News / Europe

Remarks by President Obama and President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine After Bilateral Meeting

U.S. President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Ukraine president-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Ukraine president-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014.
Warsaw Marriott Hotel
Warsaw, Poland

10:45 A.M. CET
 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it is a great pleasure for me to have the opportunity to have my first extended meeting with President-elect Poroshenko and to hear about his plans for a peaceful and prosperous Ukraine.  Obviously, Ukraine has gone through a very challenging time.  And what we have seen has been a incredible outpouring of democracy in the face of actions by Russia as well as armed militias in certain portions of the east that violate international law, violate sovereignty, and have spurred great violence.
 

Despite all that, what the Ukrainians said in the election that resulted in President-elect Poroshenko’s inauguration on Saturday is that they reject that past.  They reject violence.  They reject corruption.  And what they’re interested in is the opportunity for Ukrainians to make their own decisions about their own future -- a future in which if people work hard, if they are willing to educate themselves and apply themselves, that they can succeed and that they can choose their own representatives, and that those representatives will look out for their interests and not the interests of only those in power. 
 

That’s the hope that President-elect Poroshenko represents.  And in my discussions with him today it’s clear that he understands the aspirations and the hopes of the Ukrainian people.  And when I say the Ukrainian people, I mean all the Ukrainian people.  I think that President-elect Poroshenko recognizes that his mandate is not just to help certain portions of his country succeed, but all portions of his country succeed.
 

We had the opportunity to discuss President-elect Poroshenko’s plans for bringing peace and order to the east that is still experiencing conflict.  We discussed his economic plans and the importance of rooting out corruption, increasing transparency, and creating new models of economic growth.  We discussed issues of energy -- making sure that Ukraine becomes a more energy-efficient economy but also one that is less dependent solely on energy sources from Russia.  And I have been deeply impressed by his vision, in part because of his experience as a businessman, in understanding what’s required to help Ukraine grow and to be effective. 
 

The challenge now for the international community is to make sure that we are supporting Petro’s efforts.  And the United States has already stepped up in a number of ways.  We’re supplementing the assistance that the IMF is providing with $1 billion in additional loan guarantees, and we’ve discussed additional steps that we might take to help during this reform and transition process.  We’ve discussed additional steps that we can take to help train and professionalize the Ukrainian law enforcement and military so they can deal with some of the challenges that are still taking place in certain portions of the country.  And, in fact, today we announced some additional non-lethal assistance that we can provide -- things like night vision goggles that will help a professional Ukrainian military force do its job. 
 

And finally, we discussed how in my meetings today with the G7 and tomorrow with the G7, as well as conversations that I’m having with other European leaders, it’s important for the international community to stand solidly behind the efforts of Petro to broker with the Russians a process whereby Russia no longer is financing or supporting or arming separatists on Ukraine’s sovereign territory, and that a unified international community that is clear that that is a violation of international law and that is willing to back up those principles with consequences for Russia should Mr. Putin not seize this opportunity to develop a lawful and better relationship with his neighbors -- that that has to be part of our mission over the next several days. 
 

So I’m excited about the opportunities.  I think that the Ukrainian people made a wise selection in somebody who has the ability to lead them through this difficult period.  And the United States is absolutely committed to standing behind the Ukrainian people and their aspirations not just in the coming days and weeks but in the coming years, because we’re confident that Ukraine can, in fact, be a thriving, vital democracy that has strong relationships with Europe and has strong relationships with Russia.  But that can only happen if we stand clearly behind them during this difficult time.
 

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet.
 

PRESIDENT-ELECT POROSHENKO:  I want to thank President Obama, the United States people, the United States government and Congress for the continuous support demonstrating for the fight, the Ukrainian people, for freedom, for democracy, for building up independent sovereign European state.  This is crucially important for us, and now we feel a friend in need is a friend indeed.  The American position of the American people is very, very important for us.  
 

Point number two is that from the very beginning, from the first day of inauguration, we are ready to present the plan for peaceful relation, the situation in the east.  And we think that the next several days will be very important, crucial, for the Ukrainian -- history of Ukrainian perspective.  We pay very much attention about the G7 meeting, about the statement, about the possibility for finding out the position for peaceful process on Normandy, when we have -- first Ukraine were invited as a member of anti-Hitler coalition and celebration of the D-Day.  And I think this will be very symbolic because exactly in Normandy we can start to find out this peaceful process in Ukraine.
 

I want to thank the President for the support in our initiative in the reforming in the energy sector.  I’m very satisfied about our future cooperation in the anti-corruption deal that I think this is crucially important points for the modernization of the country.  I think that our top two very important issue -- we thank you for supporting Ukraine in solving our Crimea problem.  We demonstrate that -- the whole world demonstrate the solidarity in Ukraine in not accepting the aggression in Crimea, in not accepting this whole fake referendum, and not accepting the annexing of the part of Ukrainian territory.  And all the time we will demand restoring law and order, and withdraw the foreign troops from the Crimean territory.
 

And also, I think it is very important that the United States support the European aspiration of the Ukrainian people.  That is half a year Ukrainian people, millions of Ukrainian people on the street fighting for now and signing a association agreement for the European perspective for my country.  And I think that the modernization of the country, providing the reform of the -- creating the good investment climate, building on the independent coal system, providing the energy efficiency and energy diversification helps Ukrainian people to receive membership perspective for the European Union in very near future after successful program for the modernization, with the strong assistance of the United States of America.
 

I thank you very much for that.  And I think this was very fruitful and effective negotiation.
 

END

10:55 A.M. CET

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid