EU keeping close tabs on Georgia

July 9, 2013 at 10:38 AM

TBILISI, Georgia, July 9 (UPI) -- Georgia is expected to showcase its commitment to the values embraced by the European Union, the European commissioner for neighborhood policy said.

Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Fule left Tuesday for Georgia to discuss association efforts with the government in Tbilisi. Georgia wants a closer relationship with NATO and the European Union.

Fule said he expects the government to highlight its reform agendas at a European association conference in Tbilisi during his visit. Formal association negotiations will conclude during a November meeting in Vilnius, Lithuanian.

"The run up to the Vilnius summit is a crucial phase when our partners are expected to demonstrate their engagement to further deepening our cooperation based on our shared values and ensure the benefits of our closer cooperation are shared with the citizens," he said in a statement Monday.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was criticized for his 2008 decision to go to war with Russia over the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Fule is scheduled to meet Saakashvili and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili during his visit. European leaders have expressed concerns about Ivanishvili's decision to appoint a minister from the administration of former President Eduard Shevardnadze, ousted in the country's Rose Revolution in 2004.

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