UKRAINE AND FRANCE HOLD GET-ACQUAINTED SUMMIT.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 24
At the first-ever French-Ukrainian summit, President Leonid Kuchma reportedly obtained assurances from French president Jacques Chirac and Foreign Minister Herve de Charette that Paris will support Kiev on a broad range of economic and political issues. Those issues include Ukraine’s efforts to win delivery of G-7, European Union, and EBRD aid toward closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant; wider access of Ukrainian exports to European Union markets; Ukraine’s admission to the World Trade Organization; and the signing of a partnership agreement between NATO and Ukraine at the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid. Kuchma also met with executives of Framatom and other French energy firms interested in the reconstruction of Ukraine’s nuclear and conventional energy sector. The two governments set up a high-level joint commission for trade and economic cooperation. (Le Monde, Interfax-Ukraine, UNIAN, January 31, February 1-2)
France lags behind most other major industrial powers in terms of trade with and investment in the newly independent states. The Chirac administration has made it a priority to enter those markets. It realizes that Ukraine, whose potential as an economic partner has barely been tapped, offers ample scope for new entrants. Kiev, for its part, hopes that France will exercise its clout in European institutions in order to promote their engagement with Ukraine.
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