prospect of their moving closer to the EU. Belarus is a member of the Russia-led Customs Union, which Armenia has also opted to join.
Absent from the signing ceremony was a deal between the EU and Ukraine, after President Viktor Yanukovich vetoed last-minute attempts by the European Union to rescue a trade deal that could have been signed and would have signalled a historic shift away from Russia.
Under pressure from Moscow, Yanukovich abandoned plans last week to sign the agreement in favour of closer ties with his country's former Soviet master, dealing a blow to EU efforts to build closer relations with its eastern neighbours.
Despite the surprise turnaround, the EU has sought to change Kiev's mind, spelling out possible economic incentives in talks in Vilnius with Ukrainian government and central bank officials.
EU diplomats told Reuters a preliminary understanding was reached on Thursday in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, during talks before Friday's summit, but Yanukovich failed to sign off on it.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None