BRAMA, Sep 22, 2004, 9:00 am ET|
Kerry: It is not too late for democracy to triumph in Ukraine
John Kerry issued the following statement concerning the upcoming Presidential election in Ukraine:
"Ukraine is a strategically important country in the heart of Europe. Its liberation thirteen years ago was a victory for democratic forces after three quarters of a century of communist rule. Today, as Ukraine prepares for its upcoming presidential elections, Ukrainians have the opportunity to demonstrate the power of democracy in Eastern Europe by selecting their future leader through free and fair elections that reflect the will of the people.
I am concerned about developments in Ukraine in the lead-up to election day. There is a pattern of government abuse and intimidation against opposition political candidates and their supporters. While Ukraine has generously contributed troops in Iraq, the Bush Administration has ignored democratic reversal in that country. We could have been working with Europe over the past several months to formulate a common approach to support democracy in Ukraine.
Ukraine is at a turning point. The Bush Administration should challenge the Ukrainian leadership to ensure that all candidates are granted equal access to state media. The U.S. should work with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to significantly increase the number of international observers sent to Ukraine for the elections.
It is not too late for democracy to triumph in Ukraine. As President, I will continue to build on the strong partnership between the United States and Ukraine by supporting its independence and full participation in the transatlantic community. Ukraine's gifted, diverse society is capable of continuing on the path its citizens chose in 1991, if given a fair choice in free elections this fall."
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