June 16th, 2008 11:38 EST
Today Ukraine hosted a high level meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission
Today Ukraine hosted a high level meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Kyiv in the context of the Intensified Dialogue, where NATO Ambassadors were welcomed by Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ogryzko and Defence Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov. This meeting is part of a two-day information and outreach visit of the North Atlantic Council in Ukraine upon the invitation of the Ukrainian Authorities. The NAC also met with President Yushchenko and the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine; and will meet with Prime Minister Tymoshenko and members of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers; and Speaker Yatsenyuk and Members of the Verkhovna Rada. This visit follows three previous NAC visits to Ukraine, the latest in 2005.
2. The NATO-Ukraine Commission exchanged views on status and prospects of NATO-Ukraine relations and cooperation in the context of Bucharest Summit decisions, including Ukraine`s Membership Action Plan (MAP) application, remaining challenges and relevant reforms.
3. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine emphasised that Ukraine attaches particular importance to this NAC visit during the period of intensive engagement after the Bucharest Summit. Minister Ogryzko underlined that Ukraine has high expectations for the NATO ministerial meeting in December this year, and expressed Ukraine`s hope that the first assessment to be made by Allies at the above meeting of Ukraine`s progress towards NATO membership will result in Ukraine`s invitation to join MAP. The Ukrainian Minister expressed satisfaction with the current level of development of political dialogue and practical cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, and said that Ukraine will do its utmost to continue this positive trend in the future. Minister Ogryzko assured the NAC that Ukraine will undertake further significant efforts to strengthen political dialogue and practical cooperation with the Alliance, as well as enhance all efforts related to Ukraine`s Euro-Atlantic integration. Among the priorities, Minister Ogryzko outlined continuation of democratic, political, economic and legal reforms; the fight against corruption; improvement of the system of coordination of cooperation with NATO and a strong public information campaign on NATO issues. The Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Yuriy Yekhanurov, briefed Allies on the current developments in the process of reforming military, security and defence sectors of Ukraine, as well as about future plans in these areas.
4. Allied Ambassadors recalled the Declaration and the NUC Joint Statement at Bucharest, in which NATO Heads of State and Government:
welcomed Ukraine`s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. They agreed that Ukraine will become a member of NATO. MAP is the next step for Ukraine on its direct way to membership. Allies made clear that they support Ukraine`s application for MAP. Therefore they will now begin a period of intensive engagement with Ukraine at a high political level to address the questions still outstanding pertaining to its MAP application. Allies have asked NATO Foreign Ministers to make a first assessment of progress at their December 2008 meeting. Allied Foreign Ministers have the authority to decide on the MAP application of Ukraine. ?
5. The well-structured and mutually beneficial relationship between NATO and Ukraine over the past 11 years in the Distinctive Partnership has contributed, and will continue to contribute, to regional and Euro-Atlantic security. NATO and Ukraine face the same security threats and challenges and cooperate extensively in meeting them, including through operational cooperation in Kosovo, Operation Active Endeavour, Afghanistan and NATO Training Mission-Iraq. The on-going Intensified Dialogue, covering the full range of political, military, financial and security issues, has been instrumental in contributing to Ukraine`s progress thus far towards achieving Euro-Atlantic standards. Allied Ambassadors encouraged Ukraine to continue to follow this path. Members of the Commission reiterated their commitment to making full use of all existing instruments of the NATO-Ukraine Partnership.
6. Recalling the productive outcome of the NUC Defence Ministers meeting on 13 June, Allied Ambassadors appreciated that practical co-operation has been enhanced. Allies noted in particular the recent confirmation of Ukraine`s willingness to contribute to the UK-France Helicopter Initiative; its participation in Air Situation Data Exchange (ASDE) and welcomed its offer to participate in the NATO Response Force (NRF), as the first Partner to do so. They welcomed further efforts by Ukraine to deploy additional personnel in ISAF; and to facilitate land transit for ISAF through Ukraine.
7. Allies emphasized that further enhancing political dialogue and practical cooperation between Ukraine and the Alliance will help advance Ukraine`s democratic transformation, reform goals and fulfilment of its international obligations. Noting the challenges faced and progress achieved by Ukraine, Allies underscored the importance of Ukraine`s commitment to continue to implement political, economic, defence and security sector reforms, aimed also at strengthening democracy and the rule of law. Ambassadors looked forward to the implementation of actions contained in the Annual Target Plan 2008 and reaffirmed NATO`s determination to assist Ukraine`s efforts through consultations and practical cooperation.
8. Allies welcomed Ukraine`s increasing efforts to inform the Ukrainian public about the Alliance and NATO-Ukraine co-operation. They noted with appreciation the recent adoption of the 2008-2011 State Programme on Informing the Ukrainian Society on Euro-Atlantic Integration. They expressed the hope that the implementation of this programme with the allocation of adequate resources will contribute to improving perceptions about NATO. At the same time, they reaffirmed NATO`s support for Ukraine`s public information efforts throughout the country.
9. Allied Ambassadors are looking forward to dialogue with the Ukrainian public during their visits to Dnipropetrovs`k, Kharkiv and L`viv. Allied Ambassadors will also have the possibility of witnessing concrete cooperative Science for Peace and Security projects in Ukraine. They expressed their thanks to Ukraine for its warm welcome.