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EU to launch Eastern Partnership with six former Soviet republics
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08:42, May 07, 2009

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The European Union (EU) and six former Soviet republics are poised to sign a declaration to launch the Eastern Partnership project that will ensure their greater political and economic cooperation, the Czech foreign minister said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said support for democratization, a market economy, and political and security cooperation are key elements of the Eastern Partnership, one of the priorities of the current Czech EU presidency.

Representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will gather in Prague on Thursday with their EU counterparts to sign the declaration.

Belarus attracted much attention ahead of Thursday's gathering as Czech President Vaclav Klaus said President Alexander Lukashenko was not welcome in Prague and the Foreign Ministry did not invite him.

Minsk eventually decided to send First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko and Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov to the meeting.


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