About the Author: William J. Burns serves as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
I've just concluded an extensive schedule of meeting in Kyiv and I was delighted to be back in Ukraine after many years. President Obama and Secretary Clinton attach great importance to the strategic partnership between the United States and Ukraine and the purpose of my visit was to follow up on the successful meeting that our two presidents had in Washington last April and Secretary Clinton's visit last July.
In the course of my meetings with the President, the Prime Minister, other senior officials, opposition leaders, business leaders from the American Chamber of Commerce, and civil society leaders, I had the opportunity to discuss a full range of issues. We talked about the priority the United States attaches to deepening economic cooperation between our countries, to increasing investment, and to encouraging reforms in Ukraine that can build greater predictability and transparency and help attract greater investment. The new tax code, for example, is the kind of signal that could have a positive effect on outside investors. We talked about strong American support for Ukraine's further integration into Europe.
We talked about the importance the United States attaches to protecting the democratic gains in Ukraine over recent years. President Yanukovych has made some important statements about his commitment to protecting media freedoms and pursuing reforms. As Secretary Clinton made clear when she was here last summer, we welcome those commitments, but it's essential to translate them into actions. It's very important to make progress in the self-interest of Ukrainians, in deepening the rule of law, in judicial reform, in fighting corruption. We also reviewed our cooperation on security issues and nonproliferation.
The United States welcomes the decision taken by Ukraine to rid itself of its remaining stocks of highly-enriched uranium. The United States is committed to working with Ukraine to modernize its civilian nuclear research facilities and their conversion to low-enriched uranium, which is becoming the global standard. We see this cooperation as a genuine win-win proposition, in the interests of both our countries and the wider interests of global nonproliferation. So, I had a very interesting and productive set of discussions in Kyiv and I left with an ever stronger sense of the importance of the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States.