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BRUSSELS, February 27, /ITAR-TASS/. The NATO - Ukraine commission (NUC) will meet in Brussels on Thursday as part of a meeting of the alliance’s defence ministers. The key subject of the meeting will be cooperation between NATO and Ukraine after the change of government in that country. Ukraine will be represented by First Deputy Defence Minister Alexender Oleinik.
On Wednesday, defence ministers from 28 NATO states discussed the situation in Ukraine and passed a statement.
"A sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security," the ministers said in their statement. “Consistent with the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine, NATO Allies will continue to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development, and the principle of inviolability of frontiers, as key factors of stability and security in Central and Eastern Europe and on the continent as a whole.”
“We continue to follow developments in Ukraine very closely. We deplore the tragic loss of life. We welcome the fact that violence has been stopped through negotiations that paved the way for a peaceful outcome,” the statement said.
“We emphasize the importance of an inclusive political process based on democratic values, respect for human rights, minorities and the rule of law, which fulfils the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people,” it said.
The NATO defence ministers praised the Ukrainian army for its neutrality in the period of riots and stressed the importance of strengthening “democratic control over the defense and security sector, with effective parliamentary oversight and the robust involvement of civil society.”
The political signal of that statement will be transmitted on Thursday to the Ukrainian Defense Minister in the course of a meeting of the NATO - Ukraine commission, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after the first day of the conference.
According to Rasmussen, the statement is addressed to the people of Ukraine in the first place. He said that the statement underlined first and foremost NATO’s readiness to maintain partnership with that country and reaffirmed the bloc’s position that the right to choose the future belonged to the people of Ukraine.
When asked whether Ukraine was closer to NATO membership, the NATO secretary general said that the alliance’s door were still open. However he noted that Kiev had more pressing problems at the moment.
The NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC), established in 1997, is the decision-making body responsible for developing the NATO-Ukraine relationship and for directing cooperative activities. It also provides a forum for consultation between the Allies and Ukraine on security issues of common concern.