Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Ukraine on Nuclear Security Cooperation on September 26, 2011.The MOU will work to prevent proliferation and to secure vulnerable nuclear materials. Secretary Clinton and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko delivered brief remarks. Secretary Clinton said:
"...Ridding the world of nuclear weapons is a priority for both of our countries. And at last year's Nuclear Security Summit, both President Yanukovych and President Obama vowed to work together to prevent proliferation and to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials. And in fact, President Yanukovych announced Ukraine's decision to get rid of all of its stocks of highly enriched uranium by March 2012, when the next Nuclear Security Summit will convene.
"The United States matched that old commitment from Ukraine with commitments of our own. We are providing Ukraine with financial and technical assistance to modernize its civil nuclear research facilities. We are helping convert those facilities so they operate on safer low enrichment uranium fuel. The United States is also building a state-of-the-art neutron source facility in Ukraine, where scientists will be able to expand their nuclear research and produce more than 50 different medical isotopes to treat cancer and other diseases. At present, these are isotopes that Ukraine must import from other countries today. The United States is committed to meet all agreed milestones for construction of the neutron source facility by March 2012 and to provide a fully operational facility by 2014.
"The Memorandum of Understanding we've just signed formalizes our intent to fully implement the commitments our presidents made last year. I think it's fair to say we've already made significant progress. Ukraine has already removed a substantial portion of its highly enriched uranium, and the United States has made progress on the neutron source facility project, and we expect to break ground in Ukraine soon. This deal is a win-win for both countries and both peoples. It provides tangible benefits for the people of Ukraine, and it makes the world safer for all people.
"On another note, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Ukraine's independence, and it gives us an opportunity to reflect on another key aspect of the strategic partnership between our nations, our joint commitment to democracy and shared values. It's not been easy to build a strong democracy from the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, but Ukraine has made significant gains. As we know, democracies are built on checks and balances, fair and impartial institutions, judicial independence, sound election laws, and an independent media and civil society.
"We believe Ukraine is on its way to achieving these goals, and we urge it to continue to press forward. We are very committed to democratic progress continuing in Ukraine. And therefore, it is vital that the government avoid any actions that could undermine democracy or the rule of law or political participation and competition. We believe that Ukraine stands at the cusp of achieving a stable, functioning democracy that will advance its prosperity and security, that will strengthen its relations with its partners and neighbors, and provide greater opportunities for Ukrainian citizens."
In closing, the Secretary said, "...I enjoy working with the foreign minister and his government, and I look forward, on behalf of the United States, to continuing our work together."
You can read a transcript of Secretary Clinton's remarks here.