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06KIEV1639, UKRAINE: DNSA CROUCH’S NATO-THEMED DINNER INCLUDES

April 26, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1639 2006-04-26 08:27 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO4875
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1639/01 1160827
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 260827Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9008
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KIEV 001639 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: DNSA CROUCH'S NATO-THEMED DINNER INCLUDES 
A SPICY SERVING OF RADA COALITION TALK 

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

Summary and Comment 
------------------- 

1. (C) At an April 19 NATO-themed dinner in honor of Deputy 
National Security Adviser Crouch, Defense Minister Hrytsenko 
and Foreign Minister Tarasyuk politely disagreed over the 
attitudes toward NATO of PM-hopeful Yuliya Tymoshenko, the 
Socialist Party, and Party of Regions.  They also disagreed 
over the best tactics for forging a workable Rada majority 
coalition between President Yushchenko's Our Ukraine (OU), 
Tymoshenko's Bloc (BYuT), and the Socialists.  Hrytsenko 
vouched for Tymoshenko's NATO bone fides and said it was 
possible to work with or around the Socialists; Tarasyuk 
discounted Tymoshenko's newfound pro-NATO rhetoric and 
suggested the ex-PM Yanukovych-led Regions would be easier to 
deal with on NATO than the Socialists.  Coalition 
possibilities rather than foreign and security policies 
dominated the discussion.  Tarasyuk, who as head of the Rukh 
party sits on OU's Political Council, took the party line in 
criticizing Tymoshenko and advocating full negotiation of a 
programmatic and rules-based coalition agreement before 
positions could be discussed.  Hrytsenko was more 
conciliatory, stressing the need to move beyond the public 
posturing and finger pointing that had been the norm since 
April 14 and resume direct daily coalition discussions. 
Deputy Foreign Minister Buteyko wryly commented that the 
ultimate spur to clinch a coalition deal would be having the 
clock reach 2345 hours on the 60th and final day for a 
coalition government to be formed (i.e., by 60 days after the 
new Rada opens its session and the sitting government divests 
itself, per the constitution, or as many as 90 days from 
today).  FM Tarasyuk suggested a government should be formed 
by late June; DefMin Hrytsenko thought it would be sooner. 

2.  (C) Comment:  It was striking that FM Tarasyuk, who 
previously has been an olive-branch wielding proponent of 
Orange reconciliation dating back to September 2005 in the 
aftermath of the dismissal of the Tymoshenko government, 
sounded more like Our Ukraine's leading anti-Tymoshenko voice 
Poroshenko in criticizing Tymoshenko and outlining what would 
be necessary to make the Orange coalition work.  While 
Tarasyuk said an Orange coalition would eventually form, his 
tone and body language left his sympathies in doubt.  In 
contrast, Hrytsenko who claimed to be non-partisan (and 
formally belongs to no party), clearly leaned in sympathies 
toward Tymoshenko and more forcefully made the case for 
resolving differences and reaching agreement sooner rather 
than later.  End summary and comment. 

3. (SBU) Ambassador hosted a dinner April 19 in honor of 
Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security 
Adviser J.D. Crouch II.  In attendance were Foreign Minister 
Borys Tarasyuk, Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko, and 
First Deputy Foreign Minister and Presidential representative 
for NATO issues Anton Buteyko.  Also attending for the U.S. 
side were Special Assistant to the President and Senior 
Director for European Affairs Judith Ansley, Director for 
Central, Eastern and Northern European Affairs Damon Wilson, 
Director for Media and Communications Colby Cooper, Executive 
Assistant Brian Naranjo, Embassy acting DATT, and Deputy 
Political Counselor (notetaker). 

