Thursday, April 07, 2005

Ukrainian President Appeals to Congress for Aid, Improved Ties (

Ukrainian President Appeals to Congress for Aid, Improved Ties ( President Appeals to Congress for Aid, Improved Ties

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 7, 2005; Page A21

With a triumphant flourish, as American lawmakers waved orange scarves in support, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko capped his first U.S. tour since taking office by beseeching a joint meeting of Congress yesterday to help anchor his troubled nation firmly in the West.

Summoning the spirits of Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, the leader of the "Orange Revolution" that toppled a discredited government in Kiev called for "a new era in U.S.-Ukrainian relations" that would make his country a model democracy fully integrated in such Euro-Atlantic institutions as NATO.

Congress gave him a hero's welcome. Only a few foreign leaders are accorded the honor of addressing a joint meeting. The assembled senators and representatives greeted Yushchenko by chanting his name as he entered the House chamber and waving orange scarves and hats in recognition of the campaign color that became a symbol of the peaceful street revolt he led last December, overturning a fraudulent election. Vice President Cheney, wearing an orange tie, attended, as did most of President Bush's Cabinet.

The address was a powerful climax to a three-day trip in which he also lunched with the president at the White House, received the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award in Boston and visited his wife's home town of Chicago. His wife, Kateryna Chumachenko Yushchenko, an American-born Ukrainian, also appealed for American help at a luncheon yesterday in Washington.

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