Kyiv, Tbilisi not given green light to NATO full-fledged membership


Kyiv, Tbilisi not given green light to NATO full-fledged membership
21.02.2009 14:30 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Talks by NATO defense ministers at an informal
gathering in Poland have focused on ways to keep alive the membership
hopes of two former Soviet republics – Ukraine and Georgia.

Talks included meetings of the NATO-Ukraine Commission and the
NATO-Georgia Commission. The commissions include defense ministers
from NATO’s 26 members, as well as their counterparts from Kyiv and
Tbilisi, RFE/RL reports.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, speaking before talks at
the NATO-Ukraine Commission, addressed Kyiv’s bid to join NATO.

"We have today a timely opportunity to review Ukraine’s defense and
security sector reform efforts and consider ways in which the alliance
can continue to support its preparations for NATO membership," de Hoop
Scheffer said.

"NATO remains ready to assist Ukraine in undertaking comprehensive
reforms in its defense and security structures. We are determined to
continue to develop this strategic partnership," he added.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told journalists that more work
needs to be done to overcome divisions within Ukraine over its NATO
membership bid.

"There needs to be greater unanimity of view in the Ukrainian
government itself about the next steps, not to mention the resources
for modernization of Ukraine’s military," Gates said.

Gates also said both the United States and NATO would continue to
expand cooperation with Georgia, despite opposition from Moscow.

"We have a continuing security relationship with Georgia. We are
involved in training. We are involved in military reform in Georgia,"
Gates said. "So this is an ongoing relationship. And it is a
relationship that we are pursuing both bilaterally and within the
framework of our NATO allies."

Poland’s Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski came up with a
harsh criticism. `NATO allies realized during the Russian-Georgian
crisis in August 2008 that the enemy may be closer to the alliance’s
borders than previously thought, which is why the organization will
take this fact into account in the future,’ he said.

"We now face a different situation. We’re after the crisis in Georgia
and I can assure you that there is much more of a discussion right now
within the alliance, to a large extent because many partners realize
that the enemy unfortunately can be much closer to our borders."

"We have to take this into account when we plan the future of the
alliance," he added.

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