Ukraine's Yanukovich scraps NATO body

Yanukovich has scrapped a state body set up to oversee the country's eventual accession to NATO, a presidential decree on his website said.

Ukraine's Yanukovich scraps NATO body

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has scrapped a state body set up to oversee the country's eventual accession to NATO, a presidential decree on his website said on Tuesday.

The move was in line with statements by Yanukovich that membership of the U.S. military alliance was no longer on the agenda.

The decree said he had wound up a presidential commission for preparing Ukraine for membership of NATO -- a body set up by his pro-Western predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko, who was on poor terms with Moscow.

A separate decree said he had also closed down an allied body overseeing Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration.

Both bodies exerted little influence on political reality.

"The dialogue with Russia has become a more comfortable one," said analyst Mikhailo Pashkov of the Razumkov centre. Ukrainian entry into NATO is no longer on the agenda, above all because neither side is ready for it ...".

Yanukovich, elected to power last February after a bitter contest with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, says he is committed to keeping his country of 46 million people out of any military blocs and steering a middle course between Russia and Europe.

Under Yushchenko, military cooperation and joint peacekeeping operations with NATO increased, though opinion polls indicated there was little real enthusiasm among Ukrainians for NATO membership.

NATO, however, kept Ukraine at arms length on the issue of membership, holding out the prospect of entry only at some unspecified moment in the future.

Ironically, some of the boldest moves in Ukraine's ties with NATO came when Yanukovich was prime minister for a time under former President Leonid Kuchma in the early 2000s.

NATO was allowed to set up an information centre in Kiev to raise the image of the alliance in the ex-Soviet republic and the first joint peacekeeping operations were undertaken.

A draft law which may go to parliament soon could enshrine Ukraine's non-bloc status, but a 2003 law on national security which still sees Ukraine's future within NATO remains in force.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Nisan 2010, 17:00

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