- Title: U.S. Energy Secretary Perry denies pressing Ukraine to hire officials
- Date: 7th October 2019
- Summary: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA (OCTOBER 7, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT GITANAS NAUSEDA ENTERING ROOM AND GREETING U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY RICK PERRY (RIGHT), LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LINAS LINKEVICIUS (MIDDLE) AND LITHUANIAN MINISTER OF ENERGY ZIGIMANTAS VAICIUNAS (LEFT) PHOTOGRAPHER TAKING PHOTO DELEGATIONS SITTING DOWN FOR TALKS VARIOUS OF PERRY SPEAKING NAUSEDA LISTENING AND SPEAKING PERRY AND VAICIUNAS ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY, RICK PERRY, SAYS: "Absolutely, I asked the president multiple times: 'Mr. President, we think it is in the United States and in the Ukraine's best interest that you and the president of Ukraine have conversations, that you discuss the options that are there.' So absolutely, yes. Second one, answer is no. I'm here, I'm serving. They've been writing a story that I was leaving the Department of Energy for at least nine months now Zigi. One of these days they will probably get it right, but it's not today, it's not tomorrow, it's not next month, so..." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY, RICK PERRY, SAYING: "But the idea, that the AP story basically said that we said, 'you put these people on there' - is just not correct. I mean that was totally dreamed up story, the best I can tell. We gave recommendations at the request of the Ukrainian government, and we will continue to.'' JOURNALISTS AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) US ENERGY SECRETARY, RICK PERRY SAYS: "I would recommend him (Texad Businessman Michael Bleyzer) for a host of different thinks in Kiev, because he knows the country, he is from there, so, why not? I mean I would be stunned if someone said that you would eliminate Michael Bleyzer from a recommendation of people you ought to talk to about how to do business in the country, whether they're knowledgeable. He would be a... he would be a... It would be remarkable that I didn't say, talk to Michael." U.S. AND LITHUANIAN FLAGS ON TABLE PERRY ENTERING ROOM FOR ENERGY CONFERENCE SIGN FOR EVENT PROJECTED ON BOARD, READING (English): ''THE 2ND MINISTERIAL OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR TRANSATLANTIC ENERGY COOPERATION.'' PERRY WALKING UP TO PODIUM AUDIENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY, RICK PERRY, SAYING: "And that is the key reason that President Trump and I continue to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction project, as well as the multi-lined Turk Stream project. Nord Stream 2 is designed to drive a single-source gas artery deep into Europe, and a stake through the heart of European stability and security. It would increase Russia's leverage over Europe's foreign policy and Europe's vulnerability to a supply disruption. Along with a Turk Stream pipeline, it would enable Moscow to end gas transit through Ukraine by the close of the decade". AUDIENCE APPLAUDING
- Embargoed: 21st October 2019 15:45
- Keywords: Rick Perry U.S. energy secretary Lithuania
- Location: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA
- City: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001B03LR9J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Monday (October 7) denied a report that he had pressed Ukraine to hire certain people to the board of its state-owned natural gas company, saying he had only recommended names at the Ukrainian government's request.
The Associated Press reported that Perry had pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to fire members of the advisory board of gas company Naftogaz and then presented a list of advisers.
"That the AP story basically said that we said, 'You put these people on there' - is just not correct. I mean that was (a) totally dreamed up story, the best I can tell," Perry told a news conference in Vilnius.
News website Axios has reported that Trump told House Republicans he did not want to make the July 25 call to Zelenskiy, a conversation that is at the heart of an impeachment inquiry. But it said he relented at the urging of Perry.
Perry said he encouraged U.S. President Donald Trump to talk with Zelenskiy to build confidence among U.S. officials that the country was taking steps to fight corruption and improve transparency.
"Absolutely, I asked the president multiple times," Perry said in Vilnius.
During the call in July, Trump pressed Zelenskiy for an investigation into former U.S. vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, according to a call summary released by the Trump administration.
Perry also said he had no plans to resign now or next month, denying a report that he was expected to announce his resignation in November.
(Production: Eugenijus Kryzanovskis, Aiden Nulty)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None