The Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, acknowledged the division of the alliance’s members over the issue of Ukraine’s membership, which will be on the agenda of the Vilnius Summit in July.
“There are different points of view within the Alliance on this issue,” Jens Stoltenberg said during a speech he delivered in Brussels before the German Marshall Fund, recalling that “decision-making in NATO is unanimous… I will have some phone conversations today about the way forward, how to deal Ukraine’s ambitions for NATO membership.
Stoltenberg continued, saying: “No one can know exactly what will be the final decision at the Vilnius summit on this issue.”
In this regard, several diplomats from NATO member states told AFP that the United States and several other allies refuse to go beyond the Bucharest Declaration.
The members of the alliance had confirmed during the Bucharest summit in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia “will become members of NATO,” without specifying a timetable.
Ukraine’s accession to NATO allows it to use the collective defense clause in the alliance’s charter, which requires all allies to defend another member in the event of an attack. One diplomat said discussions were underway “to build the foundations for a membership settlement”.
One possibility may be to give security guarantees, such as those granted to Sweden, whose membership in the alliance is suspended by both Turkey and Sweden.
For her part, a spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry said: “Paris is ready to agree to agreements with Ukraine aimed at giving it security guarantees that will help it defend itself in the long term and prevent any possible future attacks.”
But diplomats AFP spoke to said the term “guarantees” was not unanimous within the alliance. Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that “the ultimate guarantee of security would be NATO membership, but that is not something that happens in the midst of a war.”