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REMARKS BYPRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRESIDENT-ELECT PETRO POROSHENKO OF UKRAINE AFTER BILATERAL MEETING
Office of the Press Secretary,The White House,
Warsaw Marriott Hotel,
Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Published by U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC),
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, June 4, 2014
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is a great pleasure for me to have theopportunity to have my first extended meeting with President-elect Poroshenkoand to hear about his plans for a peaceful and prosperous Ukraine. Obviously, Ukraine has gone through a very challenging time. And what wehave seen has been a incredible outpouring of democracy in the face of actionsby Russia as well as armed militias in certain portions of the east thatviolate international law, violate sovereignty, and have spurred greatviolence.
Despite all that, what the Ukrainians said in the election thatresulted in President-elect Poroshenko’s inauguration on Saturday is that theyreject that past. They reject violence. They rejectcorruption. And what they’re interested in is the opportunity forUkrainians to make their own decisions about their own future -- a future inwhich if people work hard, if they are willing to educate themselves and applythemselves, that they can succeed and that they can choose their ownrepresentatives, and that those representatives will look out for theirinterests and not the interests of only those in power.
That’s the hope that President-elect Poroshenko represents. Andin my discussions with him today it’s clear that he understands the aspirationsand the hopes of the Ukrainian people. And when I say the Ukrainianpeople, I mean all the Ukrainian people. I think that President-electPoroshenko recognizes that his mandate is not just to help certain portions ofhis country succeed, but all portions of his country succeed.
We had the opportunity to discuss President-elect Poroshenko’s plansfor bringing peace and order to the east that is still experiencingconflict. We discussed his economic plans and the importance of rootingout corruption, increasing transparency, and creating new models of economicgrowth. We discussed issues of energy -- making sure that Ukraine becomesa more energy-efficient economy but also one that is less dependent solely onenergy sources from Russia. And I have been deeply impressed by hisvision, in part because of his experience as a businessman, in understandingwhat’s required to help Ukraine grow and to be effective.
The challenge now for the international community is to make sure thatwe are supporting Petro’s efforts. And the United States has alreadystepped up in a number of ways. We’re supplementing the assistance thatthe IMF is providing with $1 billion in additional loan guarantees, and we’vediscussed additional steps that we might take to help during this reform andtransition process.
We’ve discussed additional steps that we can take to help train andprofessionalize the Ukrainian law enforcement and military so they can dealwith some of the challenges that are still taking place in certain portions ofthe country. And, in fact, today we announced some additional non-lethalassistance that we can provide -- things like night vision goggles that willhelp a professional Ukrainian military force do its job.
And finally, we discussed how in my meetings today with the G7 andtomorrow with the G7, as well as conversations that I’m having with otherEuropean leaders, it’s important for the international community to standsolidly behind the efforts of Petro to broker with the Russians a processwhereby Russia no longer is financing or supporting or arming separatists onUkraine’s sovereign territory, and that a unified international community thatis clear that that is a violation of international law and that is willing toback up those principles with consequences for Russia should Mr. Putin notseize this opportunity to develop a lawful and better relationship with hisneighbors -- that that has to be part of our mission over the next severaldays.
So I’m excited about the opportunities. I think that theUkrainian people made a wise selection in somebody who has the ability to leadthem through this difficult period. And the United States is absolutelycommitted to standing behind the Ukrainian people and their aspirations notjust in the coming days and weeks but in the coming years, because we’reconfident that Ukraine can, in fact, be a thriving, vital democracy that hasstrong relationships with Europe and has strong relationships withRussia. But that can only happen if we stand clearly behind them duringthis difficult time.
Thank you so much for taking the time to meet.
PRESIDENT-ELECT POROSHENKO: I want to thank President Obama, the United States people, the United Statesgovernment and Congress for the continuous support demonstrating for the fight,the Ukrainian people, for freedom, for democracy, for building up independentsovereign European state. This is crucially important for us, and now wefeel a friend in need is a friend indeed. The American position of theAmerican people is very, very important for us.
