|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Interview on Studio 1+1 Talk Show
Kiev, Ukraine, April 14, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
HOST: Good Evening. This is Studio 1+1 and you’ll have an opportunity today to participate in a dialogue about democracy. Today we have an exceptional guest. We have a live broadcast. We’re going to be talking with the Secretary of State of the United States, Madeleine Albright. Good evening, Madame. And also in this studio you’re going to be speaking with Danilo Yanevskiy. And, also, MykolaVeresen.
HOST: Good evening, Madame Secretary. Good evening, Ukraine. What else? Kiev, Ukraine! And we welcome you here. And of course I’m Anya Bezulik and the most important thing is that you’ll be able to take advantage of this conversation. Our telephone is working and this is the number. You’ll be able to send us your questions to Madame Albright taking advantage of e-mail. And our address is -- or else you could contact us by pager and that is the number and ask for Albright. And right now we’re going to propose an opportunity to get acquainted with our guest this evening.
VIDEO PRESENTATION VOICEOVER: Appointed by President Clinton on December 5, 1996. On January 23, 1997, she took the oath of office as the 64h Secretary of State of the United States of America. She is the first woman Secretary of State. Before her appointment, she was the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations from 1993-96. She was also a member of President Clinton’s National Security Council. She has a Masters and Doctorate degree at Columbia’s Department of Law and Public Administration. She conducted research activity in the field of international relations, international law, the role of press, and political transformations. She is fluent in French and Czech. She speaks and reads Russian and Polish. She has three daughters.
HOST: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is ready to answer your questions. This is our number or our e-mail address or pager, "Albright." Madame Albright -- allow me to take advantage of the fact that I am the host to ask the first question. And I’m going to say that the political scene is multipolar. In connection with this, what do you feel about the responsibility of the United States as a country and your responsibility towards the world?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Dobriy Vecher (Good Evening). And may I just -- before I answer your question -- say that the last time that I was in Ukraine, I was here two years ago, I had the opportunity to have a really terrific discussion with students at Kiev-Mohyla University. And so I’m looking forward tonight as I look at this audience to having a very good discussion with a generation, I think, that has an historic opportunity to really direct the future of this country. And that’s one reason why President Kuchma and Vice President Gore announced last December that we would be doubling the number of Ukrainians taking part in our top exchange programs. I think that that is a wonderful way for us to all get to know each other. I know that at this moment a lot of the challenges that Ukraine faces seem to be very difficult and that this is a very difficult transition period but I believe, and I believe this even before today when I had the chance to meet with President Kuchma and Prime Minister Yushchenko, that they are taking very important steps to move the country forward. And I hope, then, that they would have American support as the reform process moves forward. And so I’m very, very glad to be here and to answer your questions about the role of the United States.
I think that the world is a very complicated place now, where many countries have to have responsibilities for the actions throughout the world, but the United States, at this stage, is the sole superpower. This is not a choice that we made, but one that came upon us and, therefore, I think that we have a great responsibility to assist other countries and to help move them to democratic and market systems, because we think that those are the systems under which people have the greatest opportunity to express their views. But we don’t like to do things by ourselves and so, in a multipolar world, which I think we’re moving towards, as partners, and we always looking for partners, and so I’m very glad that Ukraine is one of our strategic partners.
HOST: Thank you very much Madame Albright. Perhaps I can say that over the last several years of your own work, most people of the world feel that you are, as a person, not only a political figure, but as a serious political factor as we see here in our studio. We can see you on our own. This life status -- has this left any markings on you?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, you know, it’s very hard to consider what it is -- how other people really look at you and, for me, what you were describing was my background, that I have three children. I actually have five grandchildren also and I consider myself a fairly normal person. But, one of the great honors for me is to represent the United States and so I know that the factor that I play is really as the representative of America. And, there are parts of my story that weren’t up there and I think that the factor that I am is that I represent a story of millions of Americans and I know that there are a million Ukrainian-Americans. People who came to the United States and had the opportunity to live in a democratic system and the fact that I -- I wasn’t born in the United States, I was born in Czechoslovakia -- and that I can now represent this country is a sign of America. But I’d like to be able to talk about democracy and show what young people can do in this process. And so I see myself as a teacher and as a representative of the United States.
HOST: Of course. No, it’s very logical because you’re talking about your love for this issue. We’re going to go to our topic -- Ukraine and democracy as young Ukrainians understand it.
VIDEO: (multiple speakers) Democracy will be able to lead our country out of the crisis in which it finds itself and where you see difficulties with the economy and the standard of living of the people. It’s hard as well to talk about democracy. The example of Russia and its conflict with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe proves that the development of democracy in post-Soviet countries are varied and important in post-Soviet countries. The people are not ready for this because of the low level of education and they are not well informed about politics nor other things. I think that when our people participate more, will be more educated and understand more about what’s going on with them -- then, we’ll have democracy. For this, we need the efforts of all Ukrainians, the most valuable of what we have in Ukraine, it’s us. Democracy can be built in two ways: the first way, until the entire people understand what democracy is, only then will they be ready for it. It will take two hundred years -- it will be very, very long and painful. Our economic situation is now changing and as much as it is changing then, of course, this will then lead to changes in the formation of a democratic society, that is to a civil society. I feel that there is hope.
HOST: Now, we’re going to go to our two other hosts. I know that people will not understand if I don’t ask whether the goal of your visit here is to preempt President Clinton’s visit to Ukraine. And why am I asking this? Because our civil servants are cleaning the streets and I want to make sure that our civil servants know who they are cleaning our roads for that they know to let us know when President Clinton is coming. So this has to do with democracy also.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I know that President Clinton would love to come, but I think that the streets might get a little dirty before he can get here. But I know that in our discussions that he would love to come at some point. We talk about Ukraine a lot. Vice President Gore is very interested in Ukraine obviously because of the Gore-Kuchma Commission and I’m afraid that the streets will probably have to be cleaned again before he gets here.
HOST: Thank you very much. I think that we have some questions from our audience, Mikola, if you would take…I’ve already…you can ask…all right I’m going. This question having to do with the democratic institutions in Ukraine. We have the existence of a specific lobbyism in Ukraine and some people in society feel that it’s not democratic and not legal, but we know that in the United States there is a long history of lobbyism. How do you feel…In what ways these interactions between the government and business and how does it work with the government standards?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think you’ve asked a very important question about how democracy works. The main point, I think, for everybody to understand is that democracy is a completely open system where people have an opportunity to state their views in a variety of forms so that they can they can get their views to the elected officials. The word lobbyist, it’s interesting you know. If you ever have a chance to visit the U.S. Capitol, there is a place called the lobby which is a room that is near the official chamber and from the first parts of our Republic, there were people that stood in that lobby waiting to talk to the members of Congress as they came through which is where the word lobbyist comes from. We consider that role a legitimate part of the system where people can state their views. Where there begins to be concern in any system, ours or yours or any other, is where it becomes corrupt in any way, where money becomes involved in trying to persuade people to accept their views and where there is bribery and various aspects. That becomes undemocratic, but the idea of lobbying is basically the idea of educating the elected representatives about a particular issue, whether it’s a business issue or an environmental issue or an educational issue.
HOST: There’s a question here.
QUESTION: Madame Albright, if you would answer a question. We have a question having to do with Ukraine not long ago gave to close Chernobyl, before the end of the 2000. How do you assess the situation, the chances of Ukraine to have the implementation of the G-7 in this issue? What is the position of the United States in all of this?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First, I think that everybody is fully cognizant of the tremendous tragedy of Chernobyl and we have talked about it. Obviously many of us remember the horror of Chernobyl and it warned a lot of other countries about the dangers of this kind of a nuclear plant. I’ve spoken today with both the Prime Minister and the President about the importance of closing Chernobyl and they reconfirmed the fact that they would. One of my friends, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, the British Foreign Minister, was here yesterday. He spoke about support for Chernobyl and the United States will also be supportive. We need to find a date at which Chernobyl will actually be closed and then the G-7 and the other countries I believe will carry out their responsibilities in funding the closing of Chernobyl and building the sarcophagus that has to go there and…But there is a common responsibility that Ukrainian, that the Ukraine authorities have now to set a time for the closing and then there will be pledging conferences in order to get the money to help close Chernobyl.
HOST: I’d also like to draw the attention to our viewers because this is a live broadcast. These are the numbers. Please take advantage of calling. You have the opportunity to use e-mail and I expect that this is seen on your screen and also there is a pager available to you and right now, dear colleagues, if you…I’m going to allow myself…yes, we’ll take an e-mail.
QUESTION: The result of your previous visit to Ukraine was the Bushehr contract which anticipated cooperation of Ukraine with the nuclear technology sphere as a result, Ukraine lost the opportunity to earn significant money. The U.S. took certain responsibilities upon itself to compensate Ukraine in particular by providing large scale investment into the Kharkiv region. To date, the Kharkiv region is still waiting. Do you feel that the U.S. always carries out its promises with respect to other countries?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, the answer is yes, but perhaps not exactly in the way people expect. But, just let me make the following point. When I was here two years ago, I was very glad to sign an agreement that made clear that the relationship with Iran and Bushehr would not take place. I think that since that time, we have undertaken a number of activities to try to engage in ways of getting economic development and promote trade and investment in the region and we have appointed a senior American advisor, who is now in Kharkiv, to trade and energy-related conferences and the delivery of approximately 18 million dollars in medicines and medical equipment to hospitals in the region. I somehow knew that this question would be asked so I have notes on it. I know this has been a question for people. There are also ongoing programs for training and mentoring entrepreneurs in the region as well as efforts to assist in small and medium enterprise development and a variety of educational exchange programs also, I think, contribute substantially to the fulfillment of our initiative. But, there are other aspects that have come as a result of it. There has been Agreement 123 on nuclear cooperation. It was the first one that we signed with a former Soviet republic. A $40 million nuclear fuel qualification program which will allow Ukraine to diversify its sources for nuclear fuel and increased funding, totaling to date $7 million, for Ukrainian scientists through the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine. And membership in the missile technology control regime and a U.S. -- Ukrainian rocket technology safeguard agreement and a memorandum of understanding on space cooperation so these are the kinds of ongoing programs that have come as a result of your cutting off your relationship with Busher. We are proceeding further. The subject came up today in my discussions and Ambassador Pifer and an official of the Ukrainian government are going to work further because there have been some problems in Kharkiv specifically some bureaucratic issues that need to be resolved before we can do additional work.
HOST: I’d like to remind everyone that in the studio we have the Secretary of State Madame Albright and I expect that the …persons speaking will…and
QUESTION: Hanna and I represent the Ukrainian National, this is not…the University of, not Kiev- Mohyla. What would you advise me in a new country, very painful is the issue of gender. What could you tell our women politicians, you as the first woman Secretary of State.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that it is very important for all countries to be able to use their human resources to their fullest capability and with women in most countries being at least half if not more of the population, a country in order to really prosper has to use its women well and to put women into positions where they can have economic power as well as political power. We believe very much that women should be able to do what they want to and when they do, we have found that societies prosper more, that societies are healthier. There is less criminality and economic development takes place across the board in a better way. I think that what has to happen is that young women and women have to learn to work with each other very early on and that some of the prejudices that have existed both in our society and in yours against women can only be eradicated by beginning very early. I am very interested because this was when I taught at Georgetown University, I was there heading a program about how to get women interested in international relations and from my own experiences I also found that as women we would always kind of sit back at meetings and not really give all of our ideas early and would say, think to ourselves, no, that’s not a very smart idea and then some man would say it and everyone would say it was brilliant and you’d only wished that you had said it earlier. So, I have one piece of advice to women, especially young women and that is to interrupt. Men interrupt all the time and I think that it’s very important that if you have an idea, interrupt. I used to teach my classes that way. I told everybody not to raise their hands. It got to be a little crazy, but I believe that women need to interrupt.
HOST: There were two men, and of course they’re going to be applauding. This is a wonderful example of international solidarity of women. Mykola, perhaps you could ask a question. We’re only going to give the microphone to him.
QUESTION: Madame Albright, to your mind, what are the key words that are being used to talk about Ukraine as a country in the world and the United States? Are you talking about corruption or what are you talking about?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: That’s a very interesting question because I think that different words are being used now than they were three or four months ago. I think that there was a sense before that there were not enough economic reforms going forward, that everything had kind of slowed down. The truth is corruption was a word that was used. A question about whether people really had an opportunity to work, how the democracy was working. I believe that there is, it’s like a second chance for Ukraine now. And that the combination of the President and the Prime Minister and a Rada that will in fact make sure that the various laws that are necessary to be carried out for a robust economic program, that is to have a good budget, privatization, a tax law, changes in the agricultural and energy sectors. That all those should go forward and I think that the words that are now being used about Ukraine are hopeful, hard workers, smart. I was very interested in hearing the students here and also when I met with American business people today, they were saying that this is a country where the literacy rate and the quick learning ability of the people is a huge bonus. So, I think there is a sense of hope about Ukraine, but there is a lot of work ahead and it’s the young people that are going to make this work. You all have to realize that this is your country and democracy is a wonderful concept and it’s a privilege and a responsibility and it’s hard work.
HOST: I have another proposal, let’s ask for the phones to ring. Hello?
CALLER: Good evening. Madame Albright, I’d like to know, Ukraine is in crisis mode, and you as one of the leaders of one of the most influential leading countries, in what way are you helping Ukraine to come out of this, this situation?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we are working very hard, I think generally to give assistance in the following ways, but the main thing that has to happen is for Ukraine to help itself. The IMF is providing, I think, a very good road map for how Ukraine can develop a set of economic reforms that will put into the right road for having more investment and being a part of the international global trading system. And the United States is supporting through a variety of assistance programs, through education programs and trying to give whatever support we can, but the important point here is, and this is what I was discussing with the government leaders, is that there has to be robust economic program where there is more privatization, a budget that makes senses, taxes that are actually collected so that salaries can be paid and privatization. Then you will find that the investment will come into this country and that Ukraine will, in fact, be able to take its rightful place in Europe.
HOST: I would like to say something. I’m asking our viewers that when you call to the studio to please tell us where you are calling from and what is your last name, especially if you need us.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, one question, if we can make something clear, you were saying you like Mr. Yushchenko’s government and that you had very productive meetings and that after the visit of President Kuchma to the United States after the government, there were complications in terms of credits that were received, etc., etc., etc. I’m not talking about the anti-Yushchenko press. How can one talk about from one then you’re talking about support for Yushchenko. On the other hand there are signs that you are not supporting him? What is the truth?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: No, the truth is the following is that what has to happen in order for this IMF program to go forward there have to be some audits made. And this was true before I got here. But in discussions today, it is very evident that the Prime Minister is cooperating in terms of this audit. Transparency is a word that is kind of a code for what has to happen and the books have to be opened up. I have been told by IMF officials that, in fact, there is very good cooperation and that there were questions about some aspects of the way accounting was done, but I think that the sense that we have is that the Prime Minister is very dedicated to having a transparent, open accountability of what has happened so that the process can move forward and what we have been suggesting is that there be a very strong reform program so that the international community knows that Ukraine is on a new path and is ready for more assistance from the outside, for a disbursement of funds.
HOST: The following comment is from within the Institute of Ethnography. In the political science field, one of the global conflicts in the world right now is Russia and the United States, and the rise of Putin coming to power. How do you see the place of Ukraine in this world between Russia and the United States?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, I think that it is very important to talk about having a completely different relationship between the United States and Russia than the one that existed during the Cold War. We are working very hard to have a relationship with Russia which is one of respect and partnership where we cooperate where we can on very important issues such as arms control and we were very pleased that today the Duma ratified the START II treaty, and it’s very important for us to have a relationship with Russia. Russia also needs to go through its set of economic reforms and democratic reforms and take its place in the international community. We have disagreements with Russia at this time over Chechnya. We believe that that is an inappropriate way to handle a difficult political problem. It should be handled politically and not militarily. For us, Ukraine is a very important country. I think that having a democratic and market-oriented Ukraine is important to the United States because of the 50 million people who live here, also because of the role that such a Ukraine plays in a stable Europe. And because you are a strategic partner. And because economically Ukraine can contribute in a very important way. So we see Ukraine independent for a change, in contrast to what happened for 50 years, as an independent, strong country that the United States must have a relationship with independent of any other relationships. You are one of our strategic partners.
HOST: I would like to ask to change the direction of our conversation. Let’s go back to the theme of this program and our correspondents were working on the streets today and this, again, about democracy.
VIDEO (multiple speakers): Without democratic development, they just won’t take us into Europe. Democracy is from my point of view, as they actually said, is the best possible to date form of government in that it allows for the realization of everyone’s interests. Unfortunately, today in Ukraine, not everyone can realize their interests. The person in Ukraine should be first, not the political relationships with other countries. The person should be first and the person’s standard of living. I imagine a developed democracy such as those exemplified by France, Great Britain, Germany, similar to those. Of course, Ukraine should not be a copy, there should be some national difference, but this will be a country with a developed democracy. The people should be taught to participate in these processes, perhaps even from school age.
HOST: I think there’s a question here.
QUESTION: Institute of International Relations. Madame Albright, what are the relations between the United States and Ukraine if we are talking about strategic partners, if we did not give up our nuclear weapons?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that it would be very difficult to have the kind of relationship that we have now because one of the things that we’ve been trying to do is to lessen the danger of nuclear proliferation and as a result of you having given that up, there was assistance given to Ukraine in order to dismantle, move the nuclear materials. And I think that you have become a very important member of the responsible countries in the world that should not be proliferating nuclear materials. In terms of our partnership, I think that there are a number of examples where we are working together. Take for instance what is happening in Kosovo. Today, I made clear to the President and the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister that the United States would help support the Ukrainian forces in Kosovo as a part of KFOR, they will be joining the Polish battalion. That is a very important action of a responsible member of the international community that Ukraine is very much a part of what we are concerned with which is tolerance, the ability of the Kosovars to be able to create their own life and be respected. So, Ukraine is playing that role and I think that we respect Ukraine for having given up its nuclear arsenal. And I believe that Ukraine is stronger as a result of it.
HOST: We’re going to ask the following question please.
QUESTION: Madame Albright. Andriy Protesk, Kiev-Mohyla Academy. What would be the results of the U.S. Presidential election on our relations, the relations of the U.S. with Eastern Europe.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I wish I could answer that. Let me say that I believe that what has happened is that as a result of the work of the Clinton-Gore administration, we have established very clearly the importance of U.S.- Eastern European relations. We have developed a number of structures that I think have institutionalized a relationship with a half of Europe that was under communism that now is free. The expansion of NATO is very important, the enlargement with the three countries that came in. The creation of the Partnership for Peace which has also linked countries together. The importance of the NATO-Ukrainian relationship. Those are now institutionalized relationships that no matter who is elected, I obviously have my preference, no matter who is elected, those relationships are very strong. But I think that one of the themes that I would like to elaborate on here and it goes back to some of the questions that the young people on the screen asked, is: Democracy and relationships are two-way streets and our, American, relationship with Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, is one where both sides have to contribute and where both sides benefit. There are a lot of people who think that being a part of NATO, for instance, is a gift. It’s not a gift. It’s a responsibility. Being part of Partnership for Peace is a responsibility. Ukraine has a responsibility with NATO in that relationship. In democracy, all of you have a responsibility to work and I think that one of those students who said that perhaps the education needs to begin when everybody is very young is essential. And then one of the students earlier had said that it would take 200 years. It won’t because life is very different than it was 200 years ago. Information is power which is why it is important to have a free press in a democracy and why it’s important that all of you, that have computers have as much power as anyone else. You can make decisions at lower levels. So democracy will happen faster if people take it as a responsibility and work hard and understand that it is a privilege and a responsibility and not just a gift.
HOST: Let’s hear from the phone. Good evening.
HOST: Hello. Good Evening. Please tell us who you are and your question.
CALLER: Anatoliy from Kiev. Madame Albright, for giving up our nuclear weapons, we have gained security guarantees. What will happen if one of these countries moves against us?
HOST: Why don’t we take…we’ve already had a similar question, perhaps we can ask one…
QUESTION: Ukrainian Student Union. Today, NATO…this is the protection of rights of people and democracy. Madame Albright, please tell us the terms and conditions that Ukraine can become a member of NATO?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, the Partnership for Peace provides a way for everybody to cooperate. The door for NATO membership remains open. There are membership action plans that, in fact, point up a road map for how countries become a part of NATO. But, I do believe that the relationship that Ukraine and NATO have through a special relationship is another one that is very important both to the Alliance and to Ukraine. And, I hope that as that relationship…the Council met here, not long ago, that that relationship will permit a greater development of activities together. But there is a road map and a plan.
HOST: I know that someone else would like to have a question.
QUESTION: It’s very personal. We see that you have butterflies on your jacket. Tell us, is this a decoration that you like to pin on or does this have some symbolism or does this have to do with how you’re feeling or does it have something to do with your mission here to Ukraine? I wanted you to begin with this, but you decided to…
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Very funny. The pins have become a kind of international joke. It all started when Saddam Hussein called me a snake and I happened to have had a snake pin and so, I wore a snake pin. And, then, when I was at the United Nations and I was the only woman on the Security Council and all the men sat there in their gray suits, I would have fun during the day by putting on different pins and I would say, "read my pins," so that people could figure out what my mood was. So, today, I think, first of all, I love butterflies, but I really have the sense of spring and joy, beautiful weather and coming here for a second chance for Ukraine. The butterfly has emerged.
HOST: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. That we need to say that our program is coming to an end, Madame Albright, if you would like to conclude with some remarks, please.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed this program and that I know there is a great deal of work to be done here and that the recent elections have really given the government a new mandate for President Kuchma and Prime Minister Yushchenko and a new majority in the Rada and the Ukraine is finally ready to make some changes and so I firmly believe that Ukraine’s best days are yet to come. Simply put, "Tse ni chas povertatisya nazad" (this is not the time to turn back). And I am absolutely convinced that Ukraine’s future consists in the success of democracy and that you all know how much work it takes and that I am very pleased to have had this chance to be with you. "Rada byla pospilkuvatisya." (I was pleased to have had this conversation you).
HOST: Dear viewers, this is, you were here with Danilo Yanevskiy, with the Secretary of State of the United States and all of us. Madame Secretary, thank you so very much.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you, that was great.
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