European Security: A Ukrainian View
Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hennadiy Udovenko

Two recent NAC and NACC Ministerials in Berlin and Brussels made very important decisions on how to carry out the ongoing adaptation of the North Atlantic Alliance and the development of the NACC/PFP processes. It is very symbolic that one of these Foreign Ministers meetings took place in the capital of the reunited Germany. The unification of Germany, along with the dissolution of the former Soviet Union and the emergence of a number of newly independent states, including Ukraine, are among the most remarkable events of 20th century history. These transformations started radical geopolitical change throughout the world, creating the conditions for a unified Europe. The Warsaw NATO Workshop is just as symbolic.


The disappearance of such geopolitical realities as the Warsaw Pact and the USSR has removed the old totalitarian pressure from over half the European continent, giving many nations the chance to integrate with Western society. But it has also created a "security vacuum" in this part of Europe, where ethnic tensions, border disputes, and difficult economic and social situations have actually lowered the general level of stability from that of the Cold War period.

While it will take some time to complete the ambitious transformation process now taking place in Central and Eastern Europe, it is necessary to deal immediately with present instabilities and to prevent additional instabilities from developing. This requires the creation of a new reliable and flexible cooperative security system-which will secure the lasting peace and stability that the transformation process needs in order to succeed.

The idea of a comprehensive all-European security system is not a new one; it has reappeared often in the international politics of the 20th century. However, it is only now, when the principles of openness and cooperation are gaining practical ground, that a European security system seems to have a chance for success.

The complexities of developing modern international security, even when compared with the periods of the Yalta Conference and the Cold War, make it impossible, from a practical point of view, to design a fixed security scheme for Europe. The emergence of a dozen newly independent states, striving for democratic development, will easily break any rigid model. The national identities, cultural and historical experiences, and interests of these new post-communist democracies, including Ukraine, must continually be taken into account. And I do not even mention the implications of the disappearance of the bipolar system in world affairs.

Europe, as well as the rest of the world, is now multipolar. We must avoid the worst possible development: a new division of the European continent. While multipolar, Europe is also united, indivisible, and our only "common house." We must comprehend this reality that both multipolarity and unity can now be seen in all the complex integration processes ongoing in Europe today-within the EU, WEU, and NATO.

We Europeans have already come to accept this wisdom not only on a practical level-of economic and political integration-but on a philosophical level as well-in a common recognition of the need for a broad and comprehensive approach to European security. For this reason, Ukraine believes that international institutions capable of contributing to regional security, such as OSCE, NATO, NACC, PFP, WEU, EU, and the Council of Europe, should become the pillars of the new European security architecture. The task is now to coordinate these organizations' activities and to divide the responsibilities equally and fairly, according to the principle of complementarity.

With many years of experience establishing norms of behavior, and with a fundamental value system in place, the OSCE and the Council of Europe are already playing important roles in promoting peace, democracy, and respect for human rights across the continent. OSCE preventive diplomacy mechanisms such as activities undertaken by the High Commissioner for National Minorities and by OSCE field missions and groups, as well as experience implementing civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, prove the ability of this organization to become an essential element in a future European security system. However, the lack of enforcement mechanisms in the OSCE framework, which makes its effectiveness completely dependent upon the political will of conflicting parties, proves that OSCE can operate successfully only by working with other security structures, such as NATO or WEU as we see now in Bosnia-Herzegovina.


NATO's recent development has proven its effectiveness, vitality, and strategic vision. This new effectiveness brings with it the need for the Alliance, along with other security organizations, to take on a major part of the responsibility for the future of Europe. For at least the first period of post-Cold War development, NATO has successfully coped with the challenges of the changing security environment. NACC and PFP, developed under the principles of openness and inclusiveness, have also started a process of post-Cold War unification of Europe. These organizations have already become permanent determining elements of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture.

The last decisions of the Berlin Ministerial on further development of the CJTF concept in its WEU and PFP implications have shown us that the Alliance's adaptation to the new European security environment has moved forward. We especially appreciate the Council's decision to increase Partners' involvement in NATO efforts to promote security through regional cooperation, including facilitating participation in CJTF at an early stage. This is a great step in transforming and widening NATO's collective defense profile toward collective security and cooperative security. The recent success of the IFOR operation-the largest and most ambitious military operation in the Alliance's history-proves the importance of such transformation. The IFOR mission has been the first multilateral arrangement among European security structures to demonstrate the possibility of achieving interoperability on a complementary and supportive basis.

