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06KIEV336, UKRAINE: BILATERAL COORDINATION GROUP TALKS: NATO,

January 26, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV336 2006-01-26 08:12 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KIEV 000336 

SIPDIS 

SECDEF FOR OSD/ISP 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2016 
TAGS: PREL PBTS PINR YI IZ MD BO UP OSCE NATO
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: BILATERAL COORDINATION GROUP TALKS: NATO, 
IRAQ, KOSOVO, TRANSNISTRIA, BELARUS 

Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 

1. (C) Summary:  In Bilateral Coordination Group talks 
January 24, ASD/ISP Flory and EUR A/S Fried noted U.S. 
support for Ukraine's NATO aspirations, but emphasized the 
importance of Ukraine demonstrating that it shared the 
political, economic, and social values required to meet the 
performance-based requirements for NATO membership.  Deputy 
Foreign Minister Volodymyr Khandohiy appealed for U.S. 
support for Ukraine receiving NATO MAP status in 2006; 
President Yushchenko had asked DFM Anton Buteyko to travel to 
NATO capitals to lobby for Ukraine's NATO membership.  ASD 
Flory described the shift of the international community's 
efforts in Iraq away from primarily military support toward 
assistance in strengthening Iraq's political, economic, and 
security structures and invited Ukraine to join in this 
effort.  Economics Ministry official Voitko said the 
Ukrainians hoped to table a list of proposed projects for 
Iraq at the next Bilateral Coordination Group round. 

2. (C) Summary cont.:  During a discussion of regional 
issues, MFA Special Negotiator Tkach said Moldovan 
procrastination in amending its "resolution 815" (as part of 
Moldova's implementation of a Ukrainian-Moldovan customs 
protocol) would be the first agenda item in the next round of 
five-plus-two talks on Transnistria.  A/S Fried stressed that 
any future settlement should not negatively affect Moldova's 
territorial integrity.  On Belarus, A/S Fried reported that 
he and an EC official were prepared to visit Minsk and meet 
with the Belarusan Foreign Minister or President Lukashenko 
himself to warn that a fraudulent presidential election would 
have consequences.  MFA Second Territorial Directorate Deputy 
Director Prokopchuk said Ukraine would remain engaged on 
Belarus and suggested that foreign donors consider sending 
Belarusan students to Ukraine for exposure to a more 
democratic country.  On Kosovo, A/S Wayne described the 
special circumstances surrounding the Kosovo status question, 
and Khandohiy stressed that any settlement should not be 
allowed to serve as a precedent for separatist movements 
elsewhere.  End summary. 

3. (U) A U.S. delegation headed by EUR A/S Fried and 
including EB A/S Wayne, ASD/ISP Flory, NSC Director Wilson 
and Ambassador participated January 24 in Bilateral 
Coordination Group discussions with a Ukrainian delegation 
headed by DFM Volodymyr Khandohiy.  Discussions reported 
below cover NATO, Iraq, Transnistria, Belarus and Kosovo; 
other topics reported septels. 

NATO 
---- 

4. (C) Noting the door was always open for participation in 
NATO, ASD Flory said the U.S. strongly supported Ukrainian 
aspirations for NATO membership.  At the same time, the onus 
was on Ukraine to demonstrate that it had implemented 
political and military reforms and shared the political, 
economic, and social values required to join the 
performance-based organization.  ASD Flory complimented 
Ukraine for its significant progress in military reform, 
particularly in the last year, both in carrying forward 
existing programs as well as in adopting new legislation 
allowing new programs to begin. 

5. (C) ASD Flory praised Ukraine's contributions to 
international security, beginning in the mid-1990s in Bosnia, 
following through with contributions of forces for Iraq and 
Kosovo, and looking forward to future participation in 2006 
in Operation Active Endeavor.  Ukraine had provided welcome 
relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, for 
which the U.S. was particularly grateful, and after the 
Pakistan earthquake.  ASD Flory welcomed Ukraine's decision 
to contribute airlift for transport of African Union troops 
to Sudan.  He said the U.S. was ready to assist in the 
transformation of Ukraine's military so that it could be more 
capable to respond to future challenges. 

