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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kohl Vowsnm To Back Ukraine

COMBINED REPORTS


KIEV -- German Chancellor Helmut Kohl promised to back Ukraine's economic and political reforms Tuesday and appealed to German companies to look at business possibilities in the former Soviet republic.


Speaking on the first full day of a two-day official visit, Kohl said reforms were important for Ukraine and for Europe.


"We want to be partners in Europe," he said. "Ukraine can be a bridge to the countries in the east and the south of our continent."


Although Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma got no concrete pledges of economic assistance, some of the 30 German industrialists accompanying Kohl signed documents stating their intentions to pursue future projects.


Kohl, who will hold a news conference in Kiev on Wednesday, met Kuchma on Tuesday for talks which dealt with bilateral relations, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and a range of projects being considered by German firms.


These include plans to modernize the Odessa airport in southern Ukraine and to modernize Ukrainian aircraft.


Ukraine has promised to close the Chernobyl plant, scene of the world's worst nuclear accident, by the year 2000, but is looking for funding guarantees for alternative energy sources and for a new concrete tomb around the plant's stricken reactor.


Kohl also said his fellow Germans must never forget the horrible suffering imposed on Ukrainians -- especially Jews -- by German troops during World War II.


"German hands did horrible things to people here,'' said Kohl, delivering a speech to Kiev university students.


Kohl paid special homage to Ukrainian Jews who were annihilated by Adolf Hitler's troops.


"The Nazis destroyed a culture with their genocide against Ukrainian Jews. We do not wish to forget the suffering and dying, the pain and fears. We owe this to the victims,'' Kohl said.


Ukrainian television interrupted its programming to cover Kohl's Monday night arrival, a rare occurrence.


Kohl is to meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Saturday at the Russian leader's dacha outside Moscow. ()