Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has confirmed a national program for 2009 aimed at helping to prepare the country for NATO membership, ForUm informs, referring to Kyiv Post.

Yuschenko's decree on the matter was published on the presidential website.

The document gives the Ukrainian Cabinet one month to draft and adopt an action plan to implement the aforementioned program in 2009.

The new decree also annuls the president's similar decree dated March 2, 2009.

In June, NATO approved Kyiv's draft annual national program to prepare Ukraine for membership in the alliance.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vasyl Kyrylych said then that NATO officials had offered their recommendations and proposals regarding various spheres of cooperation.

"Bearing in mind the proposals and remarks made by the alliance, I hope that the annual national program will be confirmed in the near future," Kyrylych said.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Georgia and Ukraine are far from NATO membership for now. "Are they ready to join now? No," Rasmussen said.

"The requirements of membership are demanding - be it in terms of political and democratic standards, be it in terms of public support for membership, or a whole range of relevant reforms e.g. in the area of defense modernization. Reaching them cannot and will not happen overnight, for Georgia or Ukraine," he said.

"The decision of the Bucharest Summit in 2008 - and I was one of the heads of government who co-signed that communique - still stands," the NATO secretary general said.


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