At Zaporizhstal, Victor Yushchenko is meeting with local mill directors and officials to discuss energy efficiency, environmental safety, and health protection, President's press office reported.

In his opening statement, the President claimed that these three issues were closely entwined.

He ordered all Ukrainian governors to formulate plans to reform the municipal economy. Yushchenko called on local authorities to coordinate their activities.

“We do not lack knowledge, but still fail to act in unison,” he opined.

Energy efficiency is a really pressing issue because energy prices grow rapidly, Yushchenko said.

“The world says oil and gas prices will grow every year. If we want to be competitive, we should professionally answer how the state and business should work [in these circumstances],” he asserted.

The President also suggested that they should formulate similar health programs to fight HIV/AIDS, TB, heart and blood disease.

“If the people communicate, understand challenges and properly distribute funds and listen to each other, then, I am convinced, efficient regional policy can help face these challenges,” he said, stating  that this was the issue of “regional solidarity.”

Yushchenko added that the state would fund medical reform in 2006.

Commenting on environmental safety, he remarked, “Zaporizhzhya must cope with its ecological catastrophe.”

The Head of State said the region did not monitor the pollution rate and its sources and urged the local authorities and businessmen to actively interact to produce safe products. 


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