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Yushchenko: Ukraine's Democratic Changes Irreversible

Yushchenko following his inauguration on 23 January 25 January 2005 -- Ukraine's new president, Viktor Yushchenko, told the Council of Europe that he will do all he can to make the country's democratic changes "irreversible."

"As President of Ukraine, I will do all I can to make the democratic changes in my country irreversible so that the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe -- protection of human rights, pluralistic democracy, and the rule of law -- prevail in our country," Yushchenko said.

The 46-nation organization was set up after World War II to promote human rights and democracy. Yushchenko also said today that the European Union strategy must include the prospect of Ukraine's membership.

Yushchenko was in Russia yesterday and is to address the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 January.

In his inaugural address on 23 January, Yushchenko said that his country's place is in the European Union.

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told the European Parliament today that the EU should not rush into what she called "premature steps" to admit Ukraine.