Victor Yushchenko has met with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, according to the President’s press-office.

First they discussed the Israel-Lebanon issue. The minister said, along with Ukraine’s embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Israel, the Foreign Ministry had so far evacuated about one thousand Ukrainian civilians, as well as citizens of other countries, including Russia.

Mr. Yushchenko asked him to keep an eye on the Middle East conflict, commissioning the foreign office to formulate proposals on our country’s possible contribution to peacekeeping effort in the region.

Then the Head of State made it clear he was not going to change Ukraine’s foreign course and asked our country’s diplomatic missions to clarify his intentions abroad.

“Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union and NATO is consistent with our national interests. I hope all political forces in Ukraine realize this. I intend to actively use my authority to constitutionally control and implement foreign policy,” he said.

Mr. Yushchenko knows many countries are confused by the current political crisis in Ukraine.

“There is a serious threat of Ukraine’s becoming more and more isolated because of some political forces that are willing to undermine democracy and disgrace democratic changes,” he said, adding he would not let anyone do this. 

The President reiterated his promise to announce a decision on appointing prime minister within the timeframe required by law.

“My decision will be based on the Constitution, and I will consider all the factors of this highly complicated political situation,” he said.

Mr. Yushchenko, however, insisted that the Verkhovna Rada should also adhere to the country’s laws and never encroach on rights of other branches of power, warning MPs “not even dare think of the possibility to usurp power.” “Neither society, nor the world community will accept this,” he said.

Then Mr. Tarasyuk spoke on results of Friday’s informal summit of CIS heads of state in Moscow. The President requested him to analyze proposals made by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The minister also said his office had made much progress at talks aimed at liberalizing EU visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens.