SLOVAK Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda urged Ukraine to improve democracy and ensure the legitimacy of its upcoming elections in an address to the ongoing NATO summit in Istanbul on June 29, the news wire TASR wrote.
Dzurinda said he appreciated the progress of Slovakia's eastern neighbour in its reform efforts, yet he stressed that the international community expected the country to step forward in the areas of economy, politics, military, media freedom, and strengthening NGOs.
He expressed the willingness of his government to pass Slovakia's experience on to Ukraine in the preparation of reforms and their implementation.
"Slovakia wants to be Ukraine's proper voice in Euro-Atlantic structures. However, it won't help if we cover its problems in fog. Friends tell each other the truth and I have tried to do that this time. I hope Mr Kuchma has accepted that..." said the Slovak PM.
As regards the presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine, Dzurinda said that all leaders, including US President George W Bush and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, were clear in telling Kuchma that both ballots have to be just and democratic.
"Whoever wins, they must have a legitimate mandate to continue to lead Ukraine on its way to Euro-Atlantic structures," said Dzurinda when summing up the debate, claiming that no particular date for Ukraine's entry into the EU was set.
Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
30. Jun 2004 at 9:47