PETRO POROSHENKO (Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs): Thank you very much indeed. M. Secretary-General, Excellencies, dear colleagues, this year has been of special importance in Ukraine-NATO relations. Following the decision taken by NATO Foreign Ministers, at their meeting last December, Ukraine began a development of its international programme.
Now is the time to sum up the first results. According to the preliminary assessment, the implementation of ANP 2009 met the Alliance's expectation. And we want to thank you very much for that. The results are satisfactory for us as well. The ANP accelerated the process of our reform in military and civil areas; intensified cooperation with the Alliance; made tasking measures more result oriented.
The decision of the Bucharest Summit and subsequent ministerial meetings were proven right and beneficial for Ukraine-NATO cooperation. We are making pragmatic and realistic steps toward our goal: membership in the Alliance. Most importantly our international transformations have become more oriented to the needs of the people and their essential hopes for better lives; prosperity and well-being. We fully understand that this process can only be ensured by deep, true and democratic changes.
What's also important is that together, with the central government and state regional bodies, the Ukraine NGOs and youth, in many cities and towns, joined their efforts in implementing the ANP 2009.
We are confident that this will also be the case for 2010 programme. And I'm glad to inform you that yesterday the draft of ANP 2010 was approved by the government of Ukraine. And it allowed us to start its practical implementation from the first day of the next year.
The next year is the year of presidential election in Ukraine. And let me express my confidence that this election will be free and fair. We took all the measures to have free expression of voters well guaranteed.
And I would also like to emphasize that Ukraine will remain a reliable strategic partner for the Alliance, impairing security threats and challenges. Vivid evidence of that is the Ukrainian participation in all major NATO lead operations in Kosovo, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in the Mediterranean.
We have a strong intention to strengthen our contribution to NATO by participation in its new initiatives such as response force, cyber-defence, anti-piracy action, etc.
Ukraine will continue to contribute to peace and security. And on the 20th of November, the Council of National Security and Defence Council took a decision to triple country quantity of Ukrainian personnel in our operation in Afghanistan.
The Alliance remains our stable and reliable partner in a wide range of issues. This was once again proven by timely and substantial support given to Ukraine by the whole Alliance containing the flu epidemic.
And I would like to take this opportunity to express Ukrainian gratitude to you, Mister Secretary General, personally and to the Euro Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre for the quick reaction to the Ukrainian request for assistance. I would also like to express our sincere and wholehearted gratitude to those Allies and partners who rendered urgent aid to us.
Ukraine is interested and ready to take part in strengthening NATO capabilities of its international prestige. With this in mind, we have welcomed open discussion for a new NATO strategic concept and we will outline some of our approaches and visions to this concept.
We will perceive the preparation of the concept as creating the documents which is to define the Alliance configuration, its role in maintaining the stability and security in the European and Euro-Atlantic region. We expect that open discussion of our progress in ANP implementation and hope that the results of today’s meeting as well as the upcoming decision of the North Atlantic Council would enhance Ukraine's further progress on the way of reform and staying in the Euro-Atlantic cause. Thank you very much for your attention.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Mister Minister. Before we continue the meeting, may I ask the media to leave... to please leave the room, thank you.