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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 October 2005, 05:05 GMT 06:05 UK
Yushchenko foresees Orange future
President Viktor Yushchenko

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko believes there could be more Orange Revolutions across the world, mirroring his party's success.

In an interview for the BBC, he says his country has "set a good example for the millions of people who still cherish freedom and democracy".

He talks of the effects of his party's rise to power nearly a year ago.

He also says an inquiry is closing in on the likely cause and perpetrators of the poisoning attempt on his life.

'Wonderful example'

Speaking to BBC's Talking Point, he said new information has been gained on the type of poison used and its properties.

"There are more than 10 possible scenarios which the investigators are looking at," he told interviewer Bridget Kendall.

"I am sure this crime will be solved," he said, adding that those behind the poison attack were probably Ukrainians.

I'm sure that the Orange Revolution set an example for the millions of people who still cherish freedom and democracy, whether they live in Russia, Belarus or anywhere else
Viktor Yushchenko
He said the Orange Revolution brought new "freedom and democracy" to the Ukraine, but also put the country on the world map.

"It is pleasing that Ukraine is now known all over the world. We have given the world a wonderful example of human behaviour," he said.

"And I'm sure what happened last year is something people are proud of in Western Europe and the United States too, because it shows our common humanity, regardless of where we live."

He talks about how the revolution was funded by "millions of people" some who turned up at the party's headquarters with envelopes "stuffed with cash".

Murdered journalist

The Ukrainian president was responding to questions submitted by BBC listeners and website users. Many questioned Mr Yushchenko on the months that have followed his party's election success, with some condemning the revolution as "total farce" and "failure" due to its inability to make economic reforms.

The sacking of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her entire government, replaced by Yuri Yekhanurov, was cited as causing upset to Ukrainians.

Mr Yushchenko said the previous government was "failing as a team" and said he was forced to take action when the country's economy stopped growing.

President Viktor Yushchenko with new Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov
Mr Yushchenko explained his decision to appoint a new prime minister.

Now, he claimed, his government had corrected the downward trend: "So I hope by the end of the year the growth rate will reach 4.5 to 5%, which would be among the best in Europe. And we are improving our relations with investors."

He added that talking with the opposition was crucial to creating a united Ukraine.

The president was questioned on the investigations into the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze who was kidnapped five years ago.

Asked whether former President Kuchma would have immunity if the trail led to his involvement, Mr Yushchenko said: "No he won't. Everyone is equal before the law. There is absolutely no doubt about it."

On business at home, Mr Yushchenko pledged that efforts were taking place to tackle the country's long history of corruption, setting new rules for a "transparent and competitive market".

He hoped the Ukraine would be in place to join the World Trade Organisation by the end of the year and it was his aim that the country could also become a member of the European Union in three years time.

'Good dialogue'

On how this would effect relations, with its neighbour Russia and President Putin, he said: "Our strategy is aimed towards Europe, but it doesn't mean we are acting or scheming against Russia or anyone else.

"We are simply following our own national interest. And this is what I stand for as President."

Asked if he would be supporting the bid for democracy in Belarus, the president said: "There are very complex processes at play both inside Belarus and in the political discussions surrounding it.

"I am sure that supporting democratic forces in Belarus can only work if you talk to people. So I think there should be a dialogue and we should be giving Belarus a chance to change. And this is what lies behind our approach."

Questioned on whether Russia could experience its own Orange Revolution, he said: "I'm sure that the Orange Revolution set an example for the millions of people who still cherish freedom and democracy, whether they live in Russia, Belarus or anywhere else.

"We set a good example and I can only applaud those who want to change their country for the better."


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