Statement on Ukraine

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly to the Permanent Council

Vienna, January 19, 2012

The United States welcomes Ukraine to the OSCE Troika. The responsibilities of the Chairmanship-in-Office are many and require, above all, leadership by example.

We note that Ukraine will have many opportunities this year to define the tenor of its chairmanship in 2013. In December, President Yanukovych stated that Ukraine’s upcoming elections would showcase Ukraine’s democratic bona fides. We welcome this pledge and the Interior Ministry’s statement that international observers will be invited to monitor the elections. In particular, we hope Ukraine’s new parliamentary election law will be implemented in the same spirit of consensus in which it was adopted. Ukraine can lead by example by demonstrating its commitment to the timely, impartial, and transparent design of rational electoral districts.

We welcome Ukraine’s role in helping to resolve peacefully the protracted conflicts in the OSCE region. Ukraine’s active and constructive participation in the 5+2 talks to resolve the Transnistria issue shows Ukraine’s potential to make a lasting contribution to peace and security in its forthcoming Chairmanship.

At the same time, we reiterate our grave concern regarding irregularities in the judicial process surrounding the case against former Prime Minister Tymoshenko, her conviction and the conditions of her incarceration. We are concerned by reports about the conditions of her confinement and her access to medical treatment. We call on the Government of Ukraine to investigate these reports and to ensure that conditions of confinement are in conformity with its OSCE commitments and its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We call on the Government of Ukraine to invite independent medical experts to assess her medical condition.

Mr. Chairman, we continue to stand by our commitment to Ukraine’s progress towards European integration, and we welcome Ukraine’s active engagement in the OSCE. We regard this year, 2012, as a critical year for both Ukraine and the OSCE, and we look forward to working in partnership with Ukraine in its preparation to become our next Chairman-in-Office.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.