Monday, March 31, 2008

President takes part in bringing order to Mystetsky Arsenal territory

President Victor Yushchenko took part today in civil action of bringing order to Mystetsky Arsenal territory. On the whole there were around 600 people participating in the action, including Education Minister Ivan Vakarchuk, Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, Health Minister Vasyl Knyazevych, State Affairs Department head Ihor Tarasyuk, Kyiv institutes students, cadets, etc.

Kiev Arsenal factory is one of the oldest and most famous industrial factories of Kyiv. In 2004 it was suggested to establish a modern art gallery in the oldest 19th century building of Arsenal. Later, President Viktor Yushchenko expressed his support to the museum idea but suggested that the museum had to be state-run and dominated by more traditional art pieces in order to become a "Ukrainian Hermitage". The process of converting the building to a civil use is underway. Most of construction works are to be finished by the end of 2008 and the museum is to openin its doors by Independence Day of 2009.

President grieves for Naftogaz-67 victims

President Victor Yushchenko offered his condolences to relatives of the deceased crew members of Naftogaz-67.

President meets with Polish PM

President Victor Yushchenko met today with the Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk.

During the meeting President said that he appreciates Ukrainian and Polish governments having signed the agreements on both local border movement and on cooperation in organizing EURO 2012 finals.

Sides also dwelled on Poland’s position during future discussion of Ukraine’s accession to NATO MAC at Bucharest Summit. Besides they discussed Ukraine-Poland cooperation with regard to Ukraine’s aspiration to sign new, enhanced agreement with the EU.

Another question discussed was realization of common projects in energy field, such as completing Odesa-Brody-Plock pipeline construction.

Along with President, from the Ukrainian side Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko and deputy Chief of Staff of Presidential Secretariat Olexandr Chalyy took part in the meeting. From Poland Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Economy Waldemar Pawlak took part in the discussion.

Ukraine will never advance on its path if its movement is defined by dubious personalities - President

Making his comments to journalists on Prime Minister Tymoshenko’s statement on V. Medvedchuk’s possible involvement in preparation of gas agreements with Russia, President Victor Yushchenko said that Ukraine will never advance on its path if its movement is defined by dubious personalities.

“I don’t know why it is Medvedchuk being turned to by the Prime Minister today as to some sort of saviour. I think it is the disgrace for Ukraine”, - he said.

President demands army financing increase

Communicating with journalists in Vasylkiv (Kyiv region) located 40th Fighter Aviation Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force President Victor Yushchenko said that 2008 military budget should “become a budget of development”. To President Yushchenko current budget, which foresees 5 percent financing growth compared to the last year is unacceptable. The need to increase army funding is moreover needed regarding transition of the Ukrainian army to contract base.

President flies Su-27 jet fighter

Within the framework of his visit to Vasylkiv (Kyiv region) located 40th Fighter Aviation Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force President Victor Yushchenko performed a flight in Sukhoi Su-27 jet fighter. The flight lasted 35 minutes with deputy commander of the Air Force of Ukraine Major-General Vasyl Nikiforov in control of the plane.

Speaking to journalists after the flight President Yushchenko said: “I felt that the plane is extremely controllable; it appeared to me that it was performing all elements very obediently. There was no discomfort”.

President calls on Vasylkiv 40th Fighter Aviation Brigade

President Victor Yushchenko paid a visit today to Vasylkiv (Kyiv region) located 40th Fighter Aviation Brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force.

President was explained brigade’s mission and objectives, as well as its organization and duties. He also viewed the aircrafts and other equipment used by the brigade. Victor Yushchenko was shown latest national enterprises’ elaborations in modernization of the Sukhoi Su-25 attack planes and Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter planes, Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer aircrafts, Mil Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters and radar stations.

In his visit President was accompanied by Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov

President grieves for Mi-8 crash victims

President Victor Yushchenko offered his condolences to families and relatives of those Ukrainian servicemen, who were killed in Thursday Mi-8 helicopter crash. The helicopter belonging to Ukraine's border guards crashed in the Black Sea in the delta of the river Danube.

