Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 24

President Leonid Kuchma has informed NATO secretary-general Javier Solana and other Western leaders at the Davos (Switzerland) World Economic Forum that the relatively narrow scope of the Partnership for Peace program no longer meets Ukraine’s needs. Kiev expects to sign a special partnership agreement with NATO entailing a consultative mechanism that reflects both the 16 + 1 formula and recognition of the importance of Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity for Europe’s security. "NATO is an alliance of democratic and civilized states which do not threaten or pose territorial claims on anyone… The more [Moscow mayor Yuri] Luzhkov visits Sevastopol, the greater the number of Ukrainians who will call for joining NATO," Kuchma said.

In Kiev on February 3 and 4, British defense secretary Michael Portillo endorsed Ukraine’s goal of establishing official relations with NATO, including the opening of missions in Kiev and Brussels, and the signing of a special partnership agreement with NATO at the upcoming allied summit in Madrid. Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council head Volodymyr Horbulin, Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko, and Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk proposed both that negotiations between NATO and Ukraine proceed parallel to, but independently of, NATO-Russia talks, and that the agreement with Ukraine be signed at the NATO summit regardless of whether the NATO-Russia talks conclude successfully. The Ukrainian officials recognized that their country’s level of economic and military development makes it ineligible for joining NATO at present or in the near term. However, they intimated — as they have with increasing frequency of late — that Ukraine reserves the option to apply for NATO membership in the future.

Portillo and the Ukrainian officials also agreed on establishing regular exchanges of visits between British and Ukrainian military personnel of various ranks. Ukraine is due to hold a joint military exercise with British and Polish units next month. (Interfax-Ukraine, UNIAN, February 2-3)

Ukraine and France Hold Get-Acquainted Summit.