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06KIEV1481, UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO AND CODEL FRIST DISCUSS

April 13, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1481 2006-04-13 17:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO2836
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1481/01 1031746
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 131746Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8805
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 001481 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/13/2016 
TAGS: PREL OREP PGOV PARM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO AND CODEL FRIST DISCUSS 
COALITION, UKRAINE'S STRATEGIC PLACE, BILATERAL ISSUES 

Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 

1. (C) Summary:  President Yushchenko discussed Rada majority 
coalition possibilities, bilateral U.S.-Ukrainian issues, and 
his vision for Ukraine's future April 13 with a delegation 
led by Senator Majority leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and 
including Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Richard Burr (R-NC). 
 Yushchenko expressed satisfaction with recent progress on 
forging a coalition between Our Ukraine, the Tymoshenko Bloc 
(BYuT), and the Socialist Party but emphasized that there 
needed to be two-three more weeks of work to resolve details 
to ensure that the "Coalition of Democratic Forces" worked 
more smoothly in 2006 than in 2005.  Yushchenko said that 
Ukraine's future would be secure only through eventual 
membership in NATO and the EU, but Ukraine faced a much 
harder path than other Central European countries not as 
closely affiliated with Russia as Ukraine; certain forces 
within and without pushed Ukraine to take an Eastern path and 
sought to spoil her relations with the West.  On bilateral 
issues, Yushchenko made a renewed pitch for energy 
cooperation "at a strategic level," focusing primarily on 
nuclear energy and on lessening Ukraine's complete dependency 
on Russia for nuclear fuel.  He thanked the U.S. for 
assistance in combating avian flu, highlighted the 
possibilities for space cooperation, and asked for U.S. 
assistance in strengthening control of Ukraine's border with 
Moldova's Transnistrian region through modern border control 
technology. 

2. (C) Comment: Tymoshenko had told us in an earlier April 13 
meeting (septel) that she expected her party, Our Ukraine, 
and the Socialists to initial later in the day a preliminary 
document on the intention to create an Orange Coalition. 
Yushchenko in contrast told us that there would be such a 
coalition, but that he had instructed PM Yekhanurov to take 
two-three weeks to complete the document that the coalition 
partners would sign.  Tymoshenko, Our Ukraine's Bezsmertny, 
and the Socialists' Moroz did in fact sign the protocol on 
forming a coalition late on April 13, according to press 
reports.  This is very good news, the first clear public step 
committing the sides to an Orange Coalition.  Nonetheless, 
Tymoshenko and Yushchenko demonstrated in their meetings very 
different time frames for reaching the final deal.  In 
addition to the inking of the protocol, it is a positive sign 
that Yushchenko did not once criticize Tymoshenko.  This is 
the first time since her sacking in September 2005 that 
Yushchenko has not done so in a meeting with us.  End summary 
and comment. 

Coalition of Democratic Forces Needs a Solid Program 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 

3. (C) Senator Frist thanked Yushchenko for his April 2005 
appearance before a joint session of Congress, congratulated 
Ukraine on holding free, open, and transparent elections, and 
noted that Ukraine had been a focus of discussion in their 
previous stops in Moscow, Warsaw, and Tbilisi.  The elections 
appeared to have reinforced the cause of reform that 
Yushchenko championed.  The U.S. supported the establishment 
of a reform-oriented coalition.  In their prior meeting with 
Yuliya Tymoshenko (septel), continued Frist, the Senators had 
made clear the importance of market-based reforms and of 
avoiding both price setting and overregulation.  Tymoshenko 
had asked the Senators to pass a message to Yushchenko that 
she supported him, supported economic reform, and would 
denounce price setting and reprivatization.  The Senators 
reiterated that the U.S. supported a coalition committed to 
reform. 

4. (C) Yushchenko stated that the elections had clarified 
Ukraine's political situation.  He was personally satisfied 
with the competitive campaign and the results, "with a few 
nuances" (i.e., his party's distant, third-place finish 
behind his fiercest competitors).  Of most importance was 
that the coalition which had supported him in 2004 had "not 
lost a single vote" in 2006.  Nearly all the parties that had 
run on an anti-NATO platform had disappeared, though some 
political forces remained under the influence of Moscow.  The 
main question now was dealing with discrepancies within the 
majority. 

