UK Ambassadors highlight developments in Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia
On 20 May, BGIPU hosted a briefing with Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Georgia His Excellency Mark Clayton, HMA to Moldova His Excellency Steven Fisher and HMA to Ukraine Her Excellency Melinda Simmons. The meeting was chaired by Harriett Baldwin MP, Chair of BGIPU. It was attended by a range of MPs and Peers all with a keen interest in dynamics of these post-Soviet countries. The three Ambassadors provided a broad overview of the political, social and security situations in their countries and took questions from the parliamentarians who attended. The ambitions of each country with regard to climate change were also discussed given the priority the UK attaches to its hosting of COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021.
HMA Steven Fisher to Moldova, began by updating members on developments since the election of the new President in November 2020, noting she was leading an anti-corruption agenda among other welcome reform efforts. HMA Melinda Simmons in Ukraine, noted she was currently visiting Odessa as HMS Trent was making a ships visit to Ukraine as bilateral relations continued to go from strength to strength. She noted that since the election of the new Government in 2019, with the President and many parliamentarians relatively new to politics, Ukraine continued to face significant challenges, particularly security threats in the east of the country posed by Russia, making the support of the UK and others in the West for Ukrainian sovereignty were very important and warmly welcomed. HMA Mark Clayton noted Georgia remained very keen to launch a bid to join the EU in 2024 although it also faced a range of political and economic challenges in recent years, exacerbated recently by the impacts of the pandemic.
Asked about progress in each country on rollout of COVID-19 vaccine drive, Ambassadors acknowledged problems with misinformation and fake news remained key impediments being addressed by all governments. This excellent and comprehensive briefing, comparing and contrasting developments in these three different post-Soviet states made clear that the UK ‘s bilateral relations in each country were strong but also had ample room for further strengthening based on areas of shared interest and mutual support. MPs/Peers greatly appreciated the Ambassadors providing them with such a good briefing and were grateful to the Chair and BGIPU for the event.