Thursday, April 07, 2005

"Following the path of truth ... is never impossible." 

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko delivered a rousing speech to a special joint session of the U.S. Congress yesterday. He began by drawing a comparison between the American and Orange Revolutions.
Mr. Speaker and Mr. President, honorable Senators and House Members, ladies and gentlemen, on the wall of this great building, there is the Latin phrase E Pluribus Unum, which means "Out of many, one."' This motto reminds the world about the American Revolution, the starting point of the modern world's history of liberty.

My road here went through the orange-colored Independence Square that became known as Maidan. Millions of people standing there continuously repeated it: "Together we are many, we cannot be defeated." This motto of the Ukrainian Revolution is a reminder of the fact that freedom continues to win. Ukraine is opening a new page in the world's chronicle of liberty in the 21st century.

These two mottos have a lot in common. They speak to the strength of our peoples that comes from unity. They speak of the victories of our peoples in their struggles for freedom.

He ended with specific steps the U.S. can take to assist Ukraine's transition.

Step one, dear friends, we want to bury the Cold War relics of the Senators and House Members. I am calling upon you to waive the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. Please make this step towards Ukraine. Please tear down this wall.

Step two, the new Ukrainian Government has on an unprecedented scale opened the Ukrainian market, dramatically reducing customs restrictions. In return, we expect the United States to cancel their restrictions that apply to Ukrainian goods within the U.S. market. I am calling upon you, ladies and gentlemen, please make this step.

Step three, the nonrecognition of a market-based economy status for Ukraine is an anachronism. Ukrainian producers are deprived of the rights enjoyed by their competitors. The time has come to restore fairness. Three days ago, Ukraine has officially requested the U.S. Government to grant market-based economy to Ukraine, and we are requesting that you make it happen by the fall.

Step four, by November of this year, Ukraine must become a WTO member. I would encourage you, in the nearest months, please support our WTO accession.

Step five, we invite the United States to during this year involve all political, financial, and technological resources to erect a new shelter over the destroyed reactor of Chernobyl power plant. I would ask the Congress to support virulent programs.

Step six, we want to see more Ukrainian students learning in U.S. universities over the next 5 years. I would encourage the Congress to finance such educational programs for Ukrainian students.

Step seven, Ukraine has agreed to waive visa regime for United States citizens. I would request the U.S. Government to, in the speediest possible manner, make a reciprocal step in relation to Ukrainian students, politicians, and business people.

Step eight, on behalf of Ukraine, I would ask you to include it in the list of participants of the Millennium Challenge program.

And to close he returned to the opening theme, "Razom nas bahato -- nas ne podolaty!"
John Fitzgerald Kennedy took an oath before the whole world by saying, "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty." I am subscribing to these words on behalf of Ukraine. This authority was given to me by my fellow countrymen who endured days and nights in bitter cold and snow on the Maidan. Ukraine is free and will always remain free. Citizens of Ukraine gained their freedom due to their courage and support of friends and proponents of democracy across the world.

In these days I want to recall one of them, Pope John Paul II, who said, "Following the path of truth is sometimes difficult, but never impossible."

We have embarked upon this road and will never step away from it. Together we are many, and together we are not defeated.
There wasn't a dry eye in my house watching that.