For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 18, 2004
Statement on Upcoming Ukrainian Elections
On November 21, 2004, the people of Ukraine will vote to elect their next president. They have the right and deserve the opportunity to make their choice freely, without intimidation or fear, from outside or within.
The presidential campaign and first round of voting did not meet that basic test. We share the deep concern of the OSCE and other observers that the election process has fallen short of international standards. We urge the Ukrainian authorities to allow their citizens to choose their next president freely.
President Bush has said that the United States has no greater responsibility than to support the spread of freedom throughout the world. That includes continuing to support those countries in Eastern Europe which began down the path of democracy nearly fifteen years ago. To convey our support for Ukraine's democratic prospects, the President has asked Senator Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to travel to Ukraine. We also have funded efforts to promote a fair campaign and election.
The United States supports Ukraine's aspirations to join the Euro-Atlantic community, a community which requires a commitment to shared values. If the election fails to meet democratic standards, Ukraine's aspirations would suffer. On the other hand, an election result that reflects the true will of the people would open new opportunities for stronger U.S.-Ukrainian cooperation and offer the people of Ukraine a brighter, promising future as a sovereign, democratic, and prosperous nation.
# # #