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It has been more than four months since Russia invaded Ukraine. In response to the terrible human toll of this illegal assault, OMI JPIC joined nearly two dozen faith organizations, under the leadership of Friends Committee on National Legislation, in sending a letter to every member of the U.S. Congress urging lawmakers to avoid actions that would escalate, expand, or prolong the war in Ukraine.
The signers recognized the precious and equal value of every human life. As in every war, the burdens have fallen most heavily on the world’s most vulnerable people. With so many lives at stake, the letter urges Congress to fulfill its moral duty to do everything it can to support diplomatic efforts that create incentives for a negotiated settlement necessary to reach a just and lasting peace.
Visit Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)’s website to read the letter to the U.S. Congress, view the list of signers, and send an action alert.
Today, the IMF’s Executive Board of Directors is scheduled to review a $16.8 billion loan for Ukraine, which was endorsed by IMF staff last week. The IMF-Ukraine deal will impact the future of both Ukraine and the IMF.
The IMF deal comes with several conditions, including a move to a flexible exchange rate. Ukraine, with IMF assistance, made this change in February 2014. This has led to a 29 percent drop in the value of the Ukrainian hryvnia – making it even more difficult for Ukraine to pay its debt. Unfortunately, the IMF deal does not include any debt relief or “haircuts” – requiring creditors to accept a loss. Instead, the debt burden will carried by Ukraine’s citizens, almost a third of whom already live in poverty, according to an April 2014 UN Report.
“IMF-Ukraine negotiations have neglected the consequences for the citizens of Ukraine, and in this vein have disregarded how loan conditions will impact political and social stability in Ukraine” said Jo Marie Griesgraber, the Executive Director at New Rules for Global Finance, a DC-based NGO that pushes for responsibility in global financial institutions. “This is short-sighted and we strongly urge the IMF Executive Board to take this into consideration.”
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Ukraine Economy and US Leadership at Stake
190 policy experts, business and academic leaders, and former Senate-confirmed appointees who had oversight responsibilities for organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank yesterday delivered a unified message to Congress: promptly enact IMF quota reform legislation. Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI signed the letter on behalf of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The Oblates have long supported New Rules for Global Finance, which works for fundamental reforms at the IMF.
The broad-based bipartisan letter to Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid comes at a time when Congress is considering a $1 billion bilateral emergency assistance package for Ukraine to help the country stabilize its economy during its crisis with Russia. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN) displayed the foresight and joint leadership to respond strongly to the Ukraine crisis by introducing the Ukraine relief bill, which includes the IMF quota reform legislation. Ukraine is also seeking IMF assistance directly.
Treasury Under Secretaries Tim Adams, David McCormick, David Mulford, and Jeffrey Shafer, and five IMF Executive Directors that served under Republican Administrations, among other former senior government officials, support the IMF reform legislation. “The IMF has played a crucial role in the global approach to recent financial crises and in navigating the world economy through severe threats. While the United States is on a path to recovery, threats remain…and the IMF has been called upon to support reform in Ukraine. In times like these, a financially strengthened and reformed IMF is in the U.S. interest,” notes the letter.
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Oblate Auxiliary Bishop in Crimea Calls for Peace March 4th, 2014The following is an official statement from Bishop Jacek Pyl, omi, the auxiliary bishop of Odessa-Sinferopol of the Crimea region of Ukraine. Let us pray for peace!
STATEMENT OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP IN CRIMEA
Since many weeks now the Roman Catholic Church with her prayers accompany whole of Ukraine praying for the peaceful solution of the problems, which the country is struggling with. In our prayers we ask God for his mercy for all Ukrainian people and we also offer voluntary fasting on bread and water in the same intention. Today when the unrest has encompassed the Crimean territory we want to pray especially for our peninsula. With our prayer we reach out to all the people without concern for their religion, political views or ethnic background. We pray that the people, who for tens of years live in peace – do not start fighting today and that the bloodshed of the kind we have seen in Kiev Maidan may be avoided here.
I am calling on all the people both faithful and the others that in the name of the solidarity with the heritage of our Fathers, who cared for the development of our Autonomous Republic of Crimea, to stay away from extremisms and in this hard time do not let the brotherhood among Crimean people to be broken. In ARoC we have Ukrainians, Russians, Crimean Tartars, Armenians, Poles, Germans, Czechs and many others living peacefully together. For many centuries we had the Orthodox, Muslims, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Caraims, people of other denominations together with atheists living in Crimea. We cannot let our ethnical background nor our religion to divide us now. We are children of the same God; the only God, who is our common Father. The motto of the Republic of Crimea which is inscribed into our coat of arms is „Процветание в единстве” (Blooming in unity) and may this words be our motto for the difficult time now.
I would like to reach out with my words to the faithful of all denominations that they keep praying for peace, and those who has decided so keep voluntarily fasting. May the Good God free our hearts from all evil temptations and may he bless our good intentions.
+ Jacek Pyl, OMI Auxiliary Bishop of Odessa-Simferopol Diocese
We would like to thank Fr. Warren Brown, OMI and Fr. Charles Hurkes, OMI for sharing this information with the JPIC Office.