[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
US Congress cheers Ukraine leader
Viktor Yushchenko and George W Bush
Washington has rolled out the red carpet for Viktor Yushchenko
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has addressed a joint meeting of both houses of the US Congress, an honour awarded to Washington's closest allies.

Mr Yushchenko - who has been hailed as a hero throughout a four-day visit to the US - received a rapturous welcome on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Members of Congress cheered and chanted his name as he walked to the platform.

The Ukrainian leader thanked US support for democracy, and urged Washington to lift trade restrictions.

In his speech, he echoed the language of President George W Bush, with whom he had previously held talks.

The US condemned fraud and upheld Ukrainians' right to freely elect their government
Viktor Yushchenko

Mr Yushchenko spoke of the importance of liberty and said his goal was to "place Ukraine among prosperous democracies".

The Ukrainian president - who was elected in December in a re-run of a disputed election - said US support had been "clear and unambiguous".

"The US condemned fraud and upheld Ukrainians' right to freely elect their government," he added.

The BBC's Jonathan Beale in Washington says Mr Yushchenko epitomises President Bush's foreign policy agenda of spreading democracy and freedom.

Ties

During his address on Wednesday, some members of Congress - like the Ukrainian leader himself - wore orange ties, a symbol of the bloodless "Orange Revolution" that brought him to power. Orange is the colour of Mr Yushchenko's party.

Mr Yushchenko promised to fight corruption, restore the rule of law and open up the economy.

But he also challenged the US to lift trade restrictions on Ukraine, and to help his country join the World Trade Organisation and Nato.

President Yushchenko also talked of a new era for Ukraine-US ties.

"We do not seek only a thaw in the frosty relations of the past," he said. "We seek a new atmosphere of trust, frankness and partnership."

However, he made it clear that he wanted Ukraine to join the European Union.




RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific