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Ukrainian President To Address PACE

25 January 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Ukraine's new President Viktor Yushchenko is due in Strasbourg, France, today to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Yushchenko will be speaking to the annual PACE session just two days after being inaugurated into office in Kyiv.

Yesterday, the 46-country Council of Europe installed Rene van der Linden (the Netherlands) as president. Van der Linden said democracy is spreading in Europe, and singled out the government of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka for criticism.

"The European family of 800 million individuals now exists," van der Linden said. "Only the citizens of Belarus, suffering under an authoritarian regime, are not yet able to join us."

Van der Linden said the Council of Europe must remain even more focused on ensuring democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Europe.