“First let me express my sincere gratitude to Minister Nuno Severiano Teixeira and to the Portuguese Authorities for hosting this meeting, in this beautiful location.
Sintra has symbolic value for the NATO-Ukraine relationship, since it was here in 1997 that the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine was initialed. I am also grateful to the Portuguese Atlantic Committee for undertaking the challenging task of organising this conference.
Let me warmly welcome Minister Hrytsenko, Secretary Horbulin, the strong team of representatives from across Ukraine’s security sector and, of course, all of the Allied Ministers and senior officials who have come to Sintra for this meeting.
And it gives me particular pleasure to welcome the former President of Poland, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Mr Lech Walesa, who has kindly agreed to join and deliver the key-note speech at our meeting.
Today, we will address one of the most important activities on the NATO-Ukraine agenda. We will focus on our co-operation in assisting Ukraine to transform its security and defence sectors into democratically controlled and accountable mechanisms that respond to today’s security threats and challenges.
We will exchange views about defence and security in the 21st century and the links between defence reform and security sector reform in Ukraine.
Let me emphasise that NATO-Ukraine relations remain high on NATO's agenda, and Allies remain keen to see continuity in Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration policy and implementation of reform. Since Sintra 1997, our relations have grown steadily, leading to the Intensified Dialogue we launched last year.
The achievement of further progress in this respect will depend on the implementation of concrete actions and the allocation of sufficient resources. NATO stands ready to continue to assist Ukraine in managing its comprehensive reform program, but progress will of course depend on the energy and commitment of the new Ukrainian government.
Today we will also launch two new initiatives in support of defence and security sector reform in Ukraine. Immediately after this meeting a group of NATO Allies and Ukraine will sign the Letter of Intent for Nations expressing their Support for the NATO-Ukraine Partnership Network for Civil Society Expertise Development.
Then, the NATO-Ukraine Working Group on Civil and Democratic Control of the Intelligence Sector, which will support Ukraine in establishing effective oversight of its intelligence structures, will inaugurate its activities later in the afternoon.”
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