Center for Strategic Decision Research


NATO Enlargement, Ukraine and European Security

His Excellency Hennadi Udovenko
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

It is an honor for me to address you today when important events in the development of European security and in Ukraine's international activities are taking place. We meet here shortly after the Sintra Ministerial, where important decisions were made on how to advance NATO's internal and external adaptation to the realities of the European security environment within the context of the enlargement process, the development of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), and the enhanced PFP institutions. The enlargement process will become a practical matter in the very near future. We are only days away from the Madrid Summit, and the decisions made there will definitely affect overall Euro-Atlantic security development. However, the enlargement of the North Atlantic Alliance should not be considered as a final and universal solution to all problems relating to Euro-Atlantic security.

While we believe enlargement to be the biggest political event of the last years of the 20th century, we do not believe it will meet all the stability and security challenges of the region. It is only one, albeit a very important, element of continuing, complicated work in this direction. But this effort will go on because, as we all agreed several years ago, in order for European security to be effective and viable, it must be comprehensive, indivisible, and inclusive.


Ukrainian independence is a relatively new political phenomenon in today's Europe, but one that has already considerably changed the geopolitical image of Central and Eastern Europe and of our continent as a whole. As mentioned in many NATO documents, Ukraine has also become a most important factor in European security. This status is a result not only of Ukraine's geopolitical location and importance, but of its practical contribution to the enhancement of regional and wider European stability and security.

The goal of Ukraine's foreign policy is eventual integration with major European and Euro-Atlantic structures. A high priority is strengthening relations with all its neighbors, first of all with Russia. We are convinced that meeting these objectives will make a substantial contribution to peace and the stability process in Europe. In that regard, I would like to note several important events that we believe considerably strengthen Ukraine's security posture as well as contribute to the conditions needed for a qualitatively new, more stable, and secure geopolitical situation in Europe.

1. The approval and initialing, on May 29 at the Sintra NAC Ministerial, of the Ukraine-NATO Special Partnership Charter. It has been about two years since President Kuchma put forward the idea of a special partnership between Ukraine and the Alliance. From an uncertain beginning we went on to do serious joint work that produced good results. Signing the charter at the Madrid Summit would be an important step in promoting indivisibility in European security, as well as furthering stability and shared democratic values in Central and Eastern Europe.

Why is this charter so important for Ukraine? I am pleased to note, here in Prague, in the heart of Europe, that in the charter Ukraine is at last officially recognized as an integral part of Central and Eastern Europe, and as one of the "key factors" for ensuring stability in this region and on the continent as a whole. But the charter is not only important for Ukraine. By accepting Ukraine's proposal to formalize special partnership relations with her, the Alliance has once again showed its ability and willingness to adapt to new post-Cold War realities and to take into account the position of Partner countries during the course of its transformation. I believe that the Ukraine-NATO Charter, along with the NATO-Russia Founding Act and future NATO enlargement, will pave the way for a more consolidated and cooperative European security.

2. The opening in Ukraine, on May 7, of the first NATO Information and Documentation Center. This center, we believe, was the right step at the right time in the right direction. It is not a secret that opinions about NATO enlargement and about NATO itself differ greatly among the newly independent states on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Just recently I presented the issue of Ukraine-NATO relations to a session of the Ukrainian parliament. When I mentioned that NATO had never committed any aggression throughout its history, the left-wing audience erupted noisily. This was open evidence of how deeply negative Soviet public opinion of NATO was. Such situations show that we need joint efforts to overcome the sad heritage of the former era of confrontation, and the activities of the NATO Information Center should be valuable contributions to this goal.

3. Launching the activities of the Kuchma-Gore Interstate Commission, implementing the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the U.S.

4. The signing, during President Kwasniewski's visit to Ukraine, of the historic Declaration of the Presidents of Ukraine and Poland "Towards Reconciliation and Unity between Poles and Ukrainians." The declaration brings our bilateral relations to a new level and is evidence of both peoples' understanding of the hard lessons in their complicated history.

5. The meeting of five presidents of the CEE states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine) in Tallinn on May 27. This meeting was the start of a new form of regional cooperation.

6. The signing, on May 8 in Moscow, of the memorandum of the settlement of the Trans-Dnistrian problem, the implementation of which is guaranteed by Ukraine, Russia, and OSCE. The signing of this memorandum is another important step toward regional stability. And the memorandum has already been put to work. A visit by the leader of Trans-Dnistria, Mr. Smirnov, took place in Ukraine, aimed at launching the restoration of closer economic cooperation. Participation of Ukrainian peacekeepers in that area was also discussed.