NATO appetizers: Actions, Outreach, and Party Positions 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 

4. (C) DNSA Crouch noted that some members of NATO were 
skeptical of expansion in general, without reference to the 
qualifications of specific aspirant countries.  While such 
sentiments had not yet reached the depths of Euro-pessimism 
that touched the EU, they would affect the dynamics of 
consideration of Ukraine's aspirations, particularly if 
Ukrainian public sentiment for NATO membership remained low. 
Tangible, visible efforts and results were needed to spur 
momentum; the U.S. was ready to help.  DefMin Hrytsenko 
responded that it was up to Ukraine to produce results. 
After a nearly continuous election cycle with alternating 
parliamentary and presidential elections in 1998, 1999, 2002, 
2004, and 2006, Ukraine now had a breathing space of nearly 
four years before the next planned election (note: 
presidential, in fall 2009).  The new government could now 
govern and show results, rather than positioning for the next 
election. 

5. (C) DefMin Hrytsenko made a pitch for NATO allies not to 
use low Ukrainian public support for NATO as an obstacle to 
Ukrainian membership if Ukraine met all performance 
standards.  FM Tarasyuk mentioned that he had spent the 
previous two-and-a-half hours in a meeting with Ukrainian 
NGOs talking exclusively about NATO, though the meeting had 

KIEV 00001639  002 OF 004 

been called to focus on both NATO and EU aspirations. 
Tarasyuk had engaged the NGO representatives on how better to 
streamline interaction between NGOs and the MFA, MoD, and 
Government Committees on European and Euro-Atlantic 
Integration, particularly in reinforcing joint
 efforts for an 
information campaign and outreach to Ukrainian society. 

6. (C) Hrytsenko stressed that he continued to push forward 
on reform and related decisions on an accelerated basis, 
without waiting for all the formalities:  for example, 
recently switching the General Staff to a NATO-compatible 
J-staff structure; moving defense resource management along 
Robert McNamara lines, rather than the Soviet-style 
approaches Ukraine had inherited; signing a strategic airlift 
agreement with NATO; self-funding the Ukrainian mission in 
Kosovo; offering strategic airlift for NATO support of the 
African Union mission in Darfur; and securing a Cabinet of 
Ministers decision April 19 to authorize the transfer of 
large-caliber ammunition to Iraqi Defense Forces, similar to 
the December 2005 decision to transfer equipment used by the 
Ukrainian contingent in Iraq to Iraqi authorities.  He felt 
holding up a decision on possible Ukrainian membership until 
Ukraine achieved 50-percent public support for NATO was a 
wrong approach.  DFM Buteyko said that a positive signal to 
Ukraine on MAP (Membership Action Plan) at the April 27-28 
Sofia NATO Ministerial would help Ukraine in its domestic 
debate on NATO. 

7. (C) Hrytsenko emphasized that President Yushchenko had 
clearly stated that Euro-Atlantic integration was the basis 
for Ukrainian foreign policy.  Neither Tymoshenko nor 
Yanukovych knew much about NATO; both would focus on energy, 
social policy, and other domestic issues in a coalition 
government.  Buteyko was the Government of Ukraine (GOU)'s 
interagency coordinator on NATO issues and had just chaired 
the first interagency meeting.  The MFA and MoD already had 
their action plans prepared; the goal was to have a unified 
GOU action plan for all ministries drawn up by June, written 
in form in the same way a MAP would be structured. 

8. (C) DNSA Crouch mentioned that ex-PM Tymoshenko, in a 
meeting earlier April 19, had made positive statements 
regarding NATO and claimed there was little difference 
between her position and that of Yushchenko's (septel).  FM 
Tarasyuk acerbically replied:  "She is good at saying things 
which turn out to be too good to be true."  Looking back at 
the early Cabinet meetings under PM Tymoshenko in 
February-March 2005, Tarasyuk said, Tymoshenko had urged him, 
"Borys, please do not mention NATO."  Hrytsenko interjected, 
"But she learned from us over the year."  Tarasyuk shot back, 
"She knows what others expect her to say."  DNSA Crouch 
observed that Tymoshenko's April 17 AmCham speech may not 
have been perfect or complete, but was her best statement yet 
on economic policy. