Updated: 14-May-2002 NATO Speeches

14 Dec. 2000


by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson
at the Meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission
at Foreign Ministers Level

Welcome to this meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Foreign Ministers' session. Let me extend a warm word of welcome to Foreign Minister Zlenko. Minister Zlenko is not new at NATO, as he already served as Foreign Minister of Ukraine in the early nineties, when we began to develop the NATO-Ukraine relationship, before the NATO Ukraine Charter of July 1997. It is an honour and a privilege for us, Minister Zlenko.

NATO supports a politically stable, independent and economically prosperous Ukraine as a crucial factor for a stable continent. Allies see cooperation with Ukraine, both in PfP and under the Charter, as an important element of Euro-Atlantic security. First and foremost, we are cooperating in helping Ukraine move forward in the process of transformation: part of the reforms are in the realm of defence. Defence reform is one of the priority areas for our distinctive partnership.

We believe our cooperation will benefit all countries in the region by promoting cooperation and good neighbourly relations. We see no contradiction, but rather a strong complementarity, between Ukraine's distinctive partnership with NATO and her natural interest in developing good relations with other countries in her area.

NATO's commitment toward Ukraine, undertaken in 1997, is as relevant and important today as it was then. Together, we continue to build on an impressive record. Ukraine was one of the first partners to open a fully fledged mission at NATO Headquarters, including a military mission. On its part, NATO now has a double permanent presence in Ukraine: the Information and Documentation Centre and the NATO Liaison Office.

In 2000 we have made good progress in giving life to the Charter. The Work Plan for 2000 was implemented to the satisfaction of both sides. The quality of our cooperation has made a leap forward.

NATO and Ukraine continued to cooperate, under difficult circumstances, in Kosovo, thus demonstrating that our partnership is not just a fair-weather affair. The Ukrainian helicopter unit and the Ukrainian contribution to the joint Polish-Ukrainian battalion are two examples of how Allies and Partners can work together. Jointly we remain committed to a stable Balkan region.

As one prominent field of our non-military cooperation, let me also highlight our successful endeavours in the area of civil emergency planning.

Today we will approve an ambitious Work Plan for the implementation of the full scope of the Charter in the year 2001. I am convinced that the NATO-Ukraine distinctive partnership will continue to be an important factor in Euro-Atlantic security.

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