US Welcomes Deal For September Elections In Ukraine

WASHINGTON, DC -- The United States welcomed on Tuesday an agreement reached during the weekend by Ukraine's rival leaders to hold elections on Sept. 30.

Tom Casey - Deputy Spokesman, Bureau of Public Affairs

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych made the agreement as a way out of a standoff that had paralyzed the ex-Soviet republic and threatened to escalate into violence after Yushchenko sent several thousand troops to the capital in defiance of the Cabinet.

"We look forward to fair, transparent and democratic elections and continued progress on Ukraine's ambitious agenda of political and economic reform," said Tom Casey, a U.S. State Department spokesman. "We urge Ukraine's leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen democratic institutions to the lasting benefit of the people of Ukraine and their goal of a more united, more prosperous nation."

Politics in the country of 47 million has been fraught with disputes between Yushchenko, who wants to lead Ukraine into Western organizations such as NATO and the European Union, and Yanukovych, seen as more friendly to Ukraine's eastern neighbor, Russia.

Source: International Herald Tribune