Ukraine's president, Victor Yushchenko, has called for closer ties between his country and Ukrainians living abroad in an effort to revive the economy and solidify democracy.

President Yushchenko Friday presented his concept of cooperation to representatives of ethnic Ukrainians attending a three-day World Forum conference in Kiev.

He said about 20 million Ukrainians live in more than 60 countries.  Ethnic Ukrainians abroad often have stronger nationalistic tendencies than those at home.

The president urged Ukrainians to abandon the idea of a federal state, which some political groups have proposed for the country divided between Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking populations.

Mr. Yushchenko said federalism would further split Ukraine.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.