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06KIEV477, UKRAINE: MFA OFFICIAL ON OSCE REFORM, PROJECT

February 3, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV477 2006-02-03 15:18 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 02 KIEV 000477 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/03/2016 
TAGS: PREL OSCE
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: MFA OFFICIAL ON OSCE REFORM, PROJECT 
COORDINATOR IN UKRAINE 

Classified By: Political Counselor Aubrey A. Carlson for reasons 1.4(b, 
d) 

1. (C) Summary:  MFA OSCE Department Counselor Volodymyr 
Tolkach expressed to us January 18 the Ukrainian government's 
support for OSCE reform.  OSCE reform should include some 
provision that ensures a single country cannot block an OSCE 
decision.  At the same time, Tolkach argued, there should be 
balance among the OSCE institutions of the Secretary General, 
Permanent Council, and Chairman in Office; new procedures and 
agreements were also necessary to ensure better coordination 
among OSCE offices and between OSCE and its member states. 
There should be greater attention to the economic dimension, 
and the addition of a "security dimension," focusing on 
border security, law enforcement, anti-trafficking and the 
like, might be desirable.  Ukraine wanted to be more active 
in OSCE, including by having a greater percentage of its 
nationals filling OSCE positions.  Tolkach appreciated 
contributions from the Project Coordinator in Ukraine office 
and talked as if he expected projects to continue beyond 
2006.  End summary. 

A Positive Ukrainian Attitude 
----------------------------- 

2. (C) MFA OSCE Department Counselor Volodymyr Tolkach said 
the large Ukrainian delegation to the 2005 OSCE Human 
Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) in Warsaw was 
evidence of the positive change in Ukraine's view of, and 
relations with, OSCE.  Representatives from seven ministries 
ensured, for the first time, that the Ukrainian delegation 
was prepared to discuss the entire range of issues raised at 
the meeting.  Other evidence of Ukraine's changed attitude 
was its close cooperation with OSCE to prepare for the 
dispatch of 60 long-term and 600 short-term observers for the 
March parliamentary (Rada) elections.  Tolkach said the 
Ukrainian government understood well that the elections would 
be a prime indicator of Ukraine's readiness to move toward a 
more European model. 

3. (U) Stressing that the OSCE human dimension was important 
to Ukraine, Tolkach said the Ukrainian government was 
determined to conduct elections in a proper manner and, in 
doing so, to meet its OSCE commitments.  This was a priority 
for President Yushchenko, who had personally invited the OSCE 
and Council of Europe to send an election observation 
mission.  Foreign Minister Tarasyuk had paralleled the 
invitation with his own to OSCE Office of Democratic 
Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Director Strohal. 
Ukraine would not invite observers from the Commonwealth of 
Independent States (CIS) as an institution, but would welcome 
the participation of citizens from CIS member countries. 

Frozen Conflicts 
---------------- 

4. (C) Tolkach noted Ukraine had increased its involvement in 
the resolution of the so-called "frozen conflicts," 
especially Transnistria, in further fulfillment of its OSCE 
commitments.  Tolkach participated in an MFA working group on 
Transnistria that met regularly and included representatives 
from the MFA Political Department, the Arms Control 
Department and the Department of Cultural and Humanitarian 
Cooperation.  GOU representatives from outside MFA, e.g., 
National Security and Defense Council, Ministry of Defense, 
State Border Guard Service, would also often sit in.  As part 
of its participation in OSCE and partly because of Ukraine's 
interest in the frozen conflicts, Tolkach offered that 
Ukraine would want to play a greater role in OSCE missions. 
Currently, only one Ukrainian staffed OSCE missions in 
Central Asia, in Bishkek, an area where Tolkach noted 
Ukrainians could be particularly effective. 

OSCE Reform 
----------- 

5. (C) Noting that the Ukrainian government would like to see 
a more open, transparent, and "perhaps stronger" OSCE, 
Tolkach said Ukraine would like to see OSCE reforms 
implemented.  Currently, some institutions under the OSCE 
umbrella appeared to act without sufficient oversight and 
political direction.  An OSCE charter could establish basic 
operating principles and allow better regulation of various 
OSCE elements.  For example, Ukraine had proposed a project 
on local media freedom to OSCE Representative on Freedom of 
the Media Miklos Haraszti but had not received a response. 
In another case, Ukraine was dismayed that the Office of the 
Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environment Activities had 
launched its ENVSEC initiative without discussion by member 
states within the OSCE framework.  Tolkach said the 
initiative had laudable aims and would probably enjoy wide 
support, but nevertheless should have received an appropriate 
review on the political level. 

