|Updated: 05-Oct-2005||NATO Update|
NATO and Ukraine kick off intensified staff talks
NATO and Ukrainian officials held the first in a series of staff-level talks under the Intensified Dialogue on membership issues and related reforms at NATO Headquarters on 26 September.
Ambassador Martin Erdmann, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Issues chaired the talks. Anton Buteiko, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, headed a 14-member Ukrainian delegation, which included high- and working-level officials from the Ministry of Defence, Economy, Finance, Justice, State Radio and Television Brodcasting Committee, and National Security and Defence Council.
The talks covered all issues of interest to the Alliance in the context of Ukraine's NATO membership aspirations. As outlined in the 1995 NATO Enlargement Study and NATO’s Membership Action Plan Document, these include foreign and domestic policy, defence and security sector reform, as well as legal and resource issues.
The goal was to identify key areas where Ukraine will need to focus its reform efforts in support of its membership aspirations, and to help target NATO-Ukraine cooperation to facilitate such progress.
Starting an intensified dialogue
The Intensified Dialogue on Ukraine’s aspirations to NATO membership was launched at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of foreign ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania, in April this year, in parallel with a package of short-term actions designed to enhance NATO-Ukraine cooperation in key reform areas.
The Intensified Dialogue addresses issues specifically related to Ukraine’s possible NATO membership.
The first concrete step in the Intensified Dialogue process was taken in June 2004, during the Secretary General‘s visit to Kyiv, when the Ukrainian government formally presented an initial discussion paper.This paper addressed key issues set out in the 1995 Study on NATO Enlargement – domestic and foreign policy, defence and security sector reform as well as legal and security issues – and highlighted in specific terms those areas where progress would be needed to bring Ukraine's aspirations closer to reality. This provided the basis for the launch of the staff-level talks this week.