Ukraine's Govt., President, Rada To Decide On NATO Entry - PM

KIEV, Ukraine -- A decision on Ukraine's accession to NATO should be taken jointly by the country's government, president and parliament, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said Monday.

President Viktor Yushchenko has made accession to NATO a priority since coming to power on the back of the 2004 "orange revolution," but Yanukovych, the leader of the country's main pro-Russia party, who was confirmed in his post for a second time Friday, has taken a cautious approach to the idea.

"I am convinced the authorities will now make balanced and collective decisions," Yanukovych said. "The government, president and parliament will decide [on NATO accession] together. NATO is a very sensitive issue for our society."

He said economic factors should be taken into account in making a decision on the accession.

Yushchenko said August 3 Ukraine would continue to pursue integration into NATO as one of the terms of a national unity pact aimed to end the country's protracted political crisis.

"I am pursuing the policy toward integration without adding anything else to it," he said during a ceremony to sign the document.

Under the terms of the national unity pact, which has been signed by all main political forces except the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, the decision on Ukraine's integration into the military bloc will be made following a referendum.

Source: RIA Novosti