"Clear, United, and Positive Message"

news 12-Jul-2023 Europe

"Clear, United, and Positive Message"

Secretary-General Stoltenberg expects a clear signal for Ukraine's NATO perspective. He advocated for a shorter process. Ukrainian President Zelensky criticized the alliance, accusing it of "weakness."

NATO member states will send a "clear, united, and positive message" to Ukraine, according to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at their summit in Vilnius. "Ukraine has come a long way," Stoltenberg said at the beginning of the two-day meeting in the Lithuanian capital.

The country now needs a clear signal regarding its path towards NATO membership. The exact wording of this message is still being worked out, said Stoltenberg. He expects a result later in the day.

In his view, the alliance should forgo the usual Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine, used to bring aspiring members up to NATO standards. This would change Ukraine's NATO path from a "two-step to a one-step process," Stoltenberg said. "That sends a clear message."

The summit decision will be enriched with bilateral security guarantees from NATO member states to prevent a renewed Russian attack on Ukraine after the end of the war. "Indecision is a Weakness"

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized the importance of security guarantees for Ukraine in Vilnius. The G7 countries are preparing a joint statement on this matter on the sidelines of the NATO summit. Regarding the question of further NATO integration, Scholz pointed out the acute importance of providing military support to Ukraine.

Furthermore, NATO must make a joint decision on this matter and further develop the resolutions of the 2008 Bucharest Summit. At that time, the alliance granted Ukraine a membership perspective, but the process subsequently stalled.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has already criticized NATO's "indecision" and "weakness" regarding his country's accession. He argued that this encouraged Russian "terror" against Ukraine in a tweet. "It seems that there is neither a willingness to invite Ukraine to NATO nor to make it a member of the alliance," he stated. He called it "absurd" that there is no timetable for Ukraine's accession. "Indecision is a weakness," added Zelensky.

On the sidelines of the summit, Zelensky will deliver a speech in Vilnius in the evening. "Yes, there will be a presentation," confirmed Zelensky's spokesperson, Serhiy Nykyforov, to the dpa news agency in Kyiv. Hungary Emphasizes Support for Sweden

The military alliance is starting its summit with a breeze of optimism due to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's concession regarding Sweden's NATO membership. NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg announced on Monday that Erdogan had agreed to present the accession protocol to the Turkish parliament as soon as possible.

On Tuesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto followed suit, stating that the ratification of Sweden's membership request by the Hungarian Parliament was only a "technical matter." He clarified in a Facebook post that Budapest clearly supported the endeavor. Turkey and Hungary are the only two of the 31 NATO member states whose parliaments have not yet given their approval for the expansion of the military alliance.

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