Victor Yushchenko and Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, have presided over Ukrainian-Finnish talks, according to the President`s press-office. They discussed a wide range of issues and agreed to develop a two- or three-year plan on bilateral cooperation.

      Following the talks, Mr. Yushchenko said Ukraine regarded its relations with Finland as “deeply amicable,” adding that he was pleased with today’s dialogue. 

      “We find it easy to understand each other as far as bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” he said, expressing confidence that the two-year plan would help nurture political, diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries.

      The President also told reporters the sides were going to discuss seven programs, particularly oil and gas projects, at tomorrow’s summit.

      Speaking about Ukraine’s EU prospects, the Head of State said: “Ukraine is grateful to the Finnish government for supporting our bid to join the European Union.”

      He expressed hopes the October 27 summit would result in “good initiatives laying the foundation for future talks on an enhanced agreement between Ukraine and the EU.”

      Ms. Halonen said her country, as well as other countries of the European Union, were following Ukraine’s progress with interest.

      “Finland and the European Union will continue to be Ukraine’s friends,” she said. The Finnish leader said Ukraine, on the one hand, had made much progress in he area of Euro-Atlantic integration but, on the other hand, still had much work to do.

      Ms. Halonen said it was important to develop ties between Ukraine and Finland. She said she had gladly accepted Victor Yushchenko’s invitation to Ukraine. 

      The President stated that a new government would be formed in her country after March’s parliamentary election but reassured her colleague that Finland’s foreign policy would not change.

      “So we have already started discussing possible sectors of future meetings between the governments of Ukraine and Finland,” she said.