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General Affairs and External Relations Council: round table

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The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) met in Brussels on 14 and 15 September 2009. The issues addressed included general coordination of EU policy, preparations ahead of EU summits, EU enlargement and the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The situation in Afghanistan following the elections, the EU's approach towards Iran and the EU's relations with the Southern Caucasus were also important issues on the agenda. The European Union said it aimed to restart Croatia's membership talks within weeks after EU-Member Slovenia agreed to unblock the negotiations. Slovenia and Croatia agreed that their 18-year Adriatic border dispute would no longer stall Croatia's negotiations to join the European Union. EU-Member Slovenia had blocked Croatia's membership talks until the dispute was resolved, but agreed to lift its objections if Croatia withdrew maps and files from EU negotiations that referred to the disputed areas as Croatia's, the countries' Prime Ministers said. The deal will allow Croatia to resume talks to become the bloc's 28th new Member. Iran was on the agenda at the Ministers' working dinner on 14 September. The goal was a broad discussion on EU positions on Iran in the light of the presidential elections of 12 June, the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and the conditions for negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme. The Ministers also discussed the EU's relations with the countries of the Southern Caucasus, i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. These countries are included in the EU's Eastern Partnership, which aims to forge closer ties between the EU and its eastern European neighbours. The discussion was expected to focus on the road forward for association agreements, including free trade agreements, with the countries of the Southern Caucasus.
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Type: EbS   Reference: 65368   Date: 15/09/2009   Duration: 00:01:18
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