News / Europe

Clinton Begins Five-Nation Central Europe-Caucasus Trip in Kyiv

Clinton holds talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who has made overtures to both West and Russia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, at the start of a five-nation trip to central Europe and the Caucasus region. She holds talks with Ukrainian officials, including President Viktor Yanukovych, who was voted back into office earlier this year after a six-year absence.

Mr. Yanukovych is considered more pro-Russian than his predecessor Viktor Yushchenko, a hero of the 2004 Orange Revolution that ended Mr. Yanukovych's first term as president.

But since being sworn into office in February, Mr. Yanukovych has sent conciliatory signals to the west, among them visiting Brussels rather than Moscow on his first foreign trip.

At the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April with President Obama, the Ukrainian leader announced his country was giving up its entire stockpile of 90 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium, enough to build several nuclear weapons.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Philip Gordon says Ukraine has "every right" to want close relations with Russia, but that U.S. officials are encouraged by Mr. Yanukovych's expressed desire for good relationships with Europe and the United States as well.

Gordon says he hopes the improvement of U.S.-Russian relations, underscored by President Dmitri Medvedev's Washington visit last week, will give central European countries the political space to pursue an independent course.

"We want to get beyond the notion that European diplomacy and security is a zero-sum game, and that countries in central Europe need to choose whether they're going to be pro-Russian or pro-American. Indeed, one of the things we've said about the relationship with Russia is that when the United States has a better relationship with Russia, that is actually a benefit to countries in Central Europe because they don't feel obliged to choose or orient, one way or another," he said.

Gordon insists that the Obama administration's "reset" (to set again) of relations with Moscow is in the interests of both powers, and will not be affected by revelations this week of an alleged Russian spy ring in the United States.

Secretary Clinton is taking part with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstyantyn Hryschchenko in a meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission, and will also meet with opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Clinton goes on to Krakow, Poland, on Saturday for a policy speech at an observance of the tenth anniversary of the Community of Democracies, founded in 2000 by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her late Polish counterpart Bronislaw Geremek.

She will also hold talks with current Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, and attend a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Polish leaders, including President Lech Kaczynski killed in last April's plane crash in Russia.

Clinton is due in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, late Saturday night to begin a brief Caucasus tour, her first since taking office, that also includes stops in Armenia and Georgia.

She intends to reaffirm U.S. support for Georgian territorial integrity and for full implementation of the cease-fire accord that ended Georgia's brief war with Russia in 2008.

She will also press for action toward settlement of the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, and for renewed momentum toward fully normal relations between Armenia and Turkey.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs