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European Union Must Help South Caucasus Countries Integrate With Europe

28.02.2012

No. 42-E

Estonia would like for the European Union’s Eastern Partners in the South Caucasus – Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan – to look to Europe and move closer to the European Union, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said today at the European Union foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels. 

“The more countries that make this choice, the better it is for the European Union’s interests,” said the Estonian foreign minister. Georgia is in the forefront in terms of its ambition to integrate with the European Union as well as with the pace of its reforms, and it needs further attention and support from the European Union, Paet said. “Therefore we hope that in the near future the European Union will welcome Georgia’s European perspective,” he added.

Paet stated that European Union Eastern Partnership has helped to significantly intensify political and economic ties with the South Caucasus countries. “Long-term conflicts that are hindering the development of the region still require the European Union’s attention,” he noted.

Paet said that negotiations for Association Agreements with Armenia and Azerbaijan have gone well and negotiations are being started with Armenia and Azerbaijan for concluding visa facilitation and readmission agreements. There is also a desire to start a visa dialogue with Georgia, and a decision has been made to start negotiations for free trade agreements with Georgia and Armenia.

Estonia supports the European Union’s active work and leading role in addressing the aftermath of the conflict between Georgia and Russia. “The European Union Monitoring Mission fulfils a very important role in ensuring security, and therefore it is essential that the mission does not diminish and 200 monitors remain in the mission,” Paet added.

Additional information:
Helen Ennok
Press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
pressitalitus@mfa.ee
www.vm.ee

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