Russia criticises U.S.’ NATO accession bill
The Russian State Duma has expressed its concern over U.S President George Bush’s signing the bill supporting the bids of Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Ukraine to join NATO, criticising the legislation signed.Head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said the move has come as a surprise. “The recent decision of the U.S. President is rather an unexpected one. I was hoping that their position, expressed by some congressmen in the draft law, would not be supported by the President because giving financial and administrative support to countries like Georgia and Ukraine for their faster accession into NATO is not the proper step in the situation when the population of these countries is much divided”. In Mr Kosachev’s opinion, when the governments have not yet taken the decisions whether to ask for membership in NATO or not, to ask these countries to speed up the process, means to “intervene with their internal affairs”. He also added that “this is an attempt to set pressure on public opinion in these countries in order to get the result needed. This is not a fair step, and, definitely, it will create more problems in bilateral relations with the U.S. because Russia has always insisted on a sovereign right of any country to take its own decision on its security policy, including whether to become NATO member or not”. The bill signed specifies that in 2008 the U.S. will allocate $US 12 MLN to assist those prospective NATO member countries, and from 2008 to 2012 there will be $US 30 MLN allocated from the U.S. budget for this purpose.