Victor Yushchenko has met with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer for talks in Budapest, according to the President`s press-office.

They discussed ways to intensify the dialogue between Ukraine and NATO and implement the Ukraine-NATO Action Plan. They also agreed to speak by phone before an upcoming NATO summit in Riga to exchange views on further cooperation.

Mr. Yushchenko said Ukrainian politicians had virtually no strategic misunderstanding as far as Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration but saw the tactical implementation of the course differently.

“In my opinion, some political circles have not yet fully appreciated the fundamentals of Ukraine’s foreign policy, which is based on legislations passed in the past years,” he told reporters after the meeting, adding that the law on the fundamentals of defense policy, which was approved by the parliamentary majority, included an article stipulating Ukraine’s NATO membership.

Today, he said, Ukraine must not lose the chance it gets by actively cooperating with NATO. He added that we had considerably enhanced our dialogue with NATO in the past two years.

The President said his government was now determined to “start a tolerant and substantiated discussion on Ukraine’s integration into NATO.” He said they were formulating a new information strategy to inform society of many benefits of NATO membership. He promised to be personally in charge of developing and implementing this promotional campaign. 

Mr. Yushchenko invited Mr. Scheffer to Ukraine. He accepted the invitation.