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Public Papers - 1991

Remarks at a Luncheon in Kiev, Soviet Union


Thank you very much. And I am very grateful to Chairman Kravchuk and people of Ukraine for welcoming us so warmly through your Golden Gate.

I will shorten these remarks because our lives are controlled by satellites these days. But I've come here to Kiev to learn more about the tremendous challenges you face, to strengthen the ties that link the people of America and the people of Ukraine, and to signal our strong support for free markets and free government.

Our people are not strangers. In Chicago and Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and all across America, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian Americans preserve your proud heritage and history.

The end of the cold war opens opportunities to forge a new relationship. Through increased trade, expanded exchanges -- through American medical assistance, efforts aimed at helping you cope with the after-effects of Chernobyl -- the United States and Ukraine can build a future based on shared aspirations and common interests.

So, our visit marks a beginning. We don't come to tell you how to pursue your future. We won't preach, nor prescribe solutions. We come to offer our expertise, our hopes. And we will do our best to build sturdier ties of culture, ideas, and trade with the Soviet Union and all of its Republics.

America stands ready to support the forces of reform in Ukraine, especially those of economic reform. But in the end, we recognize that Ukraine will shape its own future. And only you can transform an economy based on the concept of command and control into one based on the laws of supply and demand. Only you can guarantee the sovereign rights of the individual -- political, religious, and economic.

You will bear responsibility for making your land more prosperous and free, according to your traditions and cultures, your hopes and dreams.

May God bless both our lands. And may I say thank you, Chairman, for your hospitality. Mrs. Bush and I and all that travel with us are just delighted to be here. Thank you, sir.

Note: The President spoke at 3:10 p.m. at Marinsky Palace. In his remarks, he referred to Leonid M. Kravchuk, Chairman of the Republic of the Ukraine's Supreme Soviet. The President also referred to U.S. and Soviet cooperation in dealing with the aftermath of a 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine.

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