Washington briefing: U.S. signs security charter with Ukraine, plans one with Georgia
Published: Saturday December 27, 2008
A Charter on Strategic Partnership between Ukraine and the United States was signed last week in Washington and a similar deal is in the works with Georgia.
Earlier this year, the United States lobbied NATO to grant a membership action plan (MAP) to both countries, but faced opposition from European countries careful not to further aggravate relations with Russia.
The charters with Ukraine and Georgia are reportedly modeled on the U.S.-Baltic charter signed with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 1998. The three countries joined NATO in 2004.
The U.S.-Ukraine charter signed on December 19 by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ukrainian foreign minister Volodymyr Ogryzko calls for mutual "support for each other's sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders [as] the foundation of our bilateral relations.
The defense section of the charter calls for expansion of bilateral security cooperation and recalls NATO support for eventual Ukrainian membership.
The economic section includes a specific reference to Crimea, which is home to a Russian naval base and where the United States is planning to establish a diplomatic presence.
The charter's two other sections are dedicated to democracy building and people-to-people contacts. As part of the latter section, the United States pledged to cooperate with Ukraine "to promote remembrance and increased public awareness of the 1932-33 Great Famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine."
In a press statement on December 23, the State Department confirmed that a similar charter is being prepared with Georgia, whose foreign minister Grigol Vashadze said that it was expected to be signed before the New Year.
One of Georgian opposition leaders, Kakha Kukava, said on December 23 that the charter should be first discussed publicly.
"The Conservative Party welcomes cooperation with the Western partners, but we believe, that Georgia's current authorities no longer have a mandate to unilaterally take decisions related with the country's long-term security issues," civil.ge cited Mr. Kukava as saying. "Georgia should be insured from new irresponsible and provocative actions of the Saakashvili regime."