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Schröder welcomes signs that war may be over soon

Schröder welcomes signs that war may be over soon

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Fedorovych Janukovych at the Chancellery in Berlin on April 9. They discussed bilateral relations as well as European and international affairs, including the current situation in Iraq and Middle East peace policy.

German-Ukrainian relations good

At a joint press conference after their meeting Schröder characterized relations between Germany and Ukraine as good. He noted with respect the fact that reform processes have been initiated in Ukraine's parliament and society, reporting that they are having initial success as reflected in the respectable growth figures shown by the Ukrainian economy. He remarked that Germany is Ukraine's largest trading partner after Russia, a success that should be expanded further. He said this is a key motive for the strong support Germany is giving to the process of drawing Ukraine closer to the European Union, adding that the possibility of associate status for Ukraine should be made possible in the near future and that Germany also supports Ukraine's desire to become a member of the World Trade Organization.

Encouraging signs war in Iraq may be over soon

Schröder indicated that they had also discussed the international situation, in particular the fact that there are encouraging signs that the war in Iraq may be over soon, adding that from the standpoint of the German government the sooner it ends the better. He said he and Prime Minister Janukovych strongly welcome these signs and agree it will now be important to use the desired military victory to make political gains, adding that this will only be possible if there is peace and economic stability in the region. This presupposes that the Iraqi people are able to exercise the right to self-determination with regard to the political and economic conditions in their country. This must be the objective of all the parties involved and this in turn presupposes a central role for the United Nations in the pacification and stabilization process now beginning. In this framework Germany will do what it can to help achieve stability and peace in the region, if this is desired, Schröder remarked.

Prime Minister Janukovych told the press that the meeting had been very valuable for both sides. He said trade relations between Germany and Ukraine have shown very positive development, as reflected by annual export sales of 2.6 billion dollars. He noted that there is full agreement between Germany and Ukraine with regard to Iraq, adding that the United Nations should have a leading role in postwar Iraq.

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