Ukraine’s bid for NATO is not yet resolved with the gathering of alliance leaders – Politico

VILNIUS – It’s one problem that should go to NATO as leaders prepare to meet for a summit in the Lithuanian capital.

The Turkish president accepted Sweden’s turbulent membership application late Monday, but the tricky issue of crafting acceptable language about Ukraine’s membership aspirations has yet to be agreed upon.

After extensive talks on the summit statement, no final agreement was reached on what would be offered to Ukraine, although one senior NATO diplomat said: “We’ve made very good progress and I’m 100% optimistic.”

Officials negotiating language for Ukraine are now expected to meet again on Tuesday, the same day the leaders begin their two-day meeting.

“I think it’s coming together — it’s very close,” said a second senior NATO diplomat, like others, who was not named to discuss sensitive negotiations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky increased pressure on the alliance on Monday, demanding that NATO send a clear signal that his country will join him once the war with Russia ends.

Even if different positions are expressed, it is still clear that Ukraine deserves to be in the alliance. Not now – there is a war, but we need a clear signal. And we need this signal now, ”Zelensky said He said.

Kiev’s bid to join NATO after the end of hostilities has widespread support among alliance members, but has met resistance from Germany and the United States. While all allies formally agree that Ukraine will become a member someday, Berlin and Washington are reluctant to offer Ukraine a concrete path to membership, preferring to focus on Kiev’s immediate needs to fight off a Russian invasion.

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“I don’t think there is a consensus in NATO about whether Ukraine will be included in the NATO family now, at this moment, in the midst of the war,” said US President Joe Biden. he told CNN In an interview that aired on Sunday. He added that if Ukraine is a member of NATO, “we are at war with Russia, if that’s the case.”

A senior German official said earlier on Monday: “The time is not right at this summit to call on Ukraine, to take concrete steps towards membership. There is no consensus among the allies either.”

Biden, who arrived in Vilnius on Monday, plans to meet Zelensky on Wednesday.

NATO leaders will be able to turn their full attention to Ukraine on Tuesday after resolving another big problem – Sweden’s stalled bid for NATO membership – after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to take the issue to the Turkish parliament.

Hans von der Borchard contributed reporting.

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