Updated: 21-Oct-2005 NATO Speeches


19 Oct. 2005

Press conference

Press conference with NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Ukrainian Minister of Defence, Mr. Anatoliy Grytsenko and the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Borys Tarasyuk

Audio of the press conference .MP3/25951Kb

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (Secretary General of NATO): Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Let me start by saying that it is for the North Atlantic Council a pleasure to be back in Kyiv.

It is, of course, for me personally a great pleasure to back in Kyiv, and I think we had a very fruitful meeting this morning of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.

I think this meeting is about two key messages. The first key message of course, as we heard from Minister Tarasyuk, Minister Grytsenko, is Ukraine's clear aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration, for the road to NATO membership.

We heard about that message. We heard about the states of the necessary reform process, which is necessary on that road to NATO.

And the key NATO message of course is, as I've said here before, when I was here in June, that NATO is a performance-based organization which is based on values, and NATO will measure, of course, Ukraine's road against the performance and the reforms Ukraine has to make and in which it is in the process.

And if I mentioned reform, the NATO message there is that NATO will, wherever and whenever necessary, assist and help Ukraine in realizing those important reforms.

And if I may mention a few examples. What is, of course, very important first of all are the elections in March next year, that they are free and fair. NATO, of course, has no opinion on who's voting for whom, but the process running up to the elections, and the free and fair elections, is a very important milestone as far as this relationship is concerned.

You all know about other important elements, and Minister Grytsenko briefed us on this: defence reform, but not only defence reform, reform of the whole security sector; judicial reform; the rule of law; the fight against corruption; and all those important elements.

What is also an essential part of this visit--it's not a visit by the Secretary General, it's a visit by all the ambassadors represented on the NATO Council--of course is explaining NATO, what NATO is.

And that is the reason that the Ambassadors will not only stay in Kyiv, but they'll go in groups to Donetsk, Odessa and to Kharkiv tomorrow to discuss and to relay there to the people, to explain why we are here, or what about Ukrainian aspirations and what about NATO's reaction, and what is this Atlantic Alliance.

So we consider this a very essential element of the program, and entirely agree with Ministers Tarasyuk and Yushchenko here. Minister Grytsenko and President Yushchenko.

Let me add that, when I mentioned the transforming NATO, that I should commend Ukraine, as Ambassadors did this morning in the meeting, for its very active support in many NATO operations and missions as we have them.

Let me finally say that in venues when NATO Foreign Ministers met with Foreign Minister Tarasyuk in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Council, an important decision was made in the NATO-Ukraine relations, and that is summarized in the word, 'Intensified Dialogue.'

To summarize, NATO's door was, is and remains open.

Because NATO is a performance-based organization, these reforms, as I mentioned, are essential, and they have to be done by Ukraine. And NATO will help. NATO will assist.

And in those reforms, deeds, of course, matter more than words.

But if I mentioned the word, 'words,' let's not do away with the important interventions made by Minister Tarasyuk and Minister Grytsenko this morning in the very fruitful meeting we had. I think we have been drilling deep in the NATO-Ukraine relationship. And I think that the fact that the NATO-Ukraine Commission meets here in Kyiv, meets all the important Ukrainian interlocutors, is already a very important message.

Ministers, we feel very welcome here. Thank you for your hospitality.

BORIS TARASYUK (Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs): Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, we have just completed a unique meeting within the framework of NATO-Ukraine Commission.

For the third time in the history of relations between NATO and Ukraine, the North Atlantic Council, which is the supreme decision-making body of NATO, is visiting Kyiv.

I'm happy to have been involved in the preparation of the first meeting of this kind, the meeting which took place in Kyiv in March of 2000.

The specific feature of today's meeting lies in the fact that, unlike previous occasions, it was attended by both the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defence of Ukraine.

And what also makes this visit unique is that the members of North Atlantic Council are going to have a meeting with representatives of National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, together with President Yushchenko.

One of the members of the North Atlantic Council referred to the previous meetings in this format, which were taking place during the previous governments and presidents, and he said that those meetings were characterized by the feeling of lack of trust and dissatisfaction, whereas now the atmosphere is totally different and it is marked with enthusiasm and satisfaction.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: You're very right.

TARASYUK: And, dear friends, I would like to emphasize that, in the last nine months of this year, we managed to do more than we have done in the previous few years, and this can be attributed not just to the fact that we're working within a new format of Intensified Dialogue, but this can be put down to the fact that we have accelerated and intensified all the ties between Ukraine and NATO.

Let me remind you that in February of this year a summit between Ukraine and NATO took place with the participation of President Yushchenko at the Headquarters of NATO in Brussels.

And in NATO a meeting at the level of foreign ministers took place in Vilnius in the course of which we established a new format and Intensified Dialogue.

In June a visit of Secretary General of NATO to Kyiv.

Last month, in September, we had the first meeting discussing the paper related to Intensified Dialogue.

