President Victor Yushchenko of Ukraine met with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

NSDCU Secretary Anatoly Kinakh, Secretariat Chief of Staff Oleh Rybachuk and Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko were present at the meeting, President's press office reported.

The Head of State said he was glad to receive Jaap de Hoop Scheffer for the third time this year. Yushchenko stressed that NATO delegates “witness a unique phenomenon: today’s meeting is being held with the participation of Alliance representatives and NSDCU officials.”

The President reiterated that Ukraine intended to join the NATO.

He emphasized, “We are moving this way, for we are fundamentally convinced that it is consistent with Ukraine’s strategic interests.”

The Head of State stressed that Ukraine strived to integrate into the European security system and receive international guarantees to ensure Ukraine’s integrity and sovereignty.

“This process is absolutely logical to us,” he said.

The President assured his guest that changes within the government would not influence Ukraine’s foreign policy. Yushchenko stressed that the new Prime Minister, his Cabinet and regional officials were determined to implement the Ukraine-NATO Action Plan to achieve our strategic goals. The Head of State also noted that the new government would more actively inform the citizens about Ukraine-NATO relations.

“Ukraine will actively implement foreign policy and take part in security and peace-keeping initiatives,” said Yushchenko.

He also said he intended to sign a decree to better coordinate Ukraine-NATO cooperation. The Head of State informed those present that the First Vice Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister would probably be in charge of this task.

Yushchenkostressed that he would demand that each Minister should implement specific tasks consistent with NATO policy, which concerns such important issues as investment, supremacy of the law, freedom of speech, fair elections and anti-corruption measures.

In his turn, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the delegation had studied Ukraine’s plans to join the NATO at a Ukraine-NATO Commission meeting. He said the NATO positively assessed these plans and believed they were convincing. Mr. Scheffer wished Ukraine success to put these plans into practice.


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