Спеціальні потреби

US Position on Ukraine's Accession to NATO

  • Voice America

Excerpts of Remarks by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia David Kramer, Delivered on June 22, 2006, at the US-Ukraine Security Dialogue II at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC.

...I have been asked to talk about the US relationship as it relates to Ukraine’s NATO aspirations, and I’m happy to do so. And let me start by noting that Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO predate the current government, the current president – President Yushchenko. In fact, it was President Kuchma and people in his government who as far back as 2002 articulated Ukraine’s goal to integrate into Euro-Atlantic institutions, including, most notably, on this particular occasion, NATO. The current government and the new president – President Yushchenko have reaffirmed their commitment....

We’re actively engaged at NATO to help Ukraine achieve its NATO goals, including, I should note, support for [the] Membership Action Plan that Ukraine is interested in. Ukraine’s government, of course, should be in the driver’s seat, and allies will look to the government, the Ukrainian government, for positive progress on reform, and to reaffirm Ukraine’s interest in joining NATO. Without a doubt, the United States sees Ukraine’s future as an integrated member of all Euro-Atlantic institutions. And assuming that the new government that eventually emerges continues to pursue NATO membership as a goal, the United States will offer support and encouragement for as long as it takes. We are in this for the long haul. But again, let me stress that Ukraine must drive this process. The tone, the pace and the intensity of Ukraine’s relationship with NATO depend on the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people, and on Ukraine’s ability to meet NATO’s performance-based standards and criteria. And assuming Ukraine steps up to the plate and increases the tone, pace and intensity, the United States will do likewise. Ukraine has to do the difficult work – implement the reforms that are required and necessary in order for consideration to be given for membership. There are no shortcuts to NATO membership. Nor are there any guarantees. We can help, but we can’t and we should not try to do the heavy lifting and hard work for Ukraine.

One major hurdle Ukraine will have to overcome to be considered for membership is the low level of public support for joining NATO. This is an issue that does not apply to the MAP – the Membership Action plan. When I was in Ukraine recently, as well as in March, the numbers I was hearing for support for NATO were about 18-20% -- very low numbers suggesting that there is a lot of work to be done. And due to the political uncertainty from the elections Ukraine has yet to launch a large-scale public information campaign about NATO and the benefits of NATO membership. That’s work that still remains to be done.

There has been an extensive and robust cooperative relationship that exists currently between NATO and Ukraine, notwithstanding the political uncertainty that we have had over the past few months. At the working level, Ukraine and NATO have a very healthy relationship....

... So there has been very significant and very impressive progress made on a practical level between NATO and Ukraine. And it augurs well for future and deeper relations that Ukraine wants to have with NATO. And we value this practical cooperation, and we view Ukraine’s efforts to strengthen its ties with NATO and seek membership in the alliance as a benefit for NATO, for Ukraine, for the United States and for all of Ukraine’s neighbors. And despite the continuing progress at the practical level, the political level remains a challenge, and it remains a challenge as allies wait for Ukraine to form a government and for that government to state clearly its intentions with regard to NATO, and to continue on the reform track that has been launched over the past few years. Defense reform continues on a good pace, the political reform has changed in light of the revolution in 2004, but the economic reform is lagging and needs to be addressed. To be perfectly honest, the positive atmosphere at NATO after the successful conduct what were the freest and fairest elections in Ukraine this past March for the Rada has dissipated in the face of several factors – the continued infighting within the democratic circles in Ukraine, the delays and inability to form a government and, perhaps most troubling, most recently, the difficulty in conducting marine operations and exercises amid the troubles and anti-NATO protests in Crimea. Hopefully, the welcome news out of Kyiv that a coalition agreement has been reached will lead to the formation of a new government quickly that can rededicate Ukraine to its Euro-Atlantic integration course. When Ukraine is ready, the United States stands ready to help, and the United States will help with whatever government emerges from the coalition agreement. We stand ready to work with Ukraine. And we urge this new government to assemble a coherent, committed, democratic and reformist team to regain the momentum on important domestic and foreign policy priorities, such as deepening ties with NATO.

Now Russia, obviously, has a keen interest in Ukraine’s relationship with NATO, and we will continue to talk with the Russians and stress to them that closer ties between Ukraine and NATO need not come at the expense of Russia. No country, it’s worth remembering, has a veto over Ukraine’s NATO aspirations. The United States, working closely with our allies, will make sure that the enlargement process is transparent and that Russian concerns are heard, but won’t become an obstacle for what Ukraine wants to accomplish. We firmly believe that a prosperous, democratic and sovereign Ukraine, integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions, is in everyone’s interest, including in Russia’s interest.

Ukraine has to do the hard work to tackle the reforms, and convince its public of the benefits of NATO membership, and the US and all of our allies in NATO are doing what we can to help, but Ukraine’s future in NATO is truly in Ukraine’s own hands.

Q & A

On anti-NATO protests in Crimea

… I will be perfectly honest with you and say that we were very disappointed by what happened and that the exercises were curtailed, the operations were curtailed was a reflection of the disappointment over what happened. We are still planning to move ahead with the Sea Breeze exercise, but that will be determined in large part by what happens with the legislation that’s necessary for any aspects of that. It is important that the Ukrainian government demonstrate its interest and seriousness in pursuing a deeper relationship with NATO not simply through rhetoric, but through action. And the actions in Crimea did not help. It was by no means an irreversible setback, but certainly not a positive step along the way…

On US-Ukraine-Russia triangle

… We don’t view our relationship with Ukraine through a Russia prism. We view our relationship with Ukraine as an important matter in and of itself. We view the success of Ukraine in becoming a vibrant, democratic, market-oriented member of the international community, fully integrated with the international community, as a goal in and of itself. And Ukraine, as I mentioned before, will decide its own future, including which organizations it wishes to join. Obviously, it will be up to those organizations to make that ultimate decision, but if Ukraine is interested in joining at least those organizations that the United States is a member of, we will be strongly supportive. We obviously do also want to have good relations with Russia, and the relationship with Russia has been marked by a combination of a pursuit of common interests, one of which you mentioned – the war against terrorism as well as non-proliferation, is also marked by some challenges in areas of concern that we have. And two broad areas, two main areas that we have deal with the internal trends in Russia, but also Russia’s policy toward the neighbors – Ukraine being the biggest, of course. And where we think we need to stand up and speak out and push back, we will. And we did follow quite closely what was happening in Crimea and did notice in fact that there were a few people involved that came from Russia. It did not go unnoticed....

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