VILNIUS (Reuters) – NATO leaders agreed at a summit in Vilnius that Ukraine’s future lies within the alliance’s framework, but they fell short of the invitation or timetable for accession that the country sought.
At the same time, NATO canceled Ukraine’s requirement to meet its so-called Membership Action Plan (MAP), effectively removing an obstacle on Kiev’s path to joining the alliance.
“Ukraine’s future is in NATO,” said a statement approved by the leaders on Tuesday, adding that Kiev’s Euro-Atlantic integration had overtaken the need for a membership action plan.
“We will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when the allies agree and conditions are met,” the declaration said.
While the leaders did not specify what conditions Ukraine needed to meet, they said the alliance would help Kiev make progress on inter-military action as well as on additional democracy and security sector reforms.
(This story has been rewritten to remove extraneous word from the title)
Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold, Andrew Gray and John Irish, Editing by Charlotte Van Campenhout
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