Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was slated to brief business leaders and presidents of neighboring states Friday on the new government's reform program in a speech aimed at reducing fears about changes under way in this former Soviet republic.

Tymoshenko's keynote address comes on the final day of the World Economic Forum on Ukraine - a gathering aimed at helping attract foreign investment and bolstering the pro-Western government that came to power after last year's Orange Revolution mass protests, Forbes reported.

"I have grounds to tell you that Ukraine is a very profitable field for investment," President Viktor Yushchenko said Thursday in a speech before six presidents and a hall packed with dozens of top business leaders.

Government officials have been making the rounds of the forum's sessions, promoting their nation and trying to explain some of the missteps that have left investors wary.

The peaceful protests last year that helped usher the pro-Western opposition into power captivated the world. But so far, little new foreign investment has come in and the country's economy - once one of Europe's fastest growing - is slowing.

Yushchenko said Ukraine's proximity to the European Union, a highly educated and professional work force and experience in high-technology fields makes the country attractive to investment.

On Friday, conference participants were expected to discuss relations with the European Union, which Ukraine wants to join, and with Russia, its giant neighbor and major trading partner.

Yushchenko said Russia's push toward the EU remains on the agenda, but he added "the development of Ukraine and Russia relations is profitable not only for both of our countries but for the whole of Europe."

In what appeared to be a carefully timed move, Tymoshenko and parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn signed a memorandum Thursday in the presence of Yushchenko that commits them to uphold property rights.

Yushchenko told investors the memorandum shows that the government's probes into some of the past decade's murky privatization deals will not lead toward re-nationalization.

The president also emphasized that all "quarrels regarding privatization will be solved only by the court," and he said he supports peaceful settlements with the current owners.

Deputy Prime Minister Oleh Rybachuk blamed a government decision setting price limits on gasoline earlier this year for helping delay a decision to bestow market economy status on Ukraine.

Yushchenko later ordered his government to let the market decide prices.

"The government is obligated not to meddle in price politics ... (but) you saw that interference," he said.


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