Ukrainian, Belarusian leaders vow to strengthen ties

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Thursday met here with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, pledging to further strengthen bilateral strategic partnership, according to Xinhua.

At a joint press conference after their meeting, Yushchenko said there are not any differences between Ukraine and Belarus to develop friendly relations.

He stressed the two countries are ready to ask European institutions for a loan to build a highway between Minsk and Kiev in the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative.

Yushchenko said that Minsk has agreed to submit the border treaty which signed by the two sides in 1997 to Belarusian Parliament for approval as soon as possible. He stressed that Ukraine will support Belarus`s bid for membership of the European Commission.

Lukashenko in turn praised Ukraine`s effort in stabilizing the relations between Belarus and the West.

"Ukraine helped Belarus to establish relations with Brussels," Lukashenko said.

"We have positively perceived the EU`s Eastern Partnership initiative, with Belarus being interested in its national and common European energy security, cooperation on visa and migrationissues and trade and economic cooperation," he added.

Lukashenko stressed that the enhancement of comprehensive cooperation between Belarus and Ukraine is not directed against any third country.

Lukashenko arrived here on Thursday for a two-day visit to Ukraine. This is his first official visit to Kiev since 1997.


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