KYIV, Ukraine, September 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen invited Ukraine to join further NATO initiatives, such as the Ocean Shield anti-piracy operation. General Rasmussen made such a statement during the meeting with the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych in New York City.
At the meeting General Rasmussen praised the cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, namely Ukraine's contribution to NATO peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo and invited Ukraine to participate in other operations of the Alliance, such as Ocean Shield. In response, Ukraine's leader stated that the nation's interests as well as individual citizens suffer from pirate attacks, and therefore combating piracy lays within the country's best interests.
The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmusseninvited Ukraine to take part in the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012. General Rasmussen also invited the leader of Ukraine to visit the NATO headquarters to address the NATO Council.
Earlier this year, Ukraine and the US have agreed on conducting military exercises in Ukraine, according to the Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Colonel-General Hryhoriy Pedchenko. The exercises included "Sea Breeze", "Rapid Trident" as well as three other sets of NATO drills.
In April, 2011, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych approved the annual program on Ukraine-NATO cooperation for 2011. The program outlines the tasks on democratic reforms implementation, enhancement of Ukraine's legislature, namely adoption of electoral state service related laws and the development of a strategy on corruption countermeasures in 2011-2014.
Ukraine 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, however, during the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest the alliance decided not to offer Ukraine a Membership Action Plan (MAP). 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.
SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine