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EU door remains open for Georgia

July 12, 2013 at 11:11 AM

BATUMI, Georgia, July 12 (UPI) -- The notion that Georgia's chances to move closer to the European Union are slim must be dispelled, a visiting European diplomat said Friday.

Georgia aspires to a closer relationship with the European Union and NATO. Association talks are expected to begin in earnest during a November meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The European Union has expressed concern about Georgia's commitment to democracy and issues of selective justice following October elections. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili was criticized for appointing officials from the regime replaced by Mikheil Saakashvili following a 2003 revolution.

European Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Fule said from the country there was a myth Georgia's chances for success in Lithuania were slim.

"This indeed is a myth and needs to be dispelled," he said in a statement Friday. "We do not see this as a truthful reflection of the country's reality.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said, in a 13-page report on Georgia, the political climate was marred by violence and polarization, though the October election itself was viewed as competitive.

Fule said the path for Georgia lies with a commitment to European values. Steps along the way need to be taken in a European way.

"There is no other way to get there," he said.

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