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The NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) met today in Defence Ministerial Session at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. NATO Ministers welcomed the newly appointed Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Minister Shkidchenko. Ministers discussed the progress in the defence and military cooperation between NATO and Ukraine in the context of Ukraine's commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration. They also reaffirmed their commitment to combating terrorism and discussed ways in which their combined efforts in this regard could be made more effective.
Ministers noted that this year marked the tenth anniversary of an independent and sovereign Ukraine. Ministers congratulated Ukraine on the destruction of its last SS-24 missile-launching site, demonstrating Ukraine's status as a nuclear-free state.
The Commission noted Ukraine's continuing contribution to European security and the measures taken by Ukraine in the fight against terrorism, including Ukraine's decision to open its airspace for overflight by US aircraft. NATO Ministers expressed appreciation for Ukraine's ongoing support for NATO-led operations in the Balkans and the participation of Ukrainian forces in the Polish-Ukrainian Battalion in KFOR. The Commission reaffirmed its support for the successful development of the peace process in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia .
The Commission approved the status report on activities under the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Defence Reform. Ministers noted with satisfaction that the programme of activities for 2001 had been fully implemented and that the programme planned for 2002 included a broad range of activities aimed at supporting defence and security sector reform. Ministers commended the work of the Joint Working Group at Senior Level in supporting Ukraine's efforts to take forward defence and security sector reform and noted that the next JWG meeting at Senior Level would be hosted by Ukraine in autumn 2002.
Ministers also noted plans for a high-level NATO-Ukraine conference in Berlin on 3 and 4 March 2002.
The Commission approved the Report on the National Defence Reform Objectives. Ministers underlined the importance of the PFP Planning and Review Process and the development of the National Defence Reform Objectives as a means to support Ukraine's State Plan for the Reform and Development of the Armed Forces. The Commission noted with satisfaction the decision to carry forward the establishment of a Joint Staff Working Group to support armaments-related cooperation and the efforts of NATO and Ukraine's military authorities to better focus military cooperation on the implementation of defence reform and the interoperability goals developed through the PFP Planning and Review Process.
Ministers noted with appreciation the offer of the United States to host a meeting to follow up discussions on improving transparency and enhancing coordination of the more than 600 bilateral activities currently scheduled between Ukraine and Allied nations. Ministers noted the implementation of a PFP Trust Fund, supported by Canada, Hungary and Poland, aimed at the safe destruction of 400,000 anti-personnel land mines.
Ministers noted with satisfaction the contribution of the two Ukrainian officers posted to SACLANT and AFSOUTH headquarters and the assignment of a Ukrainian Officer to NATO HQ to work on defence and force planning issues. Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the important contribution of the NATO Liaison Office and the NATO Information and Documentation Centre to the Distinctive Partnership and, in particular, the implementation of Joint Working Group activities aimed at supporting defence reform and the wider programme of cooperation between NATO and Ukraine.
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