Ukraine Eager To Boost Military Technical Ties With U.S. - PM

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine is interested in expanding military-technical cooperation with the United States, the country's prime minister said Monday.

Deputy Commander of the U.S. European Command William Ward

"Ukraine is interested in the development of cooperation with the U.S., particularly in the military-technical sphere," Viktor Yanukovych said during a meeting with Deputy Commander of the U.S. European Command William Ward, who is currently on a visit to Ukraine.

The stated goal of Ukrainian defense policy has long been to integrate with NATO, which meets the key objectives of the United States.

Since 1992, bilateral military cooperation has improved in terms of quality and interoperability, and set the stage for preparation, execution, and support of U.S.-Ukraine joint peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, and the current campaign in Iraq.

Every year the U.S. Departments of State and Defense allocate about $1-3 million to Ukraine's participation in Partnership for Peace Program through the so-called "Warsaw Initiative," founded by the United States in July 1994.

The initiative primarily helps to promote the ability of the Ukraine's armed forces to cooperate with NATO members, as well as to prepare the country for joining NATO.

In terms of security cooperation, the United States has also provided significant technical support in Ukraine's nonproliferation efforts and the strengthening of the country's export control system.

During the current talks, the sides also discussed Ukraine's future accession to the European Union and stressed the importance of NATO as a system of collective security, the Ukrainian government's press service said.

The drive for EU and NATO membership was one of the key policy issues agreed to by Ukrainian lawmakers in August, through the national unity pact proposed by President Viktor Yushchenko.

However, President of the European Commission Jose Barroso said in late October that Ukraine still has to implement a number of economic and legislative reforms to be able top join the European community and the EU member countries are not prepared to take responsibility for another member yet.

Source: RIA Novosti