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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 30, 2014 6:00am-8:01am EDT

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additional rockets. we know that israel is under attack. it's always been under attack since its very founding. this is not an existential threat. this is not an abstract threat. it is a daily threat. and we know that israel is trying to defend itself against the grim, unrelenting attacks by hamas, a self-avowed terrorist organization that has sworn in its documents not to allow israel to continue. they absolutely oppose an independent israeli state. mr. president, it is this week that we're going to be -- this month that we're commemorating the warsaw uprising. the prime minister is a member of the group we affectionately call the polish caucus. those of us who have a
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relationship with the polish government, one of our greatest supporters in the nato alliance. we recall that 70 years ago people were willing to fight back against the not subsidies, rise-- -- the nazis, rising out of the sewers of a warsaw ghetto, to be able to fight them off with sticks and stones and out-of-date weapons, to be able to liberate, to liberate poland from nazi oppression and miles away in places like dacau, auschwitz and others, there were the death camp.we're one year away from commemorating -- commemorating the liberation of the death camps. we know that as those people marched out of those death camps, they made their way into palestine, which became the state of israel. we were the first nation to recognize the necessary and rightful place for israel to
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exist as an independent government, and forever and a day the homeland for the jewish people so that they would be safe from terrorism and what occurred. so i am for this whole iron dome supplemental, and we need to do it. but it cannot be the only thing that we nut the supplemental. we have neighbors right now hurting in our own country, our western states, with wildfires raging over hundreds of thousands of acres, land being depleted, local resources, first responders ex-hausted, local funds being worn down. we have to -- we have to be able to respond to the western borders. and then there's the crisis at our border, which -- and if the crisis is at our border because of the crisis in central america. so when we move on this
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supplemental, let's look out for the great state of israel, let's look out for our neighbors who are facing wildfires and let's look out for what is going on at our border. but, mr. president, i came to the floor to, first of all, compliment senator sanders for the outstanding job he did working on a bipartisan basis to pass the veterans access, choice and accountability act of 2014. what a great job they did out of a scandal, a terrible scandal affecting our nation's veterans, where they had to stand in line simply to see a doctor in the very country that they fought to defend, now found that they had to defend themselves against v.a. bureaucracy and in some places duplicitous action. well, the sanders bill goes a long way, again, working on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the dome.
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gosh, when we do this, this is why i wanted to be a senator. i know this is why many others wanted to be a senator. coming here, working on concrete problems, shoulder to shoulder, bipartisan basis, hands across the aisle, hands across the dome and they did it. they now -- when that sanders -- when this bill is passed, we will reduce the long wait times for veterans, we will increase doctors and nurses and specialty providers. it will allow veterans to see local providers if they've been on a wait list for an extended period of time or have to drive 40 miles to be able to get to a v.a. clinic. boy, do i know that when i look at some of the rural areas. and we're going to pay for it with $10 billion in mandatory emergency funds, mandatory emergency funds. that's the way to do it. the sanders bill will go a long
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way in increasing personnel and also in expanding a number of clinics, 27 new clinics. so i think it's great. but, mr. president, as important as that bill is, it's an important step but it cannot be the only step that we take this week. mr. president, i am so excited that shoulder to shoulder again, if we work together, we could do a fry feck to for our -- trifecta for our veterans. we could pass the veterans choice, access and account ability act, new opportunities for health care where veterans don't have to stand in line. also, we could -- we're going to vote today on robert mcdonald, to give the v.a. a new secretary, a new c.e.o., new leadership, hopefully new energy, new vitality and new ways of doing business, bringing the practical know-how of the private sect to her meetinprivar
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mission. but those two, as important as they are, i also come as the chair of the appropriations committee to say, why don't we take a third step that really will do the job? let's pass the v.a. mil-con appropriations bill so we can actually put next year's funding in the federal checkbook, rather than just putting v.a. on autopilot. we can actually make a big difference with the new accountability expansion of care bill, but that will take days, weeks, months to put in operation. right this minute we could pass the v.a. mil-con bill, as well as giving no -- as well as giving new leadership. i come here because i really do want to move the v.a. mil-con. mr. president, the appropriations committee works through its subcommittees and,
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wow, have i had two great subcommittee chairmen and ranking on v.a. mil-con, two outstanding senators. senator tim johnson of south dakota, senator mark kirk of illinois. they have worked so assiduously on coming up with a bill for funding our veterans for fiscal year 2015, and it is an outstanding bill. and -- but when we look -- but right now we're out there in the wilderness. we've moved it through the subcommittee, we've moved it through the full committee. it passed unanimously. and we're out in the ethers waiting to come to the floor. johnson and kirk, mikulski, shelby -- we're like people with our nose pressed against the glass on the floor. we see it within our grasp but
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we can't get through. and all we want to do is help to complete the job that we're trying to undertake today. you know, as much as the bill will be -- that senator sanders worked out, that without the v.a. mil-con appropriations bill, the veterans will lack key tools to expand care, important support personnel that allows the doctors and nurses to do their job, important technology to run contemporary institutions and, by the way, the bill that we're going to be working on, the sanders bill, is focused on health care. but we on the appropriations committee dealt not only with aspects of that but on also the terrible backlog on veterans' disability. mr. president, veterans' disability. not only do you have to stand in line to get health care but you're standing days, weeks, months, to get your disability
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claim. you've lost an arm or a leg or you can't breathe or you have ptsd, and we can't get your disability processed. this is unacceptable. what we do in the v.a. bill is come up with the funds to really modernize the v.a. first of all, just in terms of health care, to complement the sanders bill, we're going to -- we have money in there to develop state-of-the-art technology so that the doctors can provide medical health care, to make sure that we have the modern equipment and the modern i.t. systems. right now we need to be able to have d.o.d. talking to v.a. because veterans come from d.o.d., but we have an interoperable system. we work to fix this. we also deal with this backlog. you have no idea, mr. president.
