Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Joseph Pennington at “Reforms Forum: On the Road to Vilnius”

February 25, 2020

Good morning, everyone! On behalf of the United States, I would like to join my colleagues in thanking the organizers for putting together today’s important event.  It’s an honor to be able to join you for the forum this morning.

The Ukraine Reform Conference was described by our Lithuanian colleague to be an important opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, security and prosperity, and to support Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic vision.

The conference also offers an opportunity for the Government of Ukraine to demonstrate its commitment to and its progress on its ambitious reform agenda.

Preparatory events leading up to Vilnius, such as today’s event, can also reinforce the critical role civil society must play in the reform process.

Because true progress on prosperity, security, democratic governance is only possible when the government and civil society work together and implement policies that truly respond to the concerns of Ukraine’s citizens.

This requires civil society leaders to be open and collaborative with government counterparts, seizing the opportunity to advocate and to implement key reforms.

It also requires that the government reaffirm its commitment to protecting freedom of expression, freedom of association, and ensuring justice for activists who have faced attacks.

The United States is proud to join the others here today as partners of both government and civil society to help realize reforms that meet the aspirations of the Ukrainian people.

I’d like to thank all of you for your continued commitment and dedication to Ukraine’s reform efforts. And we look forward to today’s discussions.

Thank you very much.