Updated: 10-Oct-2005 NATO Speeches


7 Oct. . 2005


with the Secretary General, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and H.E. Mr. Yuriy Yekhanurov, Prime Minister

Audio file

JAMES APPATHURAI (NATO Spokesman): Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary General and the Prime Minister will each make opening statements, then we'll have time for questions. Secretary General.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (Secretary General of NATO): Prime Minister Yekhanurov, once again, a warm welcome to NATO, and I think we can say we had a very good frank meeting with the North Atlantic Council.

What the Prime Minister, of course, did was briefing the NATO allies on his government plans, on his government reform plans, and he reconfirmed very strongly Ukraine's determination to pursue European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

In turn, the allies, I think, have stressed three main points. The first point is that NATO's door remains open. The open door policy of NATO remains. This, I think, is a very important position.

Second, important point, that of course Ukraine must perform and the pace of integration depends on the pace of those reforms. Because we're talking about a performance-based process, and not on an events-based process.

The third important point, NATO remains determined and committed to help and assist Ukraine through focused cooperation in the framework, of course, of the Intensified Dialogue.

Let me mention a few key areas. First of all, the strengthening of democratic institutions, including free and fair elections. The '06 elections will, of course, be very important because the world will be looking at Ukraine.

The second key area, defence and security sector reform, including the managing of the social economic consequences of these reform processes.

And point number three, public diplomacy, explaining NATO, realizing that the perception of NATO in Ukraine needs to be improved, and NATO can help and assist there.

In my bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister we concluded that it's a very busy month for Ukraine-NATO relations. Last week we had staff talks in this very building, in the framework of the Intensified Dialogue on membership issues and related reforms. Later this month the full North Atlantic Council, all the ambassadors and myself, we'll travel to Ukraine, and we'll not only stay in Kiev, but we'll also visit regions, Kharkiv, Odesa and Donets'k.

And then on the 23rd and 24th of October NATO Defence Ministers will meet their Ukrainian counterparts to discuss in detail defence reforms. That will take place in Vilnius. So it's a very important plan(?) indeed.

Let me finally also give you an example of the very good practical cooperation NATO and Ukraine have, by saying that in two days time Ukraine will host a major civil emergency planning exercise in Yavoriv near L'viv. This exercise is called Joint Assistance 2005, and will test the ability of Ukrainian and international teams to coordinate appropriate responses in case of a terrorist chemical attack.

And let me also mention, and there was, of course, praise for this in the meeting we just finished, praise for the fact that Ukrainian troops are in Kosovo and Ukrainian is supporting the operation Active Endeavour. These are also visible signs of cooperation and underline, I think, very strongly, Ukraine's course.

Let me finally say that I think the key message this morning, and key message in the coming weeks and months and periods will be actions speak louder than words.

In other words, concrete reform with the full help and assistance of NATO, is the best way and the only way for Ukraine to move closer to NATO.

So we had a very good meeting indeed. It was a real pleasure, for the first time, to meet the Prime Minister. It will certainly not be the last. In two weeks time we'll meet again, and then in Kiev.

Prime minister, please.

YURIY YEKHANUROV (Prime Minister of Ukraine): Thank you, first of all, I would like to say that the visit of the Prime Minister of Ukraine to NATO Headquarters takes place according to preliminary agreements, which means that the relations between NATO and Ukraine are very stable.

Two main messages which I tried to convey to the NATO ambassadors were that Ukrainian authorities are still... follow the way of joining NATO and Euro-Atlantic community, and we are going to do everything possible to do this, and I hope that these messages were conveyed.

And invitation to participate in the Intensified Dialogue was a very powerful signal for us, and driving force for speeding up all the necessary reforms in political and economic areas.

In many areas we have already had very fruitful cooperation with NATO and support, and this is a military reform, defence sector reform, military cooperation, cooperation of Ukraine in NATO, operation in many other areas of non-military nature.

And we'll definitely preserve and build up on the positive achievements of previous governments, and at the same time, I hope that we'll achieve new positive results.

And today I informed NATO member state ambassadors about the directions of... and priorities of the activities of NATO, among which the development and enhancement of relations between Ukraine and NATO.

So during the day's discussion we discussed a lot of very important issues, in particular participation in NATO operations, cooperation in various fields. In particular active work in the area of public diplomacy and public information in Ukraine, about NATO and what NATO is. And there will be no substantial changes in this sense, and we'll continue taking part in all the important operations.

And in terms of joint projects I expressed our great gratitude to the countries which help Ukraine in disposal of excessive munitions, lighter arms, and other things, and in particular the United States who are very supportive of this project. And I think that we'll reach very good results through the common trust fund project.

And in my presentation I mentioned a number of other projects, in particular assistance of Ukraine in retraining of decommissioned military officers, and I hope this work will continue, and to this list we'll add some more projects and in particular in training personnel.

