President Victor Yushchenko met with Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov to discuss next week’s auction to sell the Kryvorizhstal Metallurgical Plant. Later the Head of State made a statement on the subject of Kryvorizhstal re-privatization, President's press office reported.

At the meeting, the President stressed that a dispute about this privatization had agitatated our society and “is disappointing, dangerous and inadmissible when speaking about Ukraine’s national and state interests.”

Yushchenko reiterated that Ukraine had been preparing to conduct the auction for six months and it was “a moral duty” for the government tohold it.

“Frankly speaking, I cannot understand people’s deputies that are voting against the Kryvorizhstal auction,”he opined, adding that this could have negative economic consequences.

“So I would like to say that there are two reasons why we have no right to give up our determination to re-privatize Kryvorizhstal. The first reason is moral and political. By this auction we want to show we will repeal all illegal acts passed in the past years. The second point is legal. We have never spoken about nationalization of these privatized enterprises,” said Yushchenko.

He stressed that the 2005 budget did not provide for nationalization, for it would take four billion budget hryvnias.

“We wanted to stop any political demagogy last year when we were approving the budget. These things cannot be discussed illegally. These are political intrigues that only damage the matter,” he said.

Addressing former owners of the enterprise, the President said: “Some time agowe could equally and fairly take part in the auction. You did not use this chance so it is time we put an end to this.”

The Head of State also cautioned all “not to take any destructive measures” concerning the auction on October 24.

Speaking about his meetings with business leaders in the past two weeks, Yushchenko stressed, “The State guarantees that fair business will be protected by government. We urge all businessmen to develop transparent relations with government, legalize their business and pay taxes.”

He also thanked those local business leaders that helped to considerably increase this year’s revenue.

“I am sure legalization of business we have been waiting for is a great move to consolidate interests of government, society and business,” stressed Yushchenko.

In his turn, Yekhanurov informed the President that they were actively preparing for the auction and expected no problems to happen. He also said that, at the room for the auction committee, there will be no outsiders and two television channels would broadcast the auction live. The Prime Minister stressed that this privatization was somehow similar to nationalization because “the budget will get additional money.”

“We are ready to conduct the auction and there will be no handicaps whatsoever,” he said forcefully.

Yekhanurov also told the President about the work of all regional authorities in the past nine months. He said all indexes had been meticulously analyzed. Yekhanurov said many regional residents had been polled to find out what they thought of their new officials.

“I think we will soon be able to draw conclusions from that damning criticism of the authorities. This is objective information and we should respond immediately to such facts. The government will spare no effort to analyze these failures,” he said.


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