Havel backs Ukraine's, Belarus's entry into NATO

09:23, 01 September 2008
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The EU and NATO should know where they begin and end?

Ukraine and Belarus are part of the Euro-Atlantic geographical region and should be members of the European Union and NATO, former Czech president Vaclav Havel said on a television discussion programme Sunday, according to the Prague Daily Monitor.

Havel`s view was rejected by another guest to the programme, Semyon Bagdasarov, a Russian Duma member for the Fair Russia party.

"We cannot let NATO surround us with military bases," Bagdasarov said.

Havel indicated that Georgia does not belong in the Euro-Atlantic region and therefore in NATO and the EU.

Georgia that had an armed conflict with Russia in the past weeks would like to join NATO, same as Ukraine.

The EU and NATO should know where they begin and end, and, based on these borders, develop partner relations with other entities, Havel said.

"History shows us that where the borders are unclear and uncertain, wars start," Havel warned.

"The Alliance should clearly say which countries can belong into its circle and tell the others: sorry, you belong elsewhere," Havel said.

He said he believes one can see a dividing line on the map east of the Baltic states, Ukraine and Belarus. "Next to this, an enormous Eurasian empire begins that logically is an independent entity," Havel said.

Bagdasarov said Russia feels surrounded by a bloc that has hostile policy towards it. "We must defend our interests," he said, adding that Russia`s countermeasures would be tough.

Havel said in reaction to Bagdasarov that it seemed absurd that the world`s largest country felt threatened by small states around it. He added that this was a traditional Russian fallacy that has survived from the times of Tsarist Russia.

Bagdasarov said while the western part of Ukraine may want to join NATO, most people in its eastern and southern part are against NATO entry.

He said the United States were behind the conflict in Georgia as it wants a pro-American regime in the country because it is interested in oil pipelines in Georgia.

He said Russia cannot trust the United States because of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bagdasarov promoted the recognition of pro-Russian separatist regions in the Russian Duma already in the spring.

Czech EU Affairs Minister Alexandr Vondra said on a different television programme Sunday that Georgia should be offered future membership of NATO in connection with the current events.

Vondra pointed out that the Georgian public seems to clearly support the country`s inclusion in NATO.

Prague Daily Monitor

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