In Riga, Victor Yushchenko and Latvia’s President Vaira Vike-Freiberga have presided over Ukrainian-Latvian talks, which resulted in three bilateral agreements, according to the President’s press-office.

They discussed ways to forge closer economic ties between the two countries and spoke about projects that would help Ukraine join the EU and NATO.

Mr. Yushchenko thanked Latvia for supporting our Euro-Atlantic aspirations. He said Ukraine had found it really important to conduct the March 26 elections fairly to enjoy new perspectives and fulfill its democratic ambitions.

Ukraine’s Head of State added that they had agreed to resume the work of the Ukrainian-Latvian Trade Commission, which should work out a two-year action plan including “specific agreements, particularly in the field of energy.” The talks were thereby focused on Ukraine and Latvia’s integration with the EU energy system as “the only way to effectively carry out energy policies.”

“We would like to improve our bilateral relations, particularly in the field of energy,” Mr. Yushchenko said.

Following the talks, which “were held in the atmosphere of mutual understanding and support,” the Chief of State said he was pleased with their results.

In her turn, Mrs. Vike-Freiberga assured her counterpart that Ukraine could rely on Latvia. She said “it is really important for Ukraine and Latvia to develop economic and business relations, whose potential has not been fully used,” and added that the business climate in Ukraine “has considerably improved since 2005.”

The Latvia President also complimented Mr. Yushchenko on the commendable conduct of “the truly democratic elections" but then presented her heartfelt condolences to the Ukrainian nation over the twentieth anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster.

“This catastrophe showed that the Soviet system was faulty and incapable of protecting its people,” she opined.

Mrs. Vike-Freiberga said she was also pleased with the results of today’s negotiations and declared that Ukraine and Latvia shared the same vision of the future and were building mutually beneficial relations.

The countries signed three agreements:

Cooperation agreement between the governments of Ukraine and the Republic of Latvia in the field of information technologies;

Cooperation agreement between the governments of Ukraine and the Republic of Latvia in the field of disaster prevention;

Cooperation agreement on administrative reform and state service.

Mr. Yushchenko said Ukrainian-Latvian relations “have quite a firm legal basis” and added that the signed agreements would only strengthen our friendship.