Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko (L) addresses a joint session of Parliament at the House of Commons as speaker Peter Millike looks on in Ottawa May 26, 2008. Yushchenko is on a state visit to Canada until May 28.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
OTTAWA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko reaffirmed Monday his government's determination to join NATO, stressing that gaining membership in the alliance is an important step in strengthening Ukraine's sovereignty.
Yushchenko started a three-day visit to Canada
Monday, during which he addressed the Canadian Parliament and held talks with
Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"The only ... solution to make Ukraine eternal is
Ukraine's ascension to the system of collective security ... When we're speaking
about Ukraine's NATO membership, we're speaking about genuine Ukraine
sovereignty. This is the reason why such a strong and insistent policy is being
carried out by the Ukrainian government," he told Canada's House of Commons.
He also thanked Canada's support for Ukraine joining
NATO during a joint press conference with Harper.
Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko
(bottom) acknowledges a standing ovation after addressing a joint session
of Parliament in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 26,
2008. Yushchenko is on a state visit to Canada until May 28.
and the United States have said they support Ukraine's bid to join the
cross-Atlantic alliance. However, other NATO members, such as France and
Germany, have been more cautious about this.
In his address to the parliament, Harper expressed
support for a private member's bill recognizing the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine as
an act of genocide. The bill, waiting for a vote before summer, is set to pass.
The two leaders also discussed enhancing political
and commercial bilateral ties as well as co-operation on the mission in
Yushchenko will also visit the western city of Winnipeg and Canada's biggest city Toronto during his visit.
Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko (L) speaks during a joint news conference with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 26, 2008. Yushchenko is on a state visit to Canada until May 28.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)