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Live Blog: Eastern Partnership Summit In Vilnius

The six Eastern Partnership countries are meeting for a Summit in Vilnius. On the eve of the summit, Georgia and Moldova initialed Association Agreements with the European Union, but no other countries are expected to follow suit.

November 28, 2013

Jose Manuel Barroso, Herman Van Rompuy and Viktor Yanukovych at a meeting in Vilnius.
Jose Manuel Barroso, Herman Van Rompuy and Viktor Yanukovych at a meeting in Vilnius.

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15:59
November 29, 2013
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Summary

-- Until last week Ukraine had said it was intent on signing an Association Agreement, but backed out under pressure from Moscow. Although Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych released a statement today expressing a desire to join an Association Agreement in the "nearest future," European leaders criticized his inaction at the close of the Summit. 

-- Leaders also lashed out at Moscow for putting what they call undue pressure on Eastern Parternship countries. "This is not a zero sum game," said Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.

-- Georgia and Moldova have initialed their Association Agreements. Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, leading his country's delegation, said the 1,000-page document is irrevocable

-- Association Agreements create a framework for cooperation, including trade, with the EU, but also require the signees to undertake broad domestic political reforms. Ukraine would have adopted 350 EU laws under a proposed Association Agreement. 

-- Van Rompuy announced today that Belarus is ready to begin negotiating a visa facilitation agreement with the EU. Talks may start in December. 

Glenn Kates
13:20
November 29, 2013
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Some weekend reading. 

13:10
November 29, 2013
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13:06
November 29, 2013
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Earlier this week, Yanukoych said he would consider withdrawing Ukraine from a gas transit pact with the EU. He cited anger over the South Stream gas pipeline project, which would bypass Ukraine, carrying Russian natural gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria. 

13:01
November 29, 2013
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Van Rompuy, responding to a question on whether an Association Agreement can be signed with Moldova while the issue of Transdniester is still unresolved, says those issues should be negotiated separately. 

He adds: "We strongly support the territorial integrity of Moldova as we support the territorial integrity of other countries [including Georgia]."
12:56
November 29, 2013
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Barrosa says idea of trilateral talks between Russia, Ukraine and the EU, suggested by Yanukovych, is "not acceptable...We don't need a trilateral agreement for a bilateral deal."
12:54
November 29, 2013
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Responding to a question on Russian pressure.

12:52
November 29, 2013
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"We will not give in to external pressure, not the least from Russia" -- Van Rompuy 

"There were no negotiations on signing because the Ukrainian leadership came with a very clear decision not to sign." -- Grybauskaite
12:37
November 29, 2013
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Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite: 

"We can see that Ukraine has unilaterally halted its progress towards the EU, while the European Union remains ready to help the Ukrainian people." 

"Today, we as Europeans stand together with the Ukrainian people. The door to the EU...is open to Ukrainian society." 

"Everything depends on the political elite now." 

"All the benchmarks are known to Ukraine. There will be no new benchmarks attached."
12:33
November 29, 2013
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Herman Van Rompuy:

"The offer of signing the most ambitious agreement the European Union has ever offered to a non-member state is still on the table." 

Says it's critical to resist pressure from abroad: "This is a time of courage, this is a time of decisions."

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