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Main points of Poroshenko's first Ukraine policy address

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Ukrainian oligarch Petro Poroshenko gave a wide-ranging press conference Monday after claiming victory in Ukraine's presidential election.

The billionaire tycoon and former cabinet minister set out his approach to tackling the ex-Soviet country's security and financial crises.

Here is a summary of Poroshenko's main statements:

East campaign to continue

Ukraine has been under intense Russian pressure to end its self-proclaimed "anti-terrorist operations" against pro-Kremlin militants who have been waging a separatist insurgency in the industrial east since early April.

Poroshenko said he wanted the campaign to continue but in a more efficient manner.

"I support continuing the operation, but I demand that its format be changed," he said. "It must be shorter in terms of time-frames and more efficient."

He accused the militants of wanting to turn the region of nearly seven million people "into Somalia" and refused to open dialogue with the rebels until they laid down their arms.

"There are no talks with terrorists," said Poroshenko. "Their goal is to turn Donbass (east Ukraine) into Somalia. I will not let anyone do this to our state and I hope that Russia will support my approach."

Talks with Russia

Poroshenko conceded that the separatist crisis could not be resolved without Russia's involvement and expressed hope that President Vladimir Putin was ready to launch a direct dialogue with Kiev after refusing to recognise the legitimacy of the interim pro-Western team.

"All this is impossible without engaging the Russian leadership," he said. "I think that we must take this meeting very seriously. We must carefully work out an agenda so that it is not about just shaking hands and saying goodbye."

He said he had known Putin personally for some time and that he was optimistic that a meeting between the two leaders could be arranged soon.

"We consider talks with Russia as a very important measure and I feel optimistic that the talks will be efficient.

"The latest argument by Russia was the absence of a legitimate president and a legitimate government in Ukraine. Now this argument has been invalidated."

Current government to stay

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk faces a daunting task of staving off bankruptcy and speeding up negotiations with Russia aimed at averting a possible cutoff of its gas deliveries over unpaid bills at the start of next month.

Poroshenko said the constitution did not require him to appoint a new government and praised Yatsenyuk for reaching an IMF agreement that could see Ukraine benefit from up to $27 billion (20 billion euros) in global financial assistance over the coming two years.

"There are no plans to change the government leadership," said Poroshenko. "Yatsenyuk's work at this stage has been sufficiently effective."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140526/main-points-poroshenkos-first-ukraine-policy-address