Latvia buddies up with Georgia

Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics, while in Luxembourg Monday for the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting held a special meeting of the ‘Friends of Georgia’ group.

The event saw Rinkevics hosting his counterpart, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, foreign ministers from other EU member-states and representatives of the European External Action Service and urged “stepping up the support being provided to the Eastern Partnership countries,” a Foreign Ministry release said.

The gathering gained relevance in light of preparations for the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, which gives Georgia a chance to highlight its progress on reforms and underline the process of ratifying and implementing the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.

Rinkevics spoke favorably of reforms launched in Georgia and offered to share relevant EU member-state experience.

Latvia’s chief diplomat urged Georgia to streamline its visa-issuing system, also stressing imperative improvements to the justice sector, including the issues of judicial independence, pluralist values and presumed innocence under the law.

The Eastern Partnership Agreements will be one of the priorities of Latvia's Presidency of the Council of the EU, which it will take over from Italy in just over two months' time, and hold until next July.

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