Ukraine President Denies Premier's Statements On NATO Accession

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's idea that the country is unable to join the NATO action plan is wrong and out of line with Ukraine's national interests, President Viktor Yushchenko said Saturday.

Yanukovych Thursday took part in a session of the Ukraine-NATO commission in Brussels, where he said Ukraine was yet not ready to implement the Action Plan on accession to the North Atlantic alliance.

Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko has made NATO membership a priority since coming to power in 2004, but has met with strong opposition on the issue from pro-Russian political forces in the country.

The policy regarding NATO membership was fixed in the national unity pact. The document, which Yushchenko proposed for signing by the country's major political forces, was to serve as a guarantee of adherence to his political course before Yanukovych, the leader of the pro-Russian Party of Regions, was appointed prime minister to end four months of political crisis in the country.

"I am convinced that argumentation which is in essence of domestic nature, non-initiation of this issue as required by the Action Plan [on NATO membership] is an erroneous viewpoint, which does not meet national interests, and this should be rectified," the presidential press service quoted Yushchenko as saying.

The pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc Friday accused the Ukrainian prime minister of breaching agreements set out by the national unity pact on Ukraine's NATO membership drive.

Yushchenko said Ukraine had a law on national security, which envisions integration policy up to full membership in NATO and the European Union.

Ukraine's quest for NATO membership has displeased Russia, which is anxious about the approach of NATO bases closer to its borders.

Source: RIA Novosti