Victor Yushchenko has met with Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, according to the President`s press-office.

      They discussed achievements of the ministry in the past nine months and the implementation of the July 19/2005 decree to reorganize the State Automobile Inspection of Ukraine into a patrol service.

      Mr. Lutsenko said the number of premeditated murders, robberies, burglaries and other crimes "has dropped significantly." His ministry has also introduced new procedures of registering motor vehicles, which helped boost budget revenues.

      The minister said the State Automobile Inspection was being successfully reformed. He claimed that the reduction in the number of traffic wardens had helped increase the number of so-called practical workers and improve the efficiency of road patrols and, consequently, the discipline of drivers in 2006. Mr. Lutsenko added that the road accident/casualty rate had decreased by up to 9%.

      Mr. Yushchenko asked him if these reforms helped ensure law and order in rural areas. The minister replied the reorganization of the inspection enabled each local interior department to create a patrol service, so today 55% of 600 patrols work in the country.

      Mr. Lutsenko also said citizens more often appealed to police for help, which he sees as a manifestation of their reviving trust.

      Then they spoke about the issue of illegal migration from Asia and Russia to Europe. The minister admitted that they were unable to register all migrants.

      “The problem is that we have no separate department in charge of illegal migration,” he explained.

      Mr. Lutsenko is convinced it is important to use Europe’s experience to establish a migration department within the ministry.

      “When we sign an agreement on readmission with the European Union, they will help us fight illegal migration. They are ready to help, but it would be great if we knew who could use their aid,” he said.

      The President and the minister also discussed new driving rules for motorcades of the country’s senior officials. Mr. Yushchenko, who had initiated such changes, signed a decree to change the rules in accordance with European standards. 

      Following the meeting, the Head of State also sent a letter to the government with a request to support France’s project to create an international public security training center in Ukraine.