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my state of maryland and my office in baltimore has not had a good track record. i vowed to my veterans that i would try to break that backlog. and you know what? working together we've been able to do this. in the fiscal 2015 bill, we fund an appeals process, we train additional claims processors, we require the management at the benefit administration to deal with the backlog working with the new administrator. we have -- we have not only great ideas but we actually put the money in the federal checkbook. and johnson-kirk did it. and do you know how they did it? yes, talking to the v.a., reviewing tons of g.a.o. and inspector general reports, and guess what else they did, mr. president? they talked to the veterans. they talked to these wonderful volunteer service organizations. so, mr. president, i'm going to propose something later on today
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or later on this week. i don't want to be the chair of a committee that's got her face pressed up against the glass looking longingly at the senate floor with a bill i know will help the veterans administration with the heavy lifting to deal with the health care and disability backlog. i'm going to ask -- and i'm just -- because i believe in no surprise and no stunts and no s. later on today or later on this week, i will ask unanimous consent to bring up the v.a. mil-con on third reading to be able to complement what we are doing here today. and i want to be able to do that and i hope that no senator will object to it. now, just again, in the spirit of full disclosure, because i truly have pledged to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle i would never be a
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surprise chair and i would never be one that pulls gimmicks or stunts. i'm going to ask that consent. i want people to know about it so they can discuss it, chew on it, talk at their respective luncheon -- their lunches. when i ask unanimous consent, i'm going to ask that it be brought up on third reader. why am i doing that? because under the rules of the senate, if you bring up a bill on third reader, there's no amendments. so the question would be, senator mikulski, are you trying to stiff-arm again? no, i'm trying to get the job done. i'm not trying to be stiff-arming the opportunity to offer amendments, but we have 72 hours left before we take this really long break, really long, long, long, very long -- did i say "long" -- break. i don't think when you need health care for veterans, when you need to modernize technology, when you need to
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crack the backlog, while we're kind of basking in the sun somewhere, i don't want them in line. so either this afternoon or sometime tomorrow i will bring this -- i will ask unanimous consent, that i will turn to my 99 colleagues and in the spirit of really meeting compelling needs of our veterans, i will ask that that bill come up so that as we move through the other two aspects that we're going to do to help veterans, we can do the v.a. mil-con bill. so, mr. president, i'm going to come to the floor today to talk about how we support a treasured ally, how we look out for our neighbors in the west fighting our wildfires, and how we deal with wit the crisis in central america where children are being victimized and brutalized every day so they're making that long march across the terrain and territory to come to the united states of america.
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so, mr. president, i hope in the short time the senate's going to be in session this week and this month and even this year, that we could use this week to meet the needs that are confronting us, but most of all, i would hope that we do not just do part of the job for our veterans, we do this trifecta that i'm recommending, passing the veterans accountability act, the health care act, give us a new c.e.o., and have a chance to pass the v.a. mil-con bill. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the assistant majority leader. mr. durbin: mr. president, i want to associate myself with the remarks of the chairman of the appropriations committee, my chairwoman, senator mikulski. i would add perhaps one particular point and that is, this senator will be basking in the sun in illinois during the recess and i invite the senator from maryland to come join us any time she'd like to. but it won't be in a vacation -- ordinary vacation climb, it will
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be in my home state and i'm sure you're going to be spending a lot of time your own as well. ms. mikulski: well, if i could respond to the gentleman from illinois, yes, i'm staying in maryland because i'd hoped that we would even be working on conference reports and so on. but while you're in illinois and i'm in maryland, most of all we don't want our veterans standing in line for their health care or their disability benefits. so shoulder to shoulder, forward together. mr. durbin: thank you, senator mikulski. this supplemental appropriation bill is important. it's timely. one of the provisions in it is an additional $225 million for the iron dome defense. the iron dome defense is a joint effort by the united states and israel to protect israel from rocket attacks. imagine you're living in your hometown and a neighboring state or a neighboring town just fired 2,000 rockets into your hometown. these are not 4th of july
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rockets. these are deadly rockets that kill. you want some protection, and the iron dome provides protection for israel. this joint effort by the united states and israel has been successful. despite 2,000 rocket attacks, the casualties on the israeli side have been minimal, relatively minimal, and it's because of the iron dome defense. what attacks does israel face today? well, they face hamas attacks from gaza. hamas is an organization which the united states characterized as a terrorist organization almost 20 years ago. we know hamas. we know their tactics. what they're doing is putting rocket launchers in civilian neighborhoods near hospitals and apartments and homes and they're launching these missile attacks on israel and daring them to fire back into civilian populations. iron dome protects the israeli population from the missiles
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being shot by hamas in gaza and now the israelis have invaded gaza to go to the source to stop these rocket attacks. sadly, during the course of this effort in gaza, there have been casualties. some on the israeli side, of course, but hundreds, maybe a thousand on the side of the civilian population in gaza. this is because the strategy of hamas is to put their armaments smack dab in the middle of civilian populations. as has been said in israel, they use weapons to protect civilians and in gaza they're using civilians to protect weapons. that has to come to an end. we have to have an end to the hostilities between gaza and israel. no nation, no nation on earth would sit still for 2,000 rocket attacks into their population. and that's what israel is faced over the past several weeks. but the people of gaza also need much better than they're receiving when it comes to
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hamas. hamas, sadly, is engaging in tactics using human shields at the expense of the human population. when they are told about the civilians that are dying in gaza, leaders in hamas say they're martyrs to the cause. i'll have to tell you, it would be very difficult for me to understand and explain to a family that's lost a child that they love that their child has just become a martyr. this has to come to an end. it has to end with the hostilities between gaza and israel and it has to end, i hope, in some negotiation and peaceful resolution. maybe it's wishful thinking. but i do believe we need to make the effort. i commend secretary of state kerry for his effort in trying to engage egypt and others in this conversation. the supplemental bill before us today provides more money for interceptor missiles for iron dome to protect israel. money requested by our secretary of defense, money which i support. as chairman of the defense appropriation subcommittee we
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added some $350 million for iron dome defenseness the next fiscal year which begins october 1. this money is needed now because of the hostilities between these of the hostilities between these
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>> these sanctions are designed not just to punish russia, but deter. can i ask for your reaction, your comment on this final decision, this latest round of decisions on sectoral sanctions
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and your assessment of how the sanctions policy has been effective or not in influencing russian behavior? >> well, firstly, i don't believe that the previous sanctions were effective in the sense they would be able to influence russian behavior on ukraine. but -- [inaudible] how the sanctions were imposed. but now we are talking about really minor but already, already sanctions which could help not russian economy. and it's a smart way how they're introduced, by different sectors like defense or like the possibility to access final markets for russian state
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institutions. for institutions that are normally used for driving forward russian policy. and to this sense and is the important issue, and it is the issue everyone here, everyone in the european union should simply ask himself or herself what kind of russian behavior can we tolerate. and a clear point here. -- a clear point here. if russia, and we have the case of russia broke international law but also political commitments, we need to have an instrument how to return to the status quo, how to return to the world where we have rules and where such rules are respected by anyone. and developments around you
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could show that -- [inaudible] so we are a kind of test case for that, and hopefully, a good one, not a bad one. >> i want to give some time to take some questions from the audience. met me ask one other one, and then, folks, if you could catch my eye, i'll bring you into conversation with the minister. you're clearly here seeking greater support for ukraine, but what would you say, what does ukraine need most right now? and without betraying all the confidences of your meetings here in washington, what are you asking for and what are you getting? what's on the list that ukraine needs most urgently in this crisis? >> well, it's about short term, and it's about midterm. it's about support for reforms in ukraine, for reforms not just in economics here, but also for judicial system rule of i law. it's about financial -- rule of law. it's about financial support
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because we have very good imf program, and the only condition which hasn't been taken into account is undeclared war in -- [inaudible] we need also further assistance for our military capabilities, and it's also the issue now and for the future. and we need, of course, real solidarity. real solidarity from here, real solidarity from the european union on -- [inaudible] like energy, like european integration. and i also, i also can follow the change in atmosphere both here and the european union from the perception of partnership towards a real solidarity and engagement. and it's probably, probably, you
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know, later than we wanted to, but it's already, it's already a fact of life. >> and just one quick follow up. we've been doing a lot of work up on the hill, and there's been a very active debate about the right kind of military assistance for ukraine because, after all, you're in a conflict today to. are you seeing movement, progress on that particular issue? and then i'll turn to -- [inaudible] please. >> yes, and not only here in d.c. last week we were able to veto from supplies for the european union on the 24th, so we have different options and different ways now. but again, it's not just about transfer of our military capability. it's about, it's about reform and reshuffle for the whole security sector in ukraine not
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only for military forces, but it's not all aimed at military solution. it's about, it's about clear idea how to deescalate situations there. but we need such reshuffled military forces and security sector in order to provide law and order in ukraine and to be able to defend ourself. >> mr. minister, there's so much expertise in this room on ukraine, i want to turn and bring the audience in. if the microphone can come up? please, for our audience, if you could introduce yours, your affiliation and ask a question to keep the conversation moving. >> [inaudible] minister klimkin, you were the chief negotiator of the european negotiation agreement, and it would be interesting to see, to hear from you what you think are
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the most important things that ukraine can benefit in the short term from the association agreement. will it really open up the market so that ukraine can export to europe when russia is closing its market? how will it help you to reform the ukrainian state? will it help you to bring the rule of law to a greater extent to ukraine? thank you. >> thank you, anders. let me pick up a second question with the ambassador here in the front. >> thank you, minister, for your solidarity and everything you do. you say, well, you spoke a hot about sanctions, defense, and for me this sounds like minimum what we do in defending the situation. so it's kind of reaction defense. but do you feel the support from the washington on something else that was very important for the baltic states to make it successful, vision to make you part of the? do you feel the leadership -- part of the west? do you feel the leadership from
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washington in pushing -- [inaudible] for example? >> thank you. please. >> well, firstly, it was always my point after implementation of the -- [inaudible] agreement, i mean, after full implementation, ukraine will look like, will look like a different country, a real european country. because the agreement is about framework for reforms in the political sphere, economic sphere, sectoral integration. and the key idea of the agreement is flexibility, and the idea to transport in ukrainian legislation the european legislation. speck speck tongue -- [speaking in native tongue] and we can effectively carry out trade with asia or within america on the basis of wto.
