Ukraine Takes Up CEI Presidency

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine assumes chairmanship at the Central European Initiative for the period of 2012.

Secretary General of the CEI - Ambassador Gerhard Pfanzelter.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko highlighted the importance of active participation of Ukraine in the work of this regional organization given the country's strategic goal to integrate with the EU.

Ukraine replaces Serbia that presided over the CEI in 2011.

In August of 2011 the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych assigned the Prime Minister to prepare for the CEI presidency.

On November 11, 2011, the Secretary General of the CEI - Ambassador Gerhard Pfanzelter visited Kiev in preparations for the presidency of Ukraine.

The representatives of both parties agreed on the importance of deepening of cooperation between the macro regions within the CEI - the Baltic, the Black Sea, the Adriatic-Ionic, and the Danube.

Such cooperation would serve the goals of the international organization that aims to promote political, social-economic, scientific, and cultural cooperation, as well as strengthen safety and secure stability of the region.

Moreover, during the meeting in Kiev the sides expressed full support to the core CEI missions to promote regional cooperation for European integration.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko noted that Ukraine considered the European Strategy for the Danube Region (ESDR) an important initiative that could enhance regional cooperation in the Danube area.

He also emphasized that cooperation with the EU remained one of the main priorities of the Initiative.

On December 9, 2011, the CEI was granted the UN observer status, reported the official CEI Web site.

The Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov claimed to be eager to explore the opportunities this new status gives the CEI and its member states.

Prime Minister Azarov suggested holding a meeting of member states' finance ministers at the beginning of 2012.

The aim of the meeting would be to jointly elaborate a way to overcome the financial crisis.

Formed in 1989, the CEI is a forum for regional cooperation in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe.

Ukraine has been cooperating with the CEI since 1992.

By 1994 Ukraine became an associate member and already in 1996 acquired full membership in the organization. 2012 is the year when Ukraine assumes the chairmanship at the CEI for the first time.

Source: Worldwide News Ukraine

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