|Updated: 26-Aug-2004||NATO Press Releases|
29 June 2004
The Heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Ukraine met today in Istanbul to discuss the contribution of the NATO-Ukraine Distinctive Partnership to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area, as well as the future prospects of that Partnership in light of the implementation of the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan.
President Kuchma welcomed the participation of the seven new member states of the Alliance in the NUC Summit. He reiterated Ukraine's continuing support of NATO's enlargement and its open door policy as indispensable components of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture. He also welcomed the decisions taken yesterday by the North Atlantic Council Summit aimed at strengthening peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. He presented his assessment of recent developments in Ukraine, drawing attention to steps which have been taken to implement the objectives of the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan. In this context, he confirmed his country's commitment to implement far-reaching democratic, economic, military and defence reforms. In particular, he reiterated his pledge to strengthen democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech and press, and to ensuring the holding of free and fair presidential elections, all of which are essential pre-conditions to Ukraine's integration in Euro-Atlantic structures, including its stated goal of NATO membership.
NATO Heads of State and Government reiterated their firm commitment to the Alliance’s open door policy and underscored the strategic nature of the NATO-Ukraine relationship. They called upon Ukraine's leadership to implement actively and fully the commitments to Euro-Atlantic values at the core of the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan. They stressed the need for Ukraine to implement political, economic, military and defence reforms, placing particular emphasis on the responsibility of Ukraine's leadership to strengthen democracy, the rule of law, and freedom of speech and media. They underlined the importance of ensuring that the ongoing presidential election campaign and the voting process are conducted in a manner which is transparent, free, and fair, as judged by the OSCE. In this context, they also noted their concerns regarding recent events that raise questions about Ukraine's protection of human rights and upholding of democratic values.
Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their conviction that the NATO-Ukraine Distinctive Partnership continues to play a crucial role in the effort to ensure security and stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic area, including through cooperation in the context of NATO's ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Discussing the situation in Kosovo, they praised KFOR for its role in maintaining a secure environment, while also expressing concern over recent outbreaks of violence in the province provoked by radical extremists. Heads of State and Government also welcomed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546 as paving the way for long-term stabilization in Iraq, to which Ukraine has contributed through its participation in the Polish-led division in south-central Iraq, and they declared their full support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Iraq.
NATO Heads of State and Government commended Ukraine’s deployment in, and resolve to remain an active contributor to, the NATO-led KFOR operation in Kosovo, as well as Ukraine's significant contributions to other international peace-support efforts. They noted with appreciation Ukraine’s commitment to continue its support to the ISAF operation in Afghanistan, and its more recent decision to offer active support to the Alliance’s Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean Sea. They also welcomed the entry into force of the Memorandum of Understanding between Ukraine and the Alliance on Host Nation Support for NATO operations, and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Ukraine and NATO on Strategic Airlift. Moreover, they expressed appreciation for Ukraine’s interest in participating in some of the multinational activities of the Prague Capabilities Commitment, and for Ukraine's progress in carrying out a comprehensive defence reform. They welcomed the development by Ukraine of the Strategic Defence Bulletin until the year 2015 as a major step forward in the defence review process, and encouraged Ukraine to ensure that planned reforms are fully implemented and adequately financed.
Heads of State and Government also agreed on the need for reinforced concerted action to stop the proliferation of WMD, and welcomed the intensification of co-operation on non-proliferation issues. Noting the additional threat to international security, as well as to the safety of the civilian population, posed by the large stocks of munitions inherited by Ukraine as a legacy of the Cold War, they also discussed the proposed launch of a PfP Trust Fund on destruction of surplus stocks of munitions and small arms and light weapons.
Heads of State and Government tasked the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Ambassadorial session to review NATO-Ukraine relations, including possible enhancements in keeping with Ukraine's concrete achievements in implementing the objectives of the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan, with a view to presenting recommendations at the December 2004 meeting of the NUC at the level of Foreign Ministers.