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but we can't access the e.u. markets without -- [inaudible] the whole but at least consider -- [inaudible] and the most powerful neighboring market for ukraine with a lot of opportunities there. and if you talk to our business, the people are simply thrilled and enthusiastic about the future opportunities. the only point how quick, how sensibly quick we can use this opportunity. and probably in one month, in two months it will be still difficult to enjoy the full power of the agreement. so it should be our, our challenge to implement, to start implementing the agreement as soon as possible, but it should be also the challenge for the european union to assist us in
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implementation in the way european union assisted the new member states. finish -- so their ideas, the instruments, the tool box already available in the european union is simply not sufficient for the effective implementation. and we've been working now on a number of new ideas. and, you know, the window for this idea is open. so we need, of course, your support. the idea of influence in the e.u. for membership perspective, it was, it was always my point. i'm fully confident that because of ongoing changes in the european union and to the whole of the european continent is
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not, you know, the most pressing issue to fight for formal recognition of membership perspective. but it's key now to get a european perspective. european perspective in the sense that ukraine could become a member of the european union if ukraine is ready and fully capable to deliver on relevant e.u. criteria. so to put, you know, to get across in europe the idea that ukraine should start negotiations on event u. membership let's -- e.u. membership let's say in a couple of years could be extremely -- [inaudible] so i've been fighting now for the european perspective, for the political recognition for ukraine, for the political right
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for ukraine to become a member. and membership perspective will definitely come in the course of implementation of the agreement. it will come sooner rather than later. after yanukovych refused to sign the agreement, i, i held a speech in berlin about that, and i was asked, look, what is your take? when are you going to able to sign the agreement? and my point was it would be, it would be rather sooner than later. and my german friends told me, look, it's about 2016 probably or later. now we have the agreement signed. and my point, you probably don't believe me, but the membership perspective will come far sooner
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than many of you believe here. >> thank you, mr. minister. quite a statement. let me turn to steve -- [inaudible] please. >> hi, i'm steve -- >> yes, it's on. i think it's on. yep. >> steve sestanovich, columbia university and council of foreign relations. mr. minister, you've talked about your determination to build consensus in ukraine and expressed an interest in talking to people in donesque who are not russian operate toives. but you -- operatives. but you also expressed a determination to fight to restore ukraine easter to have y'all integrity. can you talk to us a little bit about how you keep those goals from conflicting with each other? the impact of an all-out military campaign, obviously, can be negative for national reconciliation, and in "the new york times" this morning there are some suggestions that
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ukraine's military tactics may have gone beyond what president por poroshenko has outlined -- poroshenko has outlined. we would benefit from hearing your views on this. >> terrific. let me pick up one more. if you could just pass the mic back a few rows. >> thank you. david sedny, formerly with the u.s. department of defense. mr. minister, you spoke about your determination not to have another frozen conflict in eastern ukraine and said frozen conflicts should be eliminated. what steps is ukraine taking now, is prepared to take to address the other frozen conflict that does exist on your borders -- [inaudible] >> why don't we pick up those two, please. >> yeah, firstly, i believe this is goal fully compatible and sustainable because if you're going to fight the russian -- [inaudible] but not, but not the people of
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donesk and lugansk. and if you see the situation on the ground, it's about a limited number of -- [inaudible] and it's about, you know, a couple of thousand people, mercenaries who came from russia or came in -- [inaudible] hired for money on the ground. so if we are able to counter this influence, if we are able to counter the terrorists, we would be fully able to talk in a very positive way not just round tables, but in a way of carrying out inclusive, effective dialogue with the people who stay in many cases under russian propaganda, the propaganda from
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the russian state channels. probably still not confident in the ability of our ability, of the ability of ukrainian government to provide for key conditions for -- [inaudible] because the issues are for using russian language, for example, is the issue which has been always played up in a way. it's a political issue. and because of that, we believe that the framework of -- [inaudible] is, indeed, is indeed the framework, firstly, for deescalation and finding the way how to take into account the interest of people, how to give them more freedom but also how to give them more responsibility.
