MPs block rostrum to protest leadership`s NATO plans

12:20, 18 January 2008
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Opposition factions press the Speaker

Members of opposition factions in Ukraine`s parliament protested on Friday against the leadership`s drive for NATO membership, blocking the rostrum, according to RIA Novosti.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk sent a letter to the alliance`s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer expressing their hope that the country could join the action plan for joining NATO at a summit scheduled for early April in Bucharest.

The Communist Party pledged a no-confidence motion unless the speaker recalls his signature. However, the speaker said the letter did not mention Ukraine`s NATO ambitions.

"The issue of joining NATO is not currently on the agenda," he said.

Participation in the NATO Membership Action Plan does not automatically mean a country will be admitted to the bloc, but is the first step toward membership.

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