Ukraine’s new foreign minister, Boris Tarasyuk, chose Poland and Hungary–both in the process of being admitted to NATO–for his visit abroad as minister. Conferring with the presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers in Warsaw and Budapest, Tarasyuk stressed that Ukraine has no objection to the accession of Central European ex-socialist states to NATO. Tarasyuk and his hosts agreed that Poland and Hungary would share with Ukraine their experience in developing cooperation with NATO. Hungarian President Arpad Goencz described Tarasyuk as “personifying Ukraine’s aspiration towards Euro-Atlantic integration.”
In a parallel statement, the deputy head of the presidential administration’s foreign policy department, Andryi Fialko, reaffirmed Ukraine’s aspiration to “join a renovated NATO. If we don’t raise the issue of joining the alliance at this time, it does not mean that we are not interested,” Fialko pointed out at a briefing in Kyiv. (Radio Kyiv, Ukrainian agencies, Radio Budapest, PAP, Itar-Tass, April 27 and 28)
These pronouncements starkly delimit Ukraine’s position from that of Russia, even as the CIS summit opens in Moscow. President Leonid Kuchma chose Tarasyuk as Foreign Minister primarily because of his role in developing Ukraine’s relations with NATO (see The Monitor, April 20, 21).
THE WESTERN-ORIENTED OFFICER CONFIRMED AS GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER.