PRESIDENTS OF FORMER SOVIET COLONIES AND EU MEET IN PRAGUE OVER CLOSER TIES

FoxNews on April 24, 2014, published an AP report on amid Ukraine’s deepening crisis, the presidents of post-Soviet republics and EU member states are gathering in Prague to save a project to boost their ties. Excerpts below:

Launched in the Czech capital in 2009, the Eastern Partnership was supposed to inspire democratic change in six post-communist nations to ensure political stability and turn the territory east of the EU’s border into a region of stable and prosperous democracies.

In exchange, the European Union promised Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine free-trade agreements, visa-free travel and other incentives.

By gathering in Prague, the leaders of these former Soviet [colonies] are…re-stating their preference for closer ties to Europe.

Russia worked aggressively and successfully to derail the EU deal with Ukraine in November 2013, setting off months of protests that toppled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The same thing happened to the EU agreement with Armenia.

The presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova as well Ukraine’s foreign minister are scheduled to attend the meeting with their counterparts from the Czech Republic, Austria, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.

Only Belarus is boycotting the event because its leader, authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, was not invited.

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