Ukrainian FM heads for London, Brussels for EU, NATO talks
MOSCOW (AFP) Jan 11, 2004
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantin Hrishchenko headed Sunday for London where he was to discuss Kiev's plans to join the European Union before flying on to Brussels, the foreign ministry announced Sunday.

Hrishchenko was due to hold talks with his British counterpart Jack Straw on Monday, the ministry said in a statement.

In Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday, Hrishchenko was to discuss Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic prospects with the new NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Schaeffer and the European Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen.

He will also meet Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, the statement said.

Ukraine, a former Soviet republic of 48 million inhabitants, announced in 2002 that it planned to join the Atlantic alliance and has set 2011 as a target date for starting negotiations on joining the European Union.

Last month Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma accused Brussels of being unfair towards Kiev, saying his country needed to "give up its illusions" of rapidly joining the European Union.