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New Ukrainian President Addresses Western Leaders in Davos


Ukraine's new president, Viktor Yushchenko, spoke to an appreciative audience of business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Friday.

Freedom, said Mr. Yushchenko, has won a great victory in Ukraine. The country's new leader pledged that Ukraine will no longer be at the margin of Europe but will take its place as a full member of the democratic family of nations. Mr. Yushchenko said the popular revolution that brought him to power has freed Ukraine from the burden of the past.

Integration with Europe, he said, is Ukraine's principal goal. On the economy, Mr. Yushchenko pledged to lower taxes and make sure everyone pays them. He also promised a vigorous fight against corruption.

"My government will not be stealing, nor will local governments. Business will be separated from politics. We will remove unnecessary impediments and excessive regulation, which breeds corruption. Administrative reform will promote transparency of the government at all levels," he said.

Mr. Yushchenko said Ukraine's request to join the European Union will be delivered to Brussels very shortly. He ended his address with an appeal to investors to come to Ukraine and put their money there.

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, seated at Mr. Yushchenko's side, said Poland will work tirelessly to facilitate its neighbor's entry into the European Union.

"If we started to discuss with Turkey membership in the European Union, then there is no argument against Ukrainian entry and membership in the European Union. The question is of time, of standards, of procedure, but not why or if," he said.

Mr. Kwasniewski appealed to the 2,500 forum participants to travel to Kiev and discover the new Ukraine.

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