||Ukraine enters the next millennium as an independent state. A
historic chance given to it for its national revival has been used. It was secured by the
Act of Independence of August 24, 1991 and the All-Ukrainian referendum of December, 1991.
Within a historically short period of time it was made possible to create all the institutions necessary for the functioning of an independent state. The foreign policy doctrine also has been worked out and put into practical use. A comprehensive foreign policy service has been set up, including a wide network of embassies and other diplomatic representations.
Ukraine has established itself as a big influential state of Central Europe that has its own interests in Europe and the world and is consistently upholding them.
Ukraine's foreign policy is open, based on the principles of international law and is not directed against any other nations. Being one of the co-founders of the United Nations Organization, Ukraine has joined more than 40 international organizations as a full-fledged member. A return to the all-European values, securing a place in international affairs worthy of our state and making it possible for the citizens of Ukraine to have an access to the attainments of the world civilization have been put into the foundation on which the foreign policy of Ukraine is built.
As a non-participant in military blocs Ukraine ensures its security through co-operation with the North Atlantic Alliance on the basis of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, through the development of strategic partnerships with the USA and the Russian Federation. In carrying out a peaceful policy Ukraine has made an unprecedented step by renouncing its nuclear stockpile, the third most powerful in the world, and thus leading the way to nuclear disarmament.
As a result and the main achievement of such consistent policies, Ukraine is not threatened by force from anywhere. Ukraine considers no state as an enemy, settling all the disputes through constructive co-operation and negotiations. Ukraine is gradually taking its place in the world's distribution of labour.
|Trade and economic relations have been
established with over 180 countries of the world. Under pressure of tough competition
Ukraine is striving to establish itself at the leading world markets, and to increase its
export potential. A special attention is paid to the development of high-tech branches of
economy: rocket building and outerspace research; aviation technology; shipbuilding;
chemical industry; ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, etc.
The citizens of Ukraine widely enjoy the achievements of the world civilization. Active international co-operation in the sphere of culture and the arts, programmes of joint scientific research, increasing numbers of Ukrainians studying at the leading educational establishments of Europe, direct human contacts prove the open nature of the Ukrainian society and its integration with Europe and the world.
Ukraine's foreign policy has positive response from the world community, because it remains predictable, pragmatic and well balanced.
Ukraine's high political image in the world is evidenced, for example, by the fact that a representative of Ukraine, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs H. Udovenko was elected President of the 52nd UN General Assembly.
Ukraine's growing role in European politics is also reflected in the fact that during 1998 -1999 several important international meetings were held in Ukraine, among which: annual meeting of the board of directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Kyiv; summit of heads of states of Central and Eastern Europe in Lviv; Baltic-Black Sea Co-operation - Towards Integrated Europe of the 21st Century Without the Dividing Lines International Conference that will be held in Yalta on 10-11 September.
The main task of Ukraine's foreign policy has always been to create favourable external conditions for the internal development of Ukraine, strengthening Ukraine's national security, developing co-operation with foreign countries, international and regional organizations.
We consolidated successes of Ukrainian foreign policy of the previous years: by promoting a new stage of European and Euro-Atlantic integration; further developing good-neighbourly relations with Ukraine's neighbours; becoming a recognised regional leader; intensifying activity in international organizations and multilateral mechanisms of co-operation.
A new stage has been reached in the relations of unique and strategic partnership with the European Union through implementation of the Agreement on Partnership and Co-operation and extended political dialogue regarding the basic concept and long term future of Ukraine's relations with the EU. Practical realisation of the provisions of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and NATO is under way. Active regional policy is being carried out as well as introduction of new forms of co-operation in Central and Eastern Europe, in all of the vast region of Europe - the Caucasus - Asia and in the Baltic-Black Sea area.
Within the context of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, the priority of Ukraine's foreign policy is a further political and institutional rapprochement with the EU with the ultimate long-term strategic goal of a full membership in this Organization; enhancement of relations with NATO as part of the all-encompassing system of European stability and security.
Along this line, the integration of Ukraine into the EU and gaining an associated membership in the European Union have become the main task of the Ukrainian diplomacy at present. The main issues in Ukraine's relations with the EU that need to be dealt with are to work out a long-term strategy of relations; to launch negotiations on the establishment of a free trade zone: full-scale implementation of the Agreement on Partnership and Co-operation; liberalization of visa procedures.
Appreciable success is evident in the development of strategic partnerships of Ukraine with Poland, Russia and the USA. Ukraine initiated a decision to reform the CIS and to establish a free trade zone among the CIS countries on the GATT/WTO principles.
In the eyes of the world community Ukraine has been recognized as an active participant of peacekeeping activities, as a contributor to security and stability on the European continent. To the gains of Ukrainian diplomacy one should include also an initiative to settle the conflict in Kosovo by political and diplomatic means. The President Kuchma plan was taken as a basis for a peace plan under the aegis of the EU and Russia, on which the respective Resolution of the UN Security Council was later prepared.
|On the way of
Ukraine's integration to the European and Euro-Atlantic structures of special importance
are relations with the neighbours - first candidates for the EU membership: Poland,
Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Guided by the principles that development of durable
partnerships and stable co-operation with all our neighbours is strategically important to
us, we strive to avoid new dividing lines on the continent. This can be achieved through
retaining extensive bilateral trade, cultural and humanitarian ties after these countries'
accession to the European Union. They are a critical link for Ukraine in its return to a
united Europe, their experience of European integration is indispensable for Ukraine.
