Ukraine President signs law to resume course towards NATO

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Kiev, July 7 (IANS) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he has signed the law on the resumption of Ukraine’s course towards joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“From now on, the course towards Ukraine’s NATO membership is clearly defined as one of the key factors of Ukraine’s state policy,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

He pledged to intensify efforts on reforming Ukraine’s security and defence sectors to meet criteria for joining the alliance.

However, some local experts doubt that Ukraine has prospects to gain NATO membership anytime soon as the country does not meet either military or political, economic and legal criteria for it.

“We must work hard to remove the obstacles for the NATO membership, and it means a need for reforms, a need for fighting corruption and changing the judicial system,” said Borys Tarasyuk, the former head of Ukraine’s mission to NATO.

Among other obstacles for Ukraine to join the alliance, Tarasyuk listed the conflict in eastern regions with pro-independence insurgents and the territorial dispute with Russia over Crimea.

Ukraine joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1991 shortly after Kiev gained its independence from the former Soviet Union.

In 2003, Ukraine declared a course towards NATO membership, but revoked the policy in 2010, declaring non-aligned status.

Shortly after the conflict between government troops and rebels broke out in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, the Ukrainian parliament abandoned the country’s non-aligned status, paving the way for it to join the military bloc.

–IANS

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