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Yushchenko To Address European Parliament

Newly inaugurated President Yushchenko (file photo) 27 January 2005 -- Ukraine's new President Viktor Yushchenko is due in Brussels today to address the European Parliament.

Yushchenko -- who was installed into office last on 23 January -- told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg this week that his government's primary long-term goal is to join the European Union.

"I have a clear plan of transformations in our country for the next five years and a team that can carry it out," Yushchenko said on 25 January. "I will not speak about its details now; I will only say that it is based on the realization of our strategic foreign policy goal which is membership in the European Union."

That same day, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the bloc is not yet ready to consider membership for Ukraine.

During his brief visit to the EU headquarters, Yushchenko is not scheduled to meet anyone from the European Commission, or EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who helped mediate a solution to Ukraine's election standoff that ended with Yushchenko's 26 December victory.