Updated: 19-May-2004 NATO Speeches


18 May 2004

Joint press point

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
and Mr. Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister of Ukraine

High resolution photos
Audio file of the speech .MP3/5607Kb

de Hoop Scheffer: Let me first of all say it's a great pleasure to meet the Prime Minister, again, after my very appreciated and successful visit to the Kiev and the hospitality I've enjoyed there.

I've congratulated the Prime Minister with the success of Ruslana in winning the European Song Contest, very important of course for Ukraine.

But of course we have discussed a number of issues, NATO/Ukraine relations are very important.

And we do that, we develop them on the basis of the annual target plan which we should develop further and which also, as you know, includes very specific attention for democratic freedom, freedom of the media and the rule of law.

I have encourage the Prime Minister and the government of Ukraine to press ahead with their implementation of defence reform; shown the great appreciation for the international responsibilities Ukraine is taking in different theatres; there's a very important meeting coming up on the 6th and 7th of June in Warsaw where we will have high level concentrations: NATO, Ukraine and the presence of a great number of defence ministers including, as I've heard to my joy, Minister Marchuk. I hope it will be possible to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the very important subject there, strategic airlift between Ukraine and NATO and we have decided to further develop this very important relationship between Ukraine and NATO with all aspects that entail and that is, let me say this the gain(?) of course as well and the Prime Minister has assured me that that will be the case, the further development of democratic values and freedoms.

The relationship is a very important one, I was glad to meet the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Justice Minister who all were here and I'm very much looking forward in building on the constructive relationship between Ukraine and NATO.

Yanukovych: (Translation begins) Thank you very much dear Secretary General. I do appreciate the opportunity given to me to have this meeting today and speaking about the agreements reached back in Kiev I would like to say that I'm very much satisfied with the results of our meeting and taking this opportunity would like to invite you, dear Secretary General, to visit Ukraine next year when Ukraine will be the venue of another European Contest where Ruslana will actually play host to you. By all means I'm going to give Ruslana your best regards and I'm going to tell her that you are a strong ardent supporter of her. (Translation ends)

de Hoop Scheffer: As long as I don't have to sing myself it's very much all right. (Laughter)

Yanukovych: (Translation begins) And of course I would like to say that we are... we were satisfied with the results of our cooperation and we discussed a lot of issues pertaining to that subject matter especially we were talking about the target action plan between NATO and Ukraine and we also touched upon the issues pertaining to the forthcoming meeting in Warsaw. A meeting between the... all the defence ministers of different countries and a specific role which Ukraine has to play, or help (inaudible) specific meeting. Today, the Parliament of Ukraine with whom the (inaudible) considers the draft law on defence report in our country and we do hope that this was going to be adopted which will make it possible for us to move ahead with the implementation of our specific tasks and tasks which fall within the framework of the relationship between Ukraine and NATO.

We also discussed the recent events, sad events which took place in Melitopol in Ukraine. These strategic (inaudible) is much concern to our society and it is clear that we have to take some major steps and measures to eliminate as soon as possible all the hazardous materials and the obsolete munitions stationed... or stored now in the territory of Ukraine and we agree together with the Secretary General that supports will be given on the part of NATO in order to ensure to secure some required technologies for elimination of that where dangerous substances and materials and we do hope that in the nearest future we'll get the answer to our request and I would like to emphasize here that the measures to choose(?) a partner among those lines for Ukraine and the United States of America.

I also informed Secretary General that the defence reform in Ukraine is closely linked to the reduction of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and this is going to be implemented only provided that the social protection of the ex-servicemen former officer will be also ensured in this country. Thank you. (Translation ends)

Questions and answers

Q: (Translation begins) I have two questions one to (inaudible) Secretary General, speaking about the (inaudible) Istanbul meeting and the question to the Prime Minister speaking about the Melitopol tragedy, who is responsible? We are talking about the official public figures, government figures who is responsible for that? Who bears the responsibility? (Translation ends)

de Hoop Scheffer: Let me first say that, of course, I've offered my condolences to the Prime Minister and the people of Ukraine on this Melitopol tragedy which is really very serious and I support what the Prime Minister said about the United States being the lead nation in a partnership for peace trust fund to get the thing off the ground. I didn't quite get, I must admit, what the question was you had on the summit this summer in Istanbul?

Q: (Translation begins) Has been the decision passed at the Istanbul Summit meeting yet? (Translation ends)

de Hoop Scheffer: Sorry... yeah, that decision has not yet been taken at this very moment but it will of course soon be taken by the Allies.

Yanukovych: (Translation begins) Well answering that questions regarding the tragedy in Melitopol I would like to say that on the 20th of May, latest, the special committee is going to complete the investigation of this sad tragic event in Melitopol and we are going to propose the specific and bring(?) steps and measures to be taken in the future in order to take care of these dangerous munitions which is stored today in Ukraine.

And of course our proposals will be submitted for consideration to the Consul National Security of Ukraine and here we have to say that the level which it was going to be considered this Ministry of Defence and General Staff and of course there is... if you are talking about... if you are asking who is going to be made responsible for that, I think those responsible will be found among the top military leaders of Ukraine.(Translation ends)

Q: Mr. Secretary General, every single time when Ukrainian leaders come to NATO, NATO says about political reforms and to reforms of mass media. Did you discuss this topic today and do you think that there is a contradiction because the Ukrainian leaders says about Euro-Atlantic(?) integration but at the same time the situation in mass media is getting worse.

de Hoop Scheffer: There's no contradiction, no. For the simple reason that it's in the annual target plan. I mean it's written out there everything on freedom of media, democracy, rule of law, that's the reason we always discuss it. So I do not see a contradiction. You know that NATO attaches great importance to this element and of course we discussed it as we discussed it two weeks ago when I was in Kiev.

Thank you very much.

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