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Georgian PM, Van Rompuy Discuss EU Association Agreement

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili (left) with EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels on February 4.
BRUSSELS -- European Council President Herman Van Rompuy says one of the EU's main objectives is to sign an Association Agreement with Georgia this year.

Van Rompuy made his comments following talks with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

Van Rompuy did not mention a date, but Garibashvili said Van Rompuy had confirmed the signing could take place as early as August.

Georgia and Moldova initialed the document at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius last year, but fears remain that Russian pressure might force the two countries to walk away from the deal.

For his part, Van Rompuy urged Georgia to pay attention to political pluralism and media freedom and added that criminal prosecution must be evidence-based.

He also expressed concerns about incidents in the country's breakaway regions in which physical barriers have been erected to restrict free movement.
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