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United States and Ukraine Fight Human Trafficking

United States and Ukraine Fight Human Trafficking

By Merle David Kellerhals Jr.
Staff Writer

Washington - Saying that Ukraine is on a "remarkable journey," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed a plan with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko to combat human trafficking in Ukraine.

The diplomats also agreed on a plan to assess energy resources such as shale gas to strengthen the East European nation's energy security.

It was the third meeting of the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission. The Obama administration has begun using strategic partnerships and dialogues as a means for deeper consultations and commitment with select nations. They are designed to respond to the specific needs of partner nations and enhance cooperation in critical areas.

"We covered many topics, including our effective cooperation to stop nuclear proliferation, our support for Ukraine's efforts to strengthen its own democracy and the rule of law, and progress on global issues from food security to HIV/AIDS, as well as steps to help Ukraine develop its domestic energy resources and attract greater private investment, particularly from the United States," Clinton said February 15.

"Strategic partnership with the United States has become a very important part of our foreign policy, and we do rely on this strategic partnership to help us guide the shape of our statehood through the waters which are not easy that surround us in this global economic situation that changes with every year," Gryshchenko said at a joint press briefing at the State Department.

During the commission meeting, Clinton and Gryshchenko signed a plan that aims to combat human trafficking in the Ukraine with U.S. assistance. Clinton said the recent repatriation from Ukraine to the United States of a trafficker accused of taking more than $1 million in profits from the women he exploited is just one way the United States and Ukraine are working to end this "tragic worldwide blight."

The United States and Ukraine also signed an agreement that permits the U.S. Geological Survey to assess potential energy resources, which includes finding shale gas. Clinton said this is part of a plan launched when the secretary was in Kiev for talks about cooperative energy ventures.

In addition, Clinton said the United States has negotiated a five-year partnership to strengthen the delivery of health services to Ukrainians who have contracted HIV.

"And we're launching a five-year, $20 million program to strengthen Ukraine's agricultural sector and help build its potential as a major contributor to global food security," Clinton told reporters.

Clinton said the United States is looking to Ukraine to continue the commitments that President Viktor Yanukovych has made on open government, strong rule of law, freedom of speech and media, and comprehensive judicial reforms in partnership with the Ukrainian people, including opposition groups and members of civil society.

The diplomats also met with a group of Ukrainian civil society leaders.

ENDS

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