Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Biden Gives Ukraine ‘One More Chance’ To Reform

KIEV, Ukraine -- The United States pledged an extra $190 million in aid to Ukraine Monday, but Vice President Joe Biden warned that Kiev has just “one more chance” to root out corruption or lose the funding.

The U.S. vice president backs Kiev in the face of Russian aggression.

Biden held talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, pledging support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression and urging the country’s leaders to continue on the path to reform.

“The Ukrainian people cannot once again have their hopes dashed based on corruption,” Biden said. 

“One more chance. It’s absolutely critical for Ukraine in order to be stable and prosperous and part of a secure Europe to definitely, thoroughly, completely root out the cancer of corruption.

The people need to see that the ways of the past are permanently gone, they no longer exist.

That means hard decisions.

That means ramping up the pace of reforms, avoidance of past practices, advancing good governance, increasing transparency across the board at every level of the government and strengthening the rule of law.

It means everybody playing by the same rules, from the folks at the bottom to the folks at the very top.” 

The $190 million in funding brings the total American assistance in recent years to $760 million. 

Biden made it clear that the U.S. “stands firmly with the people of Ukraine in the face of continued – and I emphasize continued – aggression from Russia and Russian-backed separatists.”

“We continue to believe that the best way to end the conflict in Donbass is through a diplomatic framework that was laid out in the Minsk agreement.

But both sides need to hold up that bargain.

Minsk cannot succeed if Russia does not fulfill its commitment and President Putin fails to live up to the promises he has repeatedly made to my president, to you and to the international community.”

He added: “The fact that we are not talking as much every single day about Crimea does not mean in any way we have forgotten that the illegal invasion — and it’s an invasion — by Russia of Crimea will not be accepted by us or the international community.”

Poroshenko said that there had been a reduction in the violence in the east of the country, but “unfortunately the war is still raging.”

He added that the government has made progress in reforms, including the selection of an anti-corruption prosecutor.

Source: Politico

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