THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Madrid, Spain) ______________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 9, 1997
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON, PRIME MINISTER AZNAR OF SPAIN, SECRETARY GENERAL OF NATO SOLANA, AND PRESIDENT KUCHMA OF UKRAINE IN SIGNING CEREMONY OF NATO-UKRAINE CHARTER
Palacio Municipal de Congresos Madrid, Spain
9:35 A.M. (L)
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Good morning. I would like to welcome you here today to this historic event, the signing of the charter in the distinctive relationship between NATO and Ukraine. May I first give the floor to President Aznar, the President of the host country.
PRIME MINISTER AZNAR: Heads of state and government, good morning. For an ally such as Spain, it is an honor to welcome you to this ceremony. For the President of the government of Spain, it is, besides, a privilege. For my country, the signing of a charter for a distinctive partnership between NATO and the Ukraine is clear and effective proof of the importance we in the Atlantic Alliance attach to the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ukraine as key factors for stability in Europe. The fact that a country as important as the Ukraine is joining the Euro Atlantic community is a significant event in the history of our peoples.
The contents of the charter we are about to sign are also a source of satisfaction. On the one hand, the charter recognizes an indisputable strategic reality, namely, the role the Ukraine has to play in European security. On the other, it also demonstrates the gravity of the Atlantic Alliance to respond to the challenges posed by the end of the century, particularly the creation of an indivisible and transparent system of European security, one which avoids new dividing lines in Europe and gray areas in security.
The relations between the Alliance and the Ukraine are substantive in themselves and reflect the concrete historic reality. Ukraine's efforts to consolidate its recent independence to democracy and the decisive impetus the country has given to good neighborly relations have served to reaffirm its role in Europe and in the world.
The recent agreements concluded by the Ukraine with the Russian Federation and with Romania represent solid evidence of its commitment to peace and stability in Europe. So, too, does the ratification of the flanks agreement within the framework of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. The NATO-Ukraine Charter seeks to support these efforts and to contribute to the strengthening of our shared security, institutionalizing a specific partnership which will serve as a framework to develop relations between Ukraine and the Atlantic Alliance in the future.
The flexible nature of the charter is clearly one of the most positive aspects of this important document and will contribute to the consolidation of its contents, broadening it when necessary, and adapting it to future needs and to the new security environment.
Before closing, allow me to address some special words to President Kuchma. Mr. President, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you personally. The signing today of the NATO-Ukraine Charter would not have been possible without the political, economic and social transformations which have taken place in your country, thanks to your decisive commitment and the efforts of the people of the Ukraine. All this makes the Ukraine an indispensable partner of the Atlantic Alliance and a stabilizing presence in Europe.
Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Thank you very much. I would like to give the floor to President Kuchma. Thank you.
PRESIDENT KUCHMA: Esteemed Secretary General and dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, this is a great honor for me to speak from this rostrum. And first of all, I would like to thank the leaders of Spain and this beautiful capital for the business-like and, at the same time, warm atmosphere that surrounds our work.
Madrid '97 will undoubtedly go down into history as a city where a dividing line left by the Cold War in the very center of Europe is eliminated. Yesterday, a decision was made to invite for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the Polish Republic, Hungary, and the Czech Republic -- democratic countries, close neighbors, and partners of Ukraine.
But today is of particular significance, too. Right after the ceremony the Euro Atlantic Cooperation Council session will start. This new forum of deepening cooperation will enable us all to work closer together in the political field, and it will provide for a new approach to the realization of the Partnership for Peace program.
In a few minutes, the charter of special cooperation between Ukraine and NATO is to be signed. This historic document is going to be another convincing evidence that on the European continent the new security architecture based on openness and partnership is being shaped. In the conclusion of the charter, the deep, internal transformation of the North Atlantic Alliance is reflected, as well as the democratic course of Ukraine, and its real gains in the integration into the European and Euro Atlantic structures.
I am convinced that these processes will go on and go on in parallel -- by the European dimensions, the state of Ukraine feels to be an integral part of the Central, Eastern and Southern Europe and is ready to take part in providing peace and stability in these regions and in the continent in general.
The formation of a favorable international environment gives us an opportunity to focus on resolving the topical internal problems, first of all, to continue profound transformation in our economy and further democratization of our society.
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen, irrespective of the fact that during the preparation of the charter, not all wishes of Ukraine were taken into account, we have all grounds to be happy with the results. At the end of the day, we do not consider it final, but rather a transitional one; we have a lot of common work to be done in the future.
I would like to thank the esteemed Secretary General and the leaders of the Alliance member states for having supported the idea of establishing this special partnership between Ukraine and NATO and its finalizing in the charter. Political will and sense demonstrated by all the participants in the preparation of the charter allow us to affirm the following: Europe has changed, and it is only through joint efforts that security in the continent can be guaranteed, since now Ukraine and NATO are going to work together to that end.
