Remarks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko
Secretary of State
(Via interpreter.) Dear colleagues, now we have a press conference of State Secretary of the United States of America Madam Hillary Clinton as well as Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Ukraine Mr. Gryshchenko. However, as we are pressed for time, we shall only allow one question from each side. Now, we shall have a question from Ukrainian journalist. You are welcome from (inaudible) publication.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) A question to Madam Clinton: What do you think – do you see any (inaudible) for freedom of expression in Ukraine (inaudible) freedoms in connection to, for example, disallowance of (inaudible), the head of their (inaudible) foundation to Ukraine when he was not allowed to enter Ukraine or in regard to no limitations to freedom of assembly, for example, of Ukrainian citizens? Do you see any threats in this regard of – a question to Mr. Gryshchenko: Did you discuss possibilities and (inaudible) of the President of the United States to Ukraine? If yes, when such visit is possible? Did you discuss any possible date of such a visit?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say how delighted I am to be back in Ukraine. We just had a very constructive and comprehensive discussion about a broad range of issues that are of concern to both Ukraine and the United States as well as the region and globally. I think that the commitment that has been made by the president and the government to strengthening and advancing democracy and democratic institutions is very important and I commend the government for those commitments. It is important, obviously, to translate commitments into actions, which is part of the reform agenda that the Government of Ukraine is pursuing.
The United States believes strongly in Ukraine’s future and we think a vibrant democracy, as evidenced by the recent election, which involved a high level of debate and discussion of the issues about Ukraine’s future is a very good sign of the potential that exists for Ukraine’s development. And we think a vibrant, transparent market economy with clear rules is also essential to create the benefits of broadly based prosperity.
The United States will continue to raise concerns about freedom of the media, about freedom of assembly, because we believe, from our own experience, that it’s important for the government to make the kind of commitment that this government has made and to follow through on it. But our strategic partnership is very deep and it’s broadening and strengthening. The foreign minister and I agreed that we will meet again later in the year for the next installment of the specific, concrete actions that we are working on together in our strategic partnership. And democracy, rule of law will be issues, as will energy, investment, climate, security, and all the other important matters that we are discussing.
FOREIGN MINISTER GRYSHCHENKO: (Via interpreter.) Thank you. I would like to answer the second question. But first of all, I would like to tell you that we discussed a wide range of issues of interest for Ukraine and the United States. On some of those matters, our interests coincide and others can be discussed for our mutual benefit.
As for freedom of the media and development of democracy, we also exchanged our views with Madam Secretary of the State. And now we are here, it’s the question with a media resource which is very critical about the government is an evidence that we are on the way to openness and transparency.
As for the visit on the top level, we discussed a possibility of such a summit, and we shall do our best to make sure it takes place soon and we’ll have proper contents and outcomes. Thank you.
MODERATOR: And now we give the floor to our American colleagues so --
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you. Okay, thank you very much. Mary Beth Sheridan from Washington Post. Madam Secretary, a question if I could about the spy issue in the United States. An assistant U.S attorney in New York said yesterday that, “A lot of Russian Government officials in the United States are actively assisting this conspiracy.” I’m wondering if you have spoken to your Russian counterparts about this, and if there is any U.S. thought of retaliatory measures given the alleged involvement of Russian diplomats?
And then if I could, a second question: You mentioned – you spoke a lot about economic reform in Ukraine and the possibility of an IMF agreement being revived. Do you feel like Ukraine has made enough steps in terms of economic reform, austerity measures, and so on? Would you support such an agreement even if they had not done so? And if I could just ask the minister, how close are you to an agreement with the IMF?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, as you know, there are ongoing investigations concerning the spy issues, and I’m not going to comment on them. But I will underscore what President Obama said yesterday, and that is, we are committed to building a new and positive relationship with Russia whenever and wherever we can. We think it is in the interest of the United States to do so, and I think President Obama referred to this latest incident as something from the 20th century. We are now 10 years into the 21st century and we are looking toward the future, and are committed to taking actions which we think are in the interests of American security and values, and also, by the way, in the interests of the kind of future that the leaders of Russia tell us they wish to have for their own people.
Regarding the IMF, that is a matter between Ukraine and the IMF. We are hopeful and encouraging of the reforms that the government here has announced that it is undertaking with respect to its budget, because we know how important it is to try to navigate through these difficult economic times. So certainly, the United States does hope that there is an agreement reached between Ukraine and the IMF. We understand that all of these IMF agreements require certain measures to be taken that are difficult. That is, unfortunately, the global economy that we are coping with right now, but I have a lot of hope that Ukraine and the IMF will work out whatever agreement they can that will be to the benefit of the Ukrainian people in the long term.
FOREIGN MINISTER GRYSHCHENKO: Just to save time I will briefly respond to you in English and then repeat it in Ukrainian myself. In three months we have done as much as any government can do. There are quite a number of legislation pieces which (inaudible) to parliament. There is also the budget which was adopted by parliament and it was done in a very brief time span. We will continue around this (inaudible) and we believe that today’s negotiations with IMF would lead to an agreement. We most certainly hope so. That’s why I say it for today and it will be a crucial day for this negotiations.
Thank you so much.
MODERATOR: With this, we’ll finish. Thank you.
# # #