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Yushchenko pledges to work for unity

KIEV (UKRAINE), DEC. 24. Ukraine's Opposition presidential candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, said on Friday that his top priority if he wins this weekend's rerun election would be to heal divisions within society. Mr. Yushchenko, who garners support mostly from the Ukrainan-speaking western and central provinces, said at a news conference in Kiev that ``the division between ... east and west is something very artificial.''

Mr. Yushchenko is regarded a front-runner in Sunday's repeat of the presidential runoff. The election pits him against the Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovich, who draws fierce backing from the country's mostly Russian-speaking eastern provinces.

Mr. Yushchenko also accused authorities loyal to the outgoing President, Leonid Kuchma, of failing to promote dialogue between the mainly rural western regions and the heavily industrialised east.

AP

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