EU discusses about cooperation with South Caucasus countries

At the European Union‘s Foreign Affairs Council on 23 May in Brussels, during the discussions about the situation in the states of the South Caucasus and the course of negotiations on association agreements with Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Audronius Ažubalis spoke up for a consistent strengthening of the EU‘s relations with these countries.

“It is necessary to include our South Caucasian neighbours into the activities of the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood Initiative, to start negotiations with Armenia and Azerbaijan regarding the visa regime facilitation and readmission agreements”, Ažubalis said.

The first round of talks on an association agreement between the EU and three South Caucasus countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia was held in mid. July .

The a greement s are based on joint commitment s to develop common values . They cover a wide range of areas including a political dialogue, justice, freedom and security, as well as the trade and cooperation.

In the words of Minister A.Ažubalis, it should also be taken into account that Georgia is implementing the visa facilitation and readmission agreements which came into force on1 March.

Head of Lithuania‘s diplomacy noted that the EU and Georgia had to make efforts in order to be able to start by the end of 2011 the negotiations regarding the conclusion of a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement.

Based on this, a dialogue should be started with Georgia thus defining the conditions for a visa free regime as a long-term objective, the Minister said.

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