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Ukraine: Foreign Minister To Meet Albright

By Carol MaCivor and Sonia Winter

Ottawa/Washington, 7 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Ukraine's Foreign Minister Hennadiy Udovenko will be in Washington today for a brief working meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Udovenko will arrive in Washington following a three-day visit to Canada where he met with senior Canadian government officials and traveled to Winnipeg in the central prairie province of Manitoba for meetings with business people.

U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said earlier this week that Udovenko will be in Washington for a few hours to discuss, among other issues, Ukraine's desire to develop a special relationship, similar to Russian-NATO ties.

The issue came up in Udovenko's talks in Ottawa where Canada said it will underline its support for closer ties between Ukraine and NATO by appointing a military attache to its Embassy in Kyiv.

Canadian Defense Minister Doug Young made the announcement in Ottawa on Wednesday. Young also said a new NATO information office will open in Kyiv in April and that it will be headed by a Canadian foreign service officer.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy said Canada strongly supports Ukraine in its efforts to establish a special arrangement with NATO. He says Canada also supports a similar arrangement between Russia and NATO and adds that the two agreements will probably be finalized before NATO s July summit in Madrid.

Udovenko said at a news conference following his meetings in Ottawa that a partnership with NATO will be a top priority when he talks with Albright and when he meets with NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana.

Udovenko's visit in Canada was also intended to promote investment in Ukraine. He said Ukraine could absorb $3 billion to $4 billion worth of foreign investment but said that since becoming independent in 1991 only half that amount has flowed into the country from foreign investors.

A Ukrainian embassy official in Ottawa told our correspondent that Canada and Ukraine have agreed on a visit to Canada in June by Ukraine's Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko.