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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright,
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadiy Udovenko
Remarks at a Photo-Op
Washington, D.C., March 7, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: It is a great pleasure for me to welcome Foreign Minister Udovenko here today to the Department of State, and for me to greet him as Secretary of State. Today Ukraine and the United States are strategic partners in building our shared vision: a Europe at peace, fully integrated, and fully free.

An independent, prosperous and democratic Ukraine is a critical part of that vision. A democratic Ukraine will be an example to its neighbors and a leader throughout the region. A prosperous Ukraine will be a major world market and a strong contributor to the global economy. A peaceful Ukraine will be a vigorous partner in European and international affairs. The United States is committed to working with Ukraine to help achieve these goals in the months and years ahead.

Today, the Foreign Minister and I will review the steps we are taking, through the Gore-Kuchma Commission and other programs, to build on Ukraine's progress in reforming its economy and strengthening its democracy. We will also discuss our efforts to cement Ukraine's place in the central European mainstream. We're making important progress in building up the NATO-Ukraine relationship, and I believe that an agreement will be complete in time for the Madrid summit this July. Over the last six years, the United States and Ukraine have built a durable partnership, from expanding our trade relations to working together to promote peace in Bosnia. I am confident that our relationship will continue to develop, and that a democratic, prosperous Ukraine will take its rightful place in the center of Europe. I look forward very much to having an excellent working relationship with Ukraine and with the Foreign Minister. Mr. Foreign Minister?

FOREIGN MINISTER UDOVENKO: I attach great importance to this meeting, and negotiations with the Secretary of State. Further development of strategic partnership and relations between our countries is one of the most important priorities, and the task of Ukraine's foreign policy. The aim of this visit is to confirm the high level of our cooperation, achieved during the last few years, and to map out the agenda of our bilateral relations for the future.

During the meeting, I plan to-I hope Madam Secretary also will agree on the dates and parameters of the plenary session of the Kuchma-Gore Commission. We consider this as a unique mechanism of the implementation of our strategic partnership, which plans to control the fulfillment of all aspects of our bilateral cooperation. Therefore, the results of the Commission sessions will give additional signals to business and to the investors who plan to go to Ukraine.

Today's agenda will also include the issues of disarmament and arms control; the political situation in Europe; the problems of European and Atlantic integration; the establishment of a special partnership between NATO and Ukraine; and the format of a NATO-Ukrainian document will be also discussed. The plans for the future meetings of the leaders of the two countries will be high on our agenda, I hope.

The Ukrainian-U.S. dialogue is being held at various levels: state, governmentally, and business. Just now we received a very big delegation of U.S. congressmen, headed by Congressman Solomon and Senator Roth. They very much enjoyed the visit; they were in Kiev and Sevastopol. The leaders of our countries attach uppermost significance to the development of our bilateral relations in various fields, and are able to make considerable contributions. Thank you.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much.

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