Saakashvili (left) and Yushchenko in Tbilisi today (InterPressNews)
March 1, 2007 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said he sees no alternative to joining NATO despite strong opposition from Moscow and pro-Russian elements of Ukrainian society.
Speaking during a visit to Georgia, Yushchenko said he is convinced the right road to take is one that links Ukraine with the rest of Europe.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Moscow had no right to dictate his country's military or foreign policies and that NATO integration is not directed against any third party.
"I would also like to address the speculation that has become frequent [in Georgia] about the ways in which NATO [membership] is linked to our internal conflicts," Saakashvili said. "I want to tell you that NATO is not, and should not be, specifically linked to these internal conflicts. However, NATO [membership] is linked to Georgia's integration, Georgia's further democratization, Georgia's strength."
"No country can put its veto on the development of relations between NATO and Georgia," he added.