NATO not to place bases in Ukraine
Or interfere with conflicts in post-Soviet space - Scheffer
NATO is not planning to deploy its military bases in the territory of Ukraine or interfere with any conflicts in the post-Soviet space, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told Ukrainian reporters in Brussels, according to European Governments Monitor.Asked by correspondent if the Alliance or any of its allied countries were planning to station military bases in Ukraine, particularly in Crimea, the NATO leader gave the unambiguously negative answer.
Scheffer called for fighting myths that Ukraine`s rapprochement with NATO may imply appearance of Alliance bases in Ukrainian territory, and that this move may have any negative aftereffect for certain branches of Ukrainian industry, including aviation. The greater the concurrency is, the broader opportunities Ukraine will have, including its aircraft manufacturers, he emphasized.
Scheffer noted that the Alliance keeps aloof of any discussions between Ukraine and Russia on the future of the Black Sea Fleet. In his words, NATO will never interfere with territorial or any other disputes Ukraine may have with Russia, because NATO was set up for quite other purposes.
He once again reminded of the Alliance`s negative attitude to the deployment of Russian railway troops in Abkhazia.
Unlike the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, NATO has no direct mandate to interference with the conflict, and it will not do so, as it is a military-political organization seeking no direct interference either with Georgia or Ukraine, the Secretary General said.
Those countries will obtain NATO membership if they wish, since NATO is a union of sovereign states that may pass any decisions, Scheffer said adding that Ukraine as a sovereign country will also choose its external policy on its own, while NATO works according to the principle of consensus and thus cannot force anyone to do anything. The decision will be made by the people of Ukraine according to a democratic procedure, he noted.
The North Atlantic Alliance will never change its role in the system of Euroatlantic security, Scheffer stressed commenting on Russia President Dmitry Medvedev`s allegation about NATO`s obsolete character and the need to form a new system of security in the Euroatlantic space.
Scheffer said that he absolutely disagreed with President Medvedev, and that NATO will have a brilliant future, being now as effective as in 1949, when it started to work. The Alliance is almost 60 year old, but it is live and active, and is not going to change its role or position, the Secretary General underscored.