Dear ladies and gentlemen, First of all I would like to thank the Secretary for Defence of the United States of America Mr Donald Rumsfeld and PSMC-CC Chairman Dr Besnik Baraj for arranging this important meeting. Today is remarkable day because I signed the Agreement at the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Regular bilateral and multilateral meetings of Defence Ministers, their deputies and other defence chiefs help to consolidate regional security systems. This intensifies cooperation and provides opportunities for development of the armed forces of respective nations. Our country is very interested in developing cooperation with SEDM. This organization unites nations that seek peace, confidence and good neighbourly relations in the region and beyond. One year ago, in Ljubljana, participating nations unanimously agreed to allow Ukraine to become a member of the Defence Ministerial Process and Multinational Peace Force South-Eastern Europe. As you are well aware, for Ukraine, led by a new government, this year has proven to be a period of active implementation of its European and Euro-Atlantic strategies. Having set EU and NATO membership as a priority, the new government began tackling difficult tasks of foreign and home policy renewal, economic and social development, political and legal transformation, eradicating corruption, reducing unnecessary bureaucratic controls and defence sector reformation. Accession to NATO is not just a short-term political desire. Firm and reliable security, as well as EuroAtlantic standards are of strategic importance to Ukraine and historically crucial to the stability in the region. Some nations represented here have decades-long NATO experience, others have joined the Alliance just recently. There are also nations that are still on the path leading to a membership. My European colleagues represent governments that wish to strengthen the whole European community of nations. It took some time for Ukraine to clearly set its strategic course towards EU and NATO integration and to comprehend the role regional security structures play within that environment. Beginning with the Balkan crisis of the early 90’s, Ukraine has actively participated in international peace operations and made a notable contribution to the stability of the region. this regional focus explains why it was difficult for us to adapt to the fact that International Peace Forces we seek to join may also be used outside the region.
The new political powers in Ukraine are striving for a mature democracy and a free market economy, supremacy of law, protection of civil rights and freedoms, unbiased judicial system, incorrupt and solid civil society. And we believe implementing such policies will be a main driver for our European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Ukraine supports the efforts made by the Coalition to fight international terrorism, its sponsors and inspirers and particularly supports the mission of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. After accession to the Agreement on the establishment of a Coordination Committee in the framework of South-Eastern Defence Ministerial process, Ukraine intends to participate in the projects and initiatives of the organization and especially in the strategic airlift of the SEEBRIG. Gaining observer status in the MPFSEE may become our next interim step followed by further consideration of contributing to SEEBRIG capacity and eventual accession to the Agreement on Multinational Peace Force South-Eastern Europe. I would like to express my gratitude to Ministers, PMSC Secretariat and SEDM-CC Chairman, experts and all those who have worked hard to enable Ukraine to join the South-Eastern Defence Ministerial process, thus consolidating our partnership and common efforts for the sake of peace and security. Thank you for your attention. THESES to the speech of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine for discussions of SEDM activity and SEEBRIG employment in ISAF (Agenda, par.VII) Being an observer, Ukraine became convinced that SEDM activities fully comply with goals and guidelines of the UN Charter, OSCE and European Council. SEDM multilateral cooperation facilitates considerably the development of the regional, European and global security, and to a great extent it accelerates processes of integrating the countries into European and Euro-Atlantic structures. During SEEBRIG staff deployment in the Republic of Afghanistan Ukrainian side was not able to address issues of contributing its assets to the
brigade. During PMSE-CC meeting as well as SEDM in Tirana in September of the current year several proposals were made for the Ukrainian side. They enabled Ukraine to continue with the process of gaining its membership within the organization, and facilitated a positive solution as for Ukrainian participation in providing support for SEEBRIG strategic airlift. Participation of SEEBRIG staff in the most significant operation under the auspices of NATO, conducted by ISAF, is a good sign of SEDM and MPFSEE readiness to take part in global peacekeeping operations and making their input into the world response to the global challenges and threats to regional security. SEDM and MPFSEE countries gained a valuable experience of joint operations in making preparations for SEEBRIG staff and support units deployment for ISAF mission in the Republic of Afghanistan. They reached consensus in making decisions on allocating costs, acquisition of necessary equipment, staff and unit personnel selection and training, development of the required legal documents. Primary regional security trend is an aspiration to Euro-Atlantic integration. We see that MPFSEE activity facilitates effective implementation of PFP program and interoperability of the armed forces as well as meeting NATO standards. Reaching abovementioned criteria is one of the tasks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, so during 2006 Ukraine will consider the issues of its contribution to MPFSEE. Ukrainian membership in SEDM calls for active participation of Ukraine in regional security initiatives and provides an opportunity to advance mutual understanding with partners, and it is of a paramount importance in the process of joining NATO.