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Ukraine: President Welcomes EBRD Delegates

Kyiv, 11 May 1998 (RFE/RL) - Board members of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are gathering in Kyiv today for the plenary sessions of the bank's annual meeting.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma today welcomed the delegates at a formal opening ceremony, saying the EBRD's choice of Kyiv as a host city confirms Europe's trust in Ukraine. He said the meeting symbolized for Ukrainians their country is part of "the civilized world."

Kuchma told board members that integration into the European Union is one of the most important foreign policy goals for his country. But he admitted that the goal is "difficult and far away." He said Kyiv has heard the criticisms that Ukrainian reforms are too slow, and said Ukrainian officials are also not satisfied with their progress. But he said Ukraine is irreversibly on the path of reform and democracy.

The EBRD board is expected to vote on new executive officers during the next two days. An agreement with Kyiv on assistance to Ukraine's Nuclear Regulatory Administration is expected to be signed later today.