Ukraine`s Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov and his NATO counterparts agreed on Thursday that Ukraine still has much to do before it can join NATO, news reports said, according to Xinhua.
The defense ministers discussed the military and defense reforms Ukraine is undertaking as part of its efforts to join the bloc at a high-level NATO-Ukraine meeting in Tallinn, capital of Estonia, the Baltic News Service quoted sources from Estonia`s Defense Ministry as saying.
They agreed Ukraine has made great strides in this regard, but also conceded that Ukraine still has a long way to go before it could be accepted as a full NATO member, the report said.
Estonian Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo said it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide whether to join the transatlantic alliance.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference following the two-day meeting that the gathering did not discuss granting Ukraine the Membership Action Plan (MAP) and that NATO foreign ministers will make their first assessment of Ukraine`s MAP status in December.
Even if the Ukraine is not granted the MAP status by then, it does not mean that it would never get it, said de Hoop Scheffer.
Ukraine has been seeking NATO membership and has gained U.S. support. However, NATO members did not agree on granting Kiev the MAP status at a NATO summit in April because of rejection by Germany and France, which said it is too early to give it the status.