Monday, October 26, 2009

Foreign Minister Poroshenko on NATO

Russian 'Kommersant' newspaper includes an interview with Ukraine's new foreign minister, Petro Poroshenko, following his recent meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. This is the first such visit by a Ukrainian minister for one and a half years and indicatesa rewarming of Ukrainian-Russian relations.

A couple of days ago the newspaper claimed that "Sergei Lavrov received Petro Poroshenko as if there was no 'anti-Russian policy' in Ukraine"

Today's piece is entitled: "Let's dispel the myth that the Ukrainian authorities are striving to drag the country into NATO - The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine tells 'Kommersant' how he will regulate relations with Moscow."

When asked by 'Kommersant', "Do you consider integration into NATO to be the first priority task of Ukrainian foreign policy?" Poroshenko replies: "The first priority task of Ukraine's foreign policy is to ensure the rights and protection of individual and citizen, society and the state. As for NATO, today the question of Ukraine's membership in that organization has not been posed. At the same time, the strategic goal of Ukraine's accession to the North Atlantic alliance while retaining good neighbourly relations and a strategic partnership with the Russian Federation is determined by the Ukrainian legislation, and specifically by the law, "On the Principles of National Security". As minister, I am obligated to fulfil the goals defined by the Parliament of Ukraine back in 2003. Today, our priority is to take pragmatic steps aimed at ensuring our national interests. It would be foolish to reject the opportunity to interact with the most effective system of collective security. Which, I might add, Russia also understands very well, having a much larger-scale level of interaction with NATO than we do."

He continues: "Let us dispel the myth that all of the Ukrainian authorities are striving to drag Ukraine into NATO despite the will of the people. The first one to initiate the procedure of Euro-Atlantic integration through an all-people's referendum was Viktor Yushchenko. And it is specifically on the basis of the results of the referendum that a decision may be made on joining NATO or any other collective security organization. We do not intend to go anywhere just to anger Russia."

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