French president to visit Ukraine in first half of 2008

KIEV, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy will pay an official visit to Ukraine in the first half of 2008, a Ukrainian presidential representative said Monday.

"There is a preliminary agreement that President Sarkozy will arrive in Ukraine on a state visit before July 1, 2008," Olexandr Chaly, deputy chief of the Ukrainian president's secretariat told journalists. France's presidency of the European Union will begin on that date.

An agreement on the visit was reached during President Viktor Yushchenko's trip to France on October 5, he said.

Chaly said Yushchenko had pulled out of last week's summit of ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members in Tajikistan, in favor of his trip to France.

"The meeting with President Sarkozy was planned long ago, and the two events [Yushchenko's visit to France and the CIS summit] coincided. A decision was made that president would take part in a working meeting with Sarkozy, and that Ukraine would be represented at the summit by Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk," Chaly said.

Chaly said Yushchenko would also visit Lithuania, Slovakia and Romania in October.

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