President Victor Yushchenko met today with American delegation headed by Senator Richard G. Lugar, co-chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, according to the President`s press-office.

      During the meeting sides discussed key questions of bilateral relations, strengthening Ukraine’s energy independence, our country’s joining European and Euro-Atlantic structures.

      Speaking about political dialogue between two countries V. Yushchenko said that Ukrainian side expects that USA President George Bush visit Ukraine in April 2008. He also expressed Ukraine’s readiness to welcome United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

      Referring to bilateral relations President reassured American delegation that Ukraine is interested in soonest possible adoption of draft roadmap of Ukrainian-American cooperation.

      When discussing Ukrainian European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations V. Yushchenko said: “We aspire after new ambitious agreement which would open perspectives of association and later on full fledged membership of Ukraine in the EU”, adding that such agreement should exceed limits of EU Neighborhood Policy. One of main aspects of such agreement President named the establishing a free trade zone with the EU.

      Making comments on energy cooperation with the US V. Yushchenko positively evaluated the agreement between two countries on regular discussion of energy issues within the framework of Interdepartmental coordinating group as well as the arraignment of regular consultations mechanism on energy security in USA-EU-Ukraine format. President also added that Ukraine expects that the USA shall actively participate in 2008 Kyiv Energy summit.

      Regarding humanitarian cooperation V. Yushchenko noted that Ukraine hopes for America’s active support in financing of projects on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sarcophagus replacement by initiating additional dues from "Shelter" Chornobyl Foundation as well as from Nuclear Safety Account donor countries.