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17 May, 2010 14:11

Kiev greets Medvedev with rain to wash away stained relations

It is easier to talk with new Ukraine’s leadership, Dmitry Medvedev has declared. The Russian president has come to Kiev for a two-day official visit.

Speaking to his counterpart Viktor Yanukovich, Medvedev said, “The fact that our trade turnover increases practically twofold in the first quarter of this year is the result of the new leadership's policy.”

“The Ukrainian state has a new administration and it is easier for us to talk to it," he stated.

Both presidents seem to be in high spirits and have good expectations for the visit. The current meeting of the two heads of neighboring states is the seventh one since Yanukovich took up office in February.

Referring to seven as being a lucky number, Yanukovich noted that is important that this meeting would become a “starting point after which [Medvedev] will be frequently visiting Kiev.”

Medvedev noted that “These regular meetings prove that what we have to do is clean the backlog of problems.”

The sky was pouring with rain as the presidents laid wreaths before the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Kiev’s Park of Glory. However, the rain, according to Yanukovich’s knowledge of superstitions, is a good sign as well. “It brings money,” he said. And that is not far from truth; at least, that is what both countries hope to achieve – a significant rise in trade relations.

“Our trade has risen by a half in the first four months since the start of the year, we are steadily heading towards a figure beyond $35 billion for this year,” Yanukovich said during the talks with the Russian leader. “Hopefully, we will give a very good impetus to businessmen tomorrow,” he added, referring to the planned meeting between the presidents and business circles.

The political leadership of both countries “has enough force in order to remove administrative barriers,” Yanukovich added as quoted by Itar-Tass.

President Medvedev confessed to having missed Kiev. As for the rain, the Russian president was a bit more poetic than Yanukovich and said “it is good that we can start afresh.”

“I hope the rain will wash away everything negative [in the relations] and leave us a blank page to start developing good neighborly relations,” he added.

Speaking at a meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian inter-governmental commission, Medvedev said that the bilateral agreements signed on Monday are “only the beginning.”

“No one expects us to solve all the problems at once. But it is important to keep the pressure on and not to shift into a lower gear," he said.

Following the meeting the two presidents gave a news conference on Monday.

Viktor Yanukovich said that Russia and Ukraine have solved all the questions which could be solved during these talks.

“We gave instructions to our governments to continue working on number of directions which are mutually beneficial,” he stated. “They are the shipbuilding industry, aviation, space, energy projects – which create conditions for developing both economies and reaching financial results.”

The Russian president, in turn, said: “We understand that it’s impossible to solve all the problems at once. But most important is that we are back at the bargaining table.”

He stressed that the most important work now depends on their colleagues, who “should communicate in an every day regime.”

“We've finally got a fully-fledged Ukrainian partner – a leadership which makes decisions and implements them,” President Medvedev said. “This is very important, when your partners make good on their words, when they are not guided by immediate political gains, but by strategic interests pertaining to the country's development. The Russian Federation has acquired such partners in the form of the current Ukrainian president and his team.”

The Russian and Ukrainian presidents discussed questions concerning European security, the Transnistria settlement and security in the Black Sea region.

The foreign ministers of both countries signed an agreement on the demarcation of Russia-Ukraine border.

Moreover, some agreements have been also signed during the talks in fields of cooperation on the GLONASS navigation system, culture, tourism, and inter-bank cooperation.

A business forum is to be held on the second day of Medvedev’s visit on Tuesday, where entrepreneurs will also discuss questions of cooperation between two countries in the sphere of business.