Victor Yushchenko has attended the fifth congress of the National Union of Ukrainian Writers (NUUW), according to the President`s press-office.

      In his speech, the President insisted that they, like the whole society, unite to uphold such fundamental principles as Ukraine’s unity, language and church. He urged the writers to take part in a public discussion on these issues.

      As far as the country’s unity, he expressed confidence that federalist slogans were not “the idea [proposed] by the nation” but by politicians, who “are abusing the issue to manipulate masses.”

      Mr. Yushchenko said Ukraine must no longer tolerate the ambiguous status of its language but reiterated his pledge to responsibly ensure that national minorities in Ukraine can freely develop their native tongues.

      He said the writers should help recognize the Holodmor as genocide and “promote the reconciliation between the veterans of the Ukrainian Rebel Army and the Red Army.”

      NUUW Chairman Volodymyr Yavorivsky suggested that they meet again to speak about their most pressing problems and needs. The President said the writers should first set up a group to study their plans for 2007. He also said he wanted to see a list of concrete projects they are planning to implement next year, promising to meet with them within ten days.

      “The President is your partner. As President, I appreciate your concerns about humanitarian issues, language policy and the status of writers,” he said.

      Then Mr. Yushchenko presented state awards to several members of the Union.