U.S. committed to keeping NATO door open to states that meet conditions

by Reuters
Thursday, 6 May 2021 16:49 GMT

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ON BOARD AIR FORCE ONE, May 6 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden's administration is committed to keeping NATO's door open for countries who want to join once they are ready and able to meet the necessary commitments, the White House said on Thursday.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre made the comments to reporters on Air Force One when asked about the administration's position on Ukraine joining the defense alliance.

Jean-Pierre noted that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was currently in Kyiv to affirm U.S. "support for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence."

"His trip, also emphasizes the importance of Ukraine of passing key legislation to advance, rule of law, anti-corruption and economic reforms that will strengthen Ukraine's democracy and economy and further Euro-Atlantic integration," she said, while adding:

"The Biden administration is committed to ensuring that NATO door remains open to aspirants, when they are ready and able to meet the commitments."

Blinken said in Kyiv that Washington could increase security assistance to Ukraine after what he called Russia's "reckless and aggressive" actions in massing troops near its border.

Blinken also said Biden was keen to visit Ukraine and meet President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, but gave no details on that or on Ukraine's aspirations to join NATO.

Ukraine's standoff with Russia prompted Ukraine to call for the United States and Europe to help accelerate its NATO entry. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, writing by Jeff Mason and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

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