Also Victor and Kateryna Yushchenkos toured a thematic exhibition of V. Taranovsky Historical Museum and Ostap Veresai Museum pieces.
In his speech at the event Victor Yushchenko greeted Ukrainian artists from the United States and Canada, Russia, Moldova, Lithuania and Estonia, Poland and Slovakia, Germany and Spain and all Ukrainians of the world. "We are a great power. Our spirit dominated the North and South, West and East, all countries and continents where Ukrainians are present. We are one in time and space and in our national nature", he said.
The President made generally positive remarks on the level of cooperation between the Interior Ministry, General Prosecutor's Office and Security Service. "I welcome the established dialogue and would like it to continue", he said, expressing confidence that further coordination of law enforcement bodies' actions "would seriously improve investigative and operational work".
President Yushchenko pointed to improvement of the situation with the preparation of objective statistical data on law enforcement bodies' work. "Your job is to fight crime, rather than numbers", he said and added that regaining society's trust in them is the matter of honor for law enforcement officers. In this context the President stressed that he "fully supports those who show an honest accounting".
After hearing the reports of law enforcement authorities' heads, President Yushchenko positively assessed the reduction of crime recorded in the first 7 months of this year. "The trend is strongly welcomed by the President and, I am sure, by the people", he said.
Among the urgent tasks President Yushchenko named reforming the law enforcement system, importance of improving human resources policy, maintaining the apolitical status of law enforcement institutions, etc.
"I wish that through your work you were showing professionalism, patriotism and, of course, efficiency", said President of Ukraine.
President once again called on the Government to demonstrate strict budgetary policy and stop "giving away candies of sweet promises to the people.
"Today we see an attempt to patch professional failures, which were made in the formation of 2009 budget by the destabilization of the currency, and substitute the funding through budgetary revenue budget by the emission by the National Bank", President said.
In addition, the President expressed negative attitude towards the initiative of the Prime Minister to consider redistribution of National Bank's profits and targeting them to finance various projects.
"If the parliament does not agree with the suggestions introduced the Law by the President, I certainly will sent the appropriate submission the Constitutional Court ... My response will be clear and unequivocal: I will appeal to the Constitutional Court, the only authority to date, which is able to put an end to this", said Victor Yushchenko.
Head of State stressed that he could not agree with many provisions that were introduced to the public law on the presidential elections. "The law pulled through by two political forces, BYuT and Party of Regions, in fact makes Ukrainian election unfair, illegitimate, puts a lot obstacles ... to fair democratic elections", the President said.
At the same time, Victor Yushchenko praised some provisions of the law, such as shortening of the election campaign.
"Certainly, it is important to have active Ukrainian-Russian relations. This corresponds with national interests", he said.
However, the President said, Ukraine stands for mutual respect of our two countries to one another, building equal relations, including trade, and against the "policy of constraints" it faces today.
In this context, Victor Yushchenko pointed to a number of unresolved issues, particularly creation of a free trade zone. "We're sorry that since the establishment of the CIS only 4% of the reached agreements within its framework have been actually implemented... We support pragmatism in our relations. But pragmatism means that we must form primarily the modern market economic relations, which should of course be based on a free trade zone ", said Victor Yushchenko.
Separately he pointed to the need to form a new customs policy. "Customs economic border should not be a blood clot in the channel of exchange of goods, services or investment", he said.
Ukraine also constantly stresses the importance of consistent, and later single tariff policy, the President said, "so that it was not used today as a form of pressure on the organization transit trade flows".
"We oppose any restrictions in the area of goods, services, investment and labor trade", noted the President.
"We of course expect that our partners adequately approach realization of our common opportunities. So once again I, as the President, address the President of Russia and Russian authorities with a call to enhance our dialogue, our relations, to stop involving politics in these relations as it has happened a few weeks ago ... when simply wiredrawn questions were raised only to raise the temperature of negativism in our relations", said Victor Yushchenko.
The President greeted fair's organizers, participants and guests. In his welcoming remarks he stressed that the fair has become a real national holiday, which clearly represents the creativity of folk artists.
He also expressed joy that the fair glorified in the works of Mykola Gogol and which ceased to exist in the 1920's is now restored as a national tradition.
The President was shown the reconstruction of the museum and toured the exhibition of children's drawings dedicated to the 200-year anniversary of the birth of Gogol.
At the meeting sides have discussed the situation at currencies market, actions necessary for stabilizing hryvnya exchange rate, refinancing and recapitalization of Ukrainian banks, etc.
