Updated: 07-Dec-2001 NATO Speeches

7 Dec. 2001


by H.E. Ambassador Volodymyr Khandogiy
Deputy Head of Ukraine's delegation,
Head of Mission of Ukraine to NATO
at the EAPC Foreign Ministers Meeting

Current Security Challenges in the Euro-Atlantic Area

Mr. Secretary General, Your Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council at ministerial level has a special significance. We gathered today three months after the barbaric acts of terrorism committed on September 11 in New York and Washington. Using this opportunity I would like to express once again deepest condolences to the United States Government and to all those affected by this tragedy.

Ukraine strongly condemns these acts of terrorism as a manifestation of aggression not against a separate country but against the entire international community. We stand for uniting efforts and utilizing wide range of tools, first of all diplomatic, political and economic means to fight this horrible scourge.

Settlement by multilateral efforts of regional conflicts, economic backwardness, interethnic and inter-religious understanding is an important precondition of complete elimination of terrorist threat. We should eradicate the very roots of terrorism and its manifestations. The methods of fight against terrorism have to be targeted, well-prepared, balanced, and adequate to threats.

Today's situation in Afghanistan continues to cause serious concern and despite efforts being taken by the international community remains very complicated and unpredictable. Everybody understands that stability and security in Central Asia as well as in the Euro-Atlantic area as a whole depends in many respects on the development of the situation in Afghanistan.

Since recently we began facing new risks and challenges, including terrorism in all forms and manifestations, religious extremism, organized crime and illegal drug trafficking. They threaten every member of the international community and therefore we have to counter them together. EAPC along with PfP can make a substantial contribution to address these challenges, complementing the efforts of the other international organizations. In view of Ukraine, we should utilize more actively potential of EAPC, which together with the UN, OSCE and other regional organizations could be instrumental.

Ukraine's position remains unchanged: all-European security architecture should be based on already existing institutions - UN, NATO, EU, OSCE, Council of Europe - with due account of political processes under way on the continent. Ukraine strongly supports processes of the interaction of all European organizations and security structures on the basis of their mutual reinforcement and partnership. While supporting these objective processes Ukraine considers NATO as one of the main elements of the European security system.

In this context today no one can overestimate the importance of NATO/EAPC-OSCE and further deepening of the NATO-EU co-operation in the security sphere, practical co-operation of these organizations in the Balkans. The development of common European security and defense capabilities, the creation of the European Rapid Reaction Force and the NATO-EU practical cooperation became crucially important practical elements of the all-European integration. It is very important as well for Ukraine, whose policy for Euro-Atlantic integration is one of the main directions of our strategic course toward European integration.

For us Euro-Atlantic integration means policy, aimed, first of all, at deepening of a distinctive partnership with NATO, one of the most important pillar of the united European house, the strongest link of all-European security system.

The situation in the Balkans remains to be a major concern for Ukraine. Together with the Alliance and Partner-countries Ukraine is fully involved in international efforts to resolve the Balkan crises, in particular through participation of Ukrainian peacekeepers in NATO-led operation in Kosovo. The NATO-Ukraine co-operation in peacekeeping in the Balkans remains to be a major part of the NATO-Ukraine overall relations and most visible joint contribution to the European security.

Ukraine welcomes the results of the general elections in Kosovo on November 17, 2001 and considers them as a good sign of the improvement of the general situation in this province of the FRY. Co-operation between KFOR, OSCE and UN Missions in Kosovo proved to be an efficient mechanism to menage and improve security situation in the region. The outcome of the elections is the most convincing evidence of the peace-making potential of NATO, UN, OSCE in terms of partners' combined efforts based on available assets and strong political will.

Ukraine also welcomes latest developments in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This country is situated in the region, which is very close to Ukraine not only from the geographical point of view, but also in the historical, social, cultural and religious sense. Ukraine has always supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Macedonia. The political and other support of the legitimate Government of Macedonia, which represents interests of all national groups of its population, is the principled direction of Ukraine's foreign policy.

The historic vote of the Parliament of Macedonia for amendments to Constitution in accordance with the general Framework Agreement as well as the Amnesty' decision open new page of the modern history of this country.

Speaking about current security challenges in the Euro-Atlantic area I should underline that in spite of the overall improvement of European security environment, the security situation in some regions of Euro-Atlantic area continues to be tense, fragile and unpredictable. Despite the efforts of the international community there is no real and qualitative breakthrough in potentially unsecured zones of the so called "frozen conflicts" in Transdnistriya, Abchaziya, Nahorno-Karabakh.

Euro-Atlantic security should not and cannot be fragmented. It is perceived and pursued globally, with its various regionally focused aspects, which are mutually complementary. Latest developments in many regions of the Euro-Atlantic area and not only Central Asia but also in the Balkans, demonstrated the need for a more focused approach on regional problems and concerns. Ukraine, fully supporting this approach, welcomes the development of the EAPC Action Plan, its regional orientation, especially EAPC/PfP activities in the sphere of the international fight against terrorism. Ukraine reaffirms its readiness to contribute to the enhancement of the Action Plan activities.

At conclusion, I would like to welcome results of the consultations and discussions for the further development of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council as a forum of political dialogue and framework of practical cooperation. EAPC, together with the Partnership for Peace, continues to provide their participants with excellent opportunities to exchange views and to work together, promote cooperation and to build transparency and mutual understanding, thus offering suitable platform for relations to further develop and security to be strengthened.

Next year we will be on the last lap of preparation for the NATO/EAPC Summit in Prague. Important decisions will be taken. With regard to the enlargement I would like to underline that Ukraine welcomes this process as an important part of an overall European and Euro-Atlantic integration. As a clear sign of continuation of the NATO's "open door" policy. We consider it of principal importance that every country has a right to take independent decisions in that regard. Ukraine also stresses the importance for NATO to follow this "open door" policy in the future as well, to avoid forming new dividing lines and spheres of influence. In this regard we also underline the necessity of full adherence to the criteria of membership elaborated by NATO before the first wave of enlargement. The NATO enlargement, the deepening of the regional cooperation within the EAPC and more active Euro-Atlantic integration process should be on the list of the EAPC summit decisions to further bolster the security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.

Thank you.

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