Brussels, 20 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko says his country hopes for Western support in achieving its "strategic goal" of integrating into European security structures.
Udovenko was speaking in Brussels today where he held talks with NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana that focused on preparing a "special partnership" agreement between Kyiv and the alliance. Ukraine hopes an agreement spelling out terms of the special relationship will be completed by the start of NATO's July summit in Madrid. At that summit, the alliance is expected to extend membership invitations to several Central and Eastern European countries.
Udovenko said Ukraine's situation was unique because its western neighbors intend to join NATO while Russia, Ukraine's eastern neighbor was, in his words "unpredictable." He said as a result conditions were not right for Ukraine to join the Western alliance and that Ukraine's national security was a sensitive topic.
Kyiv has repeatedly said it is not seeking direct NATO membership. But yesterday, a senior Ukrainian official warned that Russia was pushing Ukraine toward the alliance.