News - 2015.09.14 - YES conference

Photo: The Yalta European Strategy (c) 2015

Lord Risby and Sir Gerald Howarth MP attended the YES Annual Meeting

14 September 2015

Chairman of the British Ukrainian Society, Lord Risby, and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ukraine, Sir Gerald Howarth MP, attended the 12th Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting held at Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kyiv on 10-12 September 2015.

Traditionally, the conference gathered a large number of distinguished active and former politicians from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world together with Ukraine’s political leadership. With Ukraine in the international spotlight, naturally, discussions at the conference focused not only on the events happening inside of the country, but also on how they affect Europe and the whole world.

The participants agreed that restoring peace in Ukraine is essential to European security, and discussed how this can be achieved by providing international assistance and reforming Ukraine’s army and security sector.

With reforms in Ukraine under review, the country’s political leadership, led by President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, spoke about their successes and challenges, while the conference participants also discussed evident shortcomings and failures in the reform process.

Offering his impressions of the conference, Lord Risby noted that, as always, the YES Annual Meeting was beautifully organised and featured some remarkable speeches and discussions. “Many distinguished friends of Ukraine like Shimon Peres and Tony Blair contributed, and a particularly moving speech was made by Elton John. This conference highlights the importance of Ukraine and helps to put the country and its challenges firmly on the map,” noted the BUS Chairman.

With a number of Advisory Board members of the British Ukrainian Society also in attendance at the YES Annual Meeting, including the Earl of Oxford, Sir Gerald Howarth MP delivered a message from British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on the occasion of the conference that was read out by the new British Ambassador to Ukraine, Ms Judith Gough.

“Russia’s blatant aggression and destabilisation of Ukraine represents one of the biggest security challenges for Europe since the end of the Cold War. The UK will continue to support Ukraine to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity and reform its institutions.

Specifically, we will continue to help Ukraine’s armed forces to modernise and provide technical assistance to support reform in the fight against corruption, public financial management, the ease of doing business and asset recovery. We have also provided over 16 mln pounds to help the humanitarian effort.

We will continue to work with EU partners to maintain pressure on Russia through sanctions until Russia implements its Minsk obligations and withdraws from Crimea. In return, we urge Ukraine to continue to build momentum on reform, especially tackling corruption, and continue to do all possible to implement its Minsk commitments,” read Philip Hammond’s statement.