U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
February 19, 2014
SECRETARY KERRY: Hello, everybody. First of all, let me say I’m very happy to be back visiting with Foreign Minister Fabius so soon after his visit to Washington. And we all appreciated the state visit, and we’re still feeling positive results of that meeting, which was very, very productive for all of us.
I wanted to say a word about the situation in Ukraine. All of us are deeply disturbed by the scenes of the violence, by the level of abuse that the citizens in the streets have felt over the course of the last days. And our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine for what has been happening.
President Yanukovych has the opportunity to make a choice. The choice is between protecting the people that he serves, all of the people, and a choice for a compromise and dialogue versus violence and mayhem. We believe the choice is clear, and we are talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps with our friends in Europe and elsewhere in order to try to create the environment for compromise.
Our desire is for Mr. Yanukovych to bring people together, dialogue with the opposition, find the measure of compromise, and put the broad interests of the people of Ukraine out front. We are convinced there is still space for that to happen. The violence can be avoided, and in the end, the aspirations of the people of Ukraine can be met through that kind of dialogue. That is our hope. Vice President Biden talked yesterday, I believe even today again, with President Yanukovych. But really it’s in his hands to decide what the future of Ukraine and the future hopes of his people will be. And we hope very, very much that violence will be avoided and compromise will be found.
FOREIGN MINISTER FABIUS: (In French.)
SECRETARY KERRY: (Inaudible.) Tomorrow the foreign minister will be leaving to join with the German foreign minister and the Polish foreign minister in Kyiv, where they will gather the latest information regarding the situation on the ground. And then they will go to Brussels, where they will have a meeting in order to discuss the possibility of sanctions or whatever steps might be appropriate.
FOREIGN MINISTER FABIUS: We shall meet tomorrow morning, the different element, the different actors, in Kyiv. And stemming from that, we shall encourage them to find a way of dialogue. And stemming from that, we should be back in Brussels to take the decisions which are necessary.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very much. Thank you.