“In the coming weeks people around the world will joyfully celebrate the New Year and Christmas holidays, but this will not be a festive season for millions of Ukrainians,” said Mr Beshta. “Yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, more families were plunged into grief upon learning loved ones had perished in hostile attacks launched at the command of the Kremlin.”
Making a contribution
“I was born in Volyn region in the western part of Ukraine in December 1976, when we were still a part of the Soviet Union. In my school years I witnessed the collapse of the old regime and the first steps of an independent Ukraine. I believed that diplomacy would be an extremely interesting profession and hoped to make a contribution towards developing Ukraine into a democratic and prosperous nation.”
Mr Beshta graduated from Lviv State University’s Faculty of International Relations in 1998, and the same year began his diplomatic career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2001, just in his mid-twenties, he was assigned to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine at the United Nations headquarters in New York, where he served first as Second Secretary and then as First Secretary. He was appointed Ukraine’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Thailand in November 2015, and arrived in Bangkok in January 2016.
“The last four years in Thailand have been deeply emotional for me and my family. We grieved along with the Thai people after the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. People in Ukraine know that throughout his 70-year reign, His Majesty served the country with great dignity and dedication. We also took joy in the auspicious Royal Coronation Ceremony of His Majesty the King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua.
“Ukraine and Thailand established diplomatic relations 27 years ago. The President of Ukraine came to Thailand in 2004 and met with King Bhumibol. Ukraine is very much interested in further developing bilateral cooperation with Thailand and making our relations more dynamic in several spheres. A number of important developments have taken place since I took my post as ambassador.
“In June 2017, then Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin paid an official visit to Thailand. In negotiations between Minister Klimkin and Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, (photo) both sides stressed the importance of seeking mutual interests and discussed an agenda for medium term objectives in terms of political dialogue, trade and investment and people-to-people contacts. During that visit a bilateral trade agreement was signed which entered into force in October 2018.
“Last year the Royal Thai Government appointed the Thai Ambassador to Poland, H.E. Sansanee Sahussarungsi, to also represent Thailand in Ukraine. She remains at the Thai mission’s residence in Warsaw. She is the first ever Thai Ambassador to Ukraine not based in Moscow, and we of course warmly welcomed this decision.
“In July 2019, political consultations between our ministries of foreign affairs took place in Kyiv, allowing further discussions on a whole spectrum of issues relating to our bilateral agenda.
“This year has been quite momentous and challenging for both Ukraine and Thailand. I would like to convey again our congratulations on the Royal Coronation of His Majesty the King Rama X in early May. About the same time, Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected President of Ukraine, bringing new hopes of peace and prosperity to our nation. This year both Ukraine and Thailand held parliamentary elections and new governments have been formed.
“I believe these developments have created favourable conditions for an invigorated cooperation. We are working closely with our Thai partners on a number of ideas, including convening in the near future a Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation and Joint Trade Committee.
“In terms of trade volume, Thailand has always been among the largest trade partners of Ukraine in Southeast Asia, but there is real potential to substantially increase both trade and investment. Due to unprecedented comprehensive reforms in Ukraine, we have quickly become an exciting new investment opportunity right at Europe’s doorstep, especially in the areas of agriculture, energy, information technology, infrastructure and manufacturing.
“When combined with our highly skilled workforce, favorable cost-efficiency ratio, strategic geographic location, free trade pact with the EU and a rapidly improving business climate, Ukraine has much to offer for Thai business and investors.
“Last but not least, in order to facilitate people-to-people contacts we have achieved considerable progress in the liberalization of our respective visa regimes. In 2018 we began allowing Thai citizens who wish to travel to Ukraine for any reason to apply and obtain visas online, without the need to visit our embassy. On the other side, we highly appreciate the decision of the Thai government that entered into force in April 2019 to abolish visa requirements for Ukrainian tourists.
“I am confident that these steps are win-win for both countries and will help increase the number of tourists both ways. To sum up, I am quite optimistic that we are on a path to further develop and strengthen bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.”