Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko has visited the Shehyni-Medyka international checkpoint on the Ukrainian-Polish border and presented state awards to border guards on the occasion of their professional holiday.
During his visit to the village of Shehyni, Lviv region, the head of state visited a local border service agency and participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of its administrative building, the presidential press service reported.
Yuschenko said that each border crossing point in Ukraine should serve as a "real 'business card' of our country and reflect our being part of Europe."
"This task becomes especially important during [Ukraine's] preparations for hosting the Euro 2012 European Football Championship," he added.
Yuschenko expressed confidence that the image of Ukraine's state border as a border open for friendship, cooperation and partnership would be established through joint efforts by the state and its citizens. In his opinion, the experience of cooperation gained by the Ukrainian State Border Service and local government agencies should be used in other border areas.
As a supreme commander-in-chief, the president noted the positive changes in the field of the Ukrainian borders protection. Firstly, the transformation of the Soviet-time frontier guard into the modern law-enforcement agency has been successfully completed. Secondly, the state border service has fully switched to the contractual service. The president said that the border service should serve as a model for all the law-enforcement and military agencies.
Yuschenko also touched on the issue of local trans-border movement. Ukraine has entered the stage of formal completion of all the procedures with Poland necessary for the introduction of a simplified procedure for crossing the border by residents of the frontier regions, he said. Ukraine has fulfilled all the necessary procedures and the president believes that the final conformation from the Polish partners will come soon. The head of state praised these results of four years of work.
He also added that Ukraine is striving to simplify to the maximum possible extent the visa requirements for traveling to the EU member-states and hopes for the ultimate introduction of the visa free transportation and Ukraine's joining the Schengen zone, as well as the political association and economic integration with the EU.
The Shehyni frontier outpost was set up on February 25 1924 as a part a part of the Slavuta detachment of the Ukrainian border district. On November 24, 2008, it was transformed into the Shehyni border service department, which covers the section of 25.7 kilometers.
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