06 July 1997
The NATO-Ukraine Charter - First Act or Curtain
On July 8th NATO's 16 heads of state and government and the Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma will sign a "Charter on a Distinctive Partnership". The
Charter, which has been made available to the Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic
Security (BITS), follows recently signed agreements, such as the NATO-Russia
"Founding Act" and the Russian-Ukrainian treaties. They are intended to
rearrange European security structures at the brink of NATO-enlargement.
NATO commits itself in the Charter to "continue to support Ukrainian sovereignty and
independence ... and the principle of inviolability of frontiers as key factors of
stability and security in Central and Eastern Europe." While the Charter does not
contain any defense or security guarantees, it however commits NATO and the Ukraine to
consult "whenever Ukraine perceive a direct threat to its territorial integrity,
political independence or security".
The Charter does neither foreclose nor envisage future Ukrainian NATO membership, but it
explicitly states "the inherent right of all states" to "be free to choose
or change its security arrangements, including treaties of alliance, as they evolve."
"In the short-term the Charter is unlikely to cause substantial irritation or
opposition in Russia. However, the mid- to long-term perspective of keeping the option of
Ukrainian membership to NATO open is what causes most concerns for NATO-Russia
relations", says Otfried Nassauer, Director of the Berlin Information-center for
Transatlantic Security. "Moscow could interpret: NATO tries to keep the option of
Since a future Ukrainian application for NATO membership "cannot
be treated as hypothetical" writes John Borawski, Director of the Political Committee
of the North Atlantic Assembly, "NATO will have to consider seriously whether or not,
in fact, its doors remain open to any European state regardless where it sits on the
The Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security will publish the text of the
charter together with comments and analysis written by seven former officials and
researchers from Russia, the Ukraine, the UK and the US. Among the commentators are
Ambassador Jonathan Dean (US), Admiral (ret.) Sir James Eberle (UK), Prof. Sergiy P.
Galaka (Ukraine), and Dmitri
For further information or a copy of the research note, please
contact Otfried Nassauer