Your Excellencies, Dear Friends and Distinguished Guests, Дорогі Українці! I am glad to welcome you at our reception on the occasion of the 26th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence which we are holding on the Day of Dignity and Freedom of Ukraine.
This day on the 21st of November 2013 a lot of Ukrainians went out with Ukrainian and European Union flags to the Independence square (Maidan Nezalezhnosty) and took the other streets, after the previous Ukrainian government and President suspended preparations for signing the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement with the European Union. Protesters defended European choice and democratic way of development of Ukraine.
This year we also are celebrating a very special date in cooperation between Ukraine and Jordan. 25 years ago on April 19, 1992 we have established diplomatic relations between the two countries. Relations between Ukraine and Jordan are stable and have been gradually developing during these years.
Active bilateral cooperation started with the visit of Ukrainian President to Amman in 2002. In 2011 King Abdullah II paid an official visit to Ukraine. His Majesty’s visit gave a powerful impetus to the cooperation between Kyiv and Amman. In 2012 Ukrainian President visited Amman and the second meeting of Ukraine-Jordan Intergovernmental Committee took place in the Jordanian capital. In the following years the two countries signed important agreements in the spheres of economy, education, culture, maritime transport, financial sphere.
Today cooperation between Ukraine and Jordan is actively developing. Bilateral trade in goods and services between the two countries in the first 9 months of 2017 reached 133 million dollars. We believe that there are perspectives for the growth, and we will reach the peak years of cooperation – 2011, 2012 and 2013 before the war with Russia, when bilateral trade amounted to half a billion dollars.
Nowadays Ukraine is a modern country which produces high-tech products: biggest airplanes, missiles, military equipment and remains a strong agricultural competitor. We offer all our products for the Jordanian Side at competitive conditions.
We develop cultural and humanitarian cooperation; encourage travel between Ukraine and Jordan. This year we have significantly simplified visa regulations, reduced visa fees for the travelers who wish to visit Ukraine. And after just a few months after implementing these measures we clearly see that more and more foreigners wish to visit Ukraine with business, tourist or private purpose.
We have very deep roots for people’s diplomacy. Today about 5 thousand Ukrainian citizens live in Jordan and feel its hospitality. They have managed to create a strong and united community represented by the cultural society and organization “The Ukrainian House” whose activists are present at this celebration and they have performed Ukrainian and Jordanian national anthems. “The Ukrainian House” provides opportunities for children and adults to study Ukrainian language and culture, attend dancing and fitness classes. Head of the Ukrainian House Olga Zavidniak Otum is present here today. You may also meet here today talented poet Viktoria Brychkova Abu Kadum who has recently published a book of her poetry with the support of Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. This book is dedicated to the 25-th anniversary of Ukrain-Jordan relations.
A lot of Jordanian students chose Ukrainian affordable and competitive higher education. Every year 400-500 hundred new students join our Universities. The hospitality, kindness and tolerance of Ukrainian people make them feel at home.
Our closest friends have gathered with us tonight. I will not be able to mention all of them as I would continue to talk for hours and hours. But they all made great contributions to promoting Ukrainian-Jordanian Friendship, creating positive Ukrainian image in the Kingdom and encouraging further cooperation. I therefore extend my deepest appreciation to all of our friends: statesmen, businessmen, journalists, thinkers, diplomats and many others.
And finally I would like to mention the progress made by Ukraine in the last three years. 2014 became a major test for Ukraine’s statehood and independence. We stood to the challenge, defended our country against Russian aggression and began process of radical reforms that touched all spheres of our lives. We are thankful to all our international partners, in particular Jordan, for their support during these difficult times.
We have deepened cooperation with the European Union. Last June Ukrainian citizens obtained right to enter the Schengen countries without visas. Starting from the last September Association agreement between Ukraine and the EU came into full force. And.
There is still a lot of challenges ahead of us. But against the background of unprecedented external shocks, we achieved macroeconomic stabilization and restored economic growth. Our and international experts expect 4,5% growth this year.
Ukraine is moving forward. And we are eager to continue cooperation with one of our most reliable and close international partners – Jordan.
I will not be taking more of your time and I invite you to taste Ukrainian food: Borsch, Varenyky, Holubci and others prepared from the best eco-friendly products.
I suggest raising our glasses for peaceful future of our friendly people.
Long Live Ukrainian-Jordanian friendship!
Слава Україні та Йорданії!