EU foreign policy chief, Catharine Ashton, who starts two-day visit to Georgia on July 15, will formally open EU-Georgia Association Agreement together with President Saakashvili in Black Sea town of Batumi.
“Georgia can rest assured that the EU will continue to provide support in advancing democracy, rule of law and governance particularly under the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership,” Ashton said in a statement ahead of her visit.
During the visit she will also met with Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, and visit EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, followed by trips to locations at administrative borders of breakaway regions on July 16.
“We stand firm on our full support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and welcome its commitment to solving conflicts only through peaceful means and diplomatic efforts,” Ashton said.
“We encourage Georgia to reengage with the populations in the conflict regions in accordance with its recently adopted Action Plan, in the interest of people affected. The EU will remain fully engaged in conflict resolution efforts employing a wide spectrum of its instruments. The EUMM remains an indispensable factor for stability.”
Apart of Georgia, EU is also launching Association Agreement negotiations with two other South Caucasus states – Armenia (on July 19) and Azerbaijan (on July 16). The goal of the Association Agreement is to achieve closer political association and gradual economic integration between the EU and the three Southern Caucasian countries. The EU is already negotiating similar agreements with Ukraine and Moldova.
On 15 July first plenary session of negotiations over the Georgia-EU Association Agreement will be led by Hugues Mingarelli, EU's deputy director general for external relations and Tornike Gordadze, Georgia’s new deputy foreign minister in charge of talks with EU.