Ukraine will fulfill all of its obligations on cooperation with NATO, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament said Monday, according to RIA Novosti.

      On March 17, a U.S. Senate majority approved a bill providing support and funding for the membership of two former Soviet republics, Ukraine and Georgia, in NATO. The U.S. State Department said they were interested in working with Ukraine on a proposed ballistic missile shield, although many in the country are opposed to any involvement.

      "All of Ukraine`s obligations on cooperation with NATO structures, particularly with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, will be successfully implemented," Oleksandr Moroz said at a meeting with Jose Lello, the chairman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

      Lello said, in turn, that the assembly`s task is to help Ukraine, if necessary, resolve difficult tasks regarding the reformation of the country`s Armed Forces.

      Earlier Monday, John Colston, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Policy and Planning, told a news conference in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, that NATO member countries will assist Ukraine reform its defense and security sectors.

      Colston said that relations between Ukraine and NATO "were based on fundamental and deep trends," and that Ukraine contributed to NATO`s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

      Late last week, the national security and defense committee of Ukraine`s parliament voted unanimously to allow foreign military units to participate in international exercises in the country.

      Yuriy Samoilenko, deputy head of the committee, told a news conference Monday that the issue would soon be submitted for consideration to the Supreme Rada (Ukraine`s parliament), and that he was confident the issue would be approved by a majority.

      This year`s schedule provides for 14 military exercises involving the Ukrainian Army and Armed Forces units from other countries. Five of the 14 exercises will be held in Ukraine.

      The Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko has said that Ukraine`s drive to join NATO was in line with the country`s national interests, and that it was free to choose any collective security system it preferred.