Point number two is that from the very beginning, from the first dayof inauguration, we are ready to present the plan for peaceful relation, thesituation in the east. And we think that the next several days will bevery important, crucial, for the Ukrainian -- history of Ukrainianperspective. We pay very much attention about the G7 meeting, about thestatement, about the possibility for finding out the position for peacefulprocess on Normandy, when we have -- first Ukraine were invited as a member ofanti-Hitler coalition and celebration of the D-Day. And I think this willbe very symbolic because exactly in Normandy we can start to find out thispeaceful process in Ukraine.
I want to thank the President for the support in our initiative in thereforming in the energy sector. I’m very satisfied about our future cooperationin the anti-corruption deal that I think this is crucially important points forthe modernization of the country. I think that our top two very importantissue -- we thank you for supporting Ukraine in solving our Crimeaproblem. We demonstrate that -- the whole world demonstrate thesolidarity in Ukraine in not accepting the aggression in Crimea, in notaccepting this whole fake referendum, and not accepting the annexing of thepart of Ukrainian territory. And all the time we will demand restoringlaw and order, and withdraw the foreign troops from the Crimean territory.
And also, I think it is very important that the United States supportthe European aspiration of the Ukrainian people. That is half a yearUkrainian people, millions of Ukrainian people on the street fighting for nowand signing a association agreement for the European perspective for mycountry. And I think that the modernization of the country, providing thereform of the -- creating the good investment climate, building on theindependent coal system, providing the energy efficiency and energydiversification helps Ukrainian people to receive membership perspective forthe European Union in very near future after successful program for themodernization, with the strong assistance of the United States of America.
I thank you very much for that. And I think this was veryfruitful and effective negotiation.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
June 4, 2014
FACT SHEET: U.S. Security Assistanceto Ukraine
The UnitedStates is working to bolster Ukraine’s ability to secure its borders and preserveits territorial integrity and sovereignty in the face of Russian occupation ofCrimea and a concerted effort by Russian-backed separatists to destabilizeeastern Ukraine. President Obama has approved more than $23 million inadditional defensive security assistance since early March.
· A new tranche of $5million for the provision of body armor, night vision goggles, and additionalcommunications equipment. This is in addition to the approximately300,000 Meals Ready to Eat (delivered in March), as well as assistance for theprovision of materiel using Foreign Military Financing to support Ukraine’sarmed forces with medical supplies, service member equipment (e.g., helmets,sleeping mats, water purification units), explosive ordnance disposalequipment, and handheld radios.
· The United States alsohas allocated Cooperative Threat Reduction funding to support Ukraine’s StateBorder Guard Service with supplies (e.g., clothing, shelters, small powergenerators and hand fuel pumps, engineering equipment, communicationsequipment, vehicles, and non-lethal individual tactical gear).
· To date, Embassy Kyivhas purchased and delivered 20-person shelters, sleeping bags, fuel filter adapters,barbed wire, patrol flashlights, perimeter alarm systems, fuel pumps,concertina wire, vehicle batteries, spare tires, binoculars, excavators,trucks, generators, food storage freezers, field stoves, and communicationsgear to the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service, for use in monitoring andsecuring their borders.
· On April 1, seniorU.S. defense officials met with their Ukrainian counterparts in Kyiv forbilateral defense consultations, during which they held substantive discussionson regional security, defense cooperation, and areas for growth in theU.S.-Ukraine defense relationship.
· Senior defenseofficials met with Ukrainian counterparts in Kyiv in early June to discussongoing U.S.-Ukraine defense cooperation and U.S. support to Ukraine’s defensereform efforts.
· In early June, U.S.European Command will hold a general/flag officer steering group meeting withUkrainian counterparts in Kyiv to set the strategic direction for futuremilitary-to-military cooperation.