Ukraine is not ready to become a full-fledged member of NATO, Senior Advisor of the RAND Corporation, former Ambassador of the USA to NATO and US representative to the West European Union, Robert Hunter said in an interview, published in the journal of the US Council on Foreign Relations.

"I can say that Ukraine is not ready to become a member of NATO, NATO is not ready for that and NATO - Russia relations are not ready, too", Mr Hunter said. A nation, stating its intention to join the Alliance, must be fully ready to become a part of the West. Any state may join NATO, if it meets internal demands of the organization, realizing that NATO doesn't threaten any subject of international relations.

As Robert Hunter said, there are two summits slated at this point. One will almost certainly take place in Riga, Latvia, probably next October or November; a smaller summit is planned for the last year of the Bush administration. Some people are saying that that second summit should issue an invitation to Ukraine to join along with possibly one or two other countries, like Croatia.

As he said, this is going to force a major debate, I suspect more serious than any debate on NATO enlargement since the very first one at the Madrid Summit in 1997 over the entrance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, for a couple of simple reasons. Among these he named both internal and external factors. One, it is still not clear that the democratic experiment in Ukraine is taking hold and certain differences in the Western and Eastern populations' perception of NATO integration.


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