Kyiv, 4 July 2001 (RFE/RL) -- NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson says the alliance is prepared to help Ukraine draw closer to Europe on the condition that Kyiv respects democratic norms. Robertson said in an interview with the Ukrainian media today that NATO countries are prepared to help Ukraine in its relations with Europe in which it will have to overcome several obstacles in the political, economic, and defense spheres.
Robertson arrives in Ukraine later today for an official two-day visit during which he is to meet President Leonid Kuchma and other leaders.
In the interview, Robertson also called for absolute respect for freedom of the press.
Ukraine is not a candidate for NATO membership but has been collaborating with the alliance on the basis of an agreement signed in 1997. It is also a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, created to develop cooperation with non-member states.