Japan and Ukraine on Thursday agreed to enhance cooperation on the issue of U.N. Security Council expansion and also agreed on the need for bilateral talks to promote Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organization, a Japanese official said, Kyodo News reported.

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk agreed to cooperate on a U.N. resolution on Security Council reform backed by both Japan and Ukraine to reconcile it with one compiled by the African Union.

Japan, Brazil, Germany and India compiled the reform resolution and presented it to the General Assembly earlier this month. Ukraine was one of the 23 cosponsoring countries.

The so-called Group of Four wants to enlarge the Security Council with six new permanent members and four additional nonpermanent members. The G-4 envisages one of the four new nonpermanent members will represent Eastern Europe.

Tarasyuk was quoted as telling Machimura that Ukraine will extend "active support as an informal leader" of Eastern European countries so that the G-4's reform resolution will clear the General Assembly.

Machimura and Tarasyuk met prior to a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko taking place later in the day.

Machimura and Tarasyuk also confirmed the two countries have reached a bilateral accord on issues including tariffs. A country that wants to become a WTO member needs to conclude bilateral negotiations with WTO members over relevant trade issues as well as multilateral accession talks at the WTO headquarters.


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