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Ukrainian President Receives U.S. Secretary Of State

24 January 2005 -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has pledged the United States' full backing for new Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and his plans for reforms and greater integration with the West.

Powell, who met with Yushchenko in Kyiv before his inauguration yesterday, said Washington wanted to help Ukraine acquire a market-based economy in preparation for the country joining the World Trade Organization.

"I am happy that I lived until the hour when the president of Ukraine is elected not in Moscow or Washington, but in Ukraine by the people of Ukraine," Yushchenko said during a news conference with Powell.

Powell, who is soon to be replaced as secretary of state by Condoleezza Rice, said voters had picked Yushchenko in a free, fair, and open election.

Powell also conveyed an invitation from President George W. Bush for Yushchenko to visit Washington.