Ukraine to host southeast Europe defense ministers' talks
( RIA Novosti ) - Ukraine will for the first time host a session of the Council of Southeast European Defense Ministers, a spokesman for the country's Defense Ministry said on Monday.
Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates are to attend the session.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said the agenda would include reports on the 2007 activity of the Council's coordinating committee and on the South East Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG), as well as speeches by the NATO Allied Joint Force Command.
"The Kiev session of the Council of Southeast Europe Defense Ministers should focus on Ukraine's statement concerning its ambitions to join the agreement on the Multinational Peacekeeping Forces of Southeast Europe," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
In addition, the participants will adopt annual documents, draw up a joint statement, and fix the date and venue for the next meeting of the Council.
Viktor Yushchenko became president of Ukraine in early 2005 after a court overturned what it said was a rigged presidential election won by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Yushchenko has since sought membership for Ukraine in NATO and the European Union.