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17 March 2004

Allied Ambassadors Discuss Status of NATO-Ukraine Relations

March 17, Brussels: Statement of NATO-Ukraine Commission chairman

The NATO-Ukraine Commission met at ambassadorial level in Brussels March 17 to discuss the status of NATO-Ukraine relations.

Allied ambassadors expressed appreciation for Ukraine's participation in NATO-led and other peace-keeping operations and welcomed recent progress in reforming its defense sector. At the same time, they stressed that Ukraine must continue to implement the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan, notably in regards to independent media and this year's presidential election.

While reaffirming NATO's commitment to support the integration of Ukraine into Euro-Atlantic institutions, the ambassadors noted that "serious political commitment" by Ukraine will be required to achieve these goals.

Following is the statement by the chairman of the commission:

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Brussels, Belgium
17 March 2004

NATO Press Release

CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT AT THE MEETING OF THE NATO-UKRAINE COMMISSION IN AMBASSADORIAL SESSION, 17 MARCH 2004, BRUSSELS

The NATO-Ukraine Commission with Invitees met at Ambassadorial level in Brussels today to discuss the status and prospects of NATO-Ukraine relations.

Allied Ambassadors expressed their appreciation for Ukraine's continuing commitment to support Allied efforts to ensure peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area, including through their participation in NATO-led and other peace-keeping operations. They also welcomed recent progress made in implementing the first phases of the Defence Review, and reiterated their interest in further developments towards comprehensive defence and security sector reform in Ukraine.

Allied Ambassadors reiterated that any enhancement of NATO-Ukraine relations must be based in a shared commitment to Euro-Atlantic objectives and values. They underscored that it was important that Ukraine continue to implement the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan, notably by ensuring respect for media freedom and independence, free and fair election campaigning, and unrestricted access to media for all contenders in the elections. They reaffirmed NATO's commitment to support Ukraine in its Euro-Atlantic goals, noting that serious political commitment would be required to achieve them.

The Ukrainian Ambassador informed the Commission regarding political, socio-economic, military, defence and security sector reforms conducted thus far in 2004 in support of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration policy, including its goal of NATO membership. In particular, he asserted that political reform was being carried out in strict conformity with the Constitution of Ukraine.

In addition, the Ukrainian Ambassador emphasized Ukraine's commitments to ensure that the 2004 presidential elections held in compliance with national legislation and international election standards.

Members of the Commission welcomed the ratification by the Verkhovna Rada of the NATO-Ukraine Memorandum of Understanding on Host Nation Support. They underlined their expectation that this Memorandum will serve to further enhance military cooperation between Ukraine and the Alliance.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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