Parliament Cements Ukraine's Nonaligned Status

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's Parliament, prodded by pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych, approved a bill on Thursday that cements the country's neutrality and prevents it from joining NATO.

Viktor Yanukovych has killed all prospects for Ukraine joining NATO.

The bill, which is expected to sail through more readings before making it to the president's desk for signature, bars Ukraine's membership in any military bloc but allows for cooperation with alliances such as NATO.

"The main element of predictability and consistency in Ukraine's foreign policy is its nonaligned status," Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told lawmakers while submitting the bill.

The legislation is seen as a victory for Yanukovych, who during the presidential campaign earlier this year vowed to put an end to Ukraine's NATO membership ambitions and mend relations with neighboring Russia.

"The main task of foreign policy and security is the protection of national interests in the world, and the nonalignment policy is one of the mechanisms. It meets requirements of the time, and we will strictly adhere to it," Yanukovych said during an address to the nation later in the day.

Crucially, the bill allows for Ukraine's political and economic integration with Europe, including membership in the European Union, a course that Azarov said was "unchangeable."

"Coming from our strategic national interests, we will keep cooperation with the European Union as a key partner in overcoming negative consequences of financial crisis, conducting economic reforms, upgrading energy sector," Yanukovych said.

Critics of nonalignment slammed the legislation.

"The only guarantee of Ukraine's national security is membership in the system of collective security of NATO," said Borys Tarasyuk, who had served as foreign minister under ex-President Viktor Yushchenko.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia declined dramatically under the pro-West Yushchenko, a trend that was immediately halted when Yanukovych took over the presidency. In his first gesture of goodwill toward Moscow, Yanukovych signed a deal allowing Russia to extend its lease on the Black Sea Port of Sevastopol for 25 years when the current agreement expires in 2017. Russia responded by giving Ukraine deep discounts on natural gas.

"Our position is firm: relations with Russia will develop in the line of ascent, with the priority in the economic sphere," Yanukovych said, pledging to prepare a 10-year program of social and economic cooperation with Moscow.

At the same time Yanukovych hasn't neglected western integration. Last week he urged bureaucrats to prepare for a Ukraine-EU summit in October by finishing work on key legislation required by Europe, lowering trade barriers and paving the way for a visa-free travel regime.

Analysts say the president's foreign policy treads an ultra-fine line.

"Closer ties with Russia have neutralized risks and conflicts that existed before," said Volodymyr Fesenko, a Kiev-based analyst, but made Ukraine "increasingly dependent on Russia."

He said that tension in society has increased as a result of these foreign policy moves, and that Yanukovych's administration is trying to allay fears by coming up with a more flexible policy.

Source: AP

Comments

wesley rodgers said…
BANNING NATO RELATIONS

IS BANNING FUTURE BALANCE

IN EUROPEE !!
___________________________________

THE ANNOUNCEMENT BY UKRAINE PRESIDENT YANUKOVICH THAT UKRAINE
PARLIAMENT IS ABOUT TO APPROVE A
LAW BANNING ANY MEMBERSHIP WITH
NATO IS NOT A SMART DIPLOMATIC
DECISION.

YES,IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT MANY IN UKRAINE DO NOT WANT NATO MEMBERSHIP BUT AT THE SAME TIME SAYING THAT UKRAINE WILL FORM A
STRONGER RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA IS A DECLARATION WHICH DRAWS A LINE IN THE SAND OF INTERNATIONAL
RELATIONS FOR UKRAINE WHICH MAY WELL COME BACK TO HAUNT UKRAINE.

PRESIDENT YANUKOVICH HAS ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED THE GOAL OF FORMING A
MUCH BETTER WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA.

BY ACTUALLY PASSING A LAW BANNING NATO MEBERSHIP IS MAKING A STATEMENT THAT UKRAINE DOES NOT NEED WESTERN EUROPE AND WESTERN ALLIANCES BUT IS CHOOSING TO FORM A MORE DIRECT
RELATION WITH RUSSIA IN ITS PLACE.
THIS LAW BANNING NATO MEMBERSHIP
IS NOT NEEDED AND SENDS THE WRONG SIGNAL AND IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO SOME COUNTRIES WHO ARE MEMBERS OF NATO, WILL BE TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY.
AND,SOME OF THOSE COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN GOOD ALLIES AND HAVE HELPED UKRAINE ESPECIALLY SINCE THE 1991 BREAKAWAY FROM THE OLD SOVIET UNION-RUSSIA.

THIS DECLARATION IS SHORT OF
SAYING UKRAINE DOES NOT NEED AND DOES NOT WANT OTHER ALLIANCES AND IN THE DIPLOMATIC WORLD OF DETENTE WITH MANY INTERNATIONAL PROBLEMS THIS IS A DANGEROUS DECISION.

THIS ALSO COMES IN THE MIDST OF START RATIFICATION DELIBERATIONS
AND IT PUTS UKRAINE IN THE MIDDLE OF MAJOR POLICIES BY RUSSIA AND THE U.S. WHICH WILL SHED A QUESTIONABLE DOUBT AS TO
WHETHER OTHER COUNTRIES CAN TRUST OR WILL WANT TO DO BUSINESS WITH UKRAINE.
WHY DID UKRAINE BREAK AWAY FROM THE SOVIET UNION IN THE FIRST PLACE??
THIS DECISION IS GOING TO HAVE NEGATIVE RAMIFICATIONS FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.
EVEN RUSSIA HAS NOT MADE SUCH
A DECISION ITSELF.
IN INTERVIEWING MANY UKRAINE AND
RUSSIAN IMMIGRANTS IN THE U.S.
ALMOST ALL SAY IT IS A BAD DECISION AND WILL CAUSE SOME FRIENDLY COUNTRIES TO BACK AWAY FROM UKRAINE BECAUSE THE DECISION IS SO PROFOUND AND UKRAINE HAD LED OTHER COUNTRIES IT WANTED TO FORM STRONG RELATIONS WITH THE WEST AND IT WAS UNDERSTOOD UKRAINE NEEDED TO MAINTAIN GOOD RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA.
ALL UNSDERSTOOD, WHEN VARIOUS DIPLOMATIC DECISIONS NEED TO BE MADE BY OTHER WESTERN AND EVEN EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, THEY WILL THINK TWICE AS TO THE TRUE COLORS OF UKRAINE JUST TO HAVE A
STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA.

SO STRONG,IT MAY BE TOO MUCH FOR OTHER ALLIES TO ACCEPT.
IN THE WORLD OF DIPLOMATIC AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OTHER COUNTRIES CAN ALSO BAN UKRAINE AS WELL...AND GOOD RERLATIONSHIOPS MAY BE LOST FOREVER DEPENDING ON DEVELOPEMNTS WHICH CAN TAKE PLACE IN THE EVER VOLATILE GEOPOLITICAL WORLD.

WES RODGERS newsman 007
patriotstv.com
west-patriot@msn.com