Monday, October 31, 2005

Washington to Host Ukraine's New PM Yekhanurov

WASHINGTON, DC -- Washington will host Ukraine's new Prime Minister, Yuriy Yekhanurov, on November 1 and 2nd. This is the first official visit to Washington by Prime Minister Yekhanurov who arrives in Washington late on Monday.

Prime Minister Yekhanurov (R) with President Yushchenko

The Prime Minister will hold a series of meetings with top U.S. government officials, Congressional leaders, business executives, private voluntary organization officials, representative of the mass media, leaders of the Ukrainian-American community and lay flowers at the monument in Washington of Ukraine's national hero and most famous person, Taras Shevchenko.

According to government sources in Ukraine Prime Minister Yekhanurov plans to discuss the bilateral agreement Ukraine needs with the U.S. related to admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and granting it the status of a market economy country by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Yekhanurov also intends to discuss Ukraine's graduation from the Jackson-Vanik amendment, the lifting of certain trade sanctions against Ukraine, and U.S. assistance for the country's further integration into the Euro-Atlantic communmity and the world economy.

Ukraine's energy independence will also be a major issue in Washington. Such topics as the Odesa-Brody pipeline, potential alternative sources of energy for Ukraine, and the U.S. government's decision to terminate funding for the Ukrainian Nuclear Fuel Qualification Program, which was designed to assist Ukraine in developing an alternative source for its nuclear fuel needs.

Ukraine now buys all of its nuclear fuel from Russia. Russian fuel runs Ukraine' nuclear power stations which provide over half of the electricity in the country.

On October 24, at a meeting with representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Ukraine, Yekhanurov said that Ukraine "is counting on broad U.S. participation in the Black and Caspian Sea regional cooperation, especially in the economic and energy spheres."

The United States intends to bring up with the PM the very high tariff imposed by Ukraine on the import of poultry which at the present time has shut down the export of poultry from the U.S. to Ukraine. Poultry has been the largest U.S. export to Ukraine.

The U.S. has also been concerned about the slow rate of progress being made in Ukraine regarding the implementation of reforms needed to improve the business and investment climate and also the lack of reforms in commercial law and improvements needed in the courts.

While in Washington Prime Minister Yekhanurov is reported to be meeting with such top U.S. government officials as Vice President Richard Cheney; U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns (former Governor of Nebraska), Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman; and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman.

Plans indicate the Prime Minister will meet with Senator Richard Lugar, Chairman of the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee, and other Senators at a meeting on the Hill and also meet then with members of the Ukrainian Congressional Caucus.

Yekhanurov will meet the leaders of U.S. businesses who are active in Ukraine in a meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Members of non-governmental organizations and others will meet the Prime Minister at a meeting sponsored jointly by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republic Institute (IRI).

A presentation will also be made by the Prime Minister at the US-Ukraine Energy Dialogue conference in Washington.

Source: UNIAN

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