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at the level of community, at the level of district, at the level of region. and any issue which couldn't be addressed at this level should be taken through kiev as a level of regional government. so i believe and this is also my personal conviction that these goals are fully compatible. because they should address simply different kind of people. and the idea of rewarding the frozen conflict? trust me, how any sort of conflict could have evolved. we remember -- [inaudible] and i would not draw any parallel because all stories are different. but what is critical is not to let putin --
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[inaudible] not to let don be esk and ddonesk establish russian control structures and not to let them finish. [inaudible] key decision of central government. and fourth and probably the most important issue is to explain in extremely clear and understandable terms what our intentions are and that we are ready to provide wide ranging consideration. but we are also ready and responsible for not just law and order, but normal life. and the people know -- [inaudible] ongoing developments clearly understand what is at stake. and even before the events in
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donesk and hugansk, there were 18 if i remember -- [inaudible] and 20% in lugansk area for, you know, for the idea of joining russia. now it's far less. it's about clear understanding who is for and who is against. >> mr. minister, we're quite tight on time, i want to try to squeeze in one last question. we'll turn to the gentleman on the far right. if you could be just as brief as possible -- i'm sorry, the man behind you i saw first, just -- thank you. >> thank you. mr. minister, my name's david colton, i'm with the -- [inaudible] group. i was wondering if i could tease out a little more thought about your concept of the status quo. for example, in this town many friends of ukraine like zbigniew
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brzezinski and others have articulated a future for ukraine that is not necessarily part of the customs union, but not necessarily integrated into the western defense structure. and they've used the word, i think conveniently, finlandization, but it's a broad sense of ukraine as sovereign and independent but not necessarily a member of -- [inaudible] there's also a growing chorus in this town of people who have pointed out that during the period of finlandization, soviet role in finnish domestic politics underminded, crippled and eventually destroyed finnish democracy. could i get your thoughts about what the security status quo might be for ukraine in the future? >> i had hoped to take a few more questions, but i know you are headed to the white house after this, so i've committed to end you on time. i'm going to turn to you with this question as a final
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question for you to take and any concluding comment you'd like to make as well. >> you know, finlandization, you know, we need, we need to get a bit of intelligence probably on language to be concentrated on that, so i personally don't believe in just the option which is taken by finland. i believe it's a unique one. secondly, any thought of situation and existence in between is unsustainable. so we need a sustainable oops for the future of -- option for the future of ukraine, and we need a sustainable -- [inaudible] not just for ukraine, but also in europe. and because existing security structures simply don't match the challenge, we need new
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security arrangements. we discussed years and years within the osc how they can look like, totally failed. problem was the present situation should push us not just in more discussions, but in more and more effective solutions. we will come up, and i have personally a couple of ideas how to organize, you know, how to structure, how to shape, more confidence-building measures. how to have, you know, control regimes for conventional arms which is, unfortunately, how to have more, how to create more trust. but it's not about, you know, further pattern, security pattern as the existence in between. and there was a lot of talking
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about ukraine as a kind of bridge. and i believe the bridge is not the best possible idea. so the bridge is always dangerous to, you know, as just an existence. >> mr. minister, thank you so much. thank you. i would like to just try to close today by maybe first just by word of thanks to the terrific atlantic council staff that helped put this on on short notice, working with the ambassador and his team at the embassy. i want to thank our audience both online and here in presence, and importantly, our board and partners who have actually made all of our work on ukraine possible. mr. minister, as you know, todays's event is not just to focus on the crisis, but it represents the atlantic council's long-term commitment to a democratic, sovereign ukraine that finds its place in europe. so please join me in thanking the minister today for his words and his time. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us today. please clear the room for a press conference. members of the press, please move to the front of the ballroom for the conference. thank you very much. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> test. okay, thanks. our first question is from cnn. can you please identify yourself? >> hi, mr. foreign minister,
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right here. back here on the platform. oliver janney with cnn. you spoke a lot about deescalation in your remarks today. cnn has had three different intention sources tell us in the last 48 hours they've detected short-range ballistic missiles fired toward the pro-russian rebels. can you respond to that? and have any members of the u.s. government raised this issue with you while you've been here? >> well, i said quite clearly also today in the press conference with state secretary that we didn't use any sort of ballistic missiles, and we are not going to use ballistic missiles. also against terrorist forces because, firstly, it does not make sense in the military context. and secondly is, of course, about possible human losses of
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human life. and our forces exercise extreme restraint. and we actually lost a lot of human lives, a lot of lyes of our -- lives of our military, you know, servicemen during the unilateral ceasefire. so it's not about any sort of ballistic missiles which could be used. and it's an undeclared war against ukraine. ballistic missiles is not -- also in theoretical sense s not in the tool box to address existing challenges. not in any way. >> hi, luke johnson from radio free europe, radio liberty. i wondered, you talk a lot about the european path. i wondered how your country's going to respond to some of the russian economic threats, you know, a dairy ban and so on and so forth along with, you know,