6. (C) A/S Fried noted that, throughout the process of NATO 
enlargement, membership in NATO hinged not so much on NATO's 
views but on the determination of the candidate country to 
join.  When countries such as Poland and Romania moved 
decisively forward in their bids for membership, opinion 
within NATO consolidated in their favor.  A/S Fried noted 
that public attitudes in NATO candidate countries were more 
important than many people realized.  NATO, while not yet 
concerned, was mindful of the low levels of popular support 
within Ukraine for NATO membership.  NATO would look to the 
Ukrainian government to implement a public education campaign 
after the March 2006 parliamentary elections. 

7. (C) MFA NATO Department Deputy Director Vladislav Yasnyuk 
acknowledged that Ukrainian public opinion was divided on 
NATO membership, with about a third of the population in 
favor, a third opposed, and the remainder undecided.  The 
Ukrainian gove
rnment had appropriated funds for a public 
education effort only about a year ago, but Ukraine was 
encouraged by the example of new NATO members that had been 
able to double public acceptance of NATO membership to the 
60-70 percent range in two or three years.  Furthermore, 
Ukrainian law designated NATO membership as an element of its 
approach to national security.  The parliamentary action 
provided the foundation for unified action by the 
government's executive and legislative branches.  Finally, 
President Yushchenko had identified NATO membership as an 
important goal of Ukrainian foreign policy. 

8. (C) DFM Khandohiy said the NATO Membership Action Plan 
(MAP) was the main priority of Ukraine's interaction with 
NATO.  Ukraine hoped to be included in what NATO itself had 
identified as the "NATO enlargement summit" in 2008.  Much 
work remained to be done to achieve this goal, however.  MAP 
would provide the impetus and the framework for the necessary 
steps to move toward NATO membership, Khandohiy emphasized. 
If NATO approved a Ukrainian MAP early in 2006, then Ukraine 
would have more than two full MAP cycles, which normally 
started in September, before the 2008 summit.  He asked for 
USG support for a NATO-Ukraine meeting on the margins of the 
NATO informal summit in Sofia to consider this possibility 
further. 

9. (C) Khandohiy said President Yushchenko had recently 
designated Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko as his 
Special Representative for NATO.  Yushchenko had asked 
Buteyko to visit NATO capitals in this capacity with a letter 
from Yushchenko underscoring Ukraine's desire to receive a 
MAP this year. 

Iraq 
---- 

10. (C) ASD Flory expressed U.S. appreciation for Ukraine's 
contribution to Iraq.  Ukraine had contributed forces to the 
Multinational Forces and continued to play a role by 
providing personnel to military headquarters and for the NATO 
training mission.  The U.S. also appreciated the extensive 
consultations and sensitivity with which Ukraine had reduced 
its Iraq contribution.  U.S. and international efforts in 
Iraq had now transitioned to the next step of helping Iraq 
build its own institutions and fill the vacuum created by the 
departure of the Hussein regime.  The conduct of three 
elections, and increasing voter participation, attested to 
the effectiveness of these efforts.  The economic dimension 
of the new strategy aimed to establish a real and sustainable 
economy that would demonstrate the new government's capacity 
to improve the daily lives of ordinary Iraqis.  Efforts to 
improve security would begin to put greater emphasis on the 
professionalism of police forces.  In a telling sign of the 
Iraqi government's greater legitimacy, U.S. military 
commanders were reporting a tenfold increase of information 
from the Iraqi population on insurgency forces. 

11. (C) A/S Fried reiterated ASD Flory's expressions of 
appreciation for Ukrainian contributions to Iraq under 
difficult circumstances.  He said the coalition's 
contributions would be judged by the outcome of events in 
Iraq, which now appeared more likely to be positive than 
negative. 

