Address by the Prime Minister of Iceland, Davíð Oddsson, at a banquet hosted by the
Prime Minister of the Ukraine,Viktor Yanukovich. Kiev, February 24 2003
It is both a pleasure and an honour for myself and my entourage to make this official visit to the Ukraine and thereby have the chance to contribute towards strengthening relations between our two countries.
In spite of the distance between Iceland and the Ukraine and our differences in terms of landscape and climate, economic activity, culture, traditions and history, the modern world still offers countless opportunities for close contact, no matter what the geographical facts might say. Furthermore, both our nations are part of the European cultural heritage and when we look more closely there has been well documented contact between us dating from as far back as the Viking Age.
It is a particular pleasure to be accompanied on my visit by a trade delegation which is exploring new opportunities in trade between Iceland and the Ukraine. The delegation includes representatives of different companies, large and small, who either feel they have something interesting to offer to Ukrainian businesses or are interested in importing goods to Iceland from here and developing new business contacts. In my talks today with the President of the Ukraine, with you, Mr. Prime Minister and with the Foreign Minister, it was clear that there is great willingness on both sides to foster relations between our countries. This is to be welcomed and I am convinced that Icelandic businesses will make every possible effort in this respect. I would also like to express the hope that political and diplomatic relations between our countries will strengthen in the future. In my mind there is no doubt that the new world order assigns a special role to the Ukraine and it would be a major loss if this great country were not in the near future to share in full in the course taken by other European countries and their Allies on the other side of the Atlantic. In this context I would like to mention in particular that the Government of Iceland considers the relationship between NATO and the Ukraine to be important and values very highly your contribution to operations undertaken by the Alliance. I hope that in the near future the Ukraine will be able to develop its relations with NATO even further.
On behalf of myself and my entourage I would like to thank you for the warm reception we have been given here in Kiev and thank our host for his hospitality this evening. I ask you to rise from your seats and drink a toast to the cooperation and friendship between our countries.