Bush pushes NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine against Russia’s objections


Story Transcript

Pushing for NATO expansion
Bucharest, Romania

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VOICE OF ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: US President George W. Bush is in Romania for meetings with leaders of 26 NATO member states, ahead of Thursday’s conference in Bucharest. The US leader is strongly supporting the NATO entry bids of former Soviet bloc countries Ukraine and Georgia. But the push for NATO expansion faces strong opposition from Russia and resistance from some NATO partners, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said there was broad skepticism about Ukraine and Georgia, and warned against adding a further burden to relations with Moscow. US-Russian relations are strained over Kosovo’s independence and US plans to base anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. Earlier this week, Bush visited Ukraine, where he met with President Viktor Yushchenko and voiced support for Ukraine’s NATO bid. Bush’s visit was met with anti-NATO protesters in Kiev.

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Kiev, Ukraine
April 1, 2008

PROTESTER 1 (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): If he, Bush, had arrived in peace that’s fine, we welcome everybody. But dragging Ukraine into NATO, I think that’s a crime.

PROTESTER 2 (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): We know that there is one goal of his visit: to make Ukraine join NATO. But the majority of people don’t want that. We do not want our children to fight in hot spots of the world, we do not want to obey the laws of the United States.

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Some analysts say the greatest danger from NATO accession would be to Ukraine itself, as its population is divided among those who are pro-western and those who are pro-Russian.

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VIKTOR KREMENYUK, USA AND CANADA INSTITUTE: If the NATO leaders decide that they should go ahead with the plan of the membership for Ukraine, disregarding what is happening in the country, I think they may provoke a conflict between the two parts of Ukraine.

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Also up for discussion at the Bucharest summit will be increasing troop levels in Afghanistan and the planned accession to NATO of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia.

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