Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council


Agence France Presse (AFP), Washington, D.C., Monday, March 16, 2009

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama should stop encouraging Georgia and Ukraine's bids to join NATO in order to improve relations with Moscow, a bipartisan commission recommended in a report Monday.

Led by former U.S. senators Gary Hart, a Democrat, and Chuck Hagel, a Republican, the commission made 19 recommendations, taking aim at NATO's eastward expansion, a sore point in US relations with Moscow during the previous administration.

"Accept that neither Ukraine nor Georgia is ready for NATO membership and work closely with US allies to develop options other than NATO membership to demonstrate a commitment to their sovereignty," it said.

"A special relationship with NATO short of membership could serve the same function as membership, and would be a useful way to ensure that those Ukrainians and Georgians seeking to join NATO do not become discouraged," it said.

While arguing that it was necessary to resist Russian efforts to re-establish the sphere of influence of the former Soviet Union, the report urged the administration to "take a new look at missile-defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic." It called for "a genuine effort to develop a cooperative approach to the shared threat from Iranian or other missiles."

On economic matters, the report recommends that Washington facilitate Russia's admission to the World Trade Organization, and quickly revoke the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a Cold War measure that has placed limits on trade with Russia since 1974.

The report was presented to Obama's national security adviser, Jim Jones, and the Vice President Joe Biden, Hagel said at a news conference. Hagel and Hart were received last week by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.