12. (C) MFA Third Territorial Directorate Deputy Director 
Pasko described Ukraine's contributions to Iraq and said 
Ukraine looked forward to greater trilateral cooperation with 
Iraq and the United States.  Economics Ministry Bilateral 
Trade and Economic Cooperation Director Yaroslav Voitko said 
Ukraine was interested in helping to develop Iraq's energy 
sector.  In the next round of the Bilateral Coordination 
Group, the Ukrainian delegation hoped to provide a list of 
potential projects in which Ukrainian companies could join 
with U.S. partners to develop energy-related projects in Iraq 
either as principal implementers or as sub-contractors. 

Transnistria 
------------ 

13. (C) MFA Special Negotiator for Transnistria Dmytro Tkach 
said the Yushchenko plan had been designed to unblock the 
Transnistria negotiation process and move it toward a proper 
dialogue among all sides.  The plan had overcome Moldovan 
refusal to negotiate with the Transnistrian authorities, 
which Moldova referred to as a "bandit regime," by 
establishing a multilateral negotiation process.  Until now, 
Ukraine had been allowing transit of Transnistrian goods 
under an old Commonwealth of Independent States agreement. 
As the result of an agreement signed by the Ukrainian and 
Moldovan Prime Ministers December 30, Ukraine had resolved to 
implement a new customs regime for Transnistrian goods. 
This, however, required the Moldovan government to modify its 
"resolution 815," which it had not yet done.  Ukraine had 
proposed that the lack of Moldovan action be the first agenda 
item for the next 5-plus-2 negotiations. 

14. (C) A/S Fried said the U.S. was concerned about 
Transnistria as it affected Moldovan sovereignty and as an 
indicator of Russia's relations to other "frozen conflicts" 
within the boundaries of neighboring countries.  Just as 
Russia expected the international community to respect its 
territorial integrity, Russian should respect Georgia and 
Moldova's territorial integrity.  While Moldova might be 
taking a rhetorically harsh stance toward Transnistria, 
Moldova's views were not inconsistent with the reality of 
Transnistrian leader Ihor Smirnov's behavior and regime.  A 
Transnistria solution would not be possible without Ukrainian 
participation and support, particularly along Ukraine's 
border with Moldova/Transnistria.  The U.S. was pleased that 
the Ukrainians had announced their intention to enforce the 
customs protocol with Moldova.  A/S Fried said he hoped the 
Ukrainians would be clear and unambiguous that, while various 
formulae were possible, any settlement of Transnistria had to 
respect Moldovan integrity.  While the U.S. did not expect a 
solution in the near term, a solution might be possible in 
time if Ukraine, the U.S., and other friendly parties were 
consistent and patient; in the meantime, it was important to 
do no harm. 

Belarus 
------- 

15. (C) A/S Fried said Belarus' March 19 presidential 
election provided an opportunity for the international 
community to shine a spotlight on the worsening situation in 
Belarus.  Belarusans did not deserve President Lukashenko, 
Fried declared, and the U.S. wanted Belarus to be a free and 
democratic country.  The USG was working closely with the EU 
to develop a united and consistent approach.  The U.S. and EU 
were cooperating to support independent media in Belarus, 
including the establishment of an external broadcasting 
network.  In the meantime, no one should rule out the 
possibility, although admittedly remote, that opposition to 
Lukashenko might galvanize around the elections, as happened 
in Ukraine.  Even if opposition candidate Milinkevich could 
not win, he could establish himself as a legitimate 
opposition voi
ce.  Realism should not lead anyone to view 
Lukashenko as destiny, A/S Fried concluded. 

16. (C) A/S Fried informed the Ukrainian delegation that he, 
together with EC Director General Robert Cooper, were hoping 
to arrive in Minsk January 31, with a meeting with Belarusan 
officials on February 1.  The U.S.-EU joint mission would 
seek to meet with the Foreign Minister, or Lukashenko 
himself, to express international concern over the possible 
conduct of the presidential election and to warn that the 
U.S., EU, and other pro-democratic countries would draw 
conclusions from a fraudulent election, including with regard 
to the legitimacy of a third Lukashenko presidency.  The 
Belarusans had reacted with nervousness to the prospective 
visit.  A/S Fried considered the likelihood that the visit 
would go forward as planned was only 50-50. 

