Ukraine plans to start free trade talks with Israel in the first quarter of 2008, President Victor Yushchenko said during his meeting with Israel’s business leaders on Thursday, according to the President`s press-office.

He expressed hopes Ukraine would join the World Trade Organization by the end of 2007 and added that he had discussed the free trade issue with Israel’s political leaders yesterday.

Yushchenko described Ukraine’s Israel policy as “absolutely open” and said his country was developing "strategic and cultural" relations with Israel.