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Ukraine chooses non-bloc policy but NATO door still open — secretary-general

November 24, 2014, 15:43 UTC+3 THE HAGUE
Ukraine hasn't asked for NATO membership, says NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
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Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg speaks during the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg speaks during the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session

© EPA/BAS CZERWINSKI

THE HAGUE, November 24. /TASS/. NATO's door for Ukraine remains open but Russia's neighbour has not asked for membership, the alliance's chief said on Monday.

Ukraine decided to pursue a “non-bloc policy” and NATO fully respected that choice, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told lawmakers from North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries in The Hague, adding, however, that the door to NATO is still open.

Reflecting its non-bloc status, Ukraine’s membership has not been discussed in recent years, Stoltenberg said, stressing that membership may be sought by countries which fulfil the criteria for becoming NATO allies, and that is also valid for Ukraine.

NATO membership for Ukraine depends on referendum results

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday said referendum results will decide NATO membership for Ukraine.

“A decision on joining...will be taken by an all-Ukrainian referendum,” he said, adding that membership requirements largely reflected criteria in Ukraine's Association Agreement with the European Union.

Transition to NATO standards

The coalition agreement signed in mid-November by parties forming a coalition in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) provides for the cancellation of the country’s off-bloc status and gradual transition to NATO standards, says a document posted on November 21 on the official website of the Samopomich (Self-Help) party.

The lawmakers agreed to work out and adopt a new edition of Ukraine’s national security strategy and military doctrine with due account of the changed military-political situation around the country. A new term — ‘potential enemy’ — and its clear criteria will be introduced in the military doctrine.

The signatory parties agreed to resume the “political course towards integration into the Euro-Atlantic space and membership in the North Atlantic Alliance.”

Apart from that, the agreement set “restoration of Ukraine’s state sovereignty over Crimea” as a top-priority task.

Russia wants guarantees of Ukraine's NATO non-entry

The issue of guarantees of Ukraine’s non-admission to NATO will be raised if Kiev takes the decision to change the country’s nonaligned status, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on November 20.

“As far as I understand, Ukrainian politicians have made separate statements on the possibility of changing the constitutional neutral status of the state,” the diplomat said. “So, if the key political decision on changing this neutral status is made, then certainly the issue of guarantees will be immediately and straightforwardly raised,” Lukashevich said. “It is clear that the provision of such guarantees may help ease this tension.”

“The genesis of the situation shows that all the loud statements that NATO infrastructure would not approach Russia’s borders and that the alliance would not expand further to the east were just declarations,” Lukashevich said.

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