Ukraine’s foreign policy should not count on just one scenario – experts


Experts claim it’s about time Ukraine appoints Ambassadors to some key organisations and drafts a foreign policy strategy.

A lot of Ukrainians believe the whole world has to help them. Many talk about apocalyptic presentiment that the world they knew is passing away and nothing will be as it was before. However, reality is less frightening despite the fact that the order of things that we got used to will change. Consequently, Ukraine has to modify tactics in its dialogue with key foreign political players, said Oleksandr Sushko, research director of the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Chairman of the International Renaissance Foundation within an expert discussion at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We live in an uncertain world when rather often we are out of the swim. This is uncomfortable situation when you cannot influence the processes and future forecasts depend of a lot of circumstances. When making forecasts for 2017, we need to consider all the spectrum of alternatives and possibilities that may emerge from various sequences of events. We should not count on just one scenario,” he stressed.
Ukraine should be more proactive
Ukraine usually “fights the fire” and doesn’t foresee the situation in advance. The country still has no foreign policy strategy. Moreover, this strategy should be seriously modified taking into consideration recent changes in the key countries. “In 2017, we should take into account changes in the USA. […] This may result in crisis multipolar world, and, perhaps, agreement to increase pressure on Ukraine to push it for concessions in the Minsk process. We cannot expect that the world will remain as reliable as it was before,” explained Olena Snigyr, representative of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”. She noted that Ukraine is not present if foreign media and has very few cultural centers abroad. “We should bring our point regularly, not just sometimes with sporadic messages,” she added. “Perhaps none but ten Ukrainian ambassadors know how to communicate with the press. We need people who would be able to maintain constant contact with the media,” emphasized Mr.Sushko.
Ukraine needs urgent reform of diplomatic service
Ukraine needs urgent reform of diplomatic service, stressed Hanna Hopko, MP, Chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs. “I hope we will finish consultations on this text with all the necessary bodies until the end of January and this long-awaited and painful document will be registered in Parliament in February,” she noted. According to Vadym Triukhan, head of the NGO “European Movement of Ukraine”, there are problems with lack of human and financial resources. “Mission of Ukraine to the NATO still has no its representative and discussions on possible candidates have not started yet.  In the EU, Ukraine is represented by the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Kingdom of Belgium in addition to his duties. This is a key area of activity for us and we have no permanent Ambassador there,” emphasized Mr.Triukhan.
Priorities in foreign policy
Hanna Hopko mentioned that parliamentary hearings on this topic were held recently. These recommendations will be laid into basis of Ukraine’s foreign policy principles that have not been updated since 1993. Countering Russian aggression will be the key priority there. According to the MP, Ukraine is now too focused on European integration, there is lack of attention to other fields of activity. “95 per cent of our efforts were focused on European integration. However, we must understand that the world is bigger than Europe,” she stressed. Ukraine should develop trade relations with Asian and African nations, to start using Free Trade Agreement with Canada, to restore constructive dialogue with Israel. “Among such constructive steps is Free Trade Agreement with Israel that is currently developed. I hope we will restart cooperation and the powerful third parts, taking into account serious security risks in the region, will not harm our relations,” said Hanna Hopko.