5. (C) The new coalition government, Yushchenko continued, 
would be a democratic one, and would be "Orange."  Yushchenko 
asked the Senators to pass the message in Washington that 
Ukraine's "democratic choice was not under threat."  However, 
there remained a number of steps to ensure the Rada majority 
coalition to be formed would have a sustainable basis and 
could avoid the mistakes of the first Orange coalition in 
2005 (which fell apart after seven months of governing). 
There would be no rush to sign a coalition agreement; 

KIEV 00001481  002 OF 003 

two-three weeks of hard work remained.  Yushchenko stated he 
did not want a repeat of the reprivatization debacle and the 
meat, oil, and gas standoffs of 2005 (i.e., the T
ymoshenko 
policies); that would set business-government relations back 
years. 

6. (C) Yushchenko said the three parties (Our Ukraine, 
Tymoshenko bloc, Socialists) needed to sign a solid political 
agreement listing the dozens of problems Ukraine faced and 
how the coalition would solve them.  Failing to do so would 
doom the coalition to another short, unsustainable stint. 
Yushchenko would insist on a clear path of Euro-Atlantic 
integration and the possibility of land sales (note:  both of 
which would be resisted by the minority partner Socialists). 
The Premier would play the key role in implementation; that 
was why sorting out issues now and securing the support of 
all 243 MPs in the Our Ukraine, BYuT, and Socialist factions 
were important. 

7. (C) Yushchenko expressed satisfaction with the progress in 
negotiations over the past several days.  On the pending 
political reunion with Tymoshenko, Yushchenko denied any 
reluctance, noting that he had benefited in the past from 
partnering with her and appreciated her for what she had 
done, while adding:  "but the devil is in the details."  The 
task ahead for coalition negotiators over the next two weeks 
was to tease out the devils and deal with them.  Yushchenko 
also gave high marks to the April 11 meeting he had convened 
with leaders of all five parties that will be represented in 
the next parliament (Rada), noting that apart from the 
Communists the other parties approached the dialogue 
constructively.  As a result, he planned to hold another 
meeting toward the end of April. 

Ukraine's strategic choice: NATO/EU (but Russia a factor) 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 

8. (C) In response to Senator Burr's question about 
Yushchenko's vision for Ukraine in five years, Yushchenko 
said that Ukraine's strategic development was predicated on 
eventual membership in NATO and the EU, fundamental goals 
that drove Ukraine's foreign policy.  The European 
Parliament's April 6 resolution expressing desire to see 
Ukraine as an EU Associate Member particularly gratified 
Ukraine, especially since the current Ukraine-EU agreement 
expired in 2007. 

9. (C) For Ukraine's future, integration into Western 
institutions was a strategic choice, stated Yushchenko, 
because Ukraine "was stretched Christ-like on a cross, 
crucified between West and East."  He underscored Ukraine's 
vulnerability.  Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and other 
central European countries had faced a simple decision to 
join Europe and pursue Euro-Atlantic integration; the only 
question had been when.  For Ukraine, it was not just a 
question of when, but if, since there was an alternate choice 
pushed by political forces advocating an Eastern inclination, 
buttressed by outside forces engaged in projects to discredit 
Ukraine's reputation in the West.  Both domestic and foreign 
forces supported a return to union (with Russia).  Ukraine 
could go either East or West, but Ukraine chose West because 
that was the choice of hope.  Yushchenko stressed that 
Ukraine's fate was also important for Europe itself. 

10. (C) Yushchenko cited two specific rumors that had been 
planted in the media:  that Ukraine had hosted a CIA-run 
terrorist detainee prison, and that extremists linked to 
Usama bin Laden had been allowed to be in Ukraine.  He warned 
that the next rumor designed to create a scandal between the 
U.S. and Ukraine might be released in the coming days:  that 
Ukraine had sold missiles to Iraq.  "Do not believe the story 
if you hear it; it is not true."  Russia was sending unsubtle 
hints as well:  $230 per thousand cubic meters of natural 
gas, plus dairy and meat bans.  But he as President would 
make decisions about Ukraine's future solely on the basis of 
Ukrainian national interests, Yushchenko vowed, not on the 
narrow interests of certain political forces. 

