Kyrgyzstan, EU work on new co-operation agreement


BISHKEK -- Negotiations between Kyrgyzstan and the European Union (EU) on a new co-operation agreement are continuing, reported.

A second round of talks on the deal is taking place in Bishkek, Luc Devigne, the lead EU negotiator, said at a news conference Thursday (March 1).

The EU holds Kyrgyzstan in especially high regard among Central Asian countries because "we share common values ​​such as democracy, human rights and the recent democratic transfer of power," he said.

Although the EU and Kyrgyzstan have a 20-year-old agreement, changes in both entities make a new treaty necessary, he said.

"Our co-operation is based on three main sectors -- education, the rule of law and the integrated development of rural regions," he said.

Exports of goods from Kyrgyzstan to the EU grew by 120% last year, along with a 48% increase in overall trade in both directions, Devigne noted, adding that the two entities have plenty of potential for more trade.

The EU is ready to take relations to a new level to develop the economy and improve stability in Central Asia, Devigne said.

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