Accompanied by Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili and First Lady Sandra Roelofs, Victor Yushchenko and his wife attended a ceremony on Friday to unveil a monument to the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in Tbilisi, president's press office reported.

The President thanked the government of Georgia for erecting the monument in Tbilisi’s downtown.

“I would like to thank and pay my tribute to the people of Georgia and Georgia’s government for joining the list of places where there are Shevchenko monuments,” he said, describing the event as “another proof of friendly ties between Ukraine and Georgia.”

Yushchenko said it was not only the past that united the two nations, “The future unites us, and this is more important. The two countries are advancing to strengthen their sovereignty and independence.”

He expressed hopes that Ukraine and Georgia will soon become full members of the European Union and join NATO.  He also praised the Georgian government’s efforts to reform the country.

“The challenges both Ukraine and Georgia are facing are the price we have to pay for seeing our countries free and independent,” he said.

The Georgian leader recited Shevchenko’s most famous poem, Zapovit (Will), during the ceremony.


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