Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ukraine, Director, Institute
for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Kyiv)
Foreign Policy: Challenges and Perspectives"
November 12, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine,
Mr. Borys Tarasyuk, shared his insider view of ten years of
foreign policy in Ukraine. His lecture on "Ukraine's Foreign
Policy: Challenges and Perspectives" was received with a great
interest by the academic circles of the U of T as well as
the Ukrainian community.
Tarasyuk, 52, had served as Ukraine's envoy to NATO before
he took over as foreign minister in April 1998. He has been
closely identified with the strongly pro-Western posture of
independent Ukraine's foreign policy throughout the 1990s
until his dismissal in September 2000.
his presentation, Mr. Tarasyuk discussed the challenges that
Ukraine has resolved successfully in the 1990s, including
giving up its nuclear arsenal, dealing with the issue of the
Black Sea fleet and Crimean separatism, forging relations
with the EU and NATO as well as other international institutions,
and proving itself as a reliable and active regional player
in peacekeeping operations in the world's hot spots. Not surprisingly,
as the former minister informed us, according to a recent
public opinion poll, 21 percent of those polled identified
the foreign policy of Ukraine as one of the greatest achievements
of the ten years of independent Ukraine, in comparison with
7 percent attributed to economic developments.
on the possible development of Ukraine's foreign policy, Mr.
Tarasyuk described three options. The first is that Ukraine
continues its present policy of balancing between East and
West. In his opinion, this policy had its merits and servved
the purpose during the 1990s. But now it is time for Ukraine
to define itself and decide where it belongs. The second option
is the European choice and the third option, Eurasia. Mr.
Tarasyuk commented more negatively on the last option; however,
he was confident that in all three options the independence
of Ukraine will not be compromised. The worst possible scenario
would be the quasi-independence of Ukraine. In his concluding
remarks, Mr. Tarasyuk noted that ultimately the future of
Ukraine is in Ukraine's hands, and the greatest responsibility
is on Ukrainian people. "Yet, we need your (Western) understanding,
support, and advice, and we hope that we will continue to
have this positive approach from the Canadian government."
Iarovenko, Petro Jacyk Program and Natalia Nemyliwska, CREES