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06KIEV1530, UKRAINE: YANUKOVYCH TO CODEL FRIST: ORANGE

April 14, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1530 2006-04-14 14:23 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO3833
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1530/01 1041423
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141423Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8843
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 001530 

SIPDIS 

CODEL 
SIPDIS 

DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USTR FOR KLEIN/MOLNAR; USDOC FOR 
4231/ITA/OEENIS/NISD/CLUCYCK 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/14/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ETRD NATO OREP PINR US UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: YANUKOVYCH TO CODEL FRIST: ORANGE 
COALITION "DOOMED TO FAIL" 

REF: KIEV 643 

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

1. (C) Summary:  Former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych told 
CODEL Frist and Ambassador April 13 that the pro-presidential 
Our Ukraine (OU) bloc needed to form a coalition with his 
Party of Regions in order to overcome the east-west split 
within the country.  A union of the previous ruling coalition 
(of OU, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, and the Socialist Party) 
would be doomed to fail, as it had once before.  In the new 
parliament, Party of Regions would put a priority on 
legislation to empower local government.  Yanukovych said 
progress toward NATO membership should be a natural process 
and would be assisted if NATO could demonstrate to the 
Ukrainian public the concrete benefits of a closer 
relationship.  Yanukovych claimed to favor Ukraine's WTO 
accession but said his party would seek to delay or slow 
implementation of some WTO-related measures.  Senator Frist 
praised Ukraine's recent parliamentary (Rada) elections.  End 
summary. 

A Milestone Election 
-------------------- 

2. (SBU) Yanukovych welcomed the opportunity to share views 
with CODEL Frist (Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-TN; 
Senator Judd Gregg, R-NH; and Senator Richard Burr, R-NC) and 
Ambassador.  Senator Frist congratulated Yanukovych for Party 
of Regions' (first-place, plurality-winning) electoral 
results, saying that, as a politician, he found nothing more 
exciting than a free and fair election.  He congratulated 
Yanukovych and other Ukrainian politicians for a process that 
functioned well with open debate and a multi-party system. 
He and his delegation were visiting Ukraine at an exciting 
time, but, whatever the outcome (of ongoing Rada majority 
coalition formation talks), he wanted to maintain an open 
dialogue with Ukrainian counterparts. 

Coalition Building 
------------------ 

3. (SBU) Yanukovych started by noting the elections were 
basically fair, for which he credited the Ukrainian people, 
including its "Orange part."  He asserted that real 
negotiations on coalition-building within the new Parliament 
(Rada) would take place after official publication of the 
final poll results.  Once this happened, Party of Regions 
would be open to any possible coalition partner, but would 
first approach (President Yushchenko's) Our Ukraine Bloc. 
(Note:  Ukrainian law calls for publication of the final, 
official results within five days of announcement of the 
results, barring any legal challenges.  While the Central 
Election Commission announced election results April 10, the 
Supreme Administrative Court ordered suspension of their 
publication based on an appeal by the People's Opposition 
Bloc led by radical Socialist Natalya Vitrenko over 
procedural irregularities.  The court ruled that the CEC 
could not take action to finalize the Rada election results 
until the People's Opposition Bloc's case was settled.) 

4. (SBU) Yanukovych said he was pleased with the election 
results, since Regions had won with more than 50% of the vote 
in 10 regions.  (Note: Regions in fact came in first in 10 
regions -- 8 southern and eastern oblasts, the Crimean 
Autonomous Republic, and Sevastopol, which, like Kiev, has a 
special administrative status -- but only took a majority of 
the vote in 6.)  These regions were the heavily populated and 
industrialized areas in the south and east.  Yanukovych said 
President Yushchenko should seize the opportunity to create a 
coalition that would bridge the divide in Ukrainian society 
(i.e., between the areas supporting Party of Regions and the 
17 regions where either Our Ukraine or the Yuliya Tymoshenko 
Bloc, BYuT, emerged victorious). 

5. (SBU) Furthermore, Yanukovych argued, as the recipient of 
the largest number of votes, Regions should be included in 
any ruling coalition.  If Yushchenko failed to do so, he 
(Yanukovych) and the Party of Regions would hold Yushchenko 
personally responsible for the consequences.  A reformation 
of the earlier "Orange coalition" (of OU, BYuT, and the 
Socialist Party) was doomed to fail; it had crumbled once and 
it would do so again.  If Regions were in the opposition, 
however, the party would endeavor to work on the basis of its 
platform with the government for the common good and 
Ukraine's national interests. 

KIEV 00001530  002 OF 003 

Further Government Reform 
------------------------- 

6. (C) Yanukovych said that, as prime minister, he had worked 
in close cooperation with the Rada to pass legislation that 
had resulted in a strong economy -- 9.6% GDP growth in 2003 
and 12.3% in 2004.  The government's primary task now was to 
restore the public's fai
th so that their renewed trust would 
resuscitate the economy.  Constitutional reform was the first 
step toward further reform of the government structure. 
Yanukovych said his primary task in the Rada would be to 
empower local governments by passing legislation to reform 
local government, including by allowing people to elect heads 
of regional governments directly, rather than the central 
government appointing them.  Local governments, he argued, 
should have the power and authority to fulfill their 
responsibilities. 

Euro-Atlantic Integration and NATO 
---------------------------------- 

7. (C) Senator Frist noted the importance of Ukraine's 
continued progress toward integration into Euro-Atlantic 
institutions, including NATO.  Yanukovych responded carefully 
that the Party of Regions platform supported developing a 
relationship with NATO.  He had welcomed then-NATO Secretary 
General Robertson to Donetsk when he was governor there. 
Ukraine's movement toward Euro-Atlantic integration, however, 
should be natural, and Yanukovych drew a comparison to love, 
"which must be mutual."  For the moment, 80% of Ukrainians 
opposed NATO membership.  This could be overcome, Yanukovych 
suggested, if NATO could demonstrate concrete benefits from 
membership.  NATO actions like a decision to purchase 
Ukrainian-manufactured AN-70 aircraft would be welcomed and 
convincingly display the benefits of NATO membership, so that 
Ukrainians would not feel "forced and humiliated" if Ukraine 
eventually became a member.  Ukrainians also did not 
understand why the USG provided a plant to Russia to 
eliminate solid rocket fuel, but not one in Pavlohrad in 
Ukraine for the same purpose.  In addition, Ukrainians did 
not understand why Ukrainian contributions toward Iraq had 
not been reciprocated (with commercial deals). 

8. (U) Note:  Russia and Ukraine are developing the short 
takeoff and landing AN-70 military transport aircraft under 
intergovernmental agreements signed in 1993 and 1999.  Under 
the agreements, Russian financed 72% and Ukraine 28% of the 
AN-70's research and development.  The aircraft is being 
developed by the Kiev-based Antonov ANTK Company.  It will be 
powered by D-27 engines to be mass-produced at the 
Zaporizhzhya-based Motor Sich Enterprise.  The Russian 
government recently threatened to pull out from the AN-70 
project. 

WTO, EU, and Russia 
------------------- 

9. (C) Yanukovych claimed to favor Ukraine's membership in 
the WTO, noting that most bilateral protocols had been signed 
when he was prime minister.  (Note: the GOU signed 21 
bilateral market access agreements during Yanukovych's tenure 
as PM, from November 22, 2002 to the end of December 2004. 
This is a substantial share but not quite the majority of the 
approximately 46 WTO members that have required such 
agreements of Ukraine; 43 of these have been signed to date.) 
 However, due to a need to support national industries and 
the vulnerability of some economic sectors, his party would 
advocate postponement or slower implementation of some 
WTO-related measures.  He would work to deepen Ukraine's 
relationship with the EU, but not in terms of words but with 
real achievements.  Yanukovych acknowledged that, under 
Yushchenko, Ukraine's relationship with the U.S. had reached 
a new qualitative level, but he observed that Ukraine needed 
to develop a new and long-term strategy toward Russia that 
would not anger the citizenry of either country.  He also 
noted that many economic issues needed to be solved in the 
trilateral relationship of Ukraine, Russia, and the EU and 
suggested that the three parties should consider them 
together. 

Congressional Support 
--------------------- 

10. (C) At the end of the meeting, Senator Frist again 
praised the transparency and fairness of the recently 

KIEV 00001530  003 OF 003 

concluded parliamentary elections.  He said he looked forward 
to future visits both by Ukrainian officials to Washington 
and other Congressional delegations to Ukraine. 

11. (C) Comment:  Yanukovych had a nuanced message for the 
Senators designed to suggest moderation.  This was evident in 
his praise, albeit offhanded, for the Orange contribution to 
fair elections and improved relations with the U.S.  It was 
also evident in his suggestion of ways that NATO might 
encourage Ukrainian cooperation.  Perhaps the most troubling 
view he expressed involved the possibility that his party 
might need to oppose or amend certain WTO-related bills to 
ensure that Ukrainian industry did not suffer. 

12. (U) CODEL Frist did not have an opportunity to clear this 
cable. 

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

Wikileaks

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