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18 February 2005

NATO Project To Destroy Excess Ukrainian Weapons Stocks Launched

Responds to Ukraine's request for aid in eliminating stockpiles

A NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund project has been launched to help Ukraine destroy stockpiles of excess munitions, small arms and light weapons, and man-portable air defense systems. 

An announcement by the U.S. State Department said the United States is the lead nation on phase one of the project and will make an initial contribution of $1,642,000 towards the approximately $27 million total cost.  Other donors have already announced initial contributions, including the United Kingdom and Norway.

Following is a State Department announcement:

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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
February 18, 2005

Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman

NATO PROJECT TO DESTROY EXCESS UKRAINIAN WEAPONS STOCKS

The United States is pleased to announce the launch of a NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund project to help Ukraine destroy stockpiles of excess munitions, small arms and light weapons, and Man-Portable Air Defense Systems.  This represents the largest partnership trust fund project ever undertaken by NATO, and responds to Ukraine’s request for help in eliminating 1.5 million small arms and light weapons, and 133,000 tons of munitions.  These stockpiles, some of which date from the Soviet era, are a threat to public safety and the environment and a potential proliferation risk.  The four-phase project will span twelve years and cost approximately $27 million in donor contributions.

The United States will lead phase one of the NATO Trust Fund project, which will cost donors over $8.5 million. Ukraine will provide most of the operational and in-kind demilitarization costs.  The project is due to start as soon as the spring of 2005.  As the lead nation for phase one, the U.S. will make an initial contribution of $1,642,000.

The U.S. welcomes broader international support for the project, and will be working with potential donor countries and organizations, including outside the Partnership for Peace framework.  We welcome early pledges of 400,000 pounds from the United Kingdom and 240,000 euros from Norway.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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