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1st day of Eastern Partnership summit ends

November 29, 2013, 1:53 UTC+3 VILNIUS

The key intrigue of the summit is whether Ukraine finally signs the Association Agreement with the European Union or not

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VILNIUS, November 28, 23:44 /ITAR-TASS/. The first day of the Eastern Partnership summit in the Lithuanian capital city Vilnius was crowned by the exchange of documents of the association with the European Union - the so-called initialing - with Georgia and Moldova, and Ukraine’s initialing of an agreement on common aviation space with the European Union.

The key intrigue of the summit is whether Ukraine finally signs the Association Agreement with the European Union or not. Despite the fact that Kiev has announced a break in its preparations for the signing of this document, European Union’s leaders are not losing the hope to talk Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich into signing it. Thus, President of Lithuania, which is currently presiding the Council of the European Union, Dalia Grybauskaite said that leaders of the European Union, Lithuania and other countries participating in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership programme were ready to work the whole night through to achieve maximum results, i.e. to have Ukraine sign the Association and Free Trade Zone Agreement with the European Union. She said this issue would be discussed at a working dinner and might well drag on into the night. No one was going to save his or her time for that, she pledged.

The European Union launched its Eastern Partnership programme in 2009 to develop cooperation with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, although initially it looked rather shapeless. The two previous summits came almost unnoticed. Now, that the dialogue with Kiev entered a homestretch the programme might receive a fresh impetus, but if Kiev refrains from signing the association agreement the progarmme will be running idle.

If Kiev decides not to sign the association agreement with the European Union, the programme will have only two (from among six) active participants - Georgia and Moldova. On Friday, they are to initial their association agreements with the European Union. Armenia, which once announced similar plans, has finally opted for the Customs Union [of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan], which, according to Brussels officials, is incompatible with a free trade zone agreement with the European Union. Azerbaijan has refrained from preparing an association agreement and offers the European Union to sign a partnership agreement. Belarus, whose leaders have practically no dialogue with Brussels, participates in the Eastern Partnership programme as an observer.

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