Alexander Vershbow: Ukraine should focus on reforms and implementation of NATO standards
Ukraine should not rush with the issue of joining NATO but focus on conducting reforms and implementation of Alliance's standards, Mr. Alexander Vershbow, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council (USA) believes. He said this during the 12th Kyiv Security Forum, organized by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation.
"Regarding NATO, I am interested in the position of Mr. Zelensky, perhaps, we will hear it within the debates. Ukraine should do homework for compliance with western and national standards. Membership Action Plan and compatibility criterion, - here there is no need to rush. Ukraine should carry out reforms to ensure NATO for continuing support and increasing its presence in the Black Sea basin," he underlined.
However, Mr. Vershbow noticed: "Strategically, Ukraine is a partner NATO can rely on, and we have all been persuaded by this on many occasions."
The expert is also convinced of the need for parliamentary reform.
"The next Verkhovna Rada should be reformed, it is necessary to think about how to work for the formation of inter-party consensus... In addition, the West wants to see not only transparent presidential elections but also parliamentary ones. We also want assurances that reforms to be continued, and they would be conducted on the basis of parliamentary consensus," he said.
According to the representative of the Atlantic Council, during the last 5 years reforms have been carried out in Ukraine, but "the opportunity was not fully utilized, we saw a movement based on the principle - "a step forward, two steps backwards."
"The new Parliament and the President should cooperate more coherently in resolving the issue of Donbas in order to reach solutions that will ensure the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territories, given that the Minsk format had not provided with this," he said.
Furthermore, the expert added: "The West will help, we should put more pressure on Putin aimed at him to change his policy."
The annual international event Kyiv Security Forum was launched by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation in 2007. Since then, the Forum has become a platform for high-level international discussions on current issues of national security, security issues of the Black Sea region, Europe and the world.