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Press Release

Address of Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister Anatoliy Zlenko to the Diplomatic Corps of Ukraine

Kyiv, 8 February 2001

February, 9, 2001 #6

Dear Mr. Dean,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of our first meeting in the year 2001 and to see sincere friends and partners of Ukraine in the Ministry.

The beginning of a new year turned to be quite dynamic for both domestic and foreign policy of our state.

Dear colleagues, in the recent speech the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma presented to you his vision of the main challenges confronting us internally.

That is why I would like to cover the core of foreign policy issues that are now actual for Ukraine.

I want to start my presentation from the most important point.

The new age shows us that the essence of domestic and foreign challenges faced by Ukraine is quite similar.

It can be named by a short word.

This word is "a Chance".

Crucial challenges in political, security, economic and cultural spheres provide our country with a unique chance to demonstrate to the world our consistency in a civilized, democratic and legitimate settlement of complicated and ambiguous problems.

I am certain that the current all-Ukrainian discussion regarding democracy, style and system of power, human rights and freedom of speech should be perceived as a chance.

One should perceive as a chance the fact that our society is gradually turning down apathy and passivity in resolving state matters, and the feeling of doom.

Because concerned and sharp debates that are now part of life for a considerable part of our society represent a unique opportunity to nurture a new political and cultural psychology.

As Foreign Minister, as Member of the Government, and as a citizen of Ukraine I have no doubts that my state, my nation will use its chance.

The difficulties that we have faced show us very clear: our main domestic and foreign policy trump should be invariability of democratic reforms, strict adherence to fundamental human rights and irreversibility of economic transformations.

For I see no other way than fostering an open, economically strong civil society.

I see no other choice than to share the European values.

Finally, I am sure, there is no alternative than to do everything possible to provide Ukrainian citizens with a feeling of safety both in Ukraine and outside its borders.

I strongly believe that this is the way to interpret the present realities.

Even more so since during the decade of independence we proved our capability to adequately meet the most difficult ordeals.

Stable development of state institutions, experience of civilized transfer of power, creation of democratic legislative basis, adoption of a modern Constitution, consistency in safeguarding the rights of national minorities, establishment of good neighbor and stable relations with adjacent countries, renunciation of nuclear weapons, Chornobyl NPP shutdown.

Is this list not eloquent enough?

Moreover, my opinion is fortified by clear definition of Ukraine's vision of its place within the system of international coordinates.

We chose pragmatic and realistic approaches.

Our national interests indicate the need for real economization of foreign relations.

They pose an urgent imperative to show the world a true Ukrainian culture, which, regretfully, is still little known.

Our interests make it certain that the optimum strategic foreign policy course is European integration.

These are, so to speak, our fundamental principles.

Among the key priorities for the year 2001 I ought to single out, foremost, the sustained productive participation of Ukraine in the UN Security Council activity, where we shall take over the chairmanship in just three weeks time.

In the UN context, we put sincere hopes on the expected visit to Ukraine of Secretary General Kofi Annan.

We shall welcome also the Pope John Paul II as a prominent global statesman and spiritual leader. Hopefully, his historic visit to Ukraine will have an all-human dimension.

In agreement with the realization of Ukraine`s European choice, we shall attach primary importance this year to Ukraine`s accession to WTO and to the progress in cooperation with the European Union, where our old historical partner Sweden has confidently commenced its presidency.

For the sake and purpose of European integration we are set to utilize more actively the potential of strategic partnerships with the United States of America, the Russian Federation and Poland.

We shall maintain the development of privileged relations with Berlin, London, Paris, Rome and other representatives of G7 - Ottawa and Tokyo.

We shall make it sure that Ukraine's effective participation in regional cooperation within GUUAM, whose summit Ukraine will host in the near future, CEI and OBSEC should serve our internal needs.

We are ready to consolidate Ukraine's status as a key transit state possessing optimal and reliable conditions for its partners.

Finally, we shall act vigorously and firmly at the markets of Asia, Africa and South America - in the regions of our deep economic interests.

After all, we strive to achieve political, economic and cultural benefits from our presence in the life of the world community.

That is also our chance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a member of the UN Security Council, Ukraine is ready to make its further contribution to the strengthening of peace and security in all regions of the world.

There is practically no state with which Ukraine would not have friendly and balanced relations.

That is a strong foundation of our intermediary and peacekeeping activities.

That is a sine qua non of our consistent policy to involve Ukraine in the resolution of acute international issues.

The other day I have stressed that Ukraine had defined the direction of its movement.

At the same time we are always open for new contacts and projects in the development of bilateral relations.

We are always open for a constructive and practical dialog.

In conclusion, therefore, I would like to thank you, my colleagues, for your contribution to the development of our cooperation.

Thank you for the present friendly and sincere atmosphere in this hall.

There is an understanding that Ukraine does need your well-balanced and tolerant attitude.

In fact, we are speaking not about the attitude towards Ukraine.

It is about your attitude towards the chance that opens the year 2001.

Thank you for your attention.

For more information, please contact:
Taras Malyshevskyi, Press Secretary of the Embassy of Ukraine
310 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J9
Tel. (613) 230-2961, fax (613) 230-2400,