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Former U.S. Congressmen visit Ukraine - September Delegation

2004 Delegations:  July  |   August  |   September  |   October  |   November  |   December
2006 Delegations:  February  |   March

From September 19-25, 2004 a delegation of five former U.S. Congressmen and one former Member of the German Bundestag visited Kyiv and cities throughout the Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts to observe the election process in Ukraine.  The delegation consisted of Robin Beard (R-TN), Larry DeNardis (R-CT), Lou Frey (R-FL), Don Ritter (R-PA), Peter Torkildsen (R-MA) and Dr. Helga van Otto (Germany).

Members of the delegation at Babyn Yar in Kyiv
Babyn Yar
Their visit was sponsored by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF) in partnership with the United States Association of Former Members of Congress (USAFMC), and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  The delegation was accompanied by Cliff Downen and Christina Redko of USUF.

This was the third of four delegations visiting Ukraine in the months leading up to the first round of presidential elections on October 31, 2004. This project demonstrates USUF's unique involvement in Ukraine, as we are one of the few organizations focusing on the entire election process throughout the period of the campaign.

During their first full day in Kyiv, the delegation met with representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Election Observer Mission (OSCE/ODIHR) and U.S. Ambassador Herbst.

The delegates with Serhiy Dovhan, Governor of Kherson
Meeting with Kherson Governor

During the next three days, the delegation was split up into three groups and traveled to the following communities: Beryslav, Hola Prystan, Kherson, Kakhovka, Nova Kakhovka, Skadovsk, Tsyurypynsk in the Kherson oblast and Snihurivka and Voznesensk in the Mykolaiv oblast. They held meetings with local and regional authorities, representatives of political parties, media, and NGOs. The delegation stressed the importance that the forthcoming presidential elections be free and fair. They asked local officials to uphold the laws of Ukraine and ensure that every Ukrainian citizen has an opportunity to vote for the candidate of his or her choice and that the ballots be counted properly. Following their first day of meetings in the regions, the delegates met with Serhiy Dovhan, Governor of Kherson, to share their initial impressions of the campaign environment and stress the importance that he do everything in his power to ensure free and fair elections.

Students of the Kherson branch of the Kyiv Institute of Culture
Meeting with Kherson Students

The delegates also had the opportunity to meet with students from two educational institutions in Kherson. The students were eager to display their English language skills and asked questions ranging from the structure of the tourism industry in the U.S. to the delegates' impressions of Ukraine.

Upon their return to Kyiv, the delegates met with representatives of the U.S. Embassy, German Embassy, and the OSCE, as well as with campaign staff of the two leading presidential candidates, Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko.

For additional information on this project, please contact Christina Redko at credko@usukraine.org.


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