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Colin Powell Interview on Ukraine's INTER TV

Interview on Ukraine's INTER TV with Dmytro Maruchok

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC May 13, 2004

(1:25 p.m. EDT)

MR. MARUCHOK: Mr. Secretary, Ukraine is a member of the coalition in Iraq and furthermore, a few years ago, has been declared as Ukraine and the United States is strategic partners. What it means now, a strategic partnership?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think it means that we want to have good relations with the Ukraine. We have a variety of exchanges taking place with Ukrainian leaders. We very much appreciate the contribution that Ukraine is making to our efforts in Iraq and we are looking forward to helping Ukraine as it moves forward through the next path of democratic reforms and gets ready for its elections.

So we've had serious differences with Ukraine. There can be no question about that. But the fact that we are talking to one another and trying to find ways to move forward, I think, shows the importance that we attach to Ukraine as a nation and to the Ukrainian people as people that we admire, and we have so many American Ukrainians that we want to have good relations with.

MR. MARUCHOK: Ukraine (inaudible) to be the member of the NATO, and how soon Ukraine can become the member of alliance and how soon it can be?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think it takes time. You know, membership in NATO is still open. We have taken in since the end of the Cold War, we've gone from 16 to 26 nations of the alliance and we have said the door is still open. And a certain process has to be followed with respect to the creation of democratic institutions and the commitment to democracy, and we hope that the day will come when Ukraine is, if it so chooses, if the Ukrainian people and the leadership of Ukraine so chooses, that door will be open to the Ukraine in due course.

MR. MARUCHOK: If it depends from the membership in the European Union, the membership in the alliance, or not?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, this is up to the European Union. As you know, the United States is not a member of the European Union, but we congratulate the European Union on the fact that it has now grown in size to 25 nations. And it also has its set of standards and requirements for membership in the Union. And we are great believers in transatlantic relations, whether it's NATO or whether it's the United States working with the European Union. And we hope that, ultimately, Ukraine will occupy its proper role in the transatlantic community.

MR. MARUCHOK: This autumn Ukraine have the presidential election, and right now we have two frontrunners, Mr. Yuschenko and Mr. Yanukovych. Which one is preferred for United States, or it's --

SECRETARY POWELL: The United States believes that is up to the Ukrainian people to decide who their president should be. What we would like to see are free, open fair elections, where everybody gets a chance to express their view through the vote, everybody gets a chance to use the media in an equal way and everybody gets a chance to register to vote and the ballots are counted properly and the will of the people prevails. It's up to the Ukrainian people. All we wish to see are open, free, full and fair elections.

MR. MARUCHOK: Ukraine recently joined the common economic space with Russia, Kazakhstan. What do you think about that?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it's a choice for Ukraine to make. And we are not in competition with the Russian Federation. Ukraine should have whatever relationship it chooses to have with the Russian Federation and whatever relationship we and Ukraine choose to have between us and the United States. So this is not like the old days of the Cold War, where we're choosing up sides.

Ukraine is part of Europe. It should be anxious to become part of European institutions. It should be anxious to have a good relationship with North America and the United States and Canada, and whatever relationship it chooses to have with the Russian Federation is up to Ukraine and Russia to decide.

MR. MARUCHOK: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: You're welcome.


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