Allies discuss relations with Ukraine and Georgia and send a signal to Russia
As tasked by the Heads of State and Government in Bucharest, Allied Ministers discussed progress made by Ukraine and Georgia towards meeting membership requirements and discussed best ways to assist with their reforms.
First, Allies reaffirmed “all elements of the decisions regarding Ukraine and Georgia” made in Bucharest. Second, Ministers concluded that both countries have made strides forward but both “have significant work left to do”.
Allies decided therefore to enhance opportunities for assisting them in these efforts, making use of the framework of the existing NATO-Ukraine Commission and NATO-Georgia Commission – without prejudice to further decisions which must be taken about MAP. Moreover, Ministers agreed that NATO information and liaison offices in these countries will be reinforced. Annual National Programmes will also be developed allowing for annual reviews by the Allies.
During separate sessions of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC) with Minister Volodymyr Ogryzko and the NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) with Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili (the first NGC meeting at the level of foreign ministers), in-depth discussions took place of the latest developments in the two respective countries. There was also an exchange of views on prospects for future political consultations, cooperation and engagement.
As far as relationship with Russia is concerned NATO ministers stressed the importance of these relations and reiterated their negative assessment of some recent actions and statements made by the Russian authorities. In particular Allies called upon Russia to respect international values and principles on which international security system is based, to implement fully the commitments agreed with Georgia and to refrain from confrontational statements and threats to the security of Allies and partners.
Emphasising that no business as usual has been conducted in the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) since August – thus leading to a limited scope of current practical cooperation – Allies agreed to a measured and phased approach in the near future. The elements of this approach consist of mandating the Secretary General to re-engage with Russia at the political level and expressing willingness to undertake informal discussions in the NRC.