Former President Arnold Rüütel of Estonia Visits Kyiv, Meets UN System Representatives in UN House

This week former President of Estonia H.E. Mr. Arnold Rüütel visited Ukraine, following preliminary contacts with the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Francis M. O’Donnell (currently attending a regional meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria). Former President Rüütel’s experience with Estonian reforms and accession to the European Union is of special relevance for Ukraine’s “European Choice”. He is a non-executive advisor to President Viktor Yushchenko, and also serves as a Senior Special Fellow of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

On Monday, 23 April 2007, Mr. Rüütel met with the members of UN Country Team in Ukraine and discussed the current political situation and the context of ongoing efforts at reform and deepening democracy. In anticipation of a meeting with President Yuschenko, former President Rüütel was also briefed on progress in the implementation of UN system activities in Ukraine, and in particular in the areas of institutional reforms and empowerment of civil society. He was also provided with the consolidated UN policy recommendations to the President, Government, and Parliament, and touching on the need for greater reforms to deepen democratization in the institutions, politics, economy, and society. The discussions included comparisons of the development processes of Ukraine and Estonia and exchange of views on priority areas to be addressed in increasing living standards and strengthening and consolidating democracy. Mr. Rüütel also spoke about the Decentralized Cooperation Programme of UNITAR that provides training to local actors in order to enhance their capacity to implement international conventions and the Millennium Development Goals

Participating in the meeting with former President Rüütel, were UNICEF Representative Mr. Jeremy Hartley, UNAIDS Country Coordinator Dr. Anna Shakarishvili, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Ms. Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecka, IOM Head of Mission Mr. Jeff Labovitz , UNODC Regional HIV/AIDS Advisor Dr. Zaza Tsereteli as well as UN Coordination Specialist Ms. Ruken Tekes-Calikusu.

For further information, please contact UN Communications Officer Ms. Veronika Vashchenko at, tel (+38 044) 254 0035.