August 8, 2017
AMBASSADOR DESIGNATE TO UKRAINE MEETS WITH AFUO CHAIRMAN
IN PRE POSTING CONSULTATION
Ambassador-designate to Ukraine, Ms Melissa O’Rourke conducted a pre-posting consultation in Canberra yesterday Monday August 7, 2017.
Australian Federation of Ukrainian Chairman (AFUO) Stefan Romaniw met with Ms O’Rourke to provide background information on Australia’s Ukrainian community, its activity and involvement with Ukraine.
The AFUO is the peak body for Ukrainian organisations in Australia.
Mr Romaniw provided the following information:
- AFUO and Ukrainian community support for reform processes in Ukraine,
- Advocacy to the Australian Government calling for ongoing support for Ukraine against Russian aggression
- Promoting the policy of stability in political processes in Ukraine at this time
- Combating Russian propaganda and disinformation in trying to paint Ukraine as failed state
- The current reform programs in Ukraine require support as Ukraine introduces processes for fighting corruption e.g. currently there are 75 major corruption cases before authorities against those who contravened Ukrainian laws
- That Ukraine has resettled over 1.8million refugees with its own borders due to Russian aggression
- That the World Bank indicators show economic growth in Ukraine 2.3% increase in GDP and a predicted 3.5% in 2018
- Support for Health Reforms being advocated by acting Minister for Health Ulyana Suprun
- That all this reform, nation building and economic growth is on the backdrop of Russian aggression and hybrid war and a country that was almost bankrupt at the time of the Yanukovych regime being removed from power in 2014
- That the community has provided in excess of $300000 financial support to programs such Patriot Defence and other rehabilitation programs
- The importance of exchange programs which have seen Ukrainian MP Svitlana Zalishchuk, Hanna Hopko visit Australia
- Need for ongoing support in Defence training and your programs
- The AFUO recently funded a visit to Ukraine by LIFELINE researcher Alana Woodward toe examine possibility of introducing similar programs
- Assistance in building economic bridges – citing the recent opening of MERX Furniture showroom –partnership between Australian and Ukraine business
Mr Romaniw also pointed to the support and cooperation of the AFUO with the Australian Embassy in Kyiv since its opening by funding cultural programs, co-sponsoring the 25 anniversary of Diplomacy program and Go Global projects amongst others.
The AFUO was also proactive in lobbying the Australian Government to ensure the post remained opened after September 2016 – the result an extension of two years.
Mr Romaniw outlined that the AFUO and Embassy of Australia have great opportunities to work in partnership in ensuring the Embassy in Kyiv becomes a permanent Mission The AFUO will host an event in Kyiv later this year to introduce the Ambassador to political and civic leadership as it has done with previous Ambassador and Charges D Affairs.
The Ambassador designate indicated her willingness to work with the AFUO in promoting stronger ties between the two countries.
Mr Romaniw also stated that it is important for Australia to continue supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression – “The bigger the footprint in Ukraine the more dangerous it is for the international community” Mr Romaniw said.
“The war of values and principles being fought is critical and the active demolition of adherence to these values by Putin is a huge danger and threat to the international community and world peace.”
Mr Romaniw quoted Republican Congressman Roger Wicker who said in Washington recently “Putin must not be allowed to win this one and he won’t.”
Further information contact –Stefan Romaniw 0419 531 25