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Lithuanian Foreign Minister: Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova may sign trade pacts with EU next year

Linas Linkevičius
Luko Balandžio nuotr. / Linas Linkevičius
Šaltinis: BNS

Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova may initial free trade agreements with the European Union this year and sign them as early as next year, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius says.

In his words, the initialing, or preliminary approval of a text, is likely to coincide with the upcoming EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November, and the signing could take place before the term of the incumbent European Commission expires in the second half of next year.

Georgia finalized talks on a free trade agreement on Monday. Moldova did the same earlier, and Armenia hopes to finalize free trade talks over the upcoming days.

"We can hope for the initialing of free trade agreements with Moldova, Georgia and, perhaps, Armenia, by the start of the summit in Vilnius. We would then seek the signature as soon as possible, and the best thing would be to do this during the term of this European Commission," Linkevičius told BNS by phone from Brussels late on Monday.

The three above-mentioned countries as well as Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine are taking part in the EU Eastern Partnership program aimed at bringing the eastern post-Soviet neighbors closer to the EU. Ministers from the six countries discussed the program with EU counterparts in Brussels on Monday.

As the Vilnius summit is approaching, major attention is being paid to Ukraine, which hopes to sign a free trade and association agreement during the meeting. By then, the West want Ukraine to oust "selective justice", a term used to describe opposition persecution and the imprisonment of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Lithuania is holding the presidency of the EU Council in the second half of this year.

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