Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Washington today (27 February) prior to his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry:
This is my fourth time seeing Secretary of State Kerry since I took office not that long ago. It goes to show that international challenges have been giving us a lot to do over recent days and weeks. Ukraine is one of those challenges. I am pleased that, as we had called for, a Government has been formed quickly that can now start work.
Prime Minister Yatsenyuk has a lot of work ahead of him. It will be no easy task, neither in terms of the state of Ukraine’s finances nor with respect to the still turbulent political situation. The important thing now is for the new Government to ensure and prove that it is a Government for all the people of Ukraine, for the North, South, East and West, and to work with international institutions and the country’s neighbours to restore financial stability. I will be talking about that with the Americans today, and with the IMF tomorrow. We are also in discussions with Russia on the same subject. East and West should not quarrel about Ukraine’s future. On the contrary, all of Ukraine’s neighbours and everyone who has sympathy for its people seeing what they have gone through in recent weeks and months now need to help Ukraine towards a stable future. What matters now is that everyone should do their bit to support that path.
It is important, before anything else, to have the IMF very swiftly send a group of experts to Kyiv to assess the needs of the financial situation. Ms Lagarde has already announced that this will happen, which I am very happy about. I will moreover have the opportunity tomorrow morning to speak to her about the IMF’s readiness to provide emergency assistance. The European Union is doing so, and, from what I have seen and heard, the US Government is prepared to make assistance available too. We are also talking to Russia about not withdrawing or cancelling relief funds it has pledged. If these four partners could pull together on the vital financial stabilisation, it would be a good start.
No one can know just how great Ukraine’s financial needs are, as not even the new Government has had a chance to really go through the books. I think the first move now must be to organise transitional funding, and then investigate the fiscal requirements step by step for the long term. Ukraine mustn’t run out of steam now in this interim phase.