Sides have discussed such fields as fighting corruption, observation of language legislation, development of pre-trial investigation of the murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze, investigation of Valeriy Oliynyk murder in Kirovohrad region, etc.
Separately sides have discussed Prosecutor's Office reaction to President's requests to investigate legality of some decisions of the Cabinet.
The Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine has imposed a fine of UAH 500 thousand on Optima Trade company for violation of its monopolistic state. Such a decision was approved on the outcomes of a meeting of Temporary Administrative Collegium of the Committee held in the framework of an official visit of acting head of the Committee Olexandr Melnychenko to Kharkiv region.
As the Committee found out, Optima Trade had charged extra prices for gasoline and diesel fuel in
In February of 2008 the Committee fined Optima Trade with UAH 1 million for violation of the monopolistic state on the market of retail trade of gasoline and diesel fuel in Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya and Cherkasy regions.
During seven months of current year the Committee has imposed fines on operators of oil product market for violation of competitive legislation to the tune of UAH 3.5 million.
I have perused your letter of 6 August 2009. Straightforwardly speaking, I am very disappointed with its unfriendly nature.
I agree that there are serious problems in the relations between our countries, but your absolute denial of Russia's responsibility for them surprises me.
Our state has never betrayed the principles of friendship and partnership fixed in the Agreement of 1997, was doing its best to ensure fruitful and mutually beneficial development of bilateral relations. Moreover, in accordance with the abovementioned agreement our countries were to build up relations with each other based on principles of mutual respect and sovereign equality.
Yet, I would like to set aside the emotions and proceed to the objective analysis of the state of bilateral relations.
Ukraine's position on last year's events in Georgia is well known and coincides with positions of almost all other countries of the world. Its core is indisputable respect towards sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of Georgia or any other sovereign state.
The accusations of supplies of weapons to Georgia are groundless. It's a shame that despite numerous clear and comprehensible explanations of the legality of its activity at arms market from the Ukrainian side, the Russian side continues the consecutive campaign aimed at shaping image of Ukraine as a state that does not obey international regulations and regimes in the sphere of military technical cooperation. In this regard I would like to remind that Georgia has never been and is still not a subject to any international sanctions or embargo on supplies of arms, military equipment and dual use goods imposed by either the UN Security Council, OSCE, European Union or other international organizations. Moreover, the proposition to impose such restrictions within the framework of the OSCE, made by Russia after the Russian-Georgian conflict, found no support.
Ukraine's NATO integration course may not be subject to Russia's political criticism either. It forces us to again repeat the common truth that the right to choose international means of ensuring one's national security, including the participation in military-political alliances, is an integral part of national sovereignty of any state and Russia has to respect that. I would like to remind you that the Law of Ukraine "On foundations of national security of Ukraine" approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2003 with support from leadership of current opposition provides for integration of Ukraine with NATO up to full-fledged membership. The President of Ukraine follows that.
Also would like to once again emphasize that the desire of our country to gain membership in NATO is in no way aimed against Russia and that final decision on accession of Ukraine to NATO will be made only after a national referendum.
I would like to point out separately that Article 17 of the Constitution of Ukraine prohibits deployment of foreign states' military bases at the Ukrainian territory. Yet, our state keeps up to its international treaty obligations on the temporary deployment of Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine until May 28, 2017 and fully complies with provisions of the relevant basic agreements of 1997. On the other hand I am forced to admit serious problems in compliance of the Russian side with the basic agreements regarding use of land, real estate, radio frequencies, navigation equipment, etc. Throughout the period of deployment of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia in Ukraine its command has been rudely and systematically violating the bilateral agreements and legislation of Ukraine and the Ukrainian side has been constantly informing the Russian side about that.
Ukraine consistently supports the development of pragmatic economic relations with Russia, especially in energy field. Ukraine has started a program of modernization of its gas transport system to bring it to the highest international standards and is ready to invite the potential of European countries and of other parties to the process. Our country has many times proved in practice its reliability as a partner in the transportation of energy resources: gas, oil and nuclear energy fuel. Ukraine was one of the few countries in the world, which in June this year welcomed the initiative of the Russian Federation to start a multilateral dialogue on improving international legal framework in energy security that in our opinion should be based upon the Energy Charter and other relevant documents.
Your letter also repeats regular and well-known accusations aimed at depriving Ukraine of its view of its own history, our own national interests, foreign policy priorities. I am convinced that such questions as history, along with native language, culture, and family ethics are fundamental principles for development of the state and identification of the Ukrainian nation.
