Last update: 16-Jun-2004 18:37 NATO Update

6-7 June 2004

High-level informal talks with Ukraine in Warsaw

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Opening Remarks by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to the NATO-Ukraine high-level consultations, Warsaw

The royal castle in Warsaw, Poland, provided the venue for informal NATO-Ukraine high-level consultations on 6 and 7 June.

The Ukrainian defence minister, a number of his Allied counterparts and many high-ranking civilian and military officials from NATO countries and Ukraine discussed Ukraine’s defence and security sector reforms and operational cooperation with NATO.

Opening the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said: “Ukraine is, and will remain, a partner with which NATO wants to promote political consultation as well a practical cooperation. We have achieved much together, but there is considerable potential to do more. Our discussions today will address what we can do to push the relationship forward.”

He stressed that “It is crucially important now for Ukraine to finalise reform plans. …Beyond defence and security sector reforms, it must be emphasised that the strengthening of democratic institutions, the development of civil society, and guaranteeing the rule of law are all crucial preconditions for bringing Ukraine closer to the fulfilment of its legitimate Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations.”

Progress achieved by Ukraine in implementing defence and security sector reforms was a key focus of the meeting. Participants also considered the way ahead in supporting the reform process in Ukraine. Moreover, the possible future involvement of Ukraine in NATO-led operations and NATO defence policy initiatives were examined.

As the talks were informal, no decisions were taken but a number of the points raised could feed into preparations for the upcoming meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at summit level in Istanbul at the end of the month.

The event was organised by the NATO-Ukraine Working Group on Defence Reform in cooperation with the Polish Institute of International Affairs. This is the third time such high-level informal defence consultations have been organised. The first took place in Berlin in March 2002 and the second in Washington in May 2003.