Georgia within sight of EU association

Feb. 4, 2014 at 9:55 AM
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BRUSSELS, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Tuesday signing an association agreement with Georgia this year was at the top of his agenda.

Van Rompuy met Tuesday with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who's making his first visit to Brussels since taking office last year.

The European Council president said the bilateral relationship with the government of Georgia is "strong" and Tuesday's meeting was emblematic of a "very broad and deep relationship."

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili vowed to move Georgia closer to the European Union when he took office last year.

Both sides endorsed an association agreement during a European summit held in November in Lithuania.

"One of our main objectives this year is to sign the association agreement, including the deep and comprehensive free trade area, which we initialed in Vilnius last November," van Rompuy said in his statement.

Georgia also vowed to try to repair ties with Russia, which were damaged when the two sides fought over the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said during his meetings Monday with Georgia's prime minister he was concerned for the country's territorial integrity.

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