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Press Statement


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Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman
March 16, 2000

Ukraine: Postponement of Prime Minister Yushchenko's Visit

Recent press reports regarding the postponed visit of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yushchenko to Washington require clarification. The visit was not cancelled, but postponed. The U.S. did express concerns to the Ukrainian Government that recent allegations regarding the past use of IMF funds might overshadow other important issues that were planned for discussion during the Prime Minister's visit, including the government's accelerated reform efforts. A series of meetings with Cabinet officers and other officials had been arranged for his visit and a meeting with President Clinton was being finalized. While the Ukrainian government was reviewing whether or not to proceed with the visit, the tragic March 11 accident at the Barakov mine occurred, in which 80 Ukrainian miners were killed. Prime Minister Yushchenko was appointed to head the government's commission to investigate this accident.

Prime Minister Yushchenko heads a government that is taking difficult and bold steps to reverse his country's economic decline and advance its transition to a market economy. We are concerned about allegations of past mismanagement and misreporting of Ukraine's reserves and welcome the Ukrainian government's commitment to cooperate fully in the investigation. We also remain firmly committed to supporting President Kuchma and Prime Minister Yushchenko's efforts to advance the reform agenda in Ukraine, a strategic partner of the United States, and are hopeful that the Prime Minister's visit can be rescheduled in the near future.

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