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1995 - Mr Major’s Joint Doorstep Interview with the President of Ukraine

Below is the text of Mr Major’s joint doorstep interview with the President of Ukraine, Mr Leonid Kuchma, in London on Wednesday 13th December 1995.


PRIME MINISTER:

Can I firstly say what a pleasure it is to have the President and his colleagues here at Downing Street today. We believe that Ukraine has an absolutely pivotal role to play in the future of Europe, and I very much welcome the opportunity today to discuss with the President a whole range of political, economic and security issues that concern both our two countries.

The President has also generously invited me to visit Ukraine and I have promised to do so in the first half of next year, and I very much look forward to that visit.

In our discussions this morning I expressed the British government's very strong support for the reform programme that the President is following in Ukraine. And my colleague, the Foreign Secretary, was able to tell the President that we propose to increase our contribution in the Know How Fund to assist the further development of Ukraine.

We also discussed at length the European Union's developing relationship with Ukraine. We very much welcome the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which the United Kingdom ratified earlier this year. And we look forward very much to the entry next year of the Interim Agreement which will increasingly open European markets to Ukrainian exports. We think this is an important development in a growing trading and investment relationship between Western Europe and Ukraine. Ukraine has a vital role to play in European security and we are very keen to see the development of the relationship between NATO and Ukraine, and work on this of course is already under way.

I also took the opportunity of thanking the President for his courageous decisions over Chernobyl and I look forward to the early signature of the Memorandum of Understanding which will include the Western assistance to Ukraine as a compensation for their decision.

All in all these were extremely useful discussions with the President and his colleagues and I am delighted they were able to come here. And I very much look forward to resuming our dialogue in Kiev and elsewhere.

MR KUCHMA:

First of all I would like to thank the Rt Hon Prime Minister for the possibility to visit Great Britain. So that I had a chance to thank the government of Great Britain for their steadfast position, including the issue of acceding Ukraine to the Council of Europe. And I would like to thank the Prime Minister for having agreed to visit Ukraine during the first half of next year. And I am happy to have these sort of [indistinct] relations between Ukraine and Great Britain at the eve of Christmas. In fact we had a chance to discuss a wide range of issues, especially the bilateral ones, and I am happy that there is a strong desire on the British side to be more active in reforming the Ukrainian economy.

So thank you once again and I am certain that this is only the beginning of a wide range of cooperation between Great Britain and Ukraine.