00:38 GMT +315 November 2019
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    Ukraine Abandons Short-Term NATO Membership Goal to Focus on Reforms

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    Ukraine does not yet plan to apply for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership and will instead focus on security and defense reforms to comply with the alliance's standards, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Monday.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — On Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the appointment of Volker, former US Permanent Representative to NATO, as US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations to spearhead US efforts to move forward on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

    "I would like to re-emphasize that we are not going to immediately apply for membership because we need to develop our program of cooperation, speed up our efforts to reach necessary standards," Poroshenko said.

    Opening the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Kiev, he said "reform and strengthening our defense capabilities is the first and foremost task of this phase."

    Earlier Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a law that basically affirms Ukraine's intention to become part of NATO.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday Poroshenko also said that NATO has accepted Ukraine's proposal to formally launch its membership dialogue.

    "We deem it necessary and today it has been emphasized that we should start a discussion about establishing a Membership Action Plan. And our proposals of the beginning of the discussion were accepted with understanding," Poroshenko said.

    According to a statement issued by Ukrainian president's press service, the goal to attain NATO membership has now officially become one of Kiev's key policies.

    Tags:
    reforms, Minsk protocol, NATO, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine
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