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Outgoing US Ambassador Optimistic On US-Ukraine Ties
July 21, 2003

KIEV (AP)--The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said in a farewell speech Monday that he looks with "optimism and caution" at future relations with the former Soviet republic as he wraps up a three-year stint in Kiev.

Ambassador Carlos Pascual noted that his posting coincided with three years of economic growth, praising Ukraine's efforts to build "transparent and competitive market economy" and emphasized the need to attract more foreign investment to "provide sustained economic growth."

Pascual also said that Ukraine must "strengthen democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, fair elections and freedom of speech" if it wants to achieve its goals of integration with the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Ukraine declared its intention to seek NATO membership last year.

Pascual also praised Ukraine's decision to send up to 1,800 troops to join the U.S.-led force in postwar Iraq and noted the improvement in U.S.-Ukrainian relations, which have been troubled over the past year by U.S. allegations that Ukraine authorized the sale of radar systems to Saddam Hussein's Iraq in violation of U.N. sanctions.

Pascual is to be replaced by John E. Herbst, a career diplomat who has served as U.S. ambassador to Uzbekistan since October 2000.

Herbst is expected to take up his post in August. He previously held posts in Israel, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Pascual is expected to return to Washington as U.S. Coordinator for Assistance to Europe and Eurasia.

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