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25 January, 1999
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Ambassador Buteiko In His Letter Shares With US Congressmen Very Important Events That Have Occured Recently In Ukraine
Having formally presented on January 21, 1999 his credentials to President B.Clinton as the Ambassador of Ukraine, Anton Buteiko in his letters to the US senators and representatives expressed gratitude for the US continuing support in the years of the rebirth of democracy in Ukraine. "Cooperation with the US will allow us to solidify Ukraine’s role as a stable and flourishing Central European nation, as a true partner and ally of the US in a strategically important region," he stressed.
Being a country with deeply rooted centuries-old democratic traditions, Ukraine is now in the process of affirming its rightful place in the family of free and prosperous nations, he went on. Ukraine became an independent nation on August 24, 1991 and adopted a Constitution guaranteeing essential human rights to every citizen on June 28, 1996. Ukraine was the first nation in our region to ensure a peaceful democratic transition of power, and last March it had the third consecutive free and fair elections to its parliament on a multiparty basis. Ukraine played a key role in bringing an end to the Soviet Union and in forging a transition which averted the bloody conflicts historically associated with a collapsing empire. In the ensuing short seven years, Ukraine has reversed decades of Soviet anti-NATO indoctrination, and was the first post-Soviet state to launch a comprehensive and ambitious national program to strengthen a distinctive partnership with the Alliance.
As Ambassador Buteiko’s emphasized, recently, Ukraine faced a major challenge in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) as leftist forces attempted to reverse Ukraine’s commitment to democracy, and change the fundamentals of its domestic and foreign policy, most notably its adherence to market reforms and cooperation with the West. In his words, "the rejection of these assaults on democracy in Ukraine -- this reaffirmation of our commitment to democracy by the elective representatives of the Ukrainian people -- was a milestone on the path of Ukraine to full-fledged integration into the European Community and reflects most favorably on the support and confidence shown by the United States Government in Ukraine."
"The next presidential elections in October, 1999 and the heightening of internal political battles in Ukraine will require demonstration of tangible benefits to the Ukrainian people and real advantages of the path of current leadership for the implementation of radical reforms, as well as a European and Euro-Atlantic direction of the nation’s foreign policy. Former communists will actively try to play a card of the alleged failure of pro-Western policies, cooperation with international financial institutions and even of our strategic partnership. Therefore, it is important that these forces have no grounds to use any setbacks in Ukraine-US mutual cooperation as extra aces in the electoral battles. "
Putting aside all of our pre-election struggles, the leadership of Ukraine is still doing everything possible to move ahead and implement reforms. Ambassador emphasized that Ukraine is doing this not to please the IMF or even the US, but rather so that Ukrainian people made this conscious choice as the only way to future prosperity, and follow this path to the end. "Most importantly, we had the opportunity to successfully begin the process of converting Ukraine into a flourishing democratic Central European nation. We rely on US support throughout this process."
Ukraine highly values its constructive relations with the U.S., which reached a high level of mutual cooperation in 1998. The past year reinforced that emerging structures and mechanisms of Ukrainian-American Binational Commission are operating effectively, and cooperation in the strategic partnership regime is mutually beneficial and meets the national interests of our two countries.
Ambassador Buteiko cited some of numerous concrete examples of the effectiveness of such an approach, such as: more than 900 American entities doing business in Ukraine; Kharkiv initiative, launched in order to provide assistance to this important industrial region which was directly affected by Ukraine’s responsible yet uneasy decision to give up its cooperation with Russia in the Iranian NPP project; Ukraine-US cooperation in the aerospace sector and in the sphere of peaceful use of nuclear energy, and support from the US for Ukraine’s plan for transport of Caspian gas to Polish and other European markets.
"Support from the U.S. takes on new meaning today, in light of the global financial situation. Ukraine’s economic position is very different from the situation in certain neighboring countries, most notably in areas such as the essentially higher level of tax collection, the stability of our currency, the hryvnia, and much lower level of inflation. Importantly, Ukraine, despite many prognoses, was able to avert a full financial crisis, significantly slowing the rate of growth decline and preventing a destabilizing situation in the country", he noted.
Nevertheless, social and economic development, as well as the political situation in Ukraine, stands to be negatively impacted over the next few years. Cooperation with the US in the implementation of economic reforms and the support of Ukraine in the international financial institutions have already yielded definite stabilizing results in our country and will continue to have a large role in reducing the adverse effects of the global crisis.
In addition, Ukraine’s ability to keep to a strict budget, which meets the requirements of the IMF, not only showed the responsible stance of Ukraine to cooperation with international financial institutions, but also demonstrated the existence of constructive forces in the Verkhovna Rada who are willing to cooperate with executive power in the attainment of economic rebirth of our nation.
An important task for Ukraine is reaching its strategic goal – full integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures. For the last year and a half, this process has greatly quickened and has gained more recognition. Ukraine sees its future, without a doubt, in Europe, although it recognizes that this path will be long and difficult.
In conclusion, Ambassador Anton Buteiko underlined that Ukraine not only aspires to but reinforces its tendency toward change by fulfilling concrete projects which will allow us to solidify Ukraine’s role as a stable and flourishing Central European nation, as a true partner and ally of the US in a strategically important region.