Stoltenberg: Door Still Open for Ukraine to Join NATO
12:38 24.11.2014(updated 14:06 24.11.2014)
Ukraine has not applied for NATO membership as it is a non-bloc country, NATO Chief Stoltenberg said.
THE HAGUE, November 24 (Sputnik) – NATO's door for Ukraine remains open, but Ukraine has not applied for membership, the bloc's Chief Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.
'The 'open door' is still open. Ukraine will become a member, that decision still stands providing that Ukraine meets the requirements. Ukraine has not applied for membership because it is a non-bloc country,' Stoltenberg said during the 60th Plenary Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Because of its non-bloc policy, Ukraine's membership has not been discussed in recent years, the NATO chief said, stressing, however, that membership may be sought by 'countries which fulfill the criteria for becoming NATO allies, and that is also valid for Ukraine."
Last week, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter-Steinmeier stated that Ukraine's NATO membership would not be possible in the foreseeable future.
On Friday, five Ukrainian parties signed a draft coalition agreement signaling that NATO membership would be one of the top priorities of Ukraine's new government. However, the bloc's regulations do not allow countries involved in territorial disputes to become its members. Currently Kiev refuses to acknowledge Crimea's reunification with Russia.
In August, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk introduced legislation to the country's parliament to drop its "non-aligned" status, starting a campaign to join NATO. According to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, US President Barack Obama declined to give Ukraine the special status of a non-NATO ally.
The crisis in Ukraine escalated when Kiev authorities launched a military operation against independence supporters in the eastern regions of the country in mid-April. The conflicting sides reached a ceasefire agreement in September, but have since routinely accused each other of violating the truce.
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