Strong Affections for Ukraine from Indiana at Roundtable VI

Ukraine’s Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable VI
“Ukraine’s Transition to an Established National Identity”

Strong Affections for Ukraine from Indiana at Roundtable VI

(UNIS, Washington, DC, September 28, 2005) Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) received a resounding applause at the Ukraine’s Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable VI when he declared unambiguously “I care deeply about Ukraine.”

Earlier in the day, Senator Lugar announced that the Parliamentary Development Project for Ukraine (PDP) at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University received a $500,000 cooperative agreement from the US Agency for International Development.

Senator Lugar represented President Bush during the November 2004 presidential run-off election where he stressed free and fair election procedures would bolster international respect for the legitimacy of the winning candidate and for Ukraine.

“I watched the first round of elections with great interest,” said Senator Lugar. “I got a call from the White House that President Bush wanted to express the American position and he would write a letter and I would deliver to President Kuchma.”

“The letter essentially said that in the event that the elections did not turn out well, there would be consequences that went unnamed,” said Lugar.

After the meeting, Senator Lugar recounted how he bumped into a large delegation from Russia that was also waiting to meet with President Kuchma. Lugar recalled that he recognizing some of the delegates from arms reduction work completed as part of the Nunn-Lugar initiative to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. “I asked my Russian friends whether they would meet with candidate Yushchenko and they said ‘That’s not on our schedule’,” Lugar recalled.

Senator Lugar recently returned from a trip overseas with junior Senator Barrack Obama (D-IL) where they observed a new emerging problem with conventional weapons. “The major arms control arrangement this time is in stores of conventional weapons. Some are exotic, like the Man-Pad, shoulder launch missiles, which are highly valued by transnational terrorists,” said Lugar. “We want to work with people to destroy these weapons although they are beyond our weapons of mass destruction mandate.” The Nunn-Lugar program has employed 58,000 scientists that were previously involved in weapons of mass destruction programs in the former Soviet Union.

“Despite all that I’ve seen in Ukraine, the thing that struck me the most about my last trip is the problem of energy independence,” said Lugar. While in Kyiv over the summer, Senator Lugar met with then Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko about alternative sources of oil and gas. There is a real concern among Ukraine’s leadership that Russia will use their monopoly to exert changes in Ukraine’s foreign policy goals.

Senator Lugar noted that although this situation is grim, it is not insoluble. “Together we have some serious thinking to do regarding how we can change the situation in Ukraine,” said Lugar. The Center for US-Ukrainian Relations is organizing a conference this fall to begin a US-Ukrainian energy dialogue, something Senator Lugar intimated to be a necessary first step as establishing energy independence.

Lugar also is committed to establishing normal trade relations between the U.S. and Ukraine through the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik sanctions.

“I applaud this conference and the organizers for providing a forum to exchange thoughts between America and Ukraine,” concluded Lugar.