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European Commission - Press release

Catherine Ashton to visit South Caucasus

Brussels, 15 November 2011 - Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Commission Vice-President, will visit South Caucasus this week to reaffirm the strong commitment of the European Union to the region. She will start her visit in Azerbaijan on Tuesday, then continue to Georgia on Wednesday and Armenia on Thursday.

"The main aim of my visit is to show the commitment of the European Union to the South Caucasus," said Catherine Ashton ahead of her visit. "Over the last year - in the context of the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership - we have engaged in a process of significant strengthening of our relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, including through negotiations of Association Agreements. We are very keen to see the three countries progress with the necessary reforms, with European values as the guiding light. We also want to see steps forward in the resolution of conflicts."

In Baku, HRVP Ashton will meet Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister Arthur Rasi-Zade and Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

In Tbilisi, she will hold talks with President Mikheil Saakashvili and Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze; she will also meet the Head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia Andrzej Tyszkiewicz.

In Yerevan, Catherine Ashton will have meetings with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.

High Representative/Vice-President has most recently met the Presidents of the three countries on the margins of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Warsaw at the end of September.

From South Caucasus HRVP Ashton will travel to Moscow, where she will participate at the Permanent Partnership Council meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (separate press release will be issued)

Contacts :

Michael Mann (+32 2 299 97 80)

Maja Kocijancic (+32 2 298 65 70)

Sebastien Brabant (+32 2 298 64 33)

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