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Office of the Press Secretary

(Kiev Ukraine)

For Immediate Release May 12, 1995



                      Marinskiiy Palace Courtyard
                             Kiev, Ukraine

3:22 p.m. (L)

PRESIDENT KUCHMA: Welcome to Kiev, the heart of Ukraine and her capital. Welcome to the time on our Dnipro Hills where millennium- old Christian civilization was born and flourished, our saints and prophets, warriors and statesmen, establishing the powerful ancient state of Kievrus, were gazing at the future from these hills.

Our Ukrainian state has revived out of sources of life of our history, from an irrevocable yearning for freedom and independence. This is the place, Mr. President, a few steps from here where an historic act of independence of Ukraine was adopted on August the 24th of 1991.

As you see, the past, the present and the future of Ukraine meet on this soil. Today, Ukraine welcomes you, the President of the friendly nation with a luxuriant spring and blossoming key of chestnut trees -- though there is a bit of rain, but it's for happiness, I think.

Spring has always been a symbol of hope, and thus, the first state visit of the United States visit to Ukraine is very symbolic. We believe that the visit will take special place in the records of the Ukrainian-United States relationships, for Ukraine has set an example of nuclear disarmament to mankind, initiated radical economic reforms, it shapes democratic society and it is a reliable, forecasted partner, ready for constructive, mutually beneficial cooperation.

I am confident, Mr. President, that your visit shall not only be bilaterally important, but it shall become a notable international event, taken into account a key geostrategic role of Ukraine in the European security system, and an outstanding role of the USA in supporting European and global security.

We have just marked the 50th anniversary of the victory over Nazism and comprehended horrible lessons of the World War II, in which our people suffered heavy losses. So we clearly see today the necessity of building an efficient world security system in the framework of which there will be no room for misanthropic dictatorships, empire arrogance, aggressive separatism and striving to redraw the political map by means of force.

Ukraine is ready to collaborate closely with the United States, neighboring countries, the world community in shaping the world order meant for the 21st century. The order which would make Cold War or even "Cold Peace" impossible.

This country was an objective of aggressions and alien invasions burning in the flames of war about 200 times in the course of the millennium of our history. That's why we have cherished an inspiring dream -- to live and to build the state system and prosperous, free economy in peace and harmony, feeling indispensable to the European security system.

Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, I'd like to assure you that our hearts are always open for friends. We respect and cherish kindly feelings for industrious, talented and historical, optimistic people of the United States. We're glad for your achievements in the development of economy, social life, health protection, science, culture and sports. We're together with you in mourning the victims of the Oklahoma City tragedy.

We hope that our understanding and trust will enhance after your visit. We'll have new prospects for Ukrainian-American cooperation which has got every chance to be elevated at a qualitatively higher level of special partnership of our countries and peoples.

We'll try to use your short stay here to acquaint you with historical, spiritual and cultural values of our people to tell you about our transformations and problems. We are proud of an important role in every sphere of life in the United States of our compatriots, Americans of the Ukrainian descent, who have retained the best features of the Ukrainian people -- diligence, tolerance, democracy, love to native land, persistence in achieving their goals.

Yes, we are persistent, and we do believe that we'll attain our reign of building independent, democratic, prosperous, stable European state of Ukraine. We also believe that we may rely on the American experience, your understanding of our problems, friendly support and assistance in achieving this goal.

Thank you. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: President Kuchma, Mrs. Kuchma, distinguished members of the government: It is a great honor for me and for our party to be in one of Europe's oldest nations and youngest democracies.

This trip, which follows my stopover here in January of 1994, and President Kuchma's trip to Washington last fall will give us an opportunity to continue the tremendous progress we have made in building strong and productive ties between our countries.

This week in Washington, Moscow, and now Kiev, we celebrated an alliance that turned back the forces of fascism 50 years ago. Our victory was shared. But its cost to the people of the former Soviet Union was unique. On this land alone, more than 5 million Ukrainians lost their lives to the war.

Now, the tremendous will the Ukrainian people brought to the war effort is building a great future for this nation. The United States has an important stake in that future. A secure, stable and prosperous Ukraine can become a hub of democracy for Central Europe, and an important political and economic partner for the United States.

Already, we have seen what such a partnership can accomplish. Ukraine chose to give up nuclear weapons when the former Soviet Union dissolved. Your decision has made the Ukrainian people, the American people and the entire world much safer and more secure.

On behalf of the United States, I want to thank you for that brave and wise decision. We have also been heartened by the bold steps Ukraine has taken over the past several months to foster free markets. Those were the right steps and the international community has given the right response; large-scale assistance to help Ukraine stay on the path of reform. I want President Kuchma and the Ukrainian people to know that the United States and the West will stay the course with you.

I look forward to discussing the potential for strengthening the economic ties between our two nations. The private sector can be the engine of economic growth for Ukraine. And as prosperity takes hold, 52 million Ukrainians can become major consumers of our goods and services. That will produce more jobs, at better wages, in both our countries.

The United States admires the extraordinary progress Ukraine has made in such a short time. Building democracy and a successful market economy takes time and patience. Ukrainian people are demonstrating an abundance of both and I am here to reaffirm our country's strong support for your courage and vision.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 3:20 p.m. (L)