“Our alliance must maintain its resolve and finish the fight in Afghanistan,” he said.
Bush said the two former Soviet republics are ready for membership and that Nato leaders at a summit this week must make clear that membership will remain open to all European nations, no matter what Moscow thinks.
|Bush arrived in Romania on Wednesday to
attend a summit of Nato leaders [AFP]
“So my country’s position is clear: Nato should welcome Georgia and Ukraine into the Membership Action Plan. And Nato membership must remain open to all of Europe’s democracies that seek it, and are ready to share in the responsibilities of Nato membership.”
“The problem they face even with president Bush’s support is opposition both from Russia and from significant members of the Nato alliance.
“Russia has long been wary of Nato’s expansion eastwards. It views it as a provocation and even says it will aim missiles at Ukraine if it goes ahead.”
He said Ukraine’s support for the missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo had boosted its effort to join the organisation.
“Ukraine now seeks to deepen its co-operation with the Nato alliance through a membership action plan,” Bush said at a news conference with Yushchenko.
“We’re dealing with a lot of history and a lot of suspicion … I’m hopeful we’ll have some breakthroughs, we’ll see,” he said.
“Obviously we’ve got work to do to persuade the president and the people around him that the missile defence system is not aimed at Russia.”
The US has said it plans to station missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic to counter potential threats from “rogue” states such as Iran or North Korea.