Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko says World Trade Organization membership would constitute international recognition of Ukraine as a country able to guarantee the welfare of its citizens.

In his first-ever brief radio address to the nation on state radio Saturday, Mr. Yushchenko rejected arguments by Communist Party members and others that WTO entry would make Ukraine subservient to foreigners. He said organization membership would expand Ukrainian access to world markets and lead to increased employment, higher salaries and increased pensions. He said Ukraine's entry would be an important signal to foreign investors who could bring an additional $500 million into the country annually.

The Ukrainian leader again expressed hope his country will be able to join the organization by the end of the year and urged lawmakers to adopt all legislation required for making this possible.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.