Updated: 27-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


22 Nov. 2002

Press Conference

by NATO Deputy Secretary General, Minuto Rizzo
and Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Anatoliy Zlenko
following the Meeting of the NATO Ukraine Council
at the level of Foreign Ministers

Moderator: Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Minuto Rizzo will have a brief statement and he'll be followed by the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Anatoly Zlenko. Because of the incredible pace of events and the shortage of time, I'm afraid there won't be time for the questions.

Moderator: Deputy Secret General, please.

Minuto Rizzo (Deputy Secretary General): Good morning ladies and gentlemen. As acting chairman of the NATO-Ukraine Commission I have the pleasure, together with Foreign Minister Zlenko to give you a short briefing on the meeting we have just had between allied ministers and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. I will not be able to answer question unfortunately as I must shortly participate in a summit meeting of Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

I'm happy to report that this morning ministers have adopted the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan. This followed their decision at the last meeting on 15 May 2002 to take the NATO-Ukraine relationship to a qualitatively new level. Building on the NATO-Ukraine charter on a distinctive partnership.

The Action Plan provides a framework for intensified consultations and co-operation on political, economic, military and defence matters. It will be supported from next year on by annual target plans, which include specific measures to Ukrainian and joint NATO-Ukrainian actions. Ukraine will make full use of existing NUC and Partnership for Peace mechanism to support implementation of the objectives set out in the Action Plan.

While the burden will fall primarily on Ukraine, NATO allies will continue to support reforms by providing assistance and by sharing their own assessment and experiences.

In this context, allied ministers noted Ukraine’s commitment to implement all the reforms necessary to achieve Ukraine strategic objectives of the full Euro-Atlantic integration. Reflecting the aims of the Action Plan allied ministers encouraged Ukraine to vigorously take the reform process forward in order to strengthen democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the market economy.

They highlighted in particular that the far-reaching transformation of the defence and security sectors remains of crucial importance.

In the meeting, well-known concerns were voiced by allied ministers over the report regarding the authorization of the transfer of an air defence system from Ukraine to Iraq. Emphasizing the strategic importance of a deepened NATO-Ukraine distinctive partnership for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic Area ministers concluded that transparency and trust were indispensable features to continue to forge a solid community of values between the Alliance and Ukraine.

Anatoliy Zlenko (Foreign Minister, Ukraine): Thank you very much. Mr. Deputy Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen, I'm satisfied with the outcome of today's NUC meeting. We have just approved the principle of a new Ukraine-NATO document Action Plan and Target Plan for 2003. A very important and new stage in Ukraine-NATO relationship.

By implementing this document Ukraine will start a process of practical preparation for a NATO membership. I would like to underline that we regard this stage as an interim in our relations with NATO. We remain interested in the positive development of a political framework of allied co-operation with the allies.

Now the Action Plan and Target Plan provide a new strategic framework for Ukraine-NATO co-operation under the Madrid Charter. I mean, Charter of Distinctive Partnership.

However, it does not make them less valuable or less important. The documents summarize a profound analysis by both sides of what should be done first in the ongoing process of transformation of our country to comply with the MAP criteria.

So the basic idea of this meeting was that the distinctive partnership of Ukraine remains important for both sides. My concern to my colleagues is that Ukraine can implement a Euro-Atlantic choice. This is a strategy of our development as a European nation. And this is also the commitment of the government of Ukraine. Ukraine-NATO relations have come to the point when we need to convert the co-operation into integration. We stay on this way. And today's meeting made me rather optimistic. I believe that our partnership, despite all problems, has good perspectives.

As to the short notice just done by Mr. Deputy Secretary General concerning some information and the possible accusation of Ukraine on the supply of radar system to Iraq, I would like to tell you frankly that we seriously consider this case, we have declared the full transparency and readiness for co-operation with American and British experts.

Ukraine did everything possible to ensure the U.S. and British teams access to information and all necessary documents of the Kolchuga specifications, productions and sales. We are open to our American counterparts except for the information as for the Kolchuga transfer to some countries. You must understand we are obliged to protect this information under bilateral agreements. We have repeatedly explained this special circumstance to our colleagues from the United States and Great Britain. In this respect we are really frustrated by their unreasonable conclusions of their expertise.

We would like to continue co-operation and to prove that this accusation, this groundless accusation, is based on the assumption.

Thank you very much.

Moderator: Thank you very much. The Deputy Secretary General has to leave for the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Minister, thank you very much.

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