The Berlin Ministerial also reconfirmed NATO's decision to open its membership to Central and Eastern European countries, as well as to "further enhance its strong relationship with Ukraine." Ukraine regards NATO enlargement as part of a broad and comprehensive process of building up a new European security architecture, which itself represents part of an overall European integration process that includes EU enlargement as well as regional European cooperation development. Standing firmly against the creation of new dividing lines in Europe, Ukraine is convinced that with enough political will, it is possible to find appropriate, mutually advantageous modalities of European integration, including different levels of integration for new European democracies into such basic structures as EU, WEU, and NATO.


The strategic aim of Ukraine, as President Leonid Kuchma stated recently in Paris, is full-fledged integration into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. This aim, as President Kuchma said, is not political romanticism, but a very pragmatic decision. On the one hand, our desire for integration is based on our deep feeling that Ukraine is a natural historical and cultural part of Europe and on a strong wish for historical justice-Ukraine's return to the European fold and to former ties and unity with the rest of the continent. On the other hand, our wish for integration is also based on very objective reasons and very urgent needs-security concerns as well as the need for economic transformation.

Because of our sensitive geopolitical position, stability and security have very special value for Ukraine. They are an indispensable basis for radical economic and social transformation. And with the growing uncertainty in the East, including further political development of Russia and the CIS on the one hand and the development of European integration processes in the West on the other hand, Ukraine must have stability and security to ensure that it does not become a buffer zone between the two communities. This will only happen by activating its relationship with the European structures, including NATO. We expect our position and our interests to be understood.

Ukraine is completely convinced that the enlargement of the Alliance would play a positive role in extending the Western zone of security and stability to the East and in enhancing security for all countries of the region. To ensure this stability and to avoid creation of new dividing lines in Europe, NATO's enlargement should be in line with the economic integration processes that are part of the EU framework of enlargement as well as the widening and deepening security cooperation the Alliance has with all interested parties in the region. This course would decrease the possibility for security competition among more and less successful applicants and non-applicant countries.

NATO's arithmetical enlargement based on collective defense and without special assurances will inevitably lead to misunderstandings. It is not a problem of the enlargement, it is a problem of the nature of the Alliance itself. The formula is simple: the more countries that join the collective defense, the wider will be the internal sphere of security and stability. If only a few countries are left out of the collective defense system, they will have great discomfort.

This is not a unique view on the problem. For example, a package solution to the NATO enlargement issue has been put forward, which includes formal arrangements with the Alliance for a number of countries in the region, applicants and non-applicants alike. To achieve success, which is unity and stability in Europe, any solution should include such an arrangement for Ukraine and Russia. The formal NATO partnership arrangement with Russia should certainly become part of the new European security package solution.

As for Ukraine, which is moving toward NATO as an international organization but not joining it during the NATO enlargement transition period, we have proposed a Special Partnership Agreement. While I do not want to get into its specific provisions and it is understood that there is no associate status membership in NATO, in concentrated form this Special Partnership could be described as a sort of associated status for Ukraine within NATO. That does not mean that Ukraine is putting in an application for membership. But such a strong, intensive, bilateral relationship between Ukraine and the Alliance could neutralize possible and, to some extent, negative effects of its limited enlargement on geopolitical stability in the region. This proposal should supplement the development of the NACC/PFP multilateral process, which seems to remain an important stabilization factor in modern Europe.

The special Partnership agreement should also include an Agreement on a Nuclear Free Zone in Central and Eastern Europe. We believe that the creation of a nuclear free zone in Central and Eastern Europe can definitively improve confidence and stability in the region. In this regard, I would like to point out that Ukraine will never agree to the possibility or even the hypothetical presumption of discussing the problem of nuclear weapons deployment on the territory of new members. This issue has special significance for the Ukraine since it only recently completed the process of eliminating its nuclear potential, which had been the third greatest in the world. We are convinced that a nuclear-free Central and Eastern Europe could soften the impact of enlargement on the situation in the whole region. The creation of such a nuclear free zone in Central and Eastern Europe would be in line with the general direction of world policy to decrease the overall nuclear threat throughout the world and would correspond with NATO policy on denuclearizing Europe.


With the end of the Cold War, the cessation of the great ideological and political confrontation between the East and the West, and the disintegration of the former Soviet Union has come a unique opportunity to overcome the artificial divisions of Europe and to build prosperity, stability, and security throughout the continent. Working together we can build up the new undivided Europe and lay down a solid foundation for long-term peace and stability. We, in Ukraine, believe we can attain this long-hoped-for dream, and feel that we must not miss this historic chance. Perhaps because of our geopolitical situation, we feel it more distinctly than others.

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