Doors to NATO membership for Ukraine are open – Stoltenberg
NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has again emphasized that the doors of the military alliance are open for those wanting to join, including Ukraine. He said this during a speech in Ukraine's parliament on Thursday.
"As a sovereign nation, Ukraine has the right to choose its own security arrangements. NATO’s door remains open. The road to NATO membership is not easy. For those who seek it, it requires dedication and substantial reform," Stoltenberg said in parliament on Thursday, noting Ukraine’s successes in cooperation programs with the Alliance.
"But in the end, membership is a decision for the members of the NATO Alliance, and for those who wish to join it. And for them alone. No outside country has the right to veto. The time of spheres of influence is over," Stoltenberg said. .
However, he noted that the path to membership is not easy. According to him, countries aspiring to NATO need to make efforts and "carry out substantial reforms."
Secretary General of the Alliance stressed that NATO advisers will work with Ukraine to implement Euro-Atlantic principles and best practices to strengthen the rule of law, ensure minority rights, fight corruption and that all aspects of public life are open and transparent, and Ukrainian institutions better serve the interests of the people of Ukraine.
Stoltenberg recalled that he was addressing Ukrainian deputies in parliament for the second time (for the first time two years ago). His speech included quotations from Ukrainian poet and national hero Taras Shevchenko.