In Mariinsky Palace, Victor and Kateryna Yushchenko hosted a reception for foreign diplomats working in Ukraine. More than three hundred guests had been invited, one hundred of them being ambassadors and presidents of such international organizations as UNO, UNICEF, OSCE, EBRD, European Commission, World Bank, IMF and many others, the President press office informed.

Premier Yuriy Yekhanurov, NSDCU Secretary Anatoly Kinakh, Secretariat Chief-of-Staff Oleh Rybachuk, ministers and parliamentarians attended the event. Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn could not come because he was meeting with CIS speakers.

In his opening speech, the Head of State said: “This meeting is not only an occasion to spell out this year’s priorities of our domestic and foreign policy but also a great occasion to thank all of you for a frank dialogue we had last year.”
“Today I can proudly claim that the selected course had not changed,” he remarked and added that our government was responsible for ensuring freedom of speech and the rule of law.

The President opined that the year 2005 was replete with events but the nation was still committed to European democratic principles.

The Head of State said the liberalization of visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens was on this year’s agenda and reminded all that Ukraine had already done that for Europeans.

“Ukraine is looking forward to real progress in its relations with the EU and in other fields of cooperation,” he stressed.

“Today, we are sending a clear signal to Brussels: Kyiv is ready to make its contribution to Europe’s energy security,” Yushchenko remarked.

“I am convinced Ukraine is becoming a powerful geopolitical magnet that will attract foreign investment and technologies,” he continued.

In 2006, Ukraine is also going to establish a system of regional stability and implement friendly foreign policy with its neighbors, the President said. The President said he hoped each of them appreciated results of cooperation with the new Ukrainian government.

Yushchenko added that he was glad Ukraine had reached mutual understanding with other countries and international organizations. Summing up results of the past year, he reminded those present that last year he had outlined Ukraine’s road map for 2005.
In his turn, Argentine ambassador Miguel Angel Kuneo asserted that the world community witnessed profound changes in Ukraine.

“The new government aimed to change this country by introducing reforms in all fields of life. The first year of their work showed that Ukraine breathed fresh air,” he said on behalf of his foreign colleagues.

Addressing the President, Mr. Kuneo said the world community appreciated Yushchenko’s effort to put Ukraine “at a new higher level of economic development.” He also stressed the government had done much to integrate Ukraine into the world community and assured the Head of State that all countries and international organizations were ready to support our state in its bid to introduce democratic changes and build democracy.

The visitors listened to the Kyiv Soloists Chamber Ensemble, Oksana Dyka and Dmytro Popov. They could also enjoy an exhibition featuring Ukrainian paintings and glassware.


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