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Price, Buchanan Reflect on Bipartisan Trip to Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova

April 24, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 24, 2019)House Democracy Partnership (HDP) Chairman David Price (D-NC) and Co-Chair Vern Buchanan (R-FL) issued the following statement after returning from a bipartisan congressional delegation visit to Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova. Following the visit, Chairman Price and Co-Chair Buchanan offered their reflections:

“Last week, House Democracy Partnership Co-Chair Vern Buchanan and I led a bipartisan delegation to Eastern Europe where we renewed our commitment to supporting our longtime partners in Ukraine and Georgia, while getting a firsthand look at the evolving democratic processes in Armenia and Moldova,” said Congressman David Price.  “This work does not come without challenges.  During our visits, we saw the impact of Russian influence and propaganda which seeks to disrupt democracy and sow distrust.  In Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, the Russians also occupy physical territory.  We also were fortunate to meet with U.S. service members working hand in hand with our Ukrainian military partners -- as well as parliamentary leaders from all sides in the midst of their presidential elections.”

“In the current political environment, our aspiration for all these countries is that they should be able to secure economic, cultural, and political ties with a variety of friendly countries in ways that are consistent with their own values and interests. The formation of strong representative institutions is essential to democracy and self-determination, and in this regard, we strive to be particularly helpful.”

“Our delegation saw firsthand that Russian aggression continues to threaten regional partners and U.S. national security interests,” Congressman Buchanan said. “It is imperative that we continue these mutually beneficial partnerships. Following our trip, Chairman Price and I made it clear that we remain committed to combatting these threats and strengthening the democratic institutions of these nations.”

Recap of the Congressional Delegation Visit:

The delegation first arrived in Ukraine, an important American ally and long-time HDP partner, just before the second round of their presidential election. While in Ukraine, the delegation also visited American service members at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center outside of Lviv. The delegation appreciated the opportunity to visit with our troops who are training and assisting the Ukrainian armed forces as they fight for their democratic self-determination as part of the 7th Army Training Command’s Joint Military Training Group – Ukraine (JMTG-U).

In Georgia, another long-time HDP partner and one of the most pro-Western and pro-NATO countries in the region, the members of Congress met with Prime Minister Bakhtadze, parliamentary leaders from across the political spectrum, and local civil society groups to discuss the ongoing democratic transition from a split-Presidential to a full Parliamentary system.  

In Armenia, which recently underwent the peaceful “Velvet Revolution” to usher in a new cohort of reform-minded leaders, the delegation engaged with the full range of Armenian political leaders for the first time, including Prime Minister Pashinyan and Speaker Mirzoyan. The HDP Co-Chairs concluded the two-day visit by expressing their intention to further engage with the Armenian parliament in the coming months.

In Moldova, where negotiations on forming the new government are ongoing, the delegation met with the key players and parties represented in the negotiations—President Dodon, Prime Minister Filip, and opposition coalition leaders Maia Sandu and Andrei Nastase. The delegation emphasized the importance of maintaining close ties with Moldova’s Western partners, such as the United States and the European Union, and of combating pervasive corruption to strengthen the country’s democratic governance.

The bipartisan delegation was led by HDP Chairman David Price (D-NC), and Co-Chair Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and also included Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV), Michael Conaway (R-TX), Gerry Connelly (D-VA), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Terri Sewell (D-AL).

About the House Democracy Partnership:

HDP is a bipartisan, twenty-member commission of the U.S. House of Representatives that works directly with the legislatures of partner countries around the world to support the development of effective, independent, and responsive legislative institutions.  Central to its work is peer-to-peer cooperation to build technical expertise in partner legislatures that will enhance accountability, transparency, legislative independence, access to information, and government oversight.

HDP was authorized on March 14, 2005 as the House Democracy Assistance Commission, and it was reauthorized for the 116th Congress as part of the House Rules package adopted on January 3rd, 2019.  The Partnership is assisted by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and its implementing partners, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).