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Ukraine agrees for NATO non-military transit to Afghanistan


KIEV, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine, which is seeking membership in NATO, has signed an agreement with the military alliance on the transit of non-military cargo across its territory to Afghanistan.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said the relevant documents were signed on Thursday in Brussels by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Ukrainian NATO envoy Ihor Sagach.

Ukraine has been pursuing NATO membership since pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko was inaugurated in January 2005. However, regular opinion polls show that the majority of Ukrainians continue to oppose joining the alliance.

Due to worsening security on the main land route from Pakistan and the imminent closure of a U.S. airbase in Kyrgyzstan, NATO is seeking alternative routes to supply the U.S.-dominated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

There are 62,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, and U.S. President Barrack Obama has pledged to deploy another 17,000 U.S. military personnel to the war-ravaged country.

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