Ukraine Defence Minister Against Referendum On Accession To NATO

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian Defence Minister Anatoly Gritsenko is of the view that in judicial terms Ukraine does not need a referendum on its accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Anatoly Gritsenko

“The matter of joining NATO is decided at the level of the country’s top political leadership -- the president, government and parliament,” he said at his talks with his Hungarian counterpart on Sunday.

“A majority prevails in the political elite of Ukraine that supports the country’s accession to NATO, and a decision at this level has been already made” Gritsenko said.

He called on political forces “not to speculate on the question of the referendum about the accession of Ukraine to the North Atlantic alliance”.

“When Ukraine joined the CIS and its joining the common economic space was planned, anybody did not conduct and was not going to conduct a referendum,” Gritsenko said.

The admission to NATO will “warrant the fulfilment of criteria oriented towards people, and not the protection of state structures”, he said.

“I support this course as a citizen and as a minister,” he said.

Last year in April, Kiev and NATO began a dialogue on Ukraine’s accession to the Western alliance and the introduction of respective reforms.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said in May that the “question of Ukraine’s membership in NATO and the European Union will be decided in a referendum”.

Ukraine’s leading politicians prognosticate the admission to NATO in 2008.

Polls show that 40 percent of citizens are “categorically” against Ukraine’s joining NATO, another 15 percent “rather disagree” and 9 percent fully agree with the accession to NATO.

Another 13 percent “rather agree”.

Source: Itar-Tass