Ministers, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of Defence Ministers. It is a pleasure for me to welcome our Ukrainian colleague, Mr. Mykhailo Yezhel, here at NATO Headquarters for the first time.
Minister, NATO is fully committed to maintaining and strengthening our dialogue and cooperation with Ukraine.
The new Ukrainian government has made it clear that you wish to maintain the present level of cooperation with the Alliance, to fulfill existing agreements, and to implement our partnership programmes. We welcome that.
We will continue to assist your country in meeting the reform goals set out in your Annual National Programme, and I encourage Ukraineto make use of all of the tools available through our cooperation framework.
Let me also express my appreciation for Ukraine’s substantial involvement in NATO-led operations, as well as its planned contribution later this year to the NATO Response Force – the first by a Partner nation. It is a clear sign that our cooperation and our partnership can and will remain strong, to the benefit of us all.
Let me now invite Minister Yezhel to deliver his opening remarks.