Winnipeg,Canada -June 23, 2010- Paul Grod, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress commented on the first official meeting of the leadership of the Ukrainian World Congress and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych:
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with Ukarinian World Congress
President Eugene Czolij and Secretary General Stefan Romaniw.
The meeting took place in Kyiv on June 21, with President Viktor Yanukovych, Foreign Minister Konstantyn Gryschenko, and Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Hanna Herman. The Ukrainian World Congress was represented by President Eugene Czolij and Secretary General Stefan Romaniw.”I congratulated the President and the Secretary General of the Ukrainian World Congress for taking this important first step and encouraged them to rapidly expand the dialogue and cooperation with various government ministries and non-governmental groups in Ukraine,” stated UCC National President Paul Grod. “As part of this cooperation, the Government of Canada has reported that the negotiations with the Government of Ukraine to conclude a Youth Mobility Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement are moving along very well. In addition there are several senior government visits from both countries expected to take place this fall. It is the desire of the Ukrainian Canadian community to further expand a prosperous and mutually beneficial relationship between Canada and Ukraine.”
At the meeting President Yanukovych said: “I wanted to meet with the leadership of the Ukrainian World Congress, which I consider a leading association of public organizations of the Ukrainian diaspora.” In particular, he indicated the need for improved cooperation with Ukrainians across the world and stressed that he sought the opinion of the Ukrainian Diaspora on the life of modern Ukraine and wished to address their questions. “I think that now it is urgent to organize cooperation with you and other leaders of the Ukrainian diaspora to promote respectful image of Ukraine in the world. It is very important. I believe it is our common task,” said Viktor Yanukovych.
Ukrainian World Congress President Eugene Czolij noted the long-standing relations between Ukraine and the World Congress and stressed the need to discuss the basic principles and foundations of previous cooperation. He drew immediate attention to the four memorandums of cooperation the World Congress signed in 2009 with the ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of family, youth and sport, ministry of culture and with the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.
“This was a critical meeting for both the government of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” stated Paul Grod. “To the extent possible we must reinforce the channels through which we can foster mutually advantageous cooperation. Undermining meaningful engagement between the Government of Ukraine and the Diaspora brings no benefit to the interests of the Ukrainian people. We have developed a consensus that our community, together with the Government of Canada, must proactively engage Ukraine at both the government and non-government levels if we hope that Ukraine will continue developing its democratic institutions, economic stability, civil society and national identity. There is no question that a constructive relationship with Ukraine will have a positive influence on our community and for the future of Ukraine for decades to come.”
At the meeting, the World Congress conveyed to President Yanukovych a memorandum outlining the important issues concerning Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora. It outlines key topics for consideration, namely: the threat of losing control of Ukraine’s strategically important industries, the Black Sea Fleet agreement which extends the stay of Russia’s military base in Ukraine, the importance of Ukraine joining the European Union and NATO, the introduction of de facto a second official state language in Ukraine, reports of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Ukraine, the Holodomor Famine genocide of 1932 – 1933 in Ukraine, installation of monuments to Stalin in Ukraine, violation of human and minority rights of Ukrainians in Russia, unfounded accusations against the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist under the leadership of Stepan Bandera in a resolution of the European Parliament.
After discussing a number of the issues raised by the Ukrainian World Congress, President Viktor Yanukovych stated that he will provide an official response and agreed to continue their dialogue.
The full text of the Memorandum of important issues concerning Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora, can be read at UWC:UWC Memorandum 17-6-2010.
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