Updated: 06-Dec-2001 NATO Speeches

6 Dec. 2001

Opening Statement

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

Welcome to this meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Foreign Ministers’ session. My first pleasant task is to extend a warm word of welcome to Foreign Minister Zlenko.

The importance of our joint contribution to Euro-Atlantic security was again underlined when Ukraine offered its immediate political and practical support to NATO and NATO Allies in the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September against the United States. On 12 September your Ministry acknowledged the invocation of Article 5 by the Allies, and this Commission made a joint statement on 14 September condemning the attacks, and terrorism in all its manifestations. And of course, Ukraine’s words have been followed by deeds, as demonstrated by the granting of overflight rights to US aircraft involved in the campaign in Afghanistan. I recorded and underlined that very valuable contribution, both political and military, in the North Atlantic Council earlier today.

Ukraine has also continued to uphold its contribution to regional stability through forging and maintaining close relations with significant regional players and neighbours. Ukraine’s excellent relations with new NATO members in the region are an example of how NATO enlargement has contributed to regional stability. This is even more important in the context of the potential future enlargement of the Alliance in the region.

So far this year, we have made very good progress in giving life to the Charter. The Work Plan for 2001 has been implemented to the satisfaction of both sides.

NATO and Ukraine continue to work side by side in the Balkans. The valuable Ukrainian contribution to the joint Polish-Ukrainian peacekeeping battalion has continued to play an important role in maintaining a secure environment in Kosovo. We also share a commitment to a peaceful outcome of the crisis in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.[1]

We are pushing ahead with important non-military cooperation. Let me once again highlight our successful endeavours in the area of civil emergency planning, where we are furthering regional cooperation through the NATO-Ukraine Pilot Project on Flood Prevention and Response. Last but not least, I am delighted that our retraining programs for retired or to be retired military personnel are being very successful.

As Ukraine proceeds with the difficult task of reforming its defence establishment, we applaud the continuing work of the Joint Working Group on Defence Reform.

In this context, I would like to announce the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between Ukraine and NAMSO on the implementation of a PfP Trust Fund led by Canada and supported by Hungary and Poland, which foresees the safe destruction of 400,000 Anti Personnel Landmines. Land mines cause untold suffering and destruction the world over, and I believe that it would be appropriate for us to witness the signature of this agreement here today, as a fitting symbol of our joint commitment to building a safe and secure environment for future generations on our continent.

Minister Zlenko, may I ask you for your opening remarks in this open session before we proceed to the signing ceremony on the landmines project?

NATO and Ukraine’ s joint assessment of the Work Plan for 2001 is submitted to Foreign Ministers for further consideration today.

Looking forward to 2002, I am pleased to say that our Work Plan promises to take our relationship even further in the spirit of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership. In particular, through the implementation of the National Defence Reform Objectives, as agreed in the Joint Working Group on Defence Reform, I look forward to continued progress in the field of Defence Reform.

Let me also mention the invaluable role the two NATO offices in Kyiv play in supporting and promoting NATO-Ukraine activities.

Now, if you will allow me, I would like to give the floor over to you, Minister Zlenko.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name

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