U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt said it in an interview with Den newspaper, Censor.NET reports.
"I have said, including in my recent speech, that Ukraine is fighting two wars, one is the war with Russia, the other is the war against corruption, against oligarchic interests, for reforms, for deepening of democracy. That second war is just as important as the first one. The leading actors in that second war are oftentimes in civil society, they are the people who are trying to attack these problems. I have been clear about our concerns about the situation around the Prosecutor General's Office and the problem of corruption there. And obviously, these big oligarchic interests have gotten as big and as rich as they are in part by manipulating the justice system. But I will also make the opposite point, which is: for American business, for American investors the number-one impediment to increasing their involvement here in Ukraine is concern about corruption. And if the government can demonstrate that it is decisively tackling this problem, I am confident that our companies, our investors will respond, they will bring their money, their technology, and that will also help to weaken the hold that oligarchic interests have held on this country in the past. It is to be welcomed that both Prime Minister Yatseniuk and President Poroshenko have spoken as clearly as they have on these issues, but it's not just the matter of using the right words, it's the matter of actually taking action," he said.
"My point on all of these issues has been that the challenge in Ukraine is to develop a justice system where the law applies equally to all, whether you are Rinat Akhmetov, or the guy who owns a little food store out on the corner here outside the embassy. And that's the real challenge to develop a system which is viewed by the Ukrainian people as just and as reliable. And that is the effort the president is now engaged in. I was very encouraged to see today that in his comments with High Commissioner Mogherini President Poroshenko indicated that he hopes that the constitutional amendments for judicial reform as recommended by the Venice Commission will be presented in the Rada this week. I think that will be a very welcome step forward and something that the United States supports," the diplomat said.
Asked to comment on the recent telephone conversation between Vice President Joe Biden and Poroshenko, Geoffrey Pyatt said: "I cannot do any better than quote Prime Minister Yatseniuk himself, who said: 'No reform - no money.' And that has been a message that the U.S. administration has been consistent with throughout. We understand that these reforms are hard, and that especially in the area of anti-corruption it involves tackling vested interests. Again, look at the PGO: there is a war within the Prosecutor's Office between those who are trying to build a modern European state and those who are satisfied with the system as it existed under Yanukovych. There should be absolutely no doubt about where the United States comes down in that battle. We are on the side of the reformers, and that was the message that Vice President Biden reiterated in his last call with President Poroshenko."
"One of the things that are most impressive to me is the quality of human capital here, and I had a meeting maybe three weeks ago that Minister Abromavicius hosted with all of the donor ambassadors. And present at that meeting were almost all of the deputy ministers, from justice, interior, defense, agriculture, economy, finance. These are all people - first of all they're extremely young, in their thirties and forties, they all speak multiple languages, they are all educated in the West. They are the real engines of reform in this country, and I think it's something that makes me quite profoundly optimistic about where Ukraine is going over the long term, that all of this new generation of the leadership is beginning to come up through the system. The Georgian reformers, as you call them, you know, people like Governor Saakashvili in Odesa or Eka Zguladze in Interior, their advantage is - they come in and they can be catalysts, they can shake things up. I think, for instance, in the police sector, without the courage and the willingness to change the system that Vice Minister Zguladze has demonstrated we would not be where we are with the new patrol police. But the fact is now, this has become institutionalized and something that the whole ministry, Mr. Avakov, prime minister are all working to implement. And I think that's very much the hope in places like Odesa as well. You have Governor Saakashvili, but you also have Ukrainians like Sasha Borovyk, like Yulia Marushevska, who are part of his team, and those are people who are going to build a new Ukraine," - Pyatt stressed.
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