Ukraine's Yushchenko heads to Poland

President Viktor Yushchenko headed to Poland on Friday for a two-day visit aimed at expanding trade between the neighbors and shoring up Polish support for Ukraine's aspirations to join the European Union and NATO.

Poland, a NATO and EU member, has repeatedly pushed its partners to reach out to this ex-Soviet republic, whose new leadership chose a pro-Western path after the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Yushchenko planned to hold talks with his counterpart, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, as well as top Polish business leaders, the president's office said Friday.

The agenda for talks also includes increasing trade ties and joint energy projects, Yushchenko's office said. Ukraine and Poland are currently in negotiations about the use of Ukraine's Odessa-Brody pipeline to bring Caspian Sea oil through Ukraine to Poland and the rest of Europe.

In a sign of the importance Yushchenko places on ties with Poland, he was accompanied by seven ministers, including Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk, reports the AP.

I.L.