Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, the host of the NATO summit in Vilnius, said on Wednesday that allied leaders had offered Ukraine the maximum possible under the current circumstances in which the country remains at war with Russia, as “no one can consider joining at this time”. reports EFE, quoted by Agerpres.
Allied leaders approved the summit statement on Tuesday, in which they admitted that Ukraine will join the Alliance, but only when it fulfills the “conditions” for joining. The lack of a clear timetable for accession was described as “absurd” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“It’s a process, it has its own procedures and sometimes it can be a bit frustrating,” the Latvian Prime Minister, Arturs Krisjanis Karins, also admitted. He declared that these procedures “make sense”, so that “the same rules apply to everyone”, and he recalled that his country also had to complete the reforms to join the Atlantic Alliance.
NATO leaders claim that an action plan for Ukraine’s accession is no longer necessary
In the statement issued on Tuesday by the heads of state and government within NATO following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Vilnius, although they do not offer a concrete calendar for Ukraine’s accession, they confirm that an action plan for accession is no longer necessary. The measure does not apply to Georgia.
“We fully support Ukraine’s right to choose its own security arrangements. The future of Ukraine lies in NATO. We reaffirm the commitment we made at the Bucharest summit in 2008, according to which Ukraine will become a member of NATO, and today we recognize that the country has already made sufficient progress towards full Euro-Atlantic integration, so that a action plan for accession. Ukraine increased its level of interoperability and political interaction with the Alliance and made considerable progress on the path of reforms. In accordance with the 1997 NATO-Ukraine Charter on a Distinct Partnership and the 2009 Declaration supplementing this charter, Allies will continue to support and monitor Ukraine’s progress toward interoperability and continued democratic and security sector reforms. NATO’s foreign ministers will periodically evaluate the progress made within the annual adapted national program. The alliance will help Ukraine implement these reforms and move forward on the path to future membership. We will be able to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance after the Allies decide on this and the conditions are met,” the document says.
In addition, NATO Heads of State and Government decided to create the “NATO-Ukraine Council, within which Allies and Ukraine are on an equal footing to advance their political dialogue, interaction and cooperation and to allow Ukraine to progress in the direction of its Euro-Atlantic aspirations to join NATO. This Council will provide a framework for discussions, decisions and joint activities and will serve as a consultation body between NATO and Ukraine in the event of a crisis”.
As far as Georgia is concerned, the accession action plan is an “integral part” of the process.
“We reaffirm our commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. We remain resolute in our support for Georgia’s right to freely decide on its future and the direction of its foreign policy without outside interference. We request Russia to withdraw the forces it has stationed in Georgia without its consent. We also call on Russia to reverse its decision to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, regions of Georgia, to end the militarization of these regions, to stop trying to forcibly separate them from the rest of Georgia by building border-like obstacles and end human rights abuses and violations, including arbitrary detention and harassment of Georgian citizens. We greatly appreciate Georgia’s substantial contributions to NATO operations, as a demonstration of its commitment and ability to contribute to Euro-Atlantic security. We remain committed to making full use of the NATO-Georgia Commission and the Annual National Program to deepen political dialogue and practical cooperation with this country. We reiterate the decision of the Bucharest Summit in 2008 according to which Georgia will become a member of the Alliance, the Action Plan for accession being an integral part of the process; we reaffirm all the elements of this decision and subsequent decisions”, the leaders say.
The Allies “reaffirm their commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova”
Regarding the Republic of Moldova, the allies “reaffirm their commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova within its internationally recognized borders and request Russia to withdraw all the forces it has stationed in Transnistria without the consent of the Republic of Moldova”.
“We remain firm in our support for the right of the Republic of Moldova to decide freely on its future and on the direction of its foreign policy, without external interference, and we fully respect the constitutional neutrality of the country. NATO is stepping up its political and practical support to help the Republic of Moldova strengthen its resilience and preserve its political independence in the face of a deteriorating security environment. The Allies welcome Moldova’s efforts towards democratic reform and are committed to supporting Moldova on its path to European integration. NATO will continue to provide practical assistance through the enhanced defense capabilities package as Moldova works to strengthen its security and defense capabilities and modernize its armed forces,” the statement said.
Editor: Bianca Chirilă