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coal being a big exporter to russia. how will you respond if those exports are blocked? thanks. >> well, firstly, russia starts talking about problems, after that about challenges, now russia is talking about potential risks. in the implementation of the e.u./ukraine agreement for the trade with russia. it's already a bit of progress. and we had trilateral consultations with the e.u. trade commissioner, with russian economy minister -- [inaudible] how to address these issues. and for us it's not about political punishment for european tourists, and that is exactly our impression at the moment. for us it's about identifying issues which could be important
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for the implementation of the agreement. but it's not about substance of the agreement itself in any way. it's not about making changes, it's not about changing the -- [inaudible] is just about implementation. but we believe and we are fully confident of that, that we could have effective european integration, effective implementation of the agreement. and at the same time, effective trade relations with russia. you know, everyone who is talking about possible disruptions, who is talking about possible problems is in political domain and not in economic doe main. domain. >> hi. alicia -- [inaudible] with executive intelligence review magazine. given that the imf and the vis
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are at odds with what needs to happen with the european financial system whether it needs a bailout or a bail-in but both agree something urgent must be done and a new financial system is forming around these brics nations to the point where even wall street can't get argentina to really get in line and we've got the latest warning from the london telegraph that perhaps these russian sanctions, sanctions on russia could, in fact, collapse the transatlantic financial system, do you think that sanctions really are the best idea or joining the european financial system in general and perhaps maybe that's what's causing the collapse of the ukrainian government? >> firstly, as i understand, the present -- [inaudible] is about just access to financial markets for the
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russian state-run companies. and there is an impact assessment for that, and it has nothing to do with world financial system in this sense. and secondly, we have effective characterization with imf, with world bank, with international organizations, and we have a clear vision how to provide effective financial management for the near future. >> yes, hello. the dutch national television, good afternoon. first of all, my condolences for the loss of innocent life today in your country. i understand it's been a tough day. we are receiving messages that the front line is actually very close, if not on the crash site at this very moment. fighting is going on in the area. many people in my country, the netherlands, are asking why the offensive now at a time where the final remains of the people
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who lost their lives have not been recovered yet as well as the investigative teams who have not arrived at the site yet? thank you. >> firstly, our commitment to universal ceasefire for the area around the crash site is still the same. we said from the very beginning in the area of 20 kilometers railed yous around the crash site there could not -- radius around the crash site there could not be any sort of fighting, and we would exercise extreme restraint on that. but there were cases of provocation by the terrorists. but we are, we've been trying also to exercise extreme restraint not only in the area, in the 20 kilometers radius area around the crash site, but also the margins of this area. and it's critical for us to --
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[inaudible] access to the crash site to the international team, but also to other experts to be able to reach the crash site. but it's also critical to sport not just, you know, politics, but it's a point of human dignity. it's a kind of absolute priority now to recover all bodies and all body fragments and to find all belongings. of course, independent from the ongoing investigation. and it will be also the commitment for the future, because i personally negotiated the agreement with australia and i personally negotiated the agreement with the netherlands. about civil -- [inaudible] component for insuring safety and security at the crash site. and i believe it's unfortunately, it's quite unfortunately the possible, the
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possible option and still the right approach. because we don't have time to waste on accessing the crash site. >> thank you, minister. i'm sorry, but we have to -- they're saying he has to go, so thank you. >> sorry again. it was a pleasure to talk to you. >> c-span2, providing live coverage of the u.s. floor proceedings and key public policy events. and every weekend, booktv. now for 15 years, the only television network devoted to nonfiction books and authors. c-span2, created by the cable tv industry and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> at a meeting of the congressional progressive caucus, members heard from three children who traveled to the u.s. from central america on
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their own without their parents. they talked about their trip and the conditions of u.s. immigration facilities. the members also heard from advocates for refugees. this is two hours. >> thank you very much for being here today. this is an ad hoc hearing by the congressional progressive caucus, and before i introduce the conveners of the, of this ad hoc, it comes at a very important time. we're waiting for leader pelosi who will make statement, mr. ellison who was one of the originators, if not the originator of the idea to have an ad hoc hearing at this time, and thank you. and ms. yvette clark will be here with us, jan schakowsky and mr.-- [inaudible] those were the people that signed the letter to put this
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together and invited other members. we have other members that are here as well today, and they will have an opportunity to introduce themselves as we go forward. but today given everything that's going on with the refugee issue with the children in this country, the machinations that congress is going through trying to put together a package, we just saw, we just heard about the latest example from our republican colleagues as to what their package is here in the house. the senate has a package. we felt it was kind of important not to be dealing with the subject in a detached way. the congress and washington, d.c. get a direct look and a probe found listening, i hope, of the young people that are with us here today. and their families that are also
