16:18 GMT26 November 2020
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    The Eastern Partnership program includes Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The primary goal of the program is to provide a venue for discussions on economic and socio-political issues between the European Union and its eastern neighbors.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — The EU Eastern Partnership program on boosting the bloc’s relations with former Soviet republics is not aimed against Russia, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday.

    The Eastern Partnership program includes Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The primary goal of the program is to provide a venue for discussions on economic and socio-political issues between the European Union and its eastern neighbors.

    "I repeat it again and again, addressing especially our Russian neighbors — the EU Neighborhood Policy is not targeted against anyone,” Steinmeier said, adding that Germany wants good cooperation not only with its neighbors, but with the “neighbors of our neighbors” as well.

    On Thursday, the German parliament will hold final hearings on association agreements between the European Union and Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia as part of the Eastern Partnership.

    In January, Brussels agreed to boost practical and political support to Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries.

    In late 2013, Ukraine's then-President Viktor Yanukovych's decision not to sign the EU association deal sparked weeks-long riots, resulting in a coup and his subsequent flight to Russia. The current Ukrainian government has signed and ratified the agreement.

    Russian authorities said that the association process could result in an uncontrolled stream of duty-free goods from the European Union to the Russian market that would negatively affect Russia's economic interests.

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    Tags:
    Eastern Partnership, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Russia, Germany
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