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21 January, 1999
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President Clinton's Reply To The Remarks Of The Newly Appointed
Ambassador Of Ukraine Anton Buteiko Upon The Occasion Of The Presentation Of His Letter Of Credence

Mr. Ambassador:

I am pleased to accept the Letter of Credence issued by President Kuchma appointing you Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United States of America. I also acknowledge the Letter of Recall of your predecessor, Ambassador Yuri Shcherbak. Thank you for your greetings on behalf of the government and people of Ukraine. I warmly welcome you and your family to Washington.

Over the last several years, Ukraine and the United States have developed increasingly close ties, and the breadth of cooperation that has been achieved in this period reflects a true strategic partnership. During this time, Ukraine has made a clear choice for integration into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions and the global economy. We strongly support this choice. It leads not only to a more stable and prosperous Ukraine but also to a more stable and prosperous Europe. Ukraine's success is Europe's success.

Mr. Ambassador, a highlight of Ukraine's commitment to with NATO, this program illustrates Ukrainian leadership by serving as a model for other NATO partner countries. It shows Ukraine's constructive approach to enlarging NATO in a way that means greater security, rather than new dividing lines, in Europe. We look forward to working with you to further enhance your relationship with NATO.

Mr. Ambassador, the global financial crisis has put significant strains on the Ukrainian economy and has made the already challenging economic transition from Communist central planning to market-driven prosperity more difficult. We recognize the challenges Ukraine faces, and we applaud Ukraine's efforts to stay the course on economic reform. There is no doubt that Ukraine has taken important steps forward. Still, much work remains. We have strongly supported Ukraine's access to international financing through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It is crucial for Ukraine's long-term economic success to stay on the reform path, and we will continue to support you in that effort.

As Ukraine rebuilds itself as a new nation, it undergoes an historic political transformation. We applaud your success in establishing democratic institutions, in holding free and fair elections, and in effectively managing the challenges implicit in being a multi-ethnic state.

Mr. Ambassador, we share many common goals: peaceful resolution of regional conflicts, prevention of the spread of weapons of mass destruction, protection of the environment, elimination of trafficking in narcotics and in women and children. Our countries also share a common heritage. The large Ukrainian-American community in the United States embodies the historical connection between the people of Ukraine and the people of the United States. Our common goals and our strong personal links contribute to our cooperative relationship.

On behalf of the American people, I offer my best wishes for good health and happiness to you, your family and all the people of Ukraine. With appreciation for the ever-growing ties between our countries, I again congratulate and welcome you.

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