June 8, 2006

Bush to skip Ukraine visit, go to Hungary instead

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush has dropped
tentative plans to visit Ukraine later this month and will
instead go to Hungary to mark the 50th anniversary of the
Hungarian revolution against Soviet domination.

The White House said on Thursday Bush would go to Budapest
on June 22 after a meeting with European leaders in Vienna,
capital of neighboring Austria.

Although the Kiev stop was never officially announced, U.S.
officials had discussed it privately.

U.S. officials have touted Ukraine's Orange Revolution in
2004 as an example of the spread of global democracy, but the
country has been unable to form a government since a March
election because of arguments over who should get the most
important jobs.

A visit to Kiev might have irked Russia, which has had some
tensions with Ukraine over natural gas and other issues.

Bush has been trying to enlist the support of Russian
President Vladimir Putin in the international effort to contain
Iran's nuclear ambitions. He plans to go to St. Petersburg in
July, where Russia is hosting a Group of Eight summit.

In his June 22 visit to Budapest, Bush will participate in
the commemoration of the Hungarian revolution and hold talks
with Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom.

Bush said he also wanted to "underscore the success of the
U.S.-European partnership in securing freedom in the region,
and highlight the lessons offered from Hungary's successful
transition from tyranny to free-market democracy."