Victor Yushchenko has met with BYuT leader Yulia Tymoshenko, according to the President`s press-office.

      They spoke about next year’s budget, constitutional improvements and ways to legalize the status of opposition in Ukraine.

      Presidential Press Secretary Iryna Vannykova later told reporters her boss was convinced his dissatisfaction with social policies in the budget coincided with that of Tymoshenko’s bloc. He believes they must analyze the performance of the government fairly and scrupulously, she added.

      “The President believes the opposition is a part of government and so will be partly responsible for cutting social spending in 2007,” she said.

      Mr. Yushchenko assured the opposition leader he supported her intention to legalize the status of her bloc and insisted that the Verkhovna Rada approve the bill on opposition as soon as possible. He, however, reiterated that he would cooperate with all political parties in Ukraine.

      “Victor Yushchenko believes rights should be matched to obligations. So the opposition is authorized to control the performance of executive offices but must not destabilize the country. The President said last week’s vote by several deputies from Tymoshenko’s bloc to dismiss Interior Minister Lutsenko was one of such destabilizing moves,” said Mrs. Vannykova, adding that the bloc was thus responsible for using illegal methods to fire Lutsenko as a part of “this purely political campaign.” 

      Mrs. Vannykova also said the President’s position on political reform was similar to that of Tymoshenko’s bloc but he was not going to initiate the revision of these constitutional changes, for “it is not his goal and not his function.”

      “The President thinks the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko should delegate its representatives to the Constitutional Commission. He believes the bloc will play an important role in the process to improve this reform and find proper solutions together with other responsible democratic forces,” she said.