Bush: Russia has no veto right over Ukraine

Russia will not have any "veto" right at this week's NATO summit where the alliance will decide whether to accept new members, US President George W. Bush said Tuesday. (Story: N. Rushworth)


US President George W. Bush said Tuesday that Washington "strongly supports" Ukraine's bid to join NATO, speaking after talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

"Russia won't have a veto over what happens in Bucharest," Bush said at a news conference with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

"And that's the right policy."

"Ukraine now seeks to deepen its cooperation with the NATO alliance through a membership action plan. Ukraine has made a bold decision and the United States strongly supports your request," Bush said at a joint press conference with Yushchenko.

The US president said his administration backed a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine and another ex-Soviet republic, Georgia. MAP is a key step towards membership of the alliance.

"My position is absolutely solid: Ukraine and Georgia should be given MAP," Bush said.

US officials have said that Bush will push for the two countries to be put on track for NATO membership at the alliance's annual summit which opens in Bucharest on Wednesday.

"I strongly believe that Ukraine and Georgia should be given MAP and there's no trade-offs, period," Bush said.

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