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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 642-96
November 15, 1996

U.S.-UKRAINE SECURITY COMMITTEE REPORT

The first meeting of the Security Committee, one of four committees to the U.S.-Ukraine Binational Commission recently created by Vice President Al Gore and President Leonid Kuchma, took place on Nov. 4, 1996 in Washington, D.C. In the spirit of strategic partnership between the two countries, both sides reaffirmed the importance of sustained and expanded cooperation in order to effectively coordinate joint security efforts between the United States and Ukraine.

The co-chairs of the Security Committee are Colonel-General Vasyl Sobkov, deputy defense minister and commander of the ground forces of Ukraine, and Franklin C. Miller, acting assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. Other U.S. participants included James Collins, ambassador-at-large and special coordinator for the Newly-Independent States, Steve Pifer, senior director of Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council, and Ambassador to Ukraine William G. Miller. Ukrainian participants were Ambassador of Ukraine Yuri Shcherbak, V.P. Tutunyk of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, and M.V. Osnach of the Ministry of International Affairs.

The Committee was created to strengthen the policy dimension of existing working-level contacts between the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense and to ensure that existing defense and military contacts are consistent with and supportive of mutually-shared security objectives. Both sides agreed that the Committee will serve as a forum in which to:

- examine international and national security issues that are of mutual interest to the

United States and Ukraine;

- coordinated the implementation of relevant treaties and agreements between the two

sides;

- propose appropriate recommendations to the governments of the United States and

Ukraine.

In the course of its first session, the participants of the Security Committee discussed and signed a work plan. They also discussed questions of bilateral military contacts, Ukraine-NATO relations, and Ukraine's participation in international peacekeeping operations.

The Security Committee agreed that its future work should be directed toward ensuring the following objectives:

- promoting Ukraine's external security through strengthening of the Ukrainian military;

- promoting Ukraine's integration into European and Transatlantic security structures;

- promoting US-Ukrainian military-technical cooperation and defense industry

conversion;

- promoting compliance with international arms control and non-proliferation norms.

More detailed discussion on restructuring and development of Ukraine's Armed Forces took place from Oct. 3 to Nov. 2 at Ft. Benning, Ga.,., during sessions of the US-Ukraine Joint Staff Talks and Bilateral Working Group. In the course of these meetings, the 1997 Defense and Military Cooperation plan between the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Department of Defense of the United States was discussed and signed. Other issues discussed during these meetings were Ukraine's participation in the Partnership for Peace, the International Military Education and Training Program, and future joint and multilateral exercises in which Ukraine will participate.

The Ukrainian side expressed its gratitude for the assistance that the United States has given Ukraine since 1992 in the area of Ukraine's national security and for its active support and assistance to the Committee in its first stage of activity.

The Committee also underscored the importance of cooperation between the United States and Ukraine on counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism. However, taking into account that these issues are not principally under the jurisdiction of the Defense Department, the Committee feels that it would be useful to deal with these topics under other Committees of the US-Ukraine Binational Commission.

The Committee will report on its activities to the Vice President of the United States and the President of Ukraine.

Both sides agreed to hold the next session of the Security Committee in the first quarter of 1997.