Updated: 14-May-2002 NATO Speeches

Meeting of the
15 Dec. 2000


by H.E. Anatoliy ZLENKO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

"Enhancing Euro-Atlantic Security through regional co-operation"

Mr. Chairman, Esteemed Ministers and Heads of Delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me particular pleasure in my new and at the same time old capacity as Foreign Minister of Ukraine to meet you at this EAPC Ministerial meeting. I also join words of welcome addressed to Dr. Wolfgang Petritsch, OSCE High Representative.

I was looking forward to be here among friends and colleagues, to discuss important issues of strengthening peace, security and stability we are facing today. Many countries of today's Euro-Atlantic area are still suffering from ethnic and religious brewing conflicts and wars with thousands of victims and refugees, violations of human rights, economic and security instability, illegal migration.

I would like to draw your attention to the so-called frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet space. It has been for almost a decade that tensions in South Caucasus and Central Asia have been destabilizing the situation in this vast region, posing a threat of a wide-scale humanitarian crisis. There is also an urgent need to resolve Transdniesterian issue. Postponing a final settlement of such crises might result in irreversible consequences. Suffering of the civilian population in these conflicts makes active peacekeeping efforts absolutely indispensable. We are also concerned that the tight knot of the Balkan problems is yet to be untied.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall people in the increasing number of countries of Europe have come to share the pivotal principles of democracy, freedom, human rights, rule of law. This is a paradox that, on the other hand, all these high ideals are used by some irresponsible politicians for playing off one nation against another and became the reason of instability and conflicts in Euro-Atlantic area.

Today, while discussing long-term security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area, we should speak about the responsibility, honesty, respect - traditional and common human qualities.

Just one month ago (November 16, 2000) the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was ratified by the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine. As you are definitely aware today the official ceremony of shutting down the Chornobyl nuclear power plant is taking place. This step, made in accordance with the courageous political decision by the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, has signified the commitment of Ukraine to fulfil its obligations according to the Ottawa Memorandum with the G7. I am sure that everyone in this room can remember exactly that less then six years ago, Ukraine made an unprecedented step by renouncing its world's third largest nuclear arsenal. That gesture of goodwill, dictated by the responsibility for future of mankind, as well as all recent events - are concrete and practical steps of Ukraine for further strengthening of European security and stability and significant contribution to strengthening nuclear safety world-wide.

On September 7, 2000 most of us participated as members of national delegations in the UN Millennium Summit. Role of the United Nations in the global and regional security is very important. Relevant positive contribution to the European security has been made by the OSCE. It is hard to imagine European security development without the EU. NATO is actively contributing to this process. The EAPC is also trying to find its place in the Euro-Atlantic security system.

At the same time, making contribution at the EAPC meeting with participation of high representatives from the UN, NATO, OSCE, EU, WEU member-countries, I would like to underline and to remind to all of us, that contemporary understanding of European security requests active involvement of all "players" in the decision making process.

Could we deal with the European security issues and would not mention the contribution of the countries of the whole Euro-Atlantic area in strengthening the regional security? Could we imagine secure Europe without any, even the smallest country of the region? Prospects of mankind, its future depends on us and our joint efforts to make whole Europe secure and prosperous.

I should say that recent European security and defense developments, especially the ESDI and the ECFSP processes and the creation of the European Rapid Reaction Force might lead to the conclusion that Europe again is facing the situation, when the dividing line is artificially drawn on the western border of Ukraine. For Ukraine as non-EU and non-NATO member-state this situation could be considered as a very dangerous one.
Ukraine was never seeing a threat in NATO enlargement. Neither it was ever objecting the EU enlargement. We understand the will of countries of post-communist space to "return" to Europe. Moreover, the Ukrainian Government works in the same direction today. At the same time, the understanding of the indivisibility of security makes us to raise the issue of taking into consideration the security interests of all, without exclusion, countries of the Euro-Atlantic area. In this context it is hard to overestimate the role of the EAPC as an important international forum for consultations on security related issues.

We stand for increasing the role of the EAPC as one of the basic elements of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Ukraine is ready to cooperate with the EAPC member-states on the wide range of issues. The foreign policy of Ukraine in this respect has always been consistent and constructive. It remains to be the same.

Thank you for your attention,

Go to Homepage Go to Index