Ukraine’s Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable VI:
“Ukraine’s Transition to an Established National Identity”
Ukraine in a Regional Context – UA-GUAM Relation
Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Levan Mikeladze (Ambassador of Georgia to the United States) delivered during Ukraine”s Quest for Mature Nation Statehood – Roundtable VI: Ukraine”s Transition to an Established National Identity September 28, 2005 Washington D.C.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me express gratitude to the Center for US-Ukraine Relations for inviting me to this interesting Roundtable. It is my pleasure and privilege to address this distinguished audience today.
Georgia-Ukraine Historical Ties
Especially close and friendly relations between Georgia and Ukraine trace back to the centuries.
Rose Revolution in Georgia and Orange Revolution in Ukraine, other subsequent developments gave new positive impetus to the advance of democratic values in our region and even in the world. These events clearly showed that both Ukraine and Georgia have potential to enhance democracy and promote western values in the region. These commonalities have made us the closest strategic allies and partners.
Enhancement of our partnership with Ukraine remains one of the priorities of Georgian foreign policy.
It is also noteworthy that these developments presented us as reliable and trustworthy partners for the West.
Common Strategic Goals
Our close partnership is predetermined by common strategic goals.
First of all, both countries support the advancement of democracy.
On January 5, 2005 leaders of the Ukraine and Georgia introduced “Carpathian Declaration”, On March 25, 2005 – “Declaration on Development of Strategic cooperation between Georgia and Ukraine”, On August 12, 2005 – “Borjomi Declaration”. All three declarations envisage the adherence of two countries to the principles of democracy, development, peace and cooperation;
These documents, especially “Borjomi Declaration” promote the idea that economic development of both countries is highly dependent on comprehensive strengthening of democracy and civil society in the parts of Europe, which include three sea basins – Baltic, Black and Caspian. Moreover, democracy and stability in these regions combined is important precondition for lasting stability and security in whole Europe;
It also offered a creation of democratic community of the three seas area – The Community for Democratic Choice. All interested leaders of the Baltic-Black-Caspian Sea Region were invited to join this new community. In my view, the realization of this idea will benefit democratic development not only in Georgia and Ukraine but in our entire region, which Lithuanian President V.Adamkus calls “Terra Democratica”
Secondly, great importance should be delegated to the coordinated efforts of Georgia and Ukraine on the way to full-scaled European and Euro-Atlantic integration, since it is another strategic goal for our two countries. Here I must stress that it is not only a wish. I am confident in proper reallocation of relevant potential. We want and can make contribution to the European Security. Senior Russian officials have repeatedly stated that if Ukraine and Georgia join NATO, then Russia will reconsider its policy towards these countries. I want to emphasize that there is nothing anti-Russian in our aspirations and it is difficult for us to comprehend a hostility that consumes Russia”s political circles. We shall continue clarifying work with our partners in Russia while maintaining pace towards Euro-Atlantic integration. This goal is quite realistic and achievable. We shall do our utmost –Ukraine through Intensified Dialogue and Georgia through IPAP- to become eligible for the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) for 2006 and to become full-fledged members in 2008. Many think this is over-ambitious but we shall be very firm in our determination.
Active involvement various frameworks of regional cooperation within bilateral and multilateral formats is very important for achieving our strategic goals. Georgia considers Ukraine to be a new regional leader able to significally strengthen security and promote democracy in the region.
In this context, GUAM is one of the most interesting and perspective mechanisms.
Recent developments revealed positive trends and dynamics on the way of strengthening GUAM as a regional cooperative structure, particularly the decision to transform GUAM into international organization with its own Secretariat in Kiev and increase cooperation of the GUAM States on issues like trade and transportation, fight against terrorism, trafficking, drug smuggling and organized crime.
We look forward to host 2nd GUAM Economic Forum in November 21-22, 2005 in Tbilisi, as proposed by Georgia and approved by GUAM Foreign Ministers in New York.
The United States has been the most supportive in implementing GUAM agenda. The two most landmark projects undertaken with the US support are the Project on Trade and Transport Facilitation (TTF) and Project on the Creation of the GUAM Virtual Center and the Interstate Information Management System (VC/IMS).
Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Romania also provided expert assistance in support of the GUAM initiatives. We shall continue to sustain their increased involvement, as well as participation of other willing regional players in the GUAM activities.
The prime interest of GUAM is to develop mutually beneficial links with the European Union. After all, we do foster our cooperation within GUAM with the ultimate objective of reaching European standards. Furthermore, we attach great importance to the realization of the projects in the fields of energy and transportation, linking EU with Central Asian states and adjacent regions.
In my opinion there are two major directions in which development of GUAM should be viewed:
- Economic integration with special emphasis on energy;
- Security dimension, especially settlement of the internal conflicts in the region.
It is natural that Ukraine has and should have leading role in this process. Ukraine has already proposed peace initiatives and I think these efforts should acquire more intensive character.
I believe that GUAM has an ability to become one of the most important components of the Black Sea security system. Now that three Black Sea countries are members of NATO and are pending to become EU members, cooperation within Black Sea is uplifted to the new level and it becomes an additional instrument of integration into the European Union. It is important to consider that all the increasing economic ties within Black Sea will be effective only if harmonized with relevant security arrangements.
I am delighted to witness very intensive and dynamic development of bilateral cooperation between Georgia and Ukraine. Only this year we have seen the exchange of several state and official visits on the level of Presidents, Prime-Ministers, Foreign ministers and other officials.
Both our countries should continue to be very consistent and focused in facing common challenges – liberal reforms oriented at building of genuine market economy and substantial structural changes.
Our bilateral cooperation encompasses practically all fields. I shall point out just several of them:
There is a tremendous resource of mutually beneficial bilateral partnership in the field of security, namely politico-military relations, border control, fight against crime, including international terrorism. As I have already mentioned, we count on the increased role of Ukraine in the conflict resolution process in Georgia. We will continue efforts to develop free trade relationship, unification and liberalization of tariffs, entry of Ukrainian businesses in Georgia and vice-versa.
Georgia and Ukraine desperately need to reduce energy dependence. For this we should work on the possible projects related to the transit of oil and gas, the transit of Ukrainian power energy via Georgia to Turkey and other countries in the region, construction of hydro-electric plants in Georgia;
Among other projects, we should continue to focus on the development of the transport connection including ferry-railway connection – “Yelichevsk-Poti-Batumi”.
Finally, let me emphasize that all joint efforts to develop our countries, strengthen economies, integrate into the Euro-Atlantic structures would be very difficult unless strong support from our friends, most importantly, from the United States. And we are grateful for that.
One of the brand new US sponsored assistance programs is the Millennium Challenge Account. Georgia has already signed compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation and embarked on the serious road of implementing the 300 million-worth projects to develop infrastructure and boost economy.
We are certainly hopeful that the same opportunities will soon be available for Ukraine. We are ready to share our experiences with Ukraine in respect to the MCA.
Thank You for Your Attention.