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Ukraine To Proceed With Danube Canal Amid Criticism

19 July 2004 -- Ukraine says it will continue building a canal in the Danube River delta, despite a European Union call for the project to be stopped on environmental grounds.

Deputy Foreign Minister Oleksandr Motsik said today the Bastroe canal will be an important access point to the Black Sea from the Ukrainian section of the Danube.

He said it will help improve the economy and create new jobs in the impoverished region, and that everything will be done to avoid damage to the environment.

Ukraine's neighbour Romania has protested to international bodies over the Bastroe canal project, saying it could damage the unique ecosystem in the delta, home to more than 280 bird species. The EU asked Ukraine last week to halt the work.