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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:52, February 17, 2006
NATO chief visits Warsaw in support of energy pact proposal, Ukraine membership
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NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on Thursday expressed his support for Poland's initiative for an energy security pact among European countries and Ukraine's aspiration to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The NATO chief, who was on a one-day visit, made the overtures while meeting with Polish President Lech Kaczynski, Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Foreign Minister Stefan Meller and Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

Energy safety and Ukraine's bid for NATO membership dominated the talks of the NATO chief and the Polish president, officials said.

During his talks with de Hoop Scheffer, Marcinkiewicz renewed a call for NATO and the European Union (EU) to be be involved in energy safety endeavors.

Last week, the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita published Marcinkiewicz's article on proposing an energy security pact among European countries which are obliged to help one another if their gas deliveries are threatened.

De Hoop Scheffer welcomed Marcinkiewicz's proposal, saying the initiative is very significant from NATO's and the EU's point of view.

Poland made the proposal in the wake of Russia's recent cuts of its natural gas deliveries to Ukraine, Poland and some other European countries.

On Ukraine's pursuit of NATO membership, both de Hoop Scheffer and Polish officials voiced strong support.

"NATO supports Ukraine's euroatlantic drive and will continue to do so. It is important that dialogue between Ukraine and NATO intensify. We will continue to support these negotiations and the path chosen by Ukrainian." de Hoop Scheffer said after meeting Polish officials.

Poland joined NATO's defense alliance during its first round of eastward expansion in 1999. The alliance is funding 90 projects worth 660 million U.S. dollars, including seven airports, two harbors, five fuel bases and an air defense system in Poland.

Poland joined the EU in May 2004.

Source: Xinhua

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