After my presentation there was a discussion, during which the ambassadors expressed very profound knowledge of situation in Ukraine and they asked me a lot of questions about constitutional reform, about political situation in the country, and many other questions which show a great interest of NATO allies to Ukrainian developments.

And now I'm ready to answer your questions.

APPATHURAI: Thank you. We have time for some short questions.

Q: News Agency Interfax Ukraine. A question for Secretary General. What is your assessment about of a possibility that Ukraine membership can be discussed... could be discussed during NATO summit in 2008? Thank you.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: If I could answer that question, if I would answer it, and I'm not going to do it, but I'll explain why... it would mean that the course to membership would be an event-driven process, and it's not an event-driven process. It's a performance-driven process.

It depends on the reform process, and we have met this morning a Prime Minister, who's very motivated to do everything he can and his government, and I know that's also the opinion of President Yushchenko, to really seriously enter in that reform process. But about dates, month, years, I simply can't do it, because it's performance driven.

Q: Okay, I will continue the question of my colleague. It's Radio Liberty. So you started Intensified Dialogue. How long Intensified Dialogue can be prolonged? So it means that Intensified Dialogue, it could be short. After this dialogue you probably will start to negotiate about the accession of Ukraine to NATO. And the second...

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: You're a very intelligent representative of Radio Liberty, I must say, because you're asking the same question as your colleague, only in other words.

Performance-driven means performance-driven. All jokes apart. And that means that you cannot distinguish a calendar. And it depends on Ukraine and the pace of reforms how that calendar will finally be filled in. And NATO is there to help, NATO is there to assist. That is what Intensified Dialogue means. Assistance, help, the push for reforms as well.

Q: Mark John from Reuters. Let's talk about performance then. What kind of impact has the political instability we've seen in Ukraine for the last few months, and the revelations of corruption in high places, to what extent does that actually set back the pace of reform?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Let the Prime Minister speak for himself, but this theme, corruption, was addressed in Council and the Prime Minister gave a clear answer, but let him give that himself.

About the fight against corruption, although corruption doesn't help the pace of reform, and it should of course be eradicated, but I mean, that's up to the Prime Minister to answer.

YEKHANUROV: I should say that the recent decisions which were taken about giving special guidelines to the Foreign Minister Tarasyuk about negotiations on Moldo and Transnistria situation in particular on the border with Transnistria also has something to do with fight and with corruption because this illegal trafficking and corruption is part of the package over there, and in general I must say that the fight with the corruption is going on.

But the best what the government can do now in terms of fighting corruption is transparency and in the nearest future we're going to publish all the information about the budget, about all the important decisions, for everything to be transparent, everything which is going on in the government to be transparent. And hence will not be subject to corruption.

In the nearest days the people of Ukraine will hear about concrete steps which we're going to take to eradicate corruption. In particular we're going to set up a single database for text administration, for other important authorities and agencies which will get all the information together.

Q: National News Agency of Ukraine, (inaudible)... A question to the Prime Minister, if possible. What Ukraine government is going to do to improve inter-ministerial cooperation in terms of Euro-Atlantic integration? This is the first part of a questions. And the second... and the second part, what is your position on proposal to present the admission of Ukraine to NATO like separate diplomatic service?

YEKHANUROV: In answering the second question I will say that yes, we'll do it. We have already talked to Mr. Kinahk(?), who is chairman of the National Security and Defence Council on coordinating our activities, and this will definitely be beneficial for our relations with NATO.

Today I received lots of interesting questions and proposals from ambassadors and I'm going back to Kiev with a long list of questions, with which I will inform our authorities, and to which we're going to find answers in Kiev.

APPATHURAI: Last question. Last question.

Q: After what we can... we will be able to sign membership action plan?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Here we are again.


DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Let me say that NATO supports and supports strongly the ambition show and the line shown by the Ukrainian government. But it's the Prime Minister and the Ukrainian government who decide about the pace. And I hope that the pace will be very quick. And that's the reason that we're going to continue these discussions in Kiev in two weeks and in Vilnius at the end of the month.

YEKHANUROV: I think the journalists should be given some sort of reference point at which they should look and say yes, there is progress, or no, there is no progress here.

First, this is the issue of what we call in Ukraine professional army. This is the issue of reducing our armed forces to the level defined by our legislation. And as professional economist I'm used to operate with figures, and I'll try to give them to you.

Today I was told that our military officers should speak English first of all, for to be able to cooperate with their counterparts. And this is one of the indicators. And there are so many such indicators which you may be able to look at and then you'll be able to judge yourselves when Ukraine will become a NATO member.

But the most important thing is that the majority of people in Ukraine, lay people in Ukraine, to understand that we need this.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Let me express again, that free and fair elections in '06, of course are also very, very important, a very important event in Ukraine. But I have to give right of way to the Prime Minister here, because I'm not a trained economist.
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