In the context of the radical changes in the European house, I can not only mention such an important event in the development of the international security at the conclusion of the Founding Act NATO Russia. We welcome the relations of cooperation and understanding set up between Russia and NATO and we think that gradual and open development of this relationship is going to be speeded up.
I would like to emphasize in particular that the integrity and comprehensiveness of European security for Ukraine are not among the principles that could be only declared. From the point of view of our country's national security, they have real political dimensions. Ukraine, a nation's history of many centuries, a lot of pages of which have recently been written with blood and human tragedies, is reentering the root of stability and civilization.
The changes which have taken place and the relations between NATO and other countries are the accomplishments preventing the repetition of past divisions of the continent. All this, together with the effective peacekeeping activity of NATO and the former Yugoslavia, the stabilizing role of the Alliance in Central, Eastern and the Southeastern part of Europe, has proved that the level of security has not decreased as a result of the enlargement of NATO. On the contrary; the relations between the candidates and their neighbors have been normalized.
And what now after Madrid? There are all grounds to hope that the key principles in European security will be a higher transparency of the development, cooperation and security and common goals. That's why the doors of the European and transatlantic institutions should remain open to all the countries which would like to join them and need corresponding criteria.
We shall be able to respond to the challenges of the 21st century with dignity unconditioned that every state assumes responsibility for its own contribution to the international security. Ukraine has made her choice and is ready, together with the NATO member countries and the partners of the Alliance, to take an active part in the construction of the secure future for Europe, and thus for the whole world.
Thank you for your attention.
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Distinguished persons, honorable ministers, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, today will rank as a memorable day in the relations between NATO and Ukraine because it is today that a new era is beginning within the nations between NATO and the Ukraine. Therefore, a truly memorable day, indeed.
The signing of this Charter today is the visible symbol of a new Europe -- not a Europe of the past, not a Europe of division, not a Europe of confrontation between East and West, but, on the contrary; the Europe of the future, a united Europe, a Europe where East and West are partners, alliances working for peace, a durable peace based on friendship, a friendship which stems from close and numerous contacts at all levels between the allies, Ukraine, and beyond with all our partners.
Ladies and gentlemen, in May, the Alliance opened a NATO documentation center in Kiev, the first of this kind in any partner country. It's purpose is a simple, but essential one --to make information available on the Alliance, on Ukraine, and to the Ukraine people. It is open to anyone to walk in, to ask questions, to get information. There is a huge interest in the Alliance in Ukraine. The more we respond to that interest, the more we discover that misconceptions and misunderstandings are coming down. There is, instead, a growing understanding of our common interest and our common heritage.
We, too, have learned -- and we have to do it -- about our partners with an open mind. Our mutual openness strengthens our ability and strengthens our commitment to work together.
The Alliance and Ukraine are now ready to take the process to a significant step forward. Together, our aim is to make a real, substantive contribution to cooperative security in the Euro Atlantic area. The NATO-Ukraine Charter now needs to be implemented -- implemented steadily and implemented to the fullest. The partnership will grow by making the greatest possible use of the new mechanisms that it provides.
Finally, let me just say a warm thank you to all those who made today's signature possible. The result of your many hours of hard work was well worth the effort. Thank you very much.
The President of the United States.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Secretary General, fellow leaders, ladies and gentlemen, from the four quarters of our Alliance, we have come to Madrid to build a new Europe, where old divides are bridged by new ties of friendship and cooperation; where we recognize no spheres of influence, but instead the influence of shared ideals.
Today, we take another step toward that new Europe with the signing of this charter between a new NATO and a democratic Ukraine. From the moment we declared this goal last fall, all have worked hard toward this day. I thank President Kuchma for his vision and courage in leading his great nation down the path of reform. I also thank Secretary General Solana for his efforts on behalf of our Alliance.
This charter launches a closer relationship between NATO and Ukraine that will benefit both. It lays a foundation for consultation and cooperation. It welcomes Ukraine as our partner in building an undivided Europe.
Over the last two months, Ukraine's bold steps have made this continent more stable and more secure through its treaty of friendship and cooperation with Russia, its border agreement with Romania, its declaration of reconciliation with Poland. Now an open dialogue and joint activities with NATO will help Ukraine solidify reform and strengthen stability throughout Europe.
This charter reflects and reinforces the way this continent has changed. Ukraine has emerged from a century of struggle to pursue the highest standards of dignity and freedom. It is tackling tough economic reform. It has been a leader in reducing the nuclear danger. It has embarked on a course of peaceful integration with the community of democracies. NATO also has evolved to meet these new times -- with new missions, new members, a stronger Partnership for Peace, and now new partners, with Russia and, of course, today with Ukraine.
Today, Europe's security is not a matter of competition, but of cooperation on behalf of common goals. It is natural for Ukraine to reach out to NATO and for NATO to do the same, helping to secure Ukraine firmly in the heart of a new, undivided democratic Europe.
May the charter we sign today be just the opening page in a long history of unity, partnership, and peace that NATO and Ukraine will write together. Thank you. (Applause.)