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Remarks on Arrival in Kiev, Ukraine

May 11, 1995

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.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 3:25 p.m. in the Mariinsky Palace Courtyard. In his remarks, he referred to President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine and his wife, Lyudmyla Niaolayivna Kuchma.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on Arrival in Kiev, Ukraine Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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