Membership Perspective with Conditions

news 12-Jul-2023 Europe

Membership Perspective with Conditions

The NATO sees the future of Ukraine within the military alliance. However, a formal invitation is tied to conditions. Additionally, there is no clear timetable. Ukrainian President Zelensky previously expressed strong criticism.

The NATO is giving hope to Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia, for entry into the defense alliance, but a formal invitation is subject to conditions. This is stated in the declaration adopted at the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

Specifically, the text states, "The future of Ukraine is in NATO. We reaffirm our commitment made at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ukraine will become a member of NATO (...)." The military alliance did not set a clear timetable.

According to the declaration, NATO will only be able to invite Ukraine to join the alliance "once the Allies agree and requirements are met." Concrete examples mentioned include "additional necessary reforms in the areas of democracy and the security sector." Abandonment of Accession Process

This restriction addresses the reservations of countries such as Germany and the United States. During the negotiations, they insisted that NATO membership should continue to be contingent on fulfilling conditions. For example, the military must be subject to civilian and democratic control, in accordance with alliance standards.

Another reason for the lack of invitation is concerns about Russia's unpredictable reaction, as it has been attempting to prevent Ukraine's NATO membership through its war against the country. As a compromise, the NATO member states have agreed to promise Ukraine that they will not insist on the usual accession process before the desired membership is granted. "This will change the membership process for Ukraine from a two-step to a one-step process," explained Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

The NATO chief sees Ukraine clearly on the path to membership after the declaration. "We have also made it clear that we will extend an invitation to Ukraine once the Allies agree and the conditions are met. This is a strong package for Ukraine and a clear path towards NATO membership," said Stoltenberg. Enhancement of NATO-Ukraine Commission

In addition, NATO intends to significantly expand its cooperation with Ukraine even now. The existing NATO-Ukraine Commission will be upgraded to a NATO-Ukraine Council. This will enable discussions on key security issues and joint decision-making on an equal footing.

The commission was primarily established to discuss reforms necessary for becoming a member of the Western military alliance. The new council will convene for the first time on Wednesday at the summit at the level of heads of state and government. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will sit alongside the heads of state and government of the 31 NATO member states on an equal footing.

In principle, the NATO member states will continue to provide support to Ukraine for "as long as necessary." "We remain firmly committed to further increasing our political and practical support for Ukraine as it defends its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders," the text states. "Indecision is a Weakness"

Zelensky had previously criticized NATO's "indecision" and "weakness" regarding his country's membership. He argued that this encouraged Russian "terror" against his country 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 membership. "Indecision is a weakness," added Zelensky.

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