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Ukrainian president starts two days of talks

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko began a two-day visit to Switzerland on Thursday to discuss bilateral relations and the impact of the global financial crisis.

This content was published on May 14, 2009 - 21:07

Yushchenko told a media conference after a meeting with Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey that he had asked for help in concluding negotiations with the European Free Trade Association, a body that comprises Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

"Ukraine is on the right track," said Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz, citing the country's joining of the World Trade Organization one year ago.

Yushchenko also called on more Swiss investment in Ukraine. Exports to Ukraine rose 17 per cent in 2008 to SFr638 million ($575 million) and imports climbed 21 per cent, to SFr144 million.

One unresolved issue between the two countries is visas, Yushchenko noted. He hopes it will be easier for Ukrainian nationals to get visas to Switzerland now that Switzerland is part of the Schengen zone.

On Friday, Yushchenko will meet with Economics Minister Doris Leuthard.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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