Foreign relations of Ukraine have started to develop after it accepted the Declaration of State Sovereignty in 1990 and especially after the Act of Independence of Ukraine was announced in 1991. Ukraine was until then, although it had its own seat in the United Nations and was one of its 51 founding states, a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and thus unable to lead it own foreign policy. The Declaration of Independence became the cornerstone and starting point creation of the foreign policy guidelines that would meet the criteria of the present-day situation. The priorities of Ukrainian foreign policy have gone through a long process of alteration, mostly because of complex domestic and global situation.
During the first years of its independence the main foreign policy goals were to win international recognition of Ukraine and establish relations with other countries, especially with the neighbouring former Soviet republics and with other European and worlds countries. Other vital parts of this process were aimed at securing national security of the country, assuring territorial integrity and extend the diplomatic network. One of the most significant steps in the construction of the legal basis of Ukraine’s international relations was the motion on the Basic Directions of the Foreign Policy of Ukraine, accepted by Ukrainian parliament in 1993. This document determined Ukraine’s key national interest in the foreign policy, defined its principles and guidelines and set the priorities of the foreign policy.
The following priorities were outlined in the resolution: development of bilateral interstate relationships, enlargement of the participation in the European co-operation, collaboration with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states, participation in United Nations (UN) and other international organisations. In the following years (1994 – 1997) Ukraine started to gain status of being an influential state in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. A lot of efforts were made to involve the nation in general European processes. The foreign policy shifted its focus from establishing international relations to promoting Ukrainian national interests. As the integration process in Europe developed, so did the Ukraine’s interest in being involved in
European and Euro-Atlantic structures. Ukraine took dynamic part in all the processes taking in both Europe and the world. Its first priority was to renew European identity which primarily meant its integration into European structures, especially in the European Union, in reinforcement of European and Atlantic partnerships, and active participation in local projects and mechanisms of cooperation.
Ukraine’s involvement in European integration processes is necessary to get membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Europe orientated foreign policy doesn’t prevent Ukraine to develop bilateral collaboration with strategic partners, such as the Russian federation, the United States of America Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Poland. Further efforts will be invested in development of other bilateral agreements, especially with countries in Central and South Asia, the Asian-Pacific region and in the Middle East. Current prospects in Ukrainian foreign policy are slightly insecure. The domestic crisis which out broke after March 2006 parliamentary elections and resulted in the failure to re-establish the Orange Coalition has led to multi-vectorism in Ukraine’s foreign policy. Multi-vectorism is a result of different foreign policy expressed by the president and the prime minister. Regardless of the current problems, Ukraine’s foreign policy has shown much continuity and it is likely to stay the case. Recent developments suggest that a consensus have emerged on all important foreign policy issues.
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