Ties with Kiev to remain friendly after Ukrainian election: Georgian president

The friendly ties between Georgia and Ukraine will remain after Sunday’s presidential elections in Ukraine, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili said Monday.

Saakashvili hailed the friendship between the two peoples, saying Georgia and Ukraine have the same interests in deepening regional cooperation.

After a new president is elected, Ukraine will become a friendly partner to all countries in the region, including Russia, the Georgian leader said.

Sunday’s elections in Ukraine are highly democratic, and great achievements have been made in democracy since incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko took office in 2005, Saakashvili said.

Now Ukraine has entered a new period where further economic development and reforms are needed, he said, adding that Ukraine shall continue its efforts in moving closer toward the European Union.

Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko contended the second round elections on Sunday as neither won an outright victory in the first round held last month.

Preliminary results showed Monday that Yanukovich is leading in the runoff by a small margin with 98 percent of the ballots counted.

Georgia and Ukraine have maintained close relations since Saakashvili and Yushchenko came to power, with united pro-West stance and coordinated positions in breaking away from influence from Russia.

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