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, Ukraines 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. Ukraines 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.
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,
recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name