President Yushchenko meets Prime Minister Harper in Ottawa

For the first time in more than 14 years, a President of Ukraine has made an official visit to Canada, the first Western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence in 1991 (some pictures and video here). Addressing the House of Commons, Yushchenko said:

“The development pace that requires centuries for many countries is covered by several years by us,” he told the Commons. “However the recent years have shown that the most complicated problems and challenges, including the social problems, we resolve them in a very democratic and civilized way. We are speaking frankly about our problems.”

He also talked about the past of Ukraine’s sovereignty, in the last 90 years being declared independent six times:

“I don’t want this range of historic tragedies to be repeated in today’s history of Ukraine. The only …solution to make Ukraine eternal is Ukraine’s ascension to the system of collective security.

Yushchenko also thanked Harper for Canada’s support for Ukraine in NATO:

“When we’re speaking about Ukraine’s NATO membership, we’re speaking about genuine Ukraine sovereignty. This is the reason why such a strong and insistent policy is being carried out by the Ukrainian government”

Yushchenko also raised the issue of the Holodomor for support of MP James Bezan‘s private member bill C-469 which has already the Liberal’s and NDP’s support.

“I anticipate that the bill will pass,” said Harper. “It’s important that the world not forget.”

The vote for the bill is scheduled to happen tomorrow.

Also, Senator Raynell Andreychuk and Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj will be given the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise while Yushchenko will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial and then participate in a tree-planting ceremony.

More newspaper sources: CBC, CTV Winnipeg, Canwest News Service, the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Canadian Press, Toronto Star. The Financial Post also interviewed Pres. Yushchenko.


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