of the

29 May 1997

Logo Sintra

Speaking Notes

by the Secretary General
at the Initialling Ceremony of the NATO-Ukraine Charter

Minister Udovenko, welcome on behalf of NATO, and all the Foreign Ministers present. You have joined us today on an important occasion, the initialling of the "Charter on a distinctive partnership between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Ukraine".

This Charter is the fruit of intense work in which NATO, Allied nations and the Ukrainian government played a very constructive role. I would like to thank you, Minister Udovenko, personally for your part in making agreement on this text possible today.

Ukraine has participated in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council since its inception, it has played an active role in the Partnership for Peace and the Joint Press Statement of 1995 added yet another element of close cooperation.

Let me also pay tribute to your country for its participation in the common effort to bring peace to Bosnia.

Today we are taking this process one step further. The Charter gives expression to the special importance we attach to Ukraine as a democratic, independent state at the heart of Europe.

We appreciate your own role, Minister Udovenko and that of President Kuchma in binding Ukraine firmly to existing European and transatlantic structures. We look forward to welcome President Kuchma in Madrid for the signing of the Charter agreed today.

Before we proceed to initial the document, the floor is yours, Minister Udovenko.

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