By Peter Byrne, Kyiv Post Staff Writer
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Apr 15, 2004
KYIV - Andrew Natsios, head of the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), which administers approximately $8.6 billion of U.S.
foreign aid to over 100 countries around the world, visited Kyiv from April
12-14 to meet with government officials, journalists and managers of
Natsios, accompanied by USAID Assistant Administrator Kent Hill and Senior
Advisor John Tsagronis, met on April 13 with Prime Minister Viktor
Yanukovych and Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk.
Technical assistance to Ukraine is expected to drop by 31 percent from 2003
levels to $58 million, according to a statement released by the U.S.
government, which estimated on April 13 that the total amount of U.S.
government assistance, including programs funded under the Freedom Support
Act, would come to $120 million in fiscal year 2004. U.S. taxpayer
assistance to Ukraine since 1992 has amounted to more than $2 billion.
In an interview published on April 10 in the weekly Zerkalo Nedeli, Natsios
said that unremitting scandals have contributed to reduced support for
Ukraine in Congress under successive U.S. administrations over the last
"The unsolved murder of Georgy Gongadze and subsequent reports of the
intimidation of journalists, the harassment of opposition media outlets by
tax authorities, and the lack of transparency in media transactions have
raised serious questions about Ukraine's commitment to free speech and
freedom of the press," he said, adding that the disruption of opposition
political activities has not gone unnoticed, nor has the abuse of executive
power to remove or harass local officials deemed disloyal to the president.
USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios
USAID has identified "democracy and governance" activities aimed at
strengthening independent media, civil society and the rule of law as among
its main priorities for 2004. Natsios went on to say that the March 25-26
visit to Kyiv by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage shows the
importance that the U.S. attaches to events in Ukraine.
Natsios arrived two weeks after Christopher Crowley, USAID's Mission
Director in Kyiv, signed a memorandum with Central Election Commission (CEC)
Chairman Serhy Kivalov on March 26 pledging further cooperation in improving
the electoral process in Ukraine, with emphasis on enhancing its regulatory
and legal bases.
The document outlines a broad framework for increasing the level of
competence of election commission members; the effectiveness of Ukrainian
civic organizations in monitoring the electoral process; and citizen's
awareness of their rights and responsibilities as election participants.
USAID has provided technical assistance to the CEC since 1994 through the
International Foundation for Election Systems' Program, and later through
the Elections & Political Processes Project (EP3) administered by
Development Associates, Inc.
During the run-up to parliamentary elections in 2002, EP3 provided training
materials to nearly 30,000 election commission members and observers prior
to the parliamentary election. Most recently, USAID subcontractors
Development Associates, Inc. and Freedom House have been given USAID
grants to help strengthen the electoral administration and civic oversight
of the electoral process in Ukraine.
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