President also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko demanding the Government to take appropriate measures to help the victims of the disaster.

President calls British PM

President Victor Yushchenko held phone conversation today with the Prime Minister of Great Britain Gordon Brown.

During the conversation sides discussed Great Britain’s position towards Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Ukraine.

On behalf of the Ukrainian nation President Yushchenko expressed gratitude to the British side for adopting a statement by the British Parliament about its support of Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic cravings.

The officials also discussed future visit of the President of Ukraine to Great Britain.

Ukrainian Police Day celebration

On March 26 President Yushchenko will take part in Ukrainian Police Day celebration.

V. Yushchenko meets with K. Vollebaek

President Victor Yushchenko met today with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Knut Vollebaek.

“We appreciate greatly your mission and work. We have high level of mutual understanding on many important subjects”, - said Victor Yushchenko at the beginning of the meeting adding that at the same time there is much to be done in order to overcome many sensible issues regarding relations between different nationalities. From his part Mr. Vollebaek expressed his assurance to Mr. Yushchenko that Ukraine plays important role in the OSCE especially with regard to the country’s geopolitical position.

President Yushchenko also noted high level of national minorities’ rights protection in Ukraine reminding about latest results of Ukrainian-Romanian monitoring in which the OSCE experts took part too. At the same time he drew High Commossioner’s attention to the fact that in some OSCE member countries the Ukrainian minority groups face lack of their needs fulfillment, asking Mr. Vollebaek to grant more attention to the problem.

President opens Year of Tourism and Resorts in Ukraine

President Victor Yushchenko took part today in opening of the Ukraine International Travel & Tourism exhibition 2008. At the event President also opened the Year of Tourism and Resorts in Ukraine.

In his address to those present Victor Yushchenko encouraged to promote Ukraine as attractive for tourism. “We should show a new Ukraine to Europe and the world; the one that has huge spiritual, cultural and humane legacy. That has been hidden from our neighbors for many years”, - he said.

President Yushchenko also emphasized that Ukraine has unique nature, architectural and cultural places of interest which may be interesting for foreign tourists. He also expressed expectancies that holding Euro 2012 would present good opportunity for development of national tourism.

UITT exhibition opening

On March 26, at 10.00 President Yushchenko will take part in opening of Ukraine International Travel & Tourism exhibition.

President expects gas talks with Russia to be resumed this week

At his press conference in Yalta, Crimea President Victor Yushchenko expressed assurance that Ukrainian-Russian talks on organization of 2008 gas market would be resumed already this week.

According to President, in his recent phone talks with President Vladimir Putin both leaders reaffirmed all previous agreements remaining invariable. “I would ask Naftogaz of Ukraine, Gazprom, Ukrainian and Russian authorities, which are responsible for the matter to make a good use of these agreements in shortest possible time”, - said President Yushchenko.

President: Ukraine and Russia to renew talks on Kerch strait disaster soon

At his press conference in Crimea President Victor Yushchenko informed the media that Ukraine and Russia would resume talks on mitigation of Kerch strait disaster consequences on intergovernmental level. “At two Presidents level we have reached agreement stating that according to international law responsibility should be put on the corresponding legal entities”, - he said. “Ukrainian and Russian side at governmental level will put all efforts into completing the procedures in the nearest future”, - said Victor Yushchenko.

President backs up Ukrainian cities' patronage over Ukrainian Navy ships

At the meeting of National Council on cooperation between state authorities and local self-government in Crimea President Victor Yushchenko said that he would support the idea of Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov to renew Ukrainian cities’ patronage over Ukrainian Navy vessels.

He reminded that nowadays many vessels in Ukrainian Navy are named after Ukrainian cities therefore it would be reasonable for the corresponding cities to provide sponsorship for these vessels.

President promotes reforms in institutions of local governing

Opening the meeting of National council on cooperation between state authorities and local self-government in Crimea President Victor Yushchenko stressed urgency of preparing the plan of reforming institutions of local governing.