And finally… and finally, the visit of Prime Minister Yekhanurov to the Headquarters in Brussels. And now the visit of the North Atlantic Council and Secretary General of NATO to Kyiv in Ukraine.

Next week a meeting will take place at the Headquarters of NATO in Brussels at the level of Defence Ministers, with participation of Minister Grytsenko.

And in December of this year finally there will be a Ministerial meeting at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

In the course of our meeting, myself and Minister Grytsenko, we thanked the members of the North Atlantic Council and Secretary General of NATO for their questions and for their positive attitude to current processes in Ukraine related to ou Euro integration aspirations. Thank you.

Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Minister Anatoliy Grytsenko.

ANATOLIY GRYTSENKO (Ukrainian Defence Minister): During today's meeting I informed our NATO interlocutors about the level of training of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and about the status of development of the implementation of the program for the development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine up to the year 2011, which was adopted on the 13th of September this year.

The discussion was sincere and candid, sometimes critical, but the most important thing is that we felt the support from the NATO side and reassurance that we are on the right track.

And we have reaffirmed once again, myself and Minister Tarasyuk, that our foreign and defence policy will be responsible and will be aggressive in the positive meaning of the word, and that we will make our best to be a contributor to security in the Euro-Atlantic region.

Next year Ukraine is going to continue its participation in the operation in Kosovo by undertaking more obligations there.

Ukraine will provide its airlift capabilities for the transportation of troops, including those of NATO countries, to Sudan. And we are also considering a possibility to provide airlift for transport… or to provide a brigade for the operation in Afghanistan.

After the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, a contingent of 50 military experts of Ukraine will remain in Iraq, and will take part in the international effort in training the Iraqi forces

And the final observation, which is very important, and it relates to the psychological support of our citizens. The Secretary General has made this point, that the presence of NATO representatives in Ukraine's regions helps people to better understand what NATO is.

And I would like to add that it will hopefully help us to show people what NATO is not, and by doing so, to shatter and debunk a lot of stereotypes which were being shaped in our country for many, many years.

And direct socializing and communication with NATO representatives will help people to better understand that Ukraine's membership in NATO will not automatically mean nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine, will not mean the closure of military industrial enterprises in Ukraine, and it will not mean an immediate withdrawal of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the territory of Ukraine.

Therefore people will hopefully understand that this process will not lead to the closure of factories and plants or to the loss or jobs, but quite the opposite, that it will lead to increased industrial cooperation, the creation of new jobs, and the resolution of a lot of social problems.

UNIDENTIFIED: We have just ten minutes for Q&A, and therefore we'll take just two questions.

Q: My question is for Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Some analysts believe that Ukraine might be able to join membership action plan already (inaudible)..., and to become NATO member already 2008. What do you think about it?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: My problem is I'm not an analyst; I'm Secretary General of NATO.

I say this with great respect for analysts, by the way.

But as I've tried to indicate in my introduction, it is the performance which matters, what we discussed this morning. It is a performance-based process, and performance-based means, by definition, not event-based. In other words, although I can understand why you're asking the question, it's a measurement of performance--with the full NATO help and assistance, which is key here--and I'm standing here besides two Ministers representing your government, which is committed. And that's the... here you see two Ministers who are committed to reform, who are committed to this road to NATO.

But time lines and dates and months and weeks I can unfortunately not give you.

Q: Today six Ukrainians were detained in Italy, allegedly trafficking weapons. And allegedly the weapons were meant for terrorist activities. What possible impact or implications that might have?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: I must answer that I do not know. I do not know about the case. If there is an infringement on penal laws and codes in Italy the Italian authorities, Italian justice will deal with that. So I can't possibly comment on that.

What is relevant, that is apart from this incident, it's more that is it… Ukraine and NATO are also joining hands in the fight against terrorism. That is a very relevant thing.

And may I say that I think only last week a very important exercise took place here in Ukraine, with the participation of many NATO members and NATO partners, here in Ukraine and with Ukraine, where an exercise… civil emergency exercise was held in trying to answer the question how can… in the civil response, we can react best to chemical terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED: Including fighting against chemical terrorism.

Q: What is the purpose of tomorrow's visit in Kharkiv to Physical and Technical Institute and could you specify a little bit about the prospects of preparation between NATO and Ukraine's legions, including primarily Kharkiv, since the lady is representing Kharkiv.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: It's important that the group of Ambassadors--I told you about three groups who are going to Kharkiv, which is of course an important city in Ukraine. What are they going to do there? They're going to find the regional interlocutors to discuss the elements which we consider important in the NATO-Ukraine relationship. And because Ukraine is not only Kyiv, but Ukraine is a big, a huge country and has many regions, we decided to outreach and to go into the regions again, including Kharkiv.

So it's a matter of NATO, and NATO ambassadors in this case, getting around the table, a regional table in different regions of Ukraine, and as I said, I consider this we consider this very important as far as the outreach is concerned and explaining what NATO is, and, as Minister Grytsenko quite rightly said, what NATO is not.

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