Bilateral Issues:  Energy, Space 
-------------------------------- 

11. (U) Yushchenko thanked the Senators for the progress made 
in U.S.-Ukraine relations over the past year in resolving 
issues which had festered for years:  the granting of Market 
Economy Status; the lifting of the Jackson-Vanik amendment; 
and the signing of a WTO protocol.  U.S.-Ukrainian diplomatic 
activity had been intense, increasing the positive dynamics 
of the bilateral relationship. 

12. (C) Yushchenko expressed hope for energy cooperation "at 

KIEV 00001481  003 OF 003 

the strategic level," stressing that the issue was "very, 
very important" to Ukraine, which needed to diversify its 
market and adjust to European standards where possible.  The 
main issue concerned nuclear energy.  Ukraine had 14 nuclear 
power reactors, nine or ten of which would reach the end of 
their planned lifetime in the next decade but could be 
extended another 15-20 years with proper upgrades.  Ukraine 
also wished to diversify some of the fuel assemblies it used, 
switching to U.S. or European cycles.  Finally, Ukraine, 
which mined its own uranium ore, was interested in 
enrichment/processing capacity to break its 100-percent 
dependency on Russia.  Yushchenko mentioned natural gas 
pipeline projects only in passing but noted that he would 
meet (for the second time) with the head of the European 
Energy Agency later on April 13. 

13. (SBU) Yushchenko welcomed the involvement of U.S. energy 
companies in such projects.  Senator Burr replied that the 
U.S. wanted to be Ukraine's partner on such issues; the U.S. 
was also looking toward nuclear energy to supply a much 
larger share of future energy needs.  Ukraine should be able 
to find new partners, whether it be General Electric or 
Toshiba; competition was good for all. 

14. (U) Yushchenko thanked the U.S. for helping to combat 
avian flu.  Thanks to U.S. assistance, Ukraine could now 
conduct analysis in-country, rather than sending samples to 
Western Europe.  Avian flu was a serious issue for Ukraine 
and for neighboring countries and would not go away, since 
Ukraine straddled migratory bird routes. 

15. (C) Yushchenko supported enhanced bilateral space 
cooperation.  Ukraine had signed an agreement with NASA and 
was working on several technical projects.  Ukraine had won a 
tender for the Brazilian Alcantara launch site; the first 
Ukrainian rocket should launch from Alcantara in 2007. 

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

16. (C) Yushchenko thanked the U.S. for support of efforts to 
resolve the Transnistria conflict in Moldova.  There were two 
elements on which Ukraine looked to the U.S. for further 
action.  Politically, Ukraine hoped the U.S. could take 
advantage of the expanded 5-plus-2 format to renew 
negotiations.  Technically, Ukraine needed help with modern 
management/control of its border with the Transnistrian

region, currently a 450-km stretch riddled with forest 
footpaths and tracks without physical barriers and a history 
of active smuggling.  The 100-person EU Border Assistance 
Mission (EUBAM) was a decent start, but Ukraine needed to set 
up new regulated checkpoints and install optical equipment to 
monitor more remote stretches.  The Ukrainian ability to 
control its border was currently very weak. 

17. (SBU) Senator Gregg, noting his responsibility for 
oversight of Homeland Security issues, replied that the U.S. 
spent a great deal of time developing new technologies for 
border monitoring and should be able to respond to 
Yushchenko's interest in this area if he wished to send a 
Ukrainian team to the United States.  Yushchenko thanked 
Senator Gregg and asked his foreign policy adviser, 
Ambassador Kostyantyn Tymoshenko, to make arrangements with 
the Border Guards.  Ukraine needed to develop a new concept 
of modern border management, Yushchenko stressed.  The model 
could subsequently be applied to its eastern border (with 
Russia), which had never been demarcated fully and had never 
been a physical border. 

Bio note 
-------- 

18. (C)  Bio note:  Yushchenko appeared to comprehend more 
English in this meeting than in the past, visibly reacting to 
comments in English, rather than waiting/relying on 
interpretation into Ukrainian.  He also repeatedly 
interjected: "Yes, yes" and "Thank you" into the conversation 
and added:  "Thank you for coming" as the Codel shook hands 
with him as they departed.  The scale of the dioxin-induced 
chloracne on Yushchenko's face continues to subside, 
noticeably so on his forehead (less so on his cheeks and 
temples), though it would appear that significant scarring 
will remain. 

19. (U) Codel Frist did not have an opportunity to clear this 
message. 

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

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