With its commitment to strengthen and deepen its partnership with Ukraine, the United States of America today underlined its strong support to Ukrainian people’s goal to develop a more democratic and prosperous state.
In his remarks at Washington DC today on “Importance of 2012 Verkhovna Rada Elections to Ukraine’s Future: U.S. Perspective,” Assitant Secretary Philip H. Gordon for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations says over the last two decades, the U.S. has sought to strengthen and deepen our partnership with Ukraine.
“The U.S.-Ukraine Charter on our Strategic Partnership, which was signed in 2008, outlines the breadth of our relationship and clearly enumerates our shared interests and common goals.” -Mr. Gordon
These include protecting Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity, supporting innovation and technology, and strengthening rule of law, economic freedom and democratic institutions, Mr. Gordon cited.
He says Ukraine is a country of massive untapped potential – with an educated population, a vibrant civil society, rich agricultural land, energy resources, and a large consumer market.
“It remains deeply in America’s interest to see an independent, prosperous and irreversibly democratic Ukraine.” -Mr. Gordon
Mr. Gordon stresses that the United States has long put its money where its mouth is in terms of support for Ukraine.
He says as the US government has been the largest bilateral contributor of assistance over the last twenty yearsof Ukraine.
To support Ukraine’s goal of Euro-Atlantic integration, US assistance programs promote the development of sustainable institutions that advance democracy and human rights, Mr. Gordon said.
The US government believes that enhanced engagement with the European Union offers Ukraine the best guarantee of prosperity and stability, as it has for so many of its neighbors.
The U.S. supports the EU’s Eastern Partnership program that promotes security, stability and prosperity in six partner countries including Ukraine, Mr. Gordon noted.
The US government works to ensure that their bilateral assistance complements the EU’s political and economic reform efforts.
“Let me be clear: we have not and will not ask Ukraine to choose between East and West, between the United States and Russia.” -Mr. Gordon
He explains that is a false choice that ignores Ukraine’s history and geography.
Rather, the US wants a strong and stable Ukraine that achieves its own goal of European integration and enjoys close relations with all of its neighbors.
The U.S. has been striving under the Obama Administration to improve its own relationship with Russia, Mr. Gordon underlined.
“We do not expect the Government of Ukraine to do otherwise.” -Mr. Gordon
Together, Mr. Gordon reports that the United States and Ukraine have made significant achievements.
Earlier this year, Ukraine completed the removal of highly enriched uranium from its territory, supporting our joint efforts to secure the world’s vulnerable nuclear material and make the world safer, he noted.
The US also appreciates Ukraine’s important contributions to peacekeeping and security operations, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo as well.
He emphasizes that Ukraine is now in the midst of another key event in the development of its democracy – the campaign leading up to parliamentary elections on October 28.
He notes that presidential election was judged by international observers to be free and fair.
He announces that the United States is providing approximately five million dollars in funding for activities to promote free and fair parliamentary elections.
“We are supporting long-term observation by over 260 Ukrainian and international monitors and short-term monitoring by 3500 domestic observers, as well as a Parallel Vote Tabulation and exit poll.” -Mr. Gordon
He adds that US is strengthening the capacity of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission to train election management bodies, training lawyers and administrative court judges to ensure the protection of voters’ and candidates’ rights.
In addition, Ukraine’s parliamentary elections come at a time when Ukraine is preparing to assume the Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2013.
“In order for Ukraine to lead by example and demonstrate its commitment to the Helsinki principles on democracy and good governance, it will be important to demonstrate that its elections met the highest international standards.” -Mr. Gordon
He stresses that free and fair elections are at the heart of the democratic process.
The US encourages Ukraine to seize the opportunity of the October parliamentary elections and to use them as a springboard toward becoming a modern, prosperous, democratic, European country.
In February 2011, governments of Ukraine and the United States discussed further cooperation in the nuclear energy sector and signed a memorandum of cooperation in the field of shale gas exploration in Ukraine.
United States of America and Ukraine vow to work together to prevent nuclear proliferation as both countries today signed the Memorandum of Understanding on nuclear security cooperation.
On his visit to Kyiv in Ukraine in 2011, Mr. Gordon said his visit aims to talk to counterparts about the wide range of issues that both countries are working on and also to follow up on the meeting that Secretary Clinton had with President Yanukovych the other day at the Munich Security Conference.
Statistics shows that Ukraine ranks very low on a list of countries that are ranked by how easy it is to do business in Ukraine. It was ranked 152nd out of 183 countries.
Mr. Gordon also raised the issue of democracy in Ukraine. He cited that the United States stressed the importance of free and fair and transparent elections next October.
The United States gives importance to its strategic relations with Ukraine. The U.S. govenrment attaches great importance to the success of Ukraine’s transition to a democratic state with a booming market economy.