Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Ukrainian President's Speech: NATO

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- "Mr. Secretary General, your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends.

Today’s meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the highest level gives me first a chance to speak before the leaders of the state that altogether assume the responsibility to develop and protect the values of the Euro-Atlantic community.

My address to you is the result of victory, the Ukrainian people obtained freedoms and consolidated independence of Ukraine. Millions of Ukrainians went out in orange on Independence Square in Kiev, on the streets and squares all around Ukraine, to protect the dignity and right to choose the future themselves.

They stayed until the very end and withstood cold, fear and discord. It is very important that the citizens of Ukraine didn’t feel lonely in the fight for freedom.

I want to use this opportunity and pass the words of thanks from the Ukrainian people to the representatives of the NATO member states who supported their right to choose. In particular I want to thank the observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO who witnessed the fact of falsification, contributed to the honest rerun of the voting. Your support has helped the Ukrainian democracy to win.

I want to express the special gratitude to the Secretary General, Mr. Scheffer. His statement on the alliance's commitment to territorial integrity, political independence and democratic development of Ukraine was made right in time. Undoubtedly, this statement confirmed once again that the relations between NATO countries and Ukraine are the strategic ones.

The European choice made by the Ukrainian people opens up opportunities for their elevation to equality to a new level.

Our course is to use the possibility of the country (inaudible). This includes the introduction to European standards in policy, economy and social life without the (inaudible) of the so-called multilateral policy in the past.

Our declarations which correspond to our actions, a course integration in the European and Euro-Atlantic structures from now on will determine the strategy and tactics of our policy.

We believe that Ukraine’s participation and engagement in the North Atlantic community of democratic peoples will strengthen peace and security on the European continent. We are ready to make all necessary efforts to achieve this noble goal.

We have already created a strong foundation for our mutual relations and can extend it.

Participation of the Ukraine in peacekeeping efforts of NATO was highly assessed. Implementation of the Action Plan is an important priority for us, indeed, these are the real steps forward but I am convinced that the time has come to speak about principles and new possibilities. And the changes in Ukraine open a way for elevating Ukraine’s relations with the alliance to a qualitatively new level in the development of civil society, the establishment of independent judiciary and freedom of speech and fight against corruption provide the real possibility for the substantial deepening of relations between Ukraine and NATO in the near future.

The most important task for the new government of Ukraine will be to bring political, social, economic and defense systems of the state in full compliance with the Euro-Atlantic standards.

We want every citizen of the country to see the advantage of these standards. Exactly in this understanding, we want the Ukrainian society to realize that the European future of Ukraine is inseparably linked with the deepening of its relationships with the alliance.

Thank you for your attention."

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