Canada To Help Ukraine Beef Up Airport And Border Security

OTTAWA, Canada -- Canada will help upgrade security at airports and border crossings in Ukraine to prevent nuclear terrorism, with a gift of five million Canadian dollars (4.5 million US), Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said Monday.

Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay

The contribution was announced after MacKay met with Ukraine's top diplomat Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Ottawa, where the two planned to dine with prominent Canadian-Ukrainians.

"To prevent nuclear terrorism, it is essential to upgrade security systems and address the legacy of risks left in countries of the former Soviet Union. The last opportunity to detect and deter the movement of these materials is often at international borders," MacKay said in a statement.

At a press conference, he thanked Yatsenyuk for Ukraine's military contribution in Afghanistan and his government's democracy-building efforts at home.

Historic ties between the two countries were forged through generations of Ukrainian migration to Canada. More than one million Canadians trace their roots to Ukraine, according to a 2001 census.

On December 2, 1991, Canada became the first western country to recognize Ukraine's independence and following the 2004 Orange Revolution, Canada committed significant resources and sent 1,000 Canadians to serve as observers to help ensure the December 2004 presidential election was free and fair.

In 2006, Canadian exports to Ukraine increased by over 30 percent and for the first time topped 100 million Canadian dollars. Total bilateral trade for 2006 exceeded 300 million.

Canada is also among the 20 largest foreign investors in Ukraine, spending 80 million dollars on energy, construction, and manufacturing projects in recent years.

The latest funds are part of Canadas commitment to the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, launched by the Group of Eight industrialized nations (G8) in 2002 under Canadas leadership.

The Global Partnership addresses a number of non-proliferation, disarmament, counterterrorism and nuclear security issues, initially in Russia, Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Canada has committed almost one billion dollars over 10 years to the partnership.

This project will be implemented through an agreement with the US Department of Energys National Nuclear Security Administration.

Source: AFP

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