Ukraine's presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) is an important historical experience, which reflects the country's commitment to this European organization, Chairman of the CoE Committee of Ministers and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostiantyn Hryshchenko has said at the 17th Session of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government.

"This [presidency] is an important historical experience for us. After becoming a member of the Council of Europe, Ukraine has consistently confirmed its commitment to this democratic European organization," Hryshchenko said, UKRINFORM reports.

He said that Ukraine, after getting a chance to hold the presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, was in the very midst of historic transformation. "Starting an honorable and responsible mission, the Ukrainian presidency set its main purpose to promote in practice the development of qualitatively new approaches to the organization of the main priorities and basic principles of democracy, the protection of human rights and European law," Hryshchenko said.

The minister said that the strengthening and development of local and regional democracy was one of the main priorities for Ukraine during its presidency of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers.

The Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europe's decision-making body. It comprises the foreign ministers of all the member states, or their permanent diplomatic representatives in Strasbourg. The chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers is rotated on a six-monthly basis, changing with each session in the English alphabetical order of member states. Ukraine presides over the Committee of Ministers from May to November 2011.

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