17. (C) MFA Second Territorial Directorate Deputy Director 
Ihor Prokopchuk said Ukraine shared the international 
community's concern over the deteriorating situation in 
Belarus.  Ukraine would continue to join EU statements (in 
the OSCE) on Belarus, which Prokopchuk believed enhanced the 
impact of the statements.  Ukraine would also continue 
actively participating in multilateral meetings on Belarus, 
such as the early December meeting in Stockholm.  Ukraine was 
willing to offer its services to move Belarus out of its 
isolation and believed that contacts with potentially 
dissatisfied members of the Belarusan bureaucracy were a 
useful tactic. 

18. (C) Ukraine had a channel to Lukashenko and was 
considering using it to deliver a targeted message.  Such a 
message could stress the importance of free and fair 
elections or the opening of an EC regional office in Minsk. 
Prokopchuk said the U.S., EU, and Ukraine also had to 
consider an important issue -- how they would respond "on 
March 20" after a free and fair presidential election had not 
occurred.  What would be the consequences?  A/S Fried agreed 
on the importance of the post-election response and hoped 
Ukraine would participate in developing and executing the 
response. 

19. (C) Prokopchuk noted the increasing restrictions that the 
Belarusan government was placing on overseas study.  He 
proposed that donor governments consider developing a 
mechanism to provide funds instead for Belarusans to study in 
Ukraine.  Belarusan students would gain higher academic 
qualifications at the same time they gained exposure to 
Ukraine's greater democracy.  Fried said contact with civil 
society was an important long-term effort and agreed that 
Ukrainians had a unique advantage in reaching out to members 
of Belarus' younger generation. 

Kosovo 
------ 

20. (C) A/S Wayne said the current situation in Kosovo was 
not sustainable.  NATO had intervened to stop Serbian 
atrocities six and a half years ago.  Under the authority of 
UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the United Nations had 
assumed the extraordinary obligation to determine Kosovo's 
future status.  Kosovo's future was uncertain but would not, 
under any scenario, include return to Serbian control.  The 
situation in Kosovo was significantly different from the 
so-called frozen conflicts in places such as Abkhazia, South 
Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh.  Kosovo was no longer under 
Serbian control as a result of a NATO intervention and was 
now under UN administration.  The U.S. appreciated Ukraine's 
contributions to peacekeeping forces in Kosovo. 

21. (C) Noting that Ukrainian FM Tarasyuk was in Kosovo as he 
spoke, DFM Khandohiy said he hoped the visit would not be 
unduly hampered by the death of Kosovar President Ibrahim 
Rugova.  In Pristina, Tarasyuk would visit the Ukrainian 
contingent of the peacekeeping forces and meet with UN 
officials, then continue on to Belgrade.  Khandohiy said 
Tarasyuk's visit underscored the importance of Kosovo to the 
Ukrainian government.  Ukraine fully understood the need to 
give new impetus to settlement efforts and strongly supported 
UN efforts under UNSCR 1244, which provided the framework for 
future talks on Kosovo's status.  Ukraine stood ready to 
continue its contributions to stability in the Balkans 
generally and in Kosovo in particular.  Ukraine felt strongly 
that the settlement process in Kosovo should not be allowed 
to affect other parts of Europe by encouraging separatist 
movements, especially in the areas of frozen, or protracted, 
conflicts.  Kosovo should be treated as a unique situation 
with no linkages to other areas and, Khandohiy said, he hoped 
this point would be taken into account during negotiations on 
a Kosovo settlement.  (Note: According to a January 25 
Interfax Ukraine report, Serbia and Montenegro Foreign 
Minister Vuk Draskovic said Tarasyuk had expressed Ukrainian 
support for "Serbia and Montenegro's territorial integrity in 
the issue of the status of Kosovo" during their meeting.) 

22. (U) The delegation cleared this cable. 

23. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
HERBST

 

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