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Ukraine to propose concrete steps on cooperation with NATO

Ukrainian Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov said on Tuesday that his country is ready to propose concrete steps on strengthening cooperation with NATO if the alliance supports Ukraine’s bid to join the membership action plan.

“If NATO takes a positive decision on Ukraine’s bid to join the membership action plan, the Ukrainian defense ministry has concrete proposals on transforming the Annual Target Plan into the NATO membership action plan,” Yekhanurov said during a meeting with Jiri Sedivy, the NATO assistant secretary general. According to the defense ministry’s press service, the two sides exchanged views on enhancing bilateral cooperation and discussed issues on implementing joint projects.

Last week, Ukraine’s leaders sent NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer a formal letter, asking for consideration on Ukraine’s bid to join the NATO membership action plan at a NATO summit scheduled for early April in Bucharest. Opinion polls showed the majority of Ukrainians have so far opposed the idea of joining the 26-nation alliance. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said last week the decision on whether Ukraine should join NATO would “be taken exclusively by the Ukrainian people through a nationwide referendum.” (