By raising the question of recognition of the Holodomor in Ukraine of 1932-1933 at the international scene the Ukrainian people also pays tribute to millions of Russians, Belarusians, Kazakhs and representatives of other nationalities, who died of starvation in the Volga region, Northern Caucasus, Kazakhstan and other parts of former USSR. It is known that during the "Light the candle" campaign dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor in Ukraine burning candles in hundreds of cities worldwide, including in Russia, proved multi-ethnic solidarity with Ukraine in recognition of the fact.
In no way I can agree with the allegation about ousting of Russian language from public life in Ukraine. Elementary impartial evaluations of the language situation in Ukraine and Russia show completely opposite facts. It is in the Russian Federation, where members of Ukrainian minority have virtually no ability to realize the right to fulfill their national and cultural needs. The well-known findings of international organizations prove that.
Responding to concerns about alleged intervention of the Ukrainian government in the affairs of Orthodox Church, I would like to note the following. The Ukrainian leadership respects canons and traditions of churches and religious organizations. Church in Ukraine is separated from the state; each citizen has the right to profess any religion. However, no one may prohibit the citizens to freely express their position on any issues, including those religious.
Regarding the visit of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Cyril to Ukraine it is worth mentioning that he expressed words of gratitude to the leadership of our nation for the high level of organization of his stay in Ukraine. And of course, the Russian Orthodox Church Prior did not make any negative or critical remarks similar to those contained in your letter and discrediting the very spirit of the visit. Generally speaking, we consider the connections between the visit of Patriarch Cyril and bilateral political relations to be wiredrawn and irrelative.
Speaking about the forced decision of the Ukrainian side regarding the two diplomatic representatives of Russia, it should be emphasized that before making such a step we have three times officially argued to the Russian side about the wrongful actions of the abovementioned senior diplomats. The Ukrainian party has provided sufficient evidence of their activities in Ukraine, which harmed national interests of Ukraine. On the other hand, the responsive actions of the Russian side against the Ukrainian diplomat were totally unjustified and baseless. I hope that in the future our two countries will manage to avoid recurrence of such unfortunate situations, which cast shadow over bilateral relations.
Summarizing the listed, I would like to express my conviction that solving current problems in Ukrainian-Russian bilateral relations requires intensive work. Therefore the decision to postpone the arrival of the new Russian Ambassador to Ukraine will certainly not contribute to constructive development of our relations.
Ukraine remains a supporter of broad cooperation with the Russian Federation based upon mutual respect and equality, by means of maintaining constructive dialogue, including that at the highest level. At least three times last year I have proved my willingness to engage in dialogue at the negotiating table in my letters to you. Today this call still applies. Unfortunately, in response to that I only received invitations to take part in the race for the prize of the President of Russia or other multilateral arrangements. I hope that this time your response will be constructive.
I believe in good future of Ukrainian-Russian relations, which are based on the deep tradition of friendship and neighborliness between the peoples of our two countries that are stronger than the interests of certain political circles and not influenced by situational conditions of political moment.
President Victor Yushchenko wrote a letter to Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko drawing her attention to debts in wages and payments to state pension insurance fund.
"First Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchynov said that the issue of arrears of wages is monitored constantly by the Government and is systematically discussed at the meetings of Cabinet and telephone conference with heads of central and local executive authorities. According to latest updates from central and local executive bodies arrears of wages for June 2009 decreased by 7.1% and on July 3 was 1401 million hryvnyas", said President Yushchenko in the letter.
However, he said, July 1, 2009 data from the State Statistics Committee shows that the debt increased by 8.7% compared to June and was 1639.2 million hryvnyas. Since the beginning of the year the debt has increased 1.4 times.
At the same time the General Prosecutor's Office reported about the facts of deliberate delays in wages payment and violation of legally provided minimum wage amount.
"Central and local executive bodies do not properly monitor the timeliness and completeness of wages payment; the statistics bodies do not check properly enough the accuracy of accounting papers submitted by business entities. State Tax Service does not properly monitor compliance with legislation in wages payment", stressed Victor Yushchenko.
President Yushchenko requested Prime Minister Tymoshenko and the Cabinet to take appropriate actions to improve the situation and inform him on the results in person.
Payments of assistance to the families with children, indigent families, invalids from childhood, children-invalids and temporary state assistance to children have been financed from the State Budget in full in August of the current year.
According to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of Ukraine Liudmyla Denysova, issues of timely financing of all kinds of payment of the state assistance to the families with children will further remain under constant control of the Government.
