Comments by Chargé d’Affaires a.i. William Taylor on a Panel at the Mariupol Investment Forum

October 29, 2019

Question to CDA Taylor: This is your second time in Ukraine now [inaudible]. So, we have heard about what will happen with development of finance, we have heard a lot can be done to revive the region, but it’s not only about finance, it’s also about information. Information to people but also information to the rest of the world and building, continue building, partnerships and alliances. If you could please share your thoughts with us on how we can do it better, what can we do to speed everything up here in Ukraine.

Answer from CDA Taylor: Minister, thank you very much. It’s an honor to be here with you and all the colleagues on the stage and with all the participants here. Minister, we’ve talked a lot today about the rule of law. And being here in Mariupol, kilometers from the front line, we’re reminded that the biggest violator of the rule of law is Russia.

And that is the biggest thing we can do to improve the lives of Ukrainians both in Donbas and throughout the country. So I think that’s the key point that you’ve made, that our Swedish colleagues made, that the president made, prime minister and all. This is important for the economic development. It’s important, for the rule of law for [inaudible] Ukraine.

And being here in Mariupol, it seems to me, it demonstrates your administration’s change in attitude. Here we are in the first investment forum at the initiative of the President of Ukraine in Mariupol, in the south, in the southeast. That says that your administration cares about this part of the country. And that’s an important message.

But there’s a second message that you send: And that is: this administration cares about the people, the Ukrainians, who are living on the other side of the line, that are living in non-government controlled areas.

And that’s an important message as well. Because if we’re going to resolve, if we’re going to reintegrate, if we’re going to bring peace to this country, as the president said he wants to do, then they will have to come here. They’re going to have to integrate. They’re going to have to become part of Ukraine again. And letting them know that you, and the president and the people of Ukraine recognize that they are Ukrainians, I think this is a really important message that you send by coming here.

My only other point is: We’ve talked about something – we’ve talked about big, going big. And taking risks. And I think, again, your administration has taken risks. And has done some things in trying to resolve the conflict that previous administrations haven’t done. And that the risks that you take, sometimes they’re not all that popular. Sometimes they’re important to do in order to get to peace. Sometimes they’re important to do in order to get to economic growth. And there are those kinds of risks that we’ve talked about here today.

But if Ukraine continues, and the government continues, to take those risks and to move forward, both attention and resources – to both economic, but the top priority of peace, then the international community needs to stand with you. And the international community needs to keep the sanctions on, the international community needs to continue the political support. So that, I think, is the message, Minister, that we can help you with, that you are already leading the way on, and I look forward to working with you on. Thank you.