9 July 2002
statement by NATO Secretary General,
Anatoliy, it is a pleasure to hold this meeting
of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at Ambassadorial level in Kyiv, the second
such meeting since the NATO-Ukraine Charter was signed exactly five years
ago today in Madrid. It has been over two years since the North Atlantic
Council travelled to Ukraine the last time. It is good to be back. Thank
you for your hospitality.
Before I start on my remarks, please allow me, on behalf of the North
Atlantic Council, to extend my deepest sympathy to the families of the
miners who died in Sunday's tragic fire in the Donetsk region. I will
be travelling to Donetsk tonight, and I hope to be able to pay a personal
tribute to the dead.
This is not a sentimental journey. We are here to do business - to take
stock of the five years of our Distinctive Partnership and to look ahead
to the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at Summit level in Prague
Business, in international relations just as in the world of commerce,
is based on hard-nosed interests. Business will always thrive when interests
meet. The story of the NATO-Ukraine Commission Distinctive Partnership
is such a success story of taking NATO's and Ukraine's joint interests
forward in a dynamic and dramatically changing security environment.
The positive dynamic of closer cooperation and integration across the
entire Euro-Atlantic area is well reflected in the ever closer ties NATO
and Ukraine forged under the Charter. We have weathered quite a few storms
together - in the Balkans, in the resolute response to the terrorist threat,
in defence reform and in dealing with the consequences of natural disasters,
to name only these fields of joint endeavours. We must continue on that
road: to formulate joint responses to joint challenges, proceeding from
a shared assessment that, today, our security is, indeed, indivisible.
Ukraine itself has made an invaluable contribution to European security
and stability by the very strategic choices it has made - at home and
in foreign and security policies, which are but two sides of the same
coin. When addressing the Verkhovna Rada on 18 June, President Kuchma
spoke of Ukraine's " orientation towards full-scale Euro-Atlantic
integration " in the context of transformation and reform of Ukraine.
We welcome that approach. It is the key to fulfilling Ukraine's aspirations.
In Reykjavik on 15 May 2002, Allied Foreign Ministers and you, Anatoliy,
tasked Ambassadors of the NUC to explore and develop, building on the
Charter, a deepened and broadened relationship. At Reykjavik, it was also
agreed that Ambassadors today, marking the 5th Anniversary of our Distinctive
Partnership, take stock of achievements to date and review the progress
made following the Ministerial tasking. On both topics this meeting has
been well prepared. Later on in this forum, we will discuss and note a
comprehensive Stocktaking Review. It shows how much we have achieved together
- and where we can yet do better. The same frank and realistic tone characterises
the Progress Report which we will also discuss and note today.
The task before us now is to concentrate on building upon and enhancing
our Distinctive Partnership in preparation for the Prague Summit. The
Progress Report and its perspectives for an action plan is an excellent
basis for that. The Alliance is ready to take our relationship forward
in a goal-oriented and substance-driven fashion. We will remain engaged
in this long-term process. A lot will depend on Ukraine's resolve to take
reforms forward. But we are ready to go as far as Ukraine can.
On the practical level, and as evidence of the new quality of our relationship,
today marks the formal start of negotiations on a NATO-Ukraine agreement
on strategic airlift. The Ukrainian Antonov aircraft played an essential
role in moving forces and equipment quickly from Europe to Afghanistan.
Our negotiations aim at an agreement to use this unique Ukrainian asset
to support NATO operations.
I am also delighted that today a Memorandum of Understanding on Host
Nation Support will be signed by Deputy Defence Minister Bannykh [to be
confirmed] and Admiral Forbes. In setting out how NATO and Ukraine will
use available Ukrainian assets and capabilities for exercises and operations,
this agreement illustrates the strong potential of our cooperation, both
military and political, and is evidence of the trust and understanding
of shared goals that we have built up under the Charter.
That, Anatoliy, concludes my opening remarks. I would now like to pass
the floor to you before the signing ceremony.