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|Updated: 16-Jul-2002||Week of 8-13 July 2002|
Celebrating five years of NATO-Ukraine partnership
The evolution and future of NATO-Ukraine relations were the focus of a series of special events held in Kyiv on 9 July 2002. They were organised to mark the fifth anniversary of the signing of the groundbreaking document that paved the way for in-depth political, military and civilian cooperation between NATO and the Ukraine.
The Permanent Representatives of the Alliance's 19 member countries and NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson travelled to Kyiv from 8 to 10 July 2002 to review, together with high-level Ukrainian officials, the last five years of NATO-Ukraine cooperation and chart its future development. This included a special session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) - the body that directs and reviews co-operation between both parties - with Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Anatoliy Zlenko. This was the second meeting of the NUC to be held in Ukraine, the first was held in March 2000. There were also meetings with the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, members of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) and the Chairman of the Council for Ukrainian National Security and Defence, Yezhen Marchuk.
The Ambassadors and Lord Robertson also participated in an international conference on "NATO-Ukraine: main achievements and prospects for mutual relations".
Looking back, looking forward
"This meeting [of the Commission] allowed us to highlight our achievements -- and there are many, in various areas. But it also offered us the opportunity to pinpoint some remaining obstacles to deeper cooperation, and to identify areas for new or broader development of the strategically important NATO-Ukraine relationship", said Lord Robertson.
Following the meeting, an agreement (Memorandum of Understanding on Host Nation Support) was signed by the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defence, Victor Bannykh, and the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Admiral Ian Forbes, regarding the use of Ukrainian military assets and capabilities for NATO exercises and operations.
Ukraine has maintained co-operative relations with NATO since 1991, when it joined the North Atlantic Co-operation Council (now the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council) and in 1994 it became the first country of the Commonwealth of Independent State to join NATO's Partnership for Peace programme. The Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, signed on 9 July 1997 in Madrid, opened a new chapter in NATO-Ukraine relations. It outlined specific areas of practical co-operation such as defence reform, civil emergency and formalised this 'distinct' partnership by establishing the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
On the agenda
"The task before us now is to concentrate on building upon and enhancing our Distinctive Partnership in preparation for the Prague Summit," said Lord Robertson. "The Alliance is ready to take our relationship forward in a goal-oriented and substance-driven fashion. We will remain engaged in this long-term process. A lot will depend on Ukraine's resolve to take reforms forward. But we are ready to go as far as Ukraine can."
On 10 July, before returning to Brussels, the NATO Ambassadors attended round tables throughout the country: on "Ukraine in the Euro-Atlantic Space: Achievements and Prospects", in Kharkiv; "Ukraine's role in the European Security: New Challenges", in Donetsk; and on "NATO-Ukraine relations and their trans-regional dimensions" in Lviv.
The Secretary General travelled to Donetsk to attend the opening of a joint NATO-Ukraine project to destroy landmines. He also visited a church to pay a personal tribute to the miners who died in last Sunday's fire.