Last updated: 24-Oct-2003 11:05 NATO Update

20 Oct 2003

Robertson focuses on democratic values
during visit to Kyiv

17/10/2003 - NATO
NATO Secretary General to visit Ukraine
NATO-Ukraine relations
Defence reform, the evolution of Ukraine's relations with NATO and its integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions were at the heart of discussions between Lord Robertson and members of the Ukrainian government on 20 October.

The Secretary General met President Leonid Kuchma, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Foreign Minister Kostiantyn Hryshchenko and Defence Minister Yevhen Marchuk. He also met the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada - the Ukrainian Parliament - Volodymyr Lytvyn.

After these talks, Lord Robertson was invited to address the inaugural meeting of the "Euro-Atlantic League", a Ukrainian non-governmental organisation that brings together supporters of Ukraine's integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions from across the country.

He underlined the achievements of Ukraine in cooperating with the Alliance since its independence in 1991, but stressed the role of civil society in building a young democracy.

He said: "...success in this effort will require more than the stated intentions of political leaders and defence and security sector reform. […] Reinforcing political reform and the role of civil society is one of the [Action] Plan's key elements. Freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, are decisive factors among nations contributing to the future of the Alliance, including through its open-door membership policy. The quality of the Alliance is ultimately a mirror of the democratic values of its members".