Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma supports developing relations with European and Euro-Atlantic structures, though he supposes his country not to by completely ready for its competent membership in them. This was said by the president this Tuesday in Kiev, while answering questions of regional mass media’s representatives. In particular Kuchma stressed “Ukraine is interested in cooperation with NATO until the most possible border.” At the same time, he advised supporters of Ukraine’s sooner NATO membership to pay attention to issues of economy. It is not profitable for us to enter NATO and European Union, because then Ukraine should “open its doors to everybody,” – the president said. According to him, to speak about entry into these organizations is only possible after the country reaches “proper economical level.” At the same time, Leonid Kuchma said that Ukraine wanted to be EU associated member. Another thing is relations with Moscow. Here, everything is clear. “Russia wishes Ukraine well,” – Leonid Kuchma stressed. These statements made an impression on the West. The Ukrainian President’s announcement that it is not profitable for Ukraine to enter NATO and European Union will hardly cause any consequences for relations between Ukraine and the West. This position was expressed on Wednesday by famous Cologne politologist, professor Gerhard Simon in his interview for Deutsche Welle. The expert assumed that Kuchma’s words confirmed Kiev’s intentions to develop first of all closer relations with Moscow, and then with Brussels. He agreed with the president’s thesis Ukraine not being ready for competent membership in European and Euro-Atlantic structures because of its weak economical situation. However a more legible estrangement from the West and rapprochement with Russia, according to G.Simon, started a year ago, when Anatoli Zlenko replaced Boris Tarasyuk (not without Russia’s assistance) on the post of the foreign minister. Kuchma’s latest statement, the professor said, is an aside step from certain illusions, euphoria and enthusiasm of recent years when it was supposed Ukraine could soon become EU part. Though taking into account the coming parliament election, the president’s statements about the West could also pursue another object. “To me, the Ukrainian president’s rhetoric what about the West is also connected with the fact that Kuchma wants to make the electorate vote for the parties which he himself supports and which support him,” – Gerhard Simon said. The German politologist supposes that during the previous election campaign the Ukrainian leader made efforts to please the electorate wanting a closer integration with Russia, but not with Western countries. For the West, such behaviour of the Ukrainian politician is not new, the Cologne professor noticed. Alexandr Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2001/12/20/35001.html
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