Zelenskiy Heads To Canada To Gather International Support For Ukraine
By RFE/RL July 01, 2019
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is heading to Toronto for talks with top Canadian officials and to take part in an international conference aimed at gathering support for Ukraine's reform process and its path toward Euro-Atlantic integration.
During his July 1-3 trip, Zelenskiy will attend the third Ukraine Reform Conference, which is expected to bring together more than 300 people, including foreign ministers, heads of international institutions, and civil society activists.
On the sidelines of the gathering, Zelenskiy will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, members of parliament, and business representatives, according to the Ukrainian presidential office.
Zelenskiy and Trudeau will discuss "Ukraine's reform efforts on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration, the security situation in the region, and how to further deepen Canada-Ukraine commercial relations," the Canadian prime minister's office said in a statement.
Zelenskiy was inaugurated as president on May 20. His visit to the southeast Canadian city comes ahead of snap parliamentary elections in Ukraine set for July 21.
Co-hosted by Canada and Ukraine, the Ukraine Reform Conference is due to run from July 2 to 4.
"Taking place between presidential and parliamentary elections, this conference comes at an opportune time to reinforce the foundations of democratic reform and maintain the momentum" created at the previous conferences held in London in 2017 and Copenhagen last year, the Canadian government said in a statement.
The event "will highlight the importance of making the existing reforms irreversible and will demonstrate our support for Ukraine's sovereignty, security and prosperity," it added.
Zelenskiy has vowed that under his leadership Ukraine would implement reforms and intensify the fight against corruption, and reaffirmed the country's course toward European Union and NATO membership.
Moscow has made explicit its opposition to NATO's further expansion, especially as regard to Ukraine and Georgia. Tbilisi is also seeking to become a member of the Western military alliance.
Zelenskiy has also urged his country's Western backers to keep "pressure" on Moscow over its seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region in March 2014 and its support for the separatists holding parts of eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed some 13,000 people since April 2014.
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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