NATO ready to deepen partnership with UkraineMeeting with President Viktor Yushchenko at NATO on 22 February, NATO leaders expressed support for Ukraine’s reform agenda and agreed to strengthen cooperation with the country.
At the special NATO-Ukraine Summit, President Yuschenko outlined to NATO Heads of State and Government his plans and priorities for the reform process in Ukraine.
These were welcomed by Alliance leaders, who expressed support for Ukraine’s ambition of Euro-Atlantic integration.
“NATO is ready to work with you,” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said at a joint press conference with President Yuschenko.
The Secretary General said that NATO stands ready to “sharpen and refocus” the existing cooperation, carried out in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan, to support the President’s priorities.
The need to make full use of the existing mechanisms was stressed by President Yuschenko.
“Ukraine has made its position clear about joining the Membership Action Plan,” he told reporters, “At the same time it means that our country will be also using the possibilities that are provided by the existing instruments for cooperation, meaning the Action Plan between NATO and Ukraine.”
As an expression of its determination to enhance cooperation, NATO has launched a project to help Ukraine deal with the dangerous legacy of old ammunitions and small arms and light weapons stockpiles. This 25-million euro initiative is the largest of its kind ever undertaken in the world.
The Secretary General also paid tribute to the people of Ukraine, saying they had shown the way to democracy.
This was the highest-level meeting between NATO and Ukraine since the 2004 presidential election in the country.