6 May 2008 - UKRAINE, NATO LEGISLATORS BACK “INTENSIFIED ENGAGEMENT” FOR UKRAINE
In a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Inter-Parliamentary Council (UNIC) on 5 May at NATO headquarters, parliamentarians from Ukraine and NATO member countries expressed strong support for the Alliance’s decision at the recent Bucharest Summit to begin a process of “intensified engagement” with Ukraine leading to an eventual offer of a Membership Action Plan (MAP). NATO officials emphasize that NATO-Ukraine relations were progressing to a new level and that the term intensified engagement signals a qualitatively different relationship than the Intensified Dialogue framework.
The Council, co-chaired by Borys TARASYUK of Ukraine and Jane CORDY of Canada, and composed of senior legislators from Ukraine and NATO member countries, was briefed on NATO-Ukraine political and military co-operation by permanent members of the North Atlantic Council, including ambassadors Victoria NULAND of the United States, Linas LINKEVICIUS of Lithuania and Boguslaw WINID of Poland, as well as senior NATO officials, including Deputy Secretary General Claudio BISOGNIERO and Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Jean-François BUREAU. NATO officials stressed the historic nature of the agreement reached in Bucharest which states that Ukraine will be offered a MAP in the future.
UNIC members welcomed the increasing pace of discussion between NATO and Ukraine and fully supported the “open door” policy reaffirmed in Bucharest by Alliance Heads of State and Government. They emphasized the right of Ukraine to make decisions regarding its political and security alliances free from the interference of other parties.
Parliamentarians praised Ukraine’s active contribution to collective security, particularly its participation in all Alliance operations. They welcomed Ukraine’s aspiration to further deepen its relationship with NATO and its decision to apply for a MAP.
Ukrainian members also called on Ukrainian authorities to make additional efforts to provide the necessary legal framework for the country’s further Euro-Atlantic integration, and to fully implement their country’s tasks as stated in the Ukraine-NATO Action Plan and the yearly target plans. In particular, they stressed the need to provide the Ukrainian public with accurate and timely information about NATO in order to dispel old stereotypes and Cold-War-related misperceptions. Parliamentarians from NATO member counties offered their assistance, but stressed that it is ultimately the responsibility of Ukrainian officials and parliamentarians to make the case for NATO membership to their public.
In conclusion, NATO parliamentarians pledged to use every opportunity to support Ukraine in its progressive and irreversible path towards NATO integration.