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Georgian PM Expects EU Association Agreement By August

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili (left) during a joint press conference with EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso after a meeting at the European Commission headquarters, in Brussels on February 3.
BRUSSELS -- Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili says he expects Tbilisi will sign an Association Agreement with the European Union by August.

In comments made after talks in Brussels with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on February 3, Garibashvili said Georgia's European integration is "irreversible."

Barroso called on "everybody in the region" to respect "the free will of a country like Georgia."

Moldova and Georgia initialled Association Agreements with the EU at the 28-member bloc's Eastern Partnership summit in Lithuania in November.

Both Armenia and Ukraine were tipped to also move closer to the EU but suddenly announced they would instead pursue closer relations with Moscow and the Russia-led Customs Union.

"Against the background of continuous pressure from Russia we pay particular importance to the EU's vital role in promoting peace and stability in Georgia," Garibashvili added.

With reporting by dpa
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