During a two-day visit to Kiev, the secretary-general of the Western European Union, Jose Cutileiro, conferred with Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko, and other officials on establishing cooperation between the WEU and Ukraine. In what was described as the first-ever joint communiquŽ signed by the WEU with a post-Soviet country, the sides noted that Ukraine is an important cooperation partner in building security in Europe and they agreed to establish contacts and joint programs.
Ukrainian officials submitted a specific cooperation plan envisaging, inter alia, their country’s participation in WEU peacekeeping operations and attendance at WEU military exercises; WEU use of Ukrainian air transport assets; Ukraine’s inclusion in the WEU’s space research and satellite-launch programs; the establishment of a military liaison between Ukraine’s Brussels embassy and the WEU; and the granting, after a transitional period, of WEU "associate partner" status to Ukraine (the same as that currently planned for the six countries of the former Warsaw Pact and the three Baltic states). Cutileiro indicated that Ukraine can obtain this status after becoming an associate member of the European Union through the member countries’ ratification of the EU-Ukraine partnership and cooperation agreement. (Interfax-Ukraine, UNIAN, September 19 through 21)
The WEU, nascent defense arm of the European Union, plans at this stage to rely mainly on NATO assets in Europe for its operations. Kuchma stated Ukraine’s aspiration to cooperate with the WEU in a speech to its parliamentary assembly in June. Kiev’s goal of WEU associate membership parallels its quest for a special partnership with NATO, as reaffirmed by Ukraine’s leaders the previous week in talks with the North Atlantic Assembly’s chairman Karsten Voigt. Kiev regards NATO’s and the WEU’s future roles in Eastern Europe’s security as complementary with one another, and favors the two organizations’ simultaneous enlargement. Kiev defines its own cooperation with them, short of membership, as part of a future European security system and not affecting Ukraine’s chosen neutral status.
Armenian President Endorsed by Moscow.