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with us. also from a panel of experts on addressing this humanitarian crisis, they'll be the second panel. so today's hearing is about to listen to the young people. i think we're missing, as a congress, missing the point in this whole issue. and the point is that we're talking about, primarily about children, we're talking primarily about their fleeing violence and fleeing many times for their own safety and lives, and we're missing the point that as a nation we're the embodiment of those values that protect the weaker, those values that protect the people fleeing persecution and prosecution unjustly. and today we're going to hear there those young people that
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did just that. so when people come up with laws and try to deal with a supplemental package, we would hope they'd do it in the context of human beings and children. regrettably, these migrant kids that are coming to this country are being blamed for everything right now dealing with the border, dealing with immigration reform and why we don't have it, dealing -- they're to blame for the reason we need to get rid of it. we're to blame for having more troops on the border: they're to blame for every communicable disease that ever existed on the face of the earth. their to blame finish they're to blame for the divisions that have been wracking this nation for two decades regarding the issue of immigration and race. and i think that's a lot to put on their little shoulders. it's time the congress kind of assumed the responsibility for this impasse we have on
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immigration reform. assume the responsibility that these laws are in place to protect people. and quit demonizing and blaming children when sometimes it's important for all of us as leaders to look ourselves in the mirror and come to the conclusion that we're not doing our part as a congress. and with that, let me welcome the young people and also turn it over to, as i said earlier, ms. chu was instrumental in saying we need to have a hearing of this kind where we have real people talk about this issue. and let me turn it over to her for any opening comments. and ms. chu. >> thank you, mr. chair. i will never forget going to the texas border station two weeks ago and seeing all the children in the detention cells sleeping on the cold, hard floor. that's what drove me to suggest this hearing. and i want to thank you,
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congressman, for arranging for the congressional progressive caucus to sponsor this. it's so important to hear firsthand from the children who are testifying here today. we'll hear about what drove them the leave their homes and why they are seeking protection in our country. as a nation, it's up to us to find a responsible and moral solution to address this humanitarian crisis and do what is best for each and every child coming to our border seeking refuge. our first priority needs to be protecting those with legitimate claims of persecution and preserving the protections our current laws provide. today we lift up their stories and remember that we are dealing with real people, young people who have witnessed unimaginable violence and tragedy. we cannot cover our ears to their cries for help. it's time to push politics aside and put these kids first. the answer can't be a legislative fix that guts existing protections and risks
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pushing them back into deadly violation. we need an effective response that puts their interests first, and we need it now. i want to thank our very brave witnesses who have come forward to share their personal stories today. >> thank you very much, representative chu. i want to acknowledge the members that are here today. and ms. lucille -- [inaudible] who is here with us also as well, barbara lee is with us as well, and coming in that direction, mr. that can know, mr. o'rourke -- takano, mr. to roarke, ms. chu has spoken, ms. jackson lee, ms. han, ms. barb are lee, mr. conyers
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and -- [inaudible] all these individuals have taken time and are here with us today, and we're very appreciative. as the panel -- [inaudible conversations] as people arrived, we will turn to them for them to if they have any questions of the witnesses or any reactions to the testimony. with that, let me welcome you and welcome these three fine, brave, courageous young people that are here with us today. let me begin with -- [inaudible] 15 years old, she's from guatemala. she lives on long island with her two younger sisters, her mom and step dad. she grew up for much of her youth in guatemala without her parents. her father died when she was just 2, and her mother traveled to the united states when she was young because she could not support her two daughter cans as a single -- daughters as a
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single mom in guatemala. she was almost sexually abused by a man working on her uncle's house. when she told her mom what happened, she immediately left for the u.s. to bring her two daughters to safety. dulce also witnessed the attempted murder of a woman who sold food door to door in the street. the woman was shot by a man right outside of dulce's home. she saw the woman was badly hurt and fled into her house so she could not also be harmed. she is now a permanent resident of the university because a family judge declared it was not in her best interests to be sent to guatemala and that she could not be reunified with her father be under new york state law. i met dulce who is here to join us today, and let me turn it over to her, her representative, to begin the discussion. [speaking spanish]
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[speaking spanish] >> dulce, if you would start,
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please. >> [inaudible] >> you need to push -- can you push that button? yeah. [inaudible conversations] >> no, it's not on. it's the green. >> hello, good afternoon. my name is dulce medina, i am 15 years old, and i am from guatemala. i am in the tenth grade in hill in long island, new york. i live with my mom, step dad and two little sisters who are 5 and 10 years old. i have had a green card since november of last year because a judge in new york said i was a special immigrant juvenile. i am grateful for the chance to speak to you today to tell you my story. i hope that my story can make you see why it's so important to help protect the many children who are running away from harm like i did.
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in their home countries of central america. in 2009 when i was just 10 years old, i fled guatemala with my sister jamie to get away from a man that tried the harm me. from what i remember, it was difficult living in guatemala because i grew up without my mother who left when i was 5 years old to give me, to give us a better life. my father died when i was just 2 years old to. and my mom could not support us by herself. i grew up in guatemala with my aunt and uncle. it was also difficult to live in guatemala because there was lots of violence. i had to walk 30 minutes to get to school from my aunt's house. on the way to school, i saw people fighting a lot of times. i saw members of gangs on the streets and in school. i was scared to walk to school every day. the worst thing that ever happened to me was before i came to the united states.
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one day my cousin and i woke up in the morning and started walking towards school. one of my uncles was building a house next to the house of my aunt, and we had to cross through the construction site to get to school. when we were walking through the house, a worker there asked us to come to help him with something. when we got close to him, he forced us inside the room he was building and closed the door. we asked him what he wanted, and he said nothing and tried to take our clothes off. we scream, and we were able to run away from him. i was in shock. we run outside of the room that we were in and told our aunt and uncle what happened. they didn't believe me. my aunt and uncle asked the man what happened, and the man told them my cousin and i were lying. i was scared. i called my mom to tell her what happened. she became really upis set and
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fainted because -- upset and fainted because she is diabetic. two days after i told her this, she came to guatemala to protect me from the man. she was scared i would be harmed and decided to bring me to the united states. it had taken me two hours just to walk to the police station. instead of helping me and my cousin, my aunt and uncle punished us. they hit us on the back with a belt and send us to our room. i don't think the police will have helped me because they are very corrupt in guatemala. a couple of months ago before i left guatemala, i saw a woman named sonya who sold food door to door in the neighborhood got shot in the chest by -- [inaudible] i heard three gunshots and saw the blood from her wound. i ran inside of my house. i learned later that no one was arrested from the attempted murder of the woman. i do not want to go back to
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guatemala because i'm afraid. there is no one to protect me in my cup. i'm scared that -- in my country. i'm scared that i will be attacked again by that man or someone else. i'm also afraid of gangs in my country. when i arrived at the united states, my mom told me that i was undocumented. i was scared that i could be sent back and be separated from my mom and be put in a dangerous place again. when i received my green card, i felt happy because i knew i would not be deported, and i could then go to any college that i wanted. i want to go to stanford university to become a doctor, because it is a good school for sciences. i want to be a pediatrician because i love kids, and i like to take care of them. i would like to tell the government to give all the kids at the border an opportunity to stay here because violence, sexual assault, trafficking and,
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kidnapping and murder are the main reasons why childrens are trying to escape. if u.s. government decides to send all those kids back to their home countries, they will be alone with nobody to support them and in a conflict zone that gets dangerous every day. i ask you to put yourself in their shoes. and i ask how would you want to be treated. would you want to be sent back to a place where someone tried to harm you? please do what is best for the kids that are in desperate need of help. thank you for listening. >> thank you very much. let me, let me now ask -- [inaudible] who is 12 years old from honduras, she is a top student in her class and loves studying. she wants to be a doctor or a lawyer when she's an adult. she fellowed honduras with her little sister in 2013 after
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having witnessed homicide on two different occasions. her extended family told her mom who had herself left to the u.s. prior to her girls that they could no longer take care of her. she crossed the rio grande from mexico into the united states in july of 2013. the girls were, they were detained in freezing cold holding cells for four days without any bed or blanket. she was very concerned about her little sister's health because she was shivering the whole time. it was so cold that her lips went blue. she barely slept for four days straight and was begin only two sandwiches per day. she's still angry how she and her little sister were treated by the united states government. with that, let me turn the opportunity to speak to us to measuring ayeli. >>
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[inaudible] [speaking spanish] >> translator: good afternoon, my name is mayeli hernandez. i'm 12 years old, and i live in long island, new york, with my mother and my sister who's 9 years old. thank you for inviting me to speak with you today. [speaking spanish] >> translator: when i was 8 years old, my mother had to leave for the united states so that we could have a better life. when she left, i cried every day for her because i missed her so
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much. [background sounds] [speaking spanish] >> translator: one of the reasons that i left my country, that i left hondurans was because of the violence in my country and also because my little sister suffered from an epileptic attack. [speaking spanish]
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>> translator: on two different occasions, i saw somebody kill another person, and it was very ugly to see the blood running on the ground. [speaking spanish] >> translator: i was scared that i would be killed like those men were killed. i would miss my mom a lot if i had to go back to my country, and i would be with very scared to be hurt by the violence if i had to go back. [speaking spanish]
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>> translator: my trip to the united states was a big adventure. the whole way here it went very well. the food was good, and we were treated like people. i felt very good. [speaking spanish] >> translator: but when i suffered a lot was after we crossed the river and the police took us into freezing cold police stations. [speaking spanish] >> translator: in there people couldn't sleep, we had to sleep on the floor, and they only gave us a thin nylon blanket. there wasn't enough food, they
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only gave us two sandwiches a day. [speaking spanish] >> translator: it was very cold in there, and my little sister's lips even turned blue. we were shivering the whole time that we were there. it was also very hard to sleep because the police were always calling our names, and we were there for four very cold days. [speaking spanish]
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[speaking spanish] >> translator: please help protect children like me and my little sister. we can't go back to our countries because they're very dangerous and very poor. for the first time, i'm happy living here in the united states. my mom isn't sad all the time, and i love to go to school. i have the best grades in my class. eventually, i want to be a doctor or a lawyer. [speaking spanish]
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>> translator: i'm happy to know that i can now stay in the united states, and i hope that the united states continues to help children like me who need a lot of help. [speaking spanish] >> translator: and i would also like to say that i wish, i hope that these children are not returned to their countries, because their mothers have to struggle a hot to be able to bring -- a lot to be able to bring them here. of thank you very much for listening to me today. >> thank you. we all appreciate it. let me introduce raul, 15 years old from el salvador. he will start school in long island, new york, this september. he lives with miss mother and --
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his mother and four sisters, three of whom are younger than him, and also recently crossed by himself into this country. he was a witness of a homicide which occurred right in front of his house. he heard gunshots and rushed to see what had happened. a man he knew was apparently dying from gun shot wounds in the street. on other occasions three members of ms13 gang threatened to kill him if he ever rode his bicycle in their territory again. he lived a life filled with fear. in school he was always worried that the day would come that he would be forced to join one of the gangs. in el salvador once someone is asked to join a gang, the penalty for refusing to join is death. he suffered significantly in the custody of the u.s. border patrol. he was detained in a freezing holding cell for six days without a bed, blanket and enough food. he describes his time in the so-called -- [inaudible]
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as the worst experience of his life. [speaking spanish] >> [speaking spanish] >> translator: good afternoon. my name is a wiewcialtion i'm 15 years old and from el salvador. i live in new york with my hour hour -- my mother and four sisters. thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. i want to tell you about why i came to this country, to united states, and also about the horrible experience that i suffered in immigration detention. >> [speaking spanish]
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[speaking spanish] >> translator: i came to the united states because i was afraid of the violence in el salvador, and i don't want to have to go back to el salvador to face this. a few years ago i saw a man die after being shot many times on my street. one day i was sitting inside my house, and i heard gunshots. i saw that on the same block a man was wounded by bullets, and i saw an empty cartridge. there was a lot of blood. >> [speaking spanish]
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