Oslo, Norway

27 Apr. 2007

Introductory remarks by the Secretary General

Informal meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission
at the level of Foreign Ministers

Good morning. I would like to begin by welcoming Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to this, his first informal meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Welcome, Arseniy.

Very soon we will mark the tenth anniversary of our Distinctive Partnership which will give us an opportunity to take stock or our achievements, and look forward with hope to the future of this unique partnership.

In Ukraine, despite a turbulent political year, the country’s leadership has pressed ahead with reform plans, and NATO Allies have lent concrete support to these efforts.

We appreciate Ukraine’s substantial contributions to our common security,  and will continue to  assist, through practical cooperation, the implementation of far-reaching reform efforts.

Pour illustrer ce que recouvrent concrètement ces propos, je citerai en exemple le soutien que l’Ukraine continue d’apporter aux opérations de l’OTAN au Kosovo et en Iraq.

Nous nous sommes aussi employés à mettre au point de nouvelles formes de coopération opérationnelle à l’appui des actions de l’OTAN en Afghanistan et en Méditerranée. Nous saluons l’offre ukrainienne de fournir un médecin à l’équipe provinciale de reconstruction lithuanienne dans la province de Ghor en Afghanistan.

Dans le cadre de notre Partenariat spécifique et de notre Dialogue intensifié, nous avons continué  de nous consulter étroitement  sur diverses questions vitales pour notre sécurité commune.

Tout cela témoigne de notre volonté d’aider les autorités ukrainiennes à respecter les normes les plus élevées, en particulier dans le secteur de la sécurité.

Capable, modern security institutions, calibrated to the country’s national security needs, able to contribute effectively to multinational peace support efforts and subject to effective mechanisms of civil control are clearly in Ukraine’s national interest. Many challenges still lay ahead of us. Today’s meeting is a clear signal that we remain prepared to face these challenges together.

NATO’s doors, to an even closer relationship, remain open, but it is ultimately up to Ukraine’s people, and their elected leaders, to determine the country’s future path with NATO.

With that, ladies and gentlemen I would like to give the floor to Minister Yatsenyuk.