Joint press point
with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arsenii Yatseniuk
It really is a great pleasure to welcome you to NATO Headquarters.
Ukraine is a valued and long-standing partner for NATO.
In these difficult moments, NATO stands by Ukraine. NATO stands by the right of every nation to decide its own future. NATO stands by Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and by the fundamental principles of international law.
And this is not just about Ukraine. This crisis has serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area as a whole. We clearly face the gravest threat to European security since the end of the Cold War.
And your sovereignty, your independence, and your territorial integrity are key factors for stability and security in the region.
Our NATO-Ukraine Commission already enjoys an extensive framework for cooperation and assistance. Within this framework, we have decided to intensify our partnership, and strengthen our cooperation to support democratic reforms.
We will step up our engagement with Ukraine’s political and military leadership, as we are doing just now.
We will strengthen our efforts to build the capacity of the Ukrainian military, including with more joint training and exercises.
And we will do more to include Ukraine in our cutting-edge multinational projects to develop capabilities.
The people of Ukraine have shown great determination and great courage. Your armed forces have shown great restraint, in the face of tremendous pressure.
I fully commend that restraint. Because cool heads are key to de-escalation.
We stress the importance of an inclusive political process, based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, which fulfils the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people.
Above all, we call on Russia to honour its international commitments and halt the military escalation in Crimea. We call on Russia to withdraw its forces to their bases, and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine. There should be no attempt to draw new lines on the map of Europe in the 21st century.
Let me stress that we see a political solution as the only way forward. And we support international efforts to find that way forward through the dispatch of international observers and a peaceful dialogue.
(...) Prime Minister.
Arsenii Yatseniuk (Prime Minister of Ukraine): Mister Secretary General, thank you for having an open and friendly dialogue. We are committed to resolve this crisis only peacefully. And it's clear that no military option is on the table. But it's clear that it's up to Russian government to make the step back and to make the first step to stabilize the situation in the region and not to escalate further tension between Ukraine and Russia; and further tension in the entire Europe.
We urge the Russian government to pull back its forces back into barracks; and to stick to its international obligations. I would reiterate again that this is the responsibility of the Russian government. They started this. They need to put an end to this.
I passed an invitation to the North Atlantic Council to visit Kiev; that it would be great if you have a meeting in Kiev. We believe that we need to enhance our cooperation. And we would be grateful if we get some kind of additional support, technical support, humanitarian support in improving Ukraine and defence and security system on the technical level. So this would help us to stabilize the situation and to maintain peace and stability in the region.
Oana Lungescu (NATO Spokesperson): Over there.
Q: (...Inaudible...) Rogers (?) Television. One question to Prime Minister Yatseniuk. On a day like this, do you believe it's the wisest thing to pay a visit to NATO headquarters? Is that a sign or a signal for the escalation? And the second thing: Is your government planning to apply for NATO membership in the near future?
Arsenii Yatseniuk: It's very reasonable to visit NATO headquarter and to deliver a strong message that we do not consider a military option as an exit strategy from this ongoing crisis. And this is the reason why I ask Secretary General to have this meeting.
We still believe that we need to do our utmost to tackle the crisis with the political and diplomatic tools. And NATO, as a one of very important political vehicles in fixing the global security crisis, could be very helpful.
Q: (... Inaudible...) membership?
Arsenii Yatseniuk: It's not on our radars. ...Thank you.
Oana Lungescu: Thank you very much.