Victor Yushchenko and his wife hosted yesterday an annual reception for foreign diplomats at Kyiv’s Mariinsky Palace, president's press office reported.

Ambassadors, envoys, consuls and representatives of international organizations, as well as Speaker Oleksandr Moroz, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Acting Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko, NSDCU Secretary Vitaly Haiduk, Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha, Ukrainian ministers and members of parliament, attended the event.  

In his speech, the President thanked the diplomats for contributing to Ukraine’s “constructive dialogue” with other countries in 2006. 

Outlining priorities for 2007, Mr. Yushchenko said, “Ukraine is searching for ways to resolve the most difficult tasks in its development. We are shaping a culture of political compromise.”

He reiterated his intention to form a commission to amend the country’s constitution.

“We must effectively balance powers, ensure that the rights and freedoms of our citizens are observed and forewarn society of any attempt of authoritarianism,” he said. 

Ukraine’s priorities – pluralistic democracy, civil society, knowledge-based economy and European choice – have not changed, he said. Thus the main challenge facing Ukraine is to boost its competitiveness. 

As for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, he said, our most important objectives are to join the World Trade Organization and to start talks with the EU to sign an enhanced agreement designed to promote “political association and economic integration.”

Speaking about relations with Russia, Mr. Yushchenko expressed confidence the Ukrainian-Russian Commission would be “a powerful engine” to fill our cooperation with big projects. We see our relations with all countries as strategically important, he said.

Ukraine is also determined to reinforce its partnership with the United States of America.

“As Ukraine’s President, I assure you that Ukraine will give up its policy of uncertainties resulting in a deficit of security. We will continue our practical dialogue with NATO in order to achieve security and stability,” he said.

The President said Ukraine was quite active in the international arena as a member of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe, “We value our status of a reliable international partner which never stands aside global processes.”

Ukraine will spare no effort to resolve the Trans-dniester conflict. It is also ready for constructive cooperation within the Commonwealth of Independent States and with the G8, and wants to develop regional projects like GUAM. 

Mr. Yushchenko said building reliable partnerships and mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries and participating in international projects to face new global challenges were among the country’s foreign priorities, as well as developing ties with Latin America, Asia and Africa.  

“I believe our plans will materialize in all aspects. I count on your understanding and support.”

Georgia’s Ambassador to Ukraine and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Grygol Katamadze, said Ukraine “faced challenges worthily” last year. He said freedom of speech, which “became an integral part of social life,” and last year’s elections, whose “transparency and fairness were praised worldwide,” were among the country’s main achievements.

“Ukraine stands firmly on the path of democratic changes. Foreign diplomats accredited to Ukraine cannot be indifferent to its fate. We do our best to support Ukrainians and rejoice at your successes,” he said, adding that our partners were looking forward to Ukraine’s joining the World Trade Organization. “We will continue working to ensure that Ukraine’s cooperation with all countries and international organizations is active and productive.” 

During the reception, the guests could view a photo exhibition highlighting both the official and informal aspects of Victor Yushchenko’s international activity, President Yushchenko: An International Dimension, and an exhibition of Ukrainian art treasures. They also enjoyed musical performances.


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