Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the opening of the exhibition presenting achievements of 20 years of NATO Ukraine cooperation

  • 10 Jul. 2017 -
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  • Last updated: 10 Jul. 2017 09:54

Deputy Prime Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning. I am really delighted to be here together with all of you today. To take part in the opening of this special exhibition and to take part in this important celebration. To mark the 20th anniversary of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and the Ukraine. And this year also marks the 20th.

The Centre’s mission is to provide factual, reliable information to anyone who wants to learn more about NATO. How the Alliance works and how we are working together with partners like Ukraine. This exhibition is just one example of the excellent work being performed by the Centre.

Over the past two decades, the friendship and cooperation between NATO and Ukraine have grown steadily. Ukraine has provided steadfast support for our common security by participating in ALL of NATO’s missions and operations. You have done this despite facing so many challenges here at home. NATO has reciprocated with unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, democratic institutions and your armed forces. And NATO will continue to work closely with Ukraine on defence, governance and economic reforms. That are so critical to Ukraine’s institutional resilience, stability and the prosperity of Ukraine.

The exhibition features timelines and key milestones in post-World War Two European, NATO, and Ukrainian history. Not surprisingly, these three strands often intertwine and overlap. But the importance of the exhibition goes beyond the presentation of facts and dates in history. The exhibition reminds us that freedom-loving people can achieve remarkable things when they work together. United by shared values and a common purpose.

For more than a quarter of a century, the Berlin Wall stood as a symbol of oppression and tyranny in a divided Europe. Its demise proves that even heavily fortified psychological and physical barriers are no match against the human desire for freedom. You will also see that this exhibition is dedicated to tearing down other kinds of walls – mental walls – that too divide people. Walls built with myths, stereotypes and misinformation. Fortunately, these mental barriers can be overcome by building bridges of trust, understanding and friendship.
Finally, this exhibition reminds us that tomorrow’s history will be shaped by what we do today and that each generation has an obligation to preserve the peace for future generations.

Once again, I thank you for being here today to celebrate NATO’s longstanding and ongoing friendship with Ukraine.

Thank you so much.