Among the gains of Ukrainian diplomacy one should also mention co-operation in the triangle Ukraine - Poland - USA the main purpose of which is to use Poland's experience in reforming the economy, and to extend the strategic partnership among the three states.
Another important direction of Ukraine's foreign policy remains strengthening of good-neighbourly relations with the Russian Federation which have an impact on the pan-European stability. The past twelve months have seen a number of significant events.
During the state visit of Ukraine's President to the Russian Federation on February 27 -
March 1, 1998 the Agreement and Programme of Long Term Economic Co-operation for 1998 -
2007 was signed. The Treaty on Friendship, Partnership and Co-operation entered into force
on April 1, 1999, being strategically important for further development of relations
between Ukraine and Russia as sovereign states and equal partners.
One can see positive changes in Ukraine's relations with other leading countries as well. It is particularly true about the relations with the USA. Among the major achievements one should mention: stable international support by the US of Ukraine, its democratic development as an independent, strong and secure European nation; effective functioning of the Kuchma-Gore Binational Commission with its regular summits and numerous sub-committees dealing with specific areas and issues of co-operation; promotion by the US of Ukraine's accession to WTO and of co-operation with the IMF and the World Bank; co-operation in nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, in nuclear energy, space research, in international high-tech projects like Sea Launch or Global Star; stable levels of trade with the positive balance for Ukraine.
In the past two years Ukraine's relations with NATO were also on the rise. It is clear that NATO is gradually turning into one of the basic elements of the all-European system of security. We believe that implementation of the Ukraine-NATO Charter is in correspondence with the national interests of Ukraine and one of the important prerequisites for providing security for Ukraine.
At present Ukraine co-operates with NATO in 27 spheres. Activities indicated in the State Programme of Co-operation between Ukraine and NATO find their concrete realization in military, military-technical, scientific-technical, economic, ecological and many other spheres. Ukraine is an active participant of the Partnership for Peace Programme and of the Council of Euro-Atlantic Partnership (CEAP).
The United Nations Organization remains the only universal organization, and Ukraine regards its active participation in the work of the UN as one of the leading priorities of Ukraine's foreign policy. The immediate task is to seek election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the period of 2000 - 2001. At the same time Ukrainian diplomacy stands for a profound reform of the UN Organization.
Bearing in mind the leading role of the UN in maintaining peace and security in the world, Ukraine takes an active part in peacekeeping activities under the UN aegis, provides its military units for the rapid deployment force in the system of the UN reserve agreements.
Since the issues of economic security have come to the forefront and also taking into consideration the consequences of the world's financial crisis, Ukraine advocates the development within the UN framework of mechanisms of global economic security. Ukraine takes an active part in the work of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), with special attention to settling the "frozen" conflicts in Transdnistria, Nahorny Karabakh, Abkhazia. Representatives of Ukraine participated as members of OSCE missions in Georgia, Croatia, Kosovo.
An important task for Ukrainian diplomacy is to facilitate Ukraine's integration into the European legal, informational and cultural space through constructive co-operation with the Council of Europe. Membership in this organization has given Ukraine a possibility to be engaged in working out joint policies of European states concerning the problems of civil society, promotion of the European legal conformity and cultural diversity.
An integral part of Ukraine's foreign policy is promotion of intensified regional co-operation which is perceived as an indispensable element of the strategic course for European integration. Consistent pursuance of Ukrainian interests within the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSECO), Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS), Central European Initiative (CEI), GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova) serves this purpose and is conducive to a wider engagement of Ukraine in political and economic processes in Northern, Central-Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.
Ukraine takes an active part in the realization of the Pact of Stability for South-Eastern Europe as a contributor for which function Ukraine has a large potential.
Due to its geopolitical situation, economic and military-political potential, Ukraine is an influential factor of security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe. It is also an important strategic link not only between Europe and further to the Caucasus and Central Asia, but also between Northern and South-Eastern Europe.
Therefore it is important for Ukrainian diplomacy and for the countries of the area between the Baltic and Black Seas to create such a geopolitical configuration of a future Europe that would not have any artificial lines of division of our common European house. In this respect, one can point out our initiative to hold a meeting of the heads of over 20 states of the Baltic-Black Sea region in Yalta (Ukraine) this September.
Ukraine's co-operation with the Central European Initiative (CEI) was intensified when Ukraine joined this subregional structure in 1996. It should both promote development of multilateral co-operation with the CEI member countries, and influence positively Ukraine's progress towards market reforms and integration into the European structures.
Another important and promising form of regional co-operation is a consultative forum of five newly independent states: Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Moldova.
GUUAM came into being as a result of the development of multilateral co-operation among the constituent countries and similar opinions on the majority of issues of international co-operation. Among priorities of this forum are: development of the transport and energy supplies corridor Europe - the Caucasus - Asia; co-operation in peaceful settlement of conflicts and in international organizations and fora.
To conclude, Ukraine is entering the third millennium as a sovereign nation which, after centuries of its dependent existence, has found its geostrategic, political, economic and cultural identity in a united Europe. It is open to absorb the best traditions of the world community and willing to share its rich historical heritage.
Minister for Foreign
Affairs of Ukraine