"Our relations with the USA are significant for us. We think they are developing very rapidly", said Victor Yushchenko opening the meeting. He expressed the belief that our countries have clear priorities for development of bilateral relations, particularly the Strategic Partnership Charter and Ukraine - United States Action Plan.
V. Yushchenko also noted active diplomatic relations between our countries. "It is very important for us that Ukrainian policy of democratization of political processes saw large internal and external support", noted the President pointing to role of such support from the American government.
The President expressed appreciation of the Congress members' initiative to visit Ukraine saying that such a step is very important especially in the context of the recent visit of the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
"It means a lot for us to have active dialogue with the American authorities and American opposition", emphasized the President.
From his part John Boehner assured that the Congressmen came to Ukraine as its friends. "We are interested in developing better understanding of democracy in Ukraine and prospects of its further advance", he said.
During the meeting the sides have also dwelled on a number of topical questions on the agenda of Ukrainian-American strategic partnership, particularly strengthening the energy security of Ukraine, Euro-Atlantic integration course of Ukraine and overcoming the financial crisis, including development of cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF.
In his welcoming remarks the Head of State positively assessed the very opening of the new production despite the crisis in the Ukrainian economy. "We are witnessing the launch of one of the most technologically advanced oil production works in the Eastern Europe», - said Victor Yushchenko.
"There are many reasons for that, beginning with the fact that Russia is one of the major countries of the world having unique potential and features for realization of Ukrainian interests: economic, political and cultural. So for us this relations are strategic", said the President. He emphasized that such principles also apply to the most sensitive issues in Ukrainian-Russian relations.
Victor Yushchenko said that Ukraine is constructive about diplomatic relations with Russia. He said that the Ukrainian side has approved the agrément for the appointment of a new Ambassador of Russia in Ukraine.
"All matters relating to appointment and stay of the Ambassador are resolved. I do not see any state-level problems here", - added Victor Yushchenko.
Among the key tasks upon which all parties should focus the President named further improvement of educational process quality and bringing it in accordance with single European educational space requirements.
"Ministry of Education and Science has the task to improve educational programs for both secondary and high schools", said the President. He asked participants of the meeting to show support to the Ministry in the process.
Mentioning things that humiliate national education and public policy in education, Victor Yushchenko criticized the fact Ministry of Education and local authorities failed to fully staff school with teachers of Ukrainian language and literature for the coming school year.
"We must understand that it is dishonor that the Ukrainian government does not provide training of children in schools in such discipline as Ukrainian language", he said.
The President also pointed to importance of school's mission in educating children in the spirit of patriotism and national consciousness.
Among other tasks for the new school year, the President named completion of the computerization of schools and implementation of ‘school bus' program, as well as further improvement of independent testing system for graduates.
Separately Victor Yushchenko emphasized importance of providing schools with qualified teaching staff, strengthening material-technical base of educational institutions and reforming vocational education.
An important factor for further development of education in Ukraine President Yushchenko called intensification of international cooperation.
"This list of steps, I think, is a brief recap for the academic year 2009/2010", he said.
Participants of the meeting will discuss a number of current problems of Ukrainian school and ways to address them. Particular attention will be paid to preparation for the new school year.
The President also visited Ovidiopol Gymnasium where he would hold a consultative meeting on preparations for the new 2009/2010 school year.
In the letter President Yushchenko drew Prime Minister Tymoshenko's attention to numerous issues in land relations, such as corruption in state bodies responsible for land management, delays in the procedure of state registration of property rights on land, lack of effective government control over pricing for production of land ownership documents, etc.
According to the President, he receives many letters from citizens, who are indignant about permanent lack of land property rights forms and artificial delays in their filling.
This all leads to violation of citizens' rights. As the result, nearly 7 million people, who had privatized their land plots, still have not received state certificates of land ownership.
These problems bring instability and favor fraud and bribery.
Given the above President Yushchenko requested Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to apply urgent measures to improve efficiency and transparency of land relations management authorities' work.
President Victor Yushchenko wrote a letter to National Bank Chairman Volodymyr Stelmakh requesting him to urgently address a number of problems of the banking sector sector.
The first issue the President was concerned about is significant increase of threat to stability of national currency. Second, noted Victor Yushchenko, untimely fulfilling of their obligations to customers by banks prevents proper functioning of the banking system and restoration of citizens' confidence in them. Separately President Yushchenko pointed to slow recapitalization of banks.
"I request you to adopt the action plan addressing these issues at a meeting of the National Bank Board in a week period, publish it and to inform me and the public about its implementation", said the President in the letter.