Sunday, January 23, 2005

Yushchenko takes over with eye on Europe

By Stefan Wagstyl and Tom Warner in Kiev and Daniel Dombey in Brussels
Published: January 23 2005 19:30 | Last updated: January 23 2005 19:30

Viktor YushchenkoViktor Yushchenko was on Sunday inaugurated as Ukrainian president in a ceremony that marked the culmination of the democratic revolt known as the Orange Revolution and the start of efforts to build new relations with the rest of the world, especially the European Union.

Mr Yushchenko took the presidential oath in parliament watched by deputies, dignitaries and outgoing President Leonid Kuchma, who was ending 10 years of authoritarian rule. The foreign guests included Colin Powell, outgoing US secretary of state, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU external affairs commissioner, and the presidents of Poland and six other east European ex-communist states.

Mr Yushchenko then moved to Kiev's Independence Square, the heart of the protests that brought him to power, and spoke before hundreds of thousands of cheering supporters who waved orange scarves, hats and flags.

He said Ukrainians had every right to be part of a broader Europe. “Our way to the future is the way of a united Europe. We, along with the people of Europe, belong to one civilisation. Our place is in the European Union.” The president made no direct mention of Russia, where he goes today on his first foreign trip to meet President Vladimir Putin before travelling to western Europe and Poland. However, Mr Yushchenko promised that he would not subordinate Kiev's interests to those of other countries. “Ukraine will not be a buffer zone or a battleground for anyone,” he said. “We are prepared to respect the interests of other states. But for me and for you, national interests are above all else.”

Read the rest here.

No comments:

Post a Comment