He encouraged the local governing institutions to concolidate around the subject and to actively participate in the process as “no branch of power is capable of getting that work moving by itself”. As another urgent matter President named reforming budgetary relations between state authorities and local self-government bodies. "We must present response to that challenge in 2008 budget", he said, adding that in order the system worked it should be decentralized.

According to Victor Yushchenko’s opinion the reforms should be implemented before the new edition of the Constitution is adopted so that they would be reflected by the document.

President holds meeting with Speaker, PM

President Victor Yushchenko held a weekly meeting with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Verkhovna Rada Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Other participants of the meeting were NSDC Secretary Raisa Bohatyryova, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers Petro Krupko, BYut and OU-PSD Factions’ leaders Ivan Kyrylenko and Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, President’s Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha and his First Deputy Oleksandr Shlapak.

During the meeting parties discussed situation with VAT rebates and discontinuing using promissory notes for rebating VAT to goods importers. Speaking about the problem with promissory notes President noted that while he supports their discontinuance, there are no unambiguous legal grounds for that. Also a ground-up analysis of such step’s consequences for the entire economy would be needed.

The participants also discussed Government’s activity regarding privatization; particularly it’s compliance with the decision adopted by NSDC on February 15, 2008 on protection of national interests and national security in privatization field. The decision required that strategic value enterprises were not made subject to privatization before programs of development of corresponding branches were adopted. Here Victor Yushchenko stressed urgency of bringing Government issued privatization legislative acts in compliance with the abovementioned decision of National Security and Defense Council. He also urged the Cabinet to work out a clear-cut schedule of privatization.

President demands Ukrainian sailors rescue

With regard to shipwreck, which happened to Ukrainian boat Naftogaz 67 off the Hong Kong coast on March 22, President Victor Yushchenko requested the Government to apply necessary measures to rescue the crew members and provide them with all necessary support. In the corresponding letter to Prime Minister he also requested that Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with relevant bodies in China would take necessary steps to overcome disaster’s outomes.

V. Ohryzko: Ukraine expects to join NATO Membershp Target Plan in Bucharest

“It will not take much to receive positive consensus decision in Bucharest on Ukraine” - said Minister of Foreign Affairs Volodymyr Ohryzko During his press briefing, following National Security and Defense Council meeting. “Ukrainian side is working intensively with NATO member countries, particularly with those, which are currently skeptical towards Ukraine’s accession to Membership Target Plan.”, - he added.

According to V. Ohryzko the position of country’s leadership, affirmed by the latest NSDC meeting, remains intact. That means to make all necessary efforts so that Ukraine would join the Target Plan already in Bucharest. He also said that NSDC adopted a decision to intensify informing public on NATO activity.

Victor Yushchenko holds phone talks with Vladimir Putin

President Victor Yushchenko held telephone conversation today with the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

During the talk sides discussed implementation of Second Ukraine-Russia Intergovernmental Commission decisions. They came to an agreement to stir up Intergovernmental Commission’s bodies work. In particular, the meeting of economic cooperation committee, headed by Prime Ministers of Ukraine and Russia is to be held on April 18 in Kyiv.

Beside the abovementioned the parties discussed mechanisms of terminating Kerch straight disaster consequences and the issue of damages payment.

We will be seeking new ways to guarantee security to Ukrainian peacekeepers - V. Ohryzko

During his press briefing, following National Security and Defense Council meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs Volodymyr Ohryzko once again offered his condolences to the family of Ukrainian servicemen Igor Kynal, who had been killed in Kosovo earlier this week.

He also emphasized that Ukrainian and UN official is currently investigating the details of what had happened and that Ukraine will apply necessary measures to enhance security of Ukrainian peacekeepers. “We will be searching for a new ways to guarantee security to our peacekeepers, including those within the framework of cooperation with KFOR, which are deployed in Kosovo too”, - said V. Ohryzko. He also stressed that Ukraine has no plans to cease its peacekeeping activity in Kosovo.