Yesterday in Luxembourg, Presidents Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia, Levon Ter-Petrosian of Armenia, and Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan signed in the name of their respective countries partnership and cooperation agreements with the European Union. The agreements provide for institutionalized political dialogue at the ministerial level, most-favored-nation treatment in bilateral trade, protection of property rights (including intellectual property), intensified cultural exchanges, and cooperation in curbing illegal migration and criminal activities. The agreements establish rules facilitating the movement of goods and capital, the operation of companies in the partner countries’ territories, and transborder payments and banking operations. The three Transcaucasian countries obtain trade concessions and access to certain EU funding, such as European Investment Bank loans. The agreements may be terminated if the principles of democracy and market economics are violated. (Western agencies, April 22)
The agreements were signed at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU countries. With yesterday’s signing, a majority of former Soviet republics have become EU partner countries. The agreements are subject to ratification by the parliaments of the 15 member countries of the EU.
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