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    KUCHMA CITES COMMONALITY AWARENESS AS MAIN RESULT OF "RUSSIA YEAR IN UKRAINE"

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    KYIV, JANUARY 23, 2004, RIA Novosti - Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma cited an awareness of commonality as the main result of "Russia Year in Ukraine" as he spoke at a closing ceremony Friday. He stressed the event's significance for bilateral relations, saying that its diverse political, social and cultural program prompted the Ukrainians and the Russians to rediscover their common heritage and shared strategic goals.

    Kuchma urged the two nations to give up their old stereotypes about each other. In the modern-day world, Russia and Ukraine change much faster than stereotypes about them do, he remarked.

    Relations between the two have not developed smoothly in recent years, Kuchma said. Last fall, for instance, saw a territorial dispute over Tuzla, in the Kerch Strait. But the governments of Russia and Ukraine managed to overcome the controversy in a civilized way, as befit good neighbors. After a decade of fruitless talks, they were finally able to reach a compromise on the use and the legal status of the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait, the Ukrainian President pointed out.

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