President Victor Yushchenko took part today in an International Forum “Europe-Ukraine”, according to the President`s press-office.

Addressing those present, President noted that currently Ukraine has entered a new stage of relations with the European Union. He also said that Ukraine’s recent accession to the WTO and the following beginning of talks on free trade zone and the new agreement with the EU were both significant steps towards realization of Ukraine’s European Aspirations. Speaking of the new agreement between Ukraine and the EU, V. Yushchenko noted that its political part has raised more discussions than the economic one. He however expressed expectancies that despite the discussion Ukraine’s aspirations for association with the EU would be backed up by the EU member states. “I hope that before September Ukraine-EU Summit we will find a pithy wording for corresponding Ukrainian aspirations”, - said V. Yushchenko.

Separately President dwelled on Ukrainian NATO aspirations which to him were based on reasonability of a collective defense model. Here V. Yushchenko also emphasized that in his opinion holding a referendum on the issue would be untimely as the Alliance has not yet made any propositions to Ukraine. He also explained that the question of Ukraine’s membership in NATO was not a true cause of political tensions in the Ukrainian Parliament. “It is not a discussion about NATO. It is a discussion about power”, - said President Yushchenko.

President also expressed assurance that active efforts in informing Ukrainian citizens on NATO and its policy are crucial. To him about 97% of Ukrainians lack appropriate understanding of the Alliance.