President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday chaired a meeting that focused on how to develop Zmiyinyy Island and Odesa region’s south, President's press office reports.

In a speech to open the meeting, which took place in the town of Vylkove, Yushchenko said the central government and regional authorities should make “complex and consistent” efforts to develop infrastructure on Zmiyinyy Island and improve the living conditions of its permanent residents. “I am impressed by what I have seen today and by theopportunities it offers. We must formulate an effective joint plan for implementing various programs on the island,” he said. “We will instruct ministries and other governmental bodies to restore order [on the island] within the next five months.”

The president said the island faced great energy challenges. “A project to produce energy on the island should not take more than ten months,” he said, demanding that the Odesa State Administration and the region’s public utilities take measures to process garbage and scrap metal from Zmiyinyy within the next four months.

Yushchenko also suggested establishing a local self-governing council on the island and said it was important to protect Zmiyinyy’s information security and settle a property disputeover the ownership of the local moorage within the next ten days. He also thinks it is possible to develop tourism on the island.

He thanked those serving as border guards on Zmiyinyy and said their working and living conditions must be considerably improved.

President Yushchenko had flown over the Black Sea-Danube navigable canal in a helicopter and inspected the Vylkove Ship Navigation Center before the meeting.


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