7. The conclusion of the border treaty between Ukraine and Belarus, a first step for Ukraine in settling this important issue with the former Soviet Republics.

8. The signing of the Framework Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership with the Russian Federation during President Yeltsin's first official visit to Ukraine, the main event in Ukraine's international political life. The treaty is of exceptional importance to Ukraine because it sets up a legislative basis for relations with our largest and closest neighbor, and confirms the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the inviolability of its borders. The treaty also has a wider international dimension. We are grateful to all governments that expressed their appreciation of this achievement as a considerable step in enhancing regional stability and security.

Shortly before President Yeltsin's visit, Ukraine also signed agreements with Russia on the status and conditions of stationing the Russian Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian territory and on the parameters of the Black Sea Fleet division. For five years the Black Sea Fleet problem has been a subject of concern not only for Ukraine and Russia but for the international community as well. By signing these agreements we have managed to resolve one of the most complicated problems of modern history to emerge after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Since President Yeltsin's visit Ukraine and Russia have intensified their trade and economic contacts as well as negotiations on border agreement issues. A number of important bilateral projects have been developed that will soon be implemented and should bring additional stability to the post-Soviet territories.

9. The signing, on June 2 in the Romanian city of Constanta, of the big political treaty between Ukraine and Romania, concluding one of the most difficult negotiation processes conducted by Ukraine since obtaining independence. With the signing of this treaty there are no longer any so-called historical problems of territorial division and borders between Ukraine and its neighbors. Intensification of cooperation among Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania has also been agreed to. The presidents of these countries will meet to launch a number of Euro-regional projects to set up free-trade zones and to intensify political, trade, economic, and cultural cooperation. These efforts will be a substantive contribution to peace, stability, and prosperity in this region.


The decision in Madrid on NATO enlargement and the signing of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and the Ukraine-NATO Charter will create a qualitatively new security environment in the transatlantic area and testify that the new NATO remains an important player in European security development and maintenance. Opening the Alliance to new members and implementing new Alliance missions will have a strong effect on the European security environment. The newly inaugurated Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the enhanced Partnership for Peace will also be instrumental in promoting greater cooperation and inclusiveness in European security measures. Ukraine welcomes former NACC observers as full members in EAPC. It also considers the establishment of a special partnership with NATO as a complementary, rather than a competing, mechanism to the EAPC. We view with the same importance the implementation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act provisions, which may help significantly in building up a new security architecture in Europe. Concerning NATO enlargement I would also like to say that the process should remain open, transparent, and evolutionary, and that NATO doors should be kept open for additional memberships.

The most important issue today is what NATO becomes after Madrid. Our understanding is that it will be a new NATO, with new members, new missions, new functions, and new types of responsibilities. The last opinion poll in Ukraine revealed that more and more people see NATO as a peacekeeping and peacemaking organization, a point that should be part of future discussions about NATO's role in the 21st century.

While actively developing cooperation with NATO, Ukraine has also said that its basic national interests require its full-scale participation in the all-European security system that should guarantee every nation's stability and security. This pan-European policy is the basis of Ukraine's attitude towards NATO enlargement.

Building up this new European security environment is an extremely complex, complicated, and sometimes controversial process. So it would be a simplification to say that its development should derive only from NATO enlargement. On the other hand, it should also be recognized that NATO's adaptation to the new realities is proceeding at a relatively higher speed than that of other European institutions, which in turn is influencing the general European landscape. However, NATO constitutes only one of the many important parts of the emerging security architecture--the military one--and the other important parts--political, economic, and social--should not be neglected if we really want to build up what is called in OSCE terms "a comprehensive security for all Europe."

As a natural part of Central and Eastern Europe, Ukraine is working hard to create a stable, friendly external environment for implementing the crucial internal task of transforming the country into an open, democratic society with a market-oriented economy. To ensure this external environment, national security is a priority of our foreign policy. For Ukraine this means active involvement in building up a new security architecture on the continent. At present, this architecture is being developed through NATO's transformation and enlargement; the evolution of a security model for the 21st century within the OSCE framework; the future enlargement of the European Union; new Western European Union functions; and the development of regional and subregional processes. But only through complementary interaction and a meaningful distribution of functions will these processes secure the vitality and efficiency of the future European architecture.


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