KYIV, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
praised Ukraine's participation in a number of NATO missions. Rasmussen
made this statement during his two-day visit to Ukraine. "I would like
to sincerely thank Ukraine for its participation in NATO missions at
Balkans, Afghanistan, and maintaining maritime security. These missions
strengthen peace and stability," said Rasmussen at the meeting with
Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych.
The current scope of Ukraine's cooperation is quite large. Since 1996,
Ukraine has sent a significant number of servicemen to Kosovo, Bosnia
and Herzegovina. In 2010, Ukrainian corvette Ternopil participated in
NATO's Operation Active Endeavour for the fifth time. On top of that,
Ukrainian peacemakers are currently stationed in Afghanistan.
NATO Secretary General mentioned that the Alliance does not impose on
Ukraine's decisions to be a part of any alliance and respects Ukraine's
non-aligned status. He made a special note that he was happy "to visit
a country, where people have a high privilege of expressing their
Currently, Ukraine takes practical steps in reorganizing the Ukrainian
Armed Forces, in order to create a professional army by 2015. NATO
supports the reform process in Ukraine and has agreed to continue
providing expertise and resources for it to continue. As of today, NATO
assists Ukraine with social adaptation and re-qualification of the
dismissed former military personnel, and with management of the
consequence caused by the defense reform. NATO is also eager to assist
Ukraine and Poland in providing security at the upcoming EURO 2012 the
two countries will host.
Ukraine has set a course towards conducting a dialogue with NATO during
the presidency of Leonid Kuchma (1994-2005). His successor Victor
Yushchenko (2005-2010) nurtured the idea of Ukraine becoming a NATO
member, but it wasn't supported by the majority of the population.
Ukraine, therefore, kept its non-aligned status. In the recently
enacted law on Domestic and Foreign Policy, signed by the
President-in-office Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine is to continue on having
a constructive partnership with NATO.
NATO-Ukraine relations were formally launched in 1991, when Ukraine
joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (now the Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council). The 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership,
which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC), has become the
formal basis for NATO-Ukraine relations.
SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine
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