"Currently, we, together with the [NATO] Secretariat, are working to develop the structure and action plan of the Ukraine-NATO Council: how, when this Council will be convened, at what levels. What we have now are the modalities approved at the Vilnius Summit. It is clearly defined that the Council meets at the level of ambassadors (permanent representatives), at the level of ministers of foreign affairs..., ministers of defense – twice a year, heads of general staff – once a year, military representatives – twice a year," Head of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO, Ambassador Natalia Halibarenko told Ukrainian journalists at a meeting in Brussels, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
In addition to scheduled meetings, the diplomat noted, the Ukraine-NATO Council may be used as a crisis consultation mechanism. The Ambassador explained: if Ukraine has urgent issues related to national security, it has the right to convene a Council meeting at any time. Kyiv used this right once and convened a Council meeting after Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and its threats, Halibarenko recalled.
According to her, to ensure the Council’s efficient work, the parties create specialized committees and working groups which will also have their own plans and will be involved in the development of the most important decisions within the Council.
"A big advantage, but also a big challenge for us, is that this is no longer a ‘31+Ukraine’ format – we already work in ‘32’ format. This means that it is about our institutional capacity to participate as equals in meetings, in discussions, and in the development of draft documents. Committees within the Ukraine-NATO Council will cover the competence of the entire Alliance as we prepare for accession. But this work will also cover many state institutions in Ukraine, those ministries that already have to participate in these meetings and sessions at the NATO level," Halibarenko noted.
According to her, the parties are determined to come to a consolidated version of the Ukraine-NATO Council action plan in the near future and to approve it together with the adapted Annual National Programme.
"At the end of the year, we will be able to say that we have already put most of the Vilnius Summit solutions into operation. That is, the adapted Annual National Programme will be launched, the Council will be launched, and all this will work already," the diplomat said.
As reported, during the Vilnius Summit in July, the leaders of NATO states and governments decided to create a new format for relations with Ukraine and launched the Ukraine-NATO Council. Its difference from the Ukraine-NATO Commission is that during the Council, Allies and Ukraine meet as equal partners, can discuss and make joint decisions concerning bilateral relations and security.
The first meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council at the highest level took place during the Vilnius Summit with the participation of President Volodymyr Zelensky.