U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson made his first official visit to Kyiv, Ukraine on July 9, where he met President Poroshenko and with young reformers from government and civil society. The Secretary reaffirmed America’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, while encouraging the Government of Ukraine to continue implementing reforms that will strengthen Ukraine’s economic, political, and military resilience.
Secretary Tillerson and President Poroshenko held a joint press conference in Kyiv, where the Secretary stated:
“... it’s very important that we seek the safety and the security of all Ukrainian citizens regardless of their ethnicity, their nationality, or their religion. This is a fundamental element to Ukraine’s sovereignty as well and the protection of all Ukrainian citizens.
I think as long as the parties commit themselves to these goals, I am confident that we can make progress. I’ve been very clear in my discussions with Russian leadership on more than one occasion that it is necessary for Russia to take the first steps to de-escalate the situation in the east part of Ukraine, in particular by respecting the ceasefire, by pulling back the heavy weapons, and allowing the OSCE observers to carry out their responsibilities.”
Following his visit to Ukraine, Secretary Tillerson traveled to Istanbul, Turkey. In Istanbul, Secretary Tillerson met with senior Turkish officials to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues. Secretary Tillerson also delivered remarks at the World Petroleum Council Congress Opening Ceremony. During the ceremony the Secretary noted, “The United States looks forward to engaging with Turkey on projects that will increase global energy security, such as the Southern Gas Corridor and the Eastern Mediterranean Gas. These projects will enable Europe to diversify its energy sources, thereby improving its energy security.”