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Remarks by the Ambassador Dr. Yuri Scherbak at the "Ukrainian Night" in the National Archives of Canada on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of establishment of Ukraine-Canada diplomatic relations

Ottawa, 30 January 2001

Dear Mr. Wilson, Honourable Mr. Knutson, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear Compatriots,

First of all I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the National Archives and to Mr. Willson personally for the opportunity to mark the 10th anniversary of establishment of Ukraine-Canada diplomatic relations here, in this beautiful building, which could be called the home of Canadian national memory and national proud. Thank you for that.

I have a great honour and privilege to deliver the letter of the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma to the Governor-General of Canada, Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson on the occasion of todays anniversary:

Dear Governor-General,

Let me express my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Canada.

Recognition by Canada of Ukraines independence and the decision to establish diplomatic relations became historical events for us, because, without exaggeration, they had opened the way for our state into the international community.

We always feel deep gratitude for the support, offered by Canada during the formation of independent Ukrainian state. This help has promoted the acceleration of economic reforms and the development civil society in Ukraine. Without any doubts, Canada will be always considered as close friend of Ukrainian people.

Taking this opportunity I would like to underline the great importance that Ukraine gives to the further development of cooperation with Canada and to express confidence in cloudless future of collaboration between our states at bilateral level as well is in the international arena.

I wish you, dear Governor General, good health, happiness and every success, and peace and prosperity to the friendly Canadian people.

Leonid Kuchma

Dear friends,

This celebration gives us good opportunity to remind our past what happened 10 years ago and to compare it with current situation.

I remember very well the time when Foreign Minister of Canada, charming lady Mrs. Barbara McDugall visited Kyiv in September 1991, right before our independence, to participate in the opening ceremony of the Consulate General of Canada.

She promised us that Canada will immediately recognize Ukraine after the National Referendum in December. We appreciate very much that her promise was fulfilled: on December 2, 1991 Canada was first among the Western nations who recognized Ukraine, Consulate General of Canada was upgraded to the level of the Embassy and diplomatic relations were established on January 27, 1992.

Today we can see how time is running ahead, how Canada and Ukraine have been dramatically changed over last 10 years.

Especially Ukraine, which managed to eliminate the soviet system and to form basic institutes of the new independent Ukrainian state.

As a Soviet Republic in 1991 Ukraine hosted only 14 foreign consulates. Now it has diplomatic relations with about 180 countries, more than 80 foreign embassies are working in our capital Kyiv and 84 Ukrainian diplomatic and consular missions are accredited overseas.

There are two missions of Ukraine here, in Canada in Ottawa and Toronto and we are looking forward to opening of the new Consulate of Ukraine in Alberta.

Despite all difficulties we have built the Ukrainian state and have found geopolitical place of Ukraine in the map of Europe. We have established friendly relations with all our neighbours Russia, Bielorus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova.

We have a great positive experience of collaboration with our Canadian partners our mutual activity within the framework of United Nations and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), joint participation in peacekeeping operations, Canadas permanent support to Ukrainian interests in G-8, international financial institutions, to Ukrainian efforts in entering WTO cannot be overestimated.

Ukraine has provided the profound economic reforms. We have passed the most difficult times and have finally overcome severe economic crisis.

Our indicators of GDP and production grows last year were among the highest in Europe 9% and 14% relatively. We have managed to change radically inefficient collective farms system in agriculture. Last year Ukraine has harvested record corn crop 40 mln. tons of grain and we began to export it trying to restore our glory as breadbasket of Europe. It is first time in the history of independent Ukraine when positive economy trends do impact on the lifes level of people last year personal incomes have grown by 9% while the unemployment indicators were coming down.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the President of Ukraine stressed, Canada is one of the best and most reliable partners of Ukraine. Last year we confirmed our common will to develop relations of special partnership between Ukraine and Canada. Declaration, signed in Kyiv by our Ministers of Foreign Affairs Mr. Manley and Mr. Zlenko, encourages us to open new avenues of our collaboration in order to make it more concrete and beneficial for both sides.

I have also to underline the great positive role which Ukrainian-Canadian community plays in our relations. We are grateful to the Ukrainian-Canadian Congress organization, which represents one million Canadians of Ukrainian origin for its support of Ukrainian way towards democracy, prosperity and European community.

We strongly believe that upcoming years will bring us new bright achievements in cordial friendship and effective cooperation between Ukraine and Canada.


God bless Canada!

For additional information, please contact:
Yurii Nykytiuk, Press Secretary at the Embassy of Ukraine
310 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J9
Tel. (613) 230-2961, fax (613) 230-2400

2002 02 01