File photo taken on Feb. 12, 2020 shows the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. (Xinhua/Zhang Cheng)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has recognized Ukraine as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Facebook on Friday.
Kuleba expressed gratitude to the alliance for the decision, adding that through cooperation, Ukraine and NATO will make each other stronger. Ukraine is now one of six partners in Enhanced Opportunities Program along with Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden. Each partner has an individual relationship with NATO based on areas of mutual interest. "This status is part of NATO's Partnership Interoperability Initiative, which aims to maintain and deepen cooperation between Allies and partners that have made significant contributions to NATO-led operations and missions," NATO's press service stated on Friday. NATO, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance. Joining NATO is one of Ukraine's foreign policy priorities. Ukraine became a member of North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1991 and a NATO partner for peace in 1994. In 1997, the Ukraine-NATO relations were strengthened with the signing of the 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission. In June 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted legislation reinstating membership in NATO as a strategic foreign and security policy objective. On Feb. 7, 2019, Ukraine's parliament backed amendments to the Constitution confirming Ukraine's path toward NATO. In January 2020, Ukraine officially applied for participation in the Enhanced Opportunities Program.