European Union envoy: Eastern Partnership summit to set new goals for future partnership

Heavily armed militiamen in Ukraine

"We welcome the establishment, and effective implementation, of visa free regimes with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, and we support the continued implementation of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plans to improve people-to-people contacts", reads the declaration.

The ambassador said the negotiations on a comprehensive agreement between Azerbaijan and the European Union are continuing and will continue after the summit too.

The 5th Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit on the theme "20 Deliverables for 2020: Bringing tangible results for citizens" has kicked off in Brussels, an APA correspondent reported from Brussels.

This was the first time the European Union invited Lukashenko, who had been on an European Union sanctions list during previous Eastern Partnership summits.

Most of the sanctions, including those on Lukashenka, were lifted in February 2016.

Nor does the draft statement refer to the bitter row between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh, which nearly flared into a full-scale war past year.

Armed men
GETTYArmed men in military uniform guard government buildings in Ukraine

Initially, it was agreed that there would be no mention of the situation in the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is under Armenian control.

The summit is also set to shy away from discussion of any of the separatist conflicts now rumbling on with varying degrees of intensity in the six partner states.

It adds that "the resolution of the conflicts, building trust and good neighborly relations are essential to economic and social development and cooperation".

The final text will also apparently fail to mention the war between Kyiv and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people since April 2014.

The current draft language on that topic is identical to that of the previous summit, stating that "the summit participants acknowledge the European aspirations and European choice of the partners concerned, as stated in the association agreements". A network of partner countries'universities will focus on excellence in teaching.

EPP is the largest and most influential European-level political party of the center-right, which now includes 77 member parties and partners from 41 countries, the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament, 7 EU and 7 non-EU heads of state and government, 13 members of the European Commission and the largest Group in the European Parliament.

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