6. (C) Tolkach provided an example from his own experience of 
the problems created by the lack of clarity in OSCE 
structures and operating procedures.  He said Ukraine had 
proposed a cooperative project on anti-Semitism and 
xenophobia to ODIHR.  ODIHR, in accordance with its 
regulations, asked that the MFA nominate a "national focal 
point."  The MFA selected an academic to develop the program, 
but was then dismayed when ODIHR asked the academic to set up 
high-level meetings, including with Ukrainian ministers, that 
was beyond the individual's capacity. 

7. (C) Tol
kach said that, while Ukraine wished to adopt new 
rules of procedure, Ukraine would also carefully examine all 
proposals.  It did not want to recreate structural problems 
inherent, for example, in the UN system.  The OSCE Secretary 
General should not be strengthened at the expense of the 
Permanent Council, Tokach warned.  There should be balance 
among the OSCE's primary institutions -- the Secretary 
General, the Permanent Council, and the Chairman-in-Office 
(CiO).  Tolkach expressed a desire for a reformed OSCE that 
would not allow one country to block OSCE decisions, such as 
occurred with budget approval in 2005.  At the same time, an 
overly powerful secretary general would also not be good. 

OSCE Reform -- Greater Balance 
------------------------------ 

8. (C) Tolkach expressed support for greater attention to the 
economic dimension, noting Ukraine's desire to obtain 
progress in implementing the melange fuel project.  Ukraine 
would support the establishment of a new OSCE institution to 
buttress the economic dimension further.  Ukraine also 
supported the Belgian CiO's call to hold an international 
conference on energy security for Europe, and would even 
consider hosting the conference.  Tolkach suggested OSCE 
could define a new dimension that would group its activity in 
the areas of anti-terrorism, border security, 
anti-trafficking, and organized crime.  Ukraine had seen a 
good effect from the development of the concept and approach 
in the Balkans and cooperation to improve border security 
among Albania, Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro. 

More Ukrainians in OSCE 
----------------------- 

9. (C) Tolkach said OSCE reform should be directed toward 
achieving greater gender and geographic balance among OSCE 
staff and efforts to develop their professional skills.  He 
noted only 1.6 percent of OSCE employees were Ukrainian.  In 
the past, OSCE had responded positively when Ukraine urged an 
increase in the level of Ukrainian participation, but no 
concrete steps followed, Tolkach complained.  ODIHR employed 
a Ukrainian national, but she was a contract employee who 
filled a technical position. 

Project Coordinator in Ukraine 
------------------------------ 

10. (C) Tolkach said Ukraine's relationship with the previous 
head of the Project Coordinator in Ukraine (PCU) office were 
excellent, but that relations with Ambassador Schumaker 
(note:  who arrived in Kiev in fall 2005) were amicable.  He 
appreciated PCU assistance, such as to the Central Election 
Commission, in commercial and economic development in western 
Ukraine, and in the destruction of melange rocket fuel. 
Tolkach's office was engaged with PCU in development of 
calendar year 2006 projects.  Tolkach suggested he would like 
to be able to review the projects with PCU again at the end 
of the year, to determine which had been effective and which 
not, so as to be able to adjust the mix of projects in the 
future. 

Altruism and Self-interest 
-------------------------- 

11. (C) Comment:  We pass on Tolkach's observations as an 
indicator of Ukrainian views toward OSCE, although, to some 
degree, his comments might have reflected his personal 
thoughts and not fully coordinated Ukrainian government 
positions.  While a greater level of Ukrainian involvement in 
OSCE is consistent with its broader diplomatic support for 
democratic principles (e.g., Ukrainian sponsorship of the 
Community of Democratic Choice), the Ukrainian government 
also is pushing for a greater return on its membership in 
terms of the share of OSCE positions held by Ukrainians. 

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

 

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