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Address of H.E. Borys Tarasyuk, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, to the WEU Permanent Council

(Brussels, 20.10.99)

Dear Secretary-general, Dear President-in-Office, Distinguished members of the Council, Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for the invitation to speak to the WEU Permanent Council. It is my special pleasure to meet here my old friends whom I met on many occasions during my stay in Brussels.

I would like also to highly appreciate personal contribution of the WEU Secretary-General H.E.Mr. Cutileiro to the development of pan-European security architecture and WEU's revival in particular, as well as his efforts to deepen co-operation with Ukraine.

Dear Colleagues,

The fundamentals of Ukraine`s foreign policy on the threshold of the 21st century remain as clear as 5 years ago when the era of our return to Europe began.

These fundamentals include :

  • open, consistent and predictable foreign policy;
  • participation in resolution of international disputes and conflicts by political and diplomatic means;
  • respect for international law, first of all the UN Charter;
  • commitment to protection of human and national minorities rights;
  • integration into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions;
  • good friendly relations with all its neighbours.

For several years now Ukraine is recognized in Europe and the world over as a civilized, democratic European state which makes its significant contribution to maintaining peace and stability on the continent.

Ukraine has become a net contributor to European security , expanding this security to neighbouring countries. We have been active in conflict resolution in Transdnistria (Moldova), Kosovo (FRY), Abkhazia (Georgia), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nagorny Karabakh (Azerbaijan).

Ukraine has become a respected regional leader , promoting a vast network of regional cooperation, recent examples of which are the Central European summit in Lviv last May and Baltic-Black Sea summit in Yalta last month.

Hence, it is natural that Ukraine should take the most active part in building a new, united Europe without dividing lines. We are a reliable partner, ally and integral participant in the activities of the Euro-Atlantic community.

A convincing proof of Ukraine`s stabilizing role in its region and in other parts of the world was its election 6 days ago to the UN Security Council for the years 2000-2001. This historic event has become possible due to a consistent and active foreign policy of Ukraine, its acknowledged international achievements.

Taking this opportunity, I express my gratitude to those European countries which supported us. We are also ready to cooperate closely with France, Britain and the Netherlands as members of the Security Council and of the WEU.

In the context of Ukraine`s European and Euro-Atlantic integration I will outline our position and priorities vis-a-vis three major organizations in this space: European Union, NATO and WEU.

European Union occupies a special place among the three. For Ukrainians to become part of the EU means not only shared political stability, economic growth and prosperity, but also shared responsibility . Being a place of peace and stability, with several active and frozen conflicts around it, Ukraine can be a valuable security asset to the EU . Especially since the Union has realized that security issues need to be addressed more vigorously. We can help to project and expand the area of peace and stability in Europe.

The main issue now on Ukraine-EU agenda is the EU Common Strategy on Ukraine , due to be adopted in Helsinki coming December. And the main point that we wish to see in this document is recognition of Ukraine as a future EU member, provided we fulfil the Copenhagen criteria.

We are aware that the EU is cautious to promise this recognition prior to the outcome of the presidential elections in Ukraine. You know who among the candidates is ready to continue the current Europe-oriented foreign policy of Ukraine. As one of the participants of the Ukraine-EU Troika Ministerial meeting recently in New York rightly put it, President Kuchma is campaigning on the "European ticket" - the fact which is "much respected" by the European Union. I hope that after our election the work on the EU Strategy will proceed much quicker and easier, and the European vocation of Ukraine will be duly reflected in its text, as mentioned above.

NATO remains the most effective political-military organization in Euro-Atlantic area. The Ukraine-NATO Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, signed in Madrid in July 1997, was not the goal itself, but just the beginning of a large-scale close cooperation which we are going to continue and expand with much benefit for both sides.

The Kosovo crisis was a serious test for our partnership that we managed to withstand. The main lesson that we drew for our relations with the Alliance in that case was that we should talk, consult and negotiate as special partners before taking serious decisions.

I recollect my talks in Bonn, Paris, London and Warsaw right after the trip to Belgrade, and I have a feeling that despite different approaches to the conflict resolution, we had many common views which coincided eventually and which become clearer today and help us now to build a new Europe with a better knowledge of the past and a sharper foresight of the future.

It is especially relevant when we speak about the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union which took its insitutional shape at the historic Cologne summit last June. No doubt, this was also a historic event for WEU as a military arm of the EU.

Ukraine fully welcomes greater security responsibility and greater defense and military capabilities of Europeans in their own home, in our own home . And we understand that it will not be done at the expense of a strong trans-Atlantic link, but in order to alleviate the burdens of the two North American allies.

Ukraine has been doing in its neighbourhood and was doing in Kosovo what the other Europeans are doing in their parts of the continent. Let us combine our efforts. We share the same values and pursue the same goals. Ukraine can help to avoid a second Kosovo .

Apart from our net contribution to security in Europe, we can also contribute to its defense capabilities . It gives me a pleasure to recall that it was actually the Ukraine-WEU agreement on the long-haul air transportation that gave additional impetus to rounds of negotiations with the Western European countries concerning the FLA project . Today, Antonov-7X has conquered European capitals and air shows as the best ever aircraft of its class. Not competition, but cooperation and joint production together with other European countries will save us a lot of time and money.

Dear members of the Council,

Ukraine`s cooperation with WEU has been largely influenced by a significant progress on the part of Europeans to establish the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy and to further develop the European Security and Defence Identity. In order to keep in the mainstream of the pan-European integration processes, to maintain the tempo of its European and Euro-Atlantic integration, the best way for Ukraine is to consistently enhance its cooperation with NATO, seek the ways to institutionalize its relations with the Western European Union and to acquire in a near future the associated and later full membership in the EU. These are our steady priorities that will be given additional impetus.

Among the issues of practical cooperation with WEU I would like to stress the following points and proposals:

  • building upon the Action Plan for a Political Dialogue and Practical Co-operation;
  • the closest possible involvement of Ukraine to the European security and defense identity;
  • to put on a regular basis the Ministerial meetings Ukraine - WEU Permanent Council;
  • to plan for November 1999 a visit of Ukrainian experts to the WEU Satellite Centre in Torrejon;
  • to conduct a conference on the future pan-European security as a follow-up of the last year seminar in Kyiv.


In conclusion, I wish to remember once again July of 1997 . The meaning of the Ukraine-NATO Charter was that it provided a security niche for Ukraine , anchoring it firmly to the Euro-Atlantic community. This seems to me a long time ago now. Because today Ukraine not only has found its place in Europe, its security as part of a united Europe, but it is actively projecting this security all around. Just in a couple of years we managed to cover the distance between someone who seeks security to its net contributor. Besides, we have build upon our own security through establishing an impressive and effective network of regional cooperation between the Black and Baltic Seas, between Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

In this sense I share the sometimes expressed opinion that likewise we speak about the EU, NATO or WEU enlargement to the East, we can rightly speak about Central and Eastern Europe enlarging to the West. By this I mean that despite economic defficiencies, many Central and Eastern Europeans, Ukraine including, can give as much as they can take from Europe.

I wish all of us to adopt this political philosophy . Thank you.

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