President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko and President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili launched "The Year of Georgia in Ukraine" on March 26th, 2005. According to a statement released by press service of the Ukrainian government, the two presidents formally started the festivities by making speeches at a concert in the Kiev National Opera-house.
During his welcoming address, Mr. Yushchenko extended his gratitude to his Georgian counterpart for maintaining "high level of bilateral relations between Ukraine and Georgia." Mr. Yushchenko was confident that those relations had always been "amicable and extremely cordial." The Ukrainian president stressed the point that "plans for cooperation between Ukraine and Georgia could be much more rational."
A wide range of economic and political issues was discussed during the meeting. Mr. Yushchenko said that one of the subjects concerned "the aspirations shared by both nations to move toward Europe." Speaking of "the revolution of the roses" in Georgia and the Ukrainian "orange revolution," Mr. Yushchenko said that "the peoples of Ukraine and Georgia showed a great deal of resistance by fighting against the totalitarian system, the fight mirrored their earnest aspirations to become European nations."
President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili again spoke nostalgically about his younger years which he spent in Ukraine studying at the department of international relations of the Taras Shevshenko University in Kiev. The Georgian president pointed out that a third of his government consisted of those who graduated from the Ukrainian universities. "Ukraine and Georgia share common democratic values and support the process of European integration," said Mr. Saakashvili.
High-ranking officials of the Ukrainian government and legislature including Vladimir Litvin, speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Pyotr Poroshenko, head of National Security and Defense Council, Anatoly Kinakh, first vice prime-minister, and a few others were in attendance at the concert.
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