September 10, 2014 / 3:53 PM / in 4 years

Ukraine President Poroshenko invited to address U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has been invited to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, congressional leaders said on Wednesday, an honor intended to underscore Washington’s commitment to his country as it battles separatist pro-Russian rebels.

Republican John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, invited Poroshenko to address a meeting of the House and U.S. Senate on Sept. 18.

“Having President Poroshenko address Congress is another signal of our steadfast commitment to the aspirations of his people,” Boehner said in a statement. “It will be an honor and a privilege to welcome him to the United States Capitol.”

Foreign heads of states and heads of government have been invited to address joint meetings of Congress since the early 1800s, normally to underscore their countries’ close allegiance with the United States.

The last such address by a foreign leader was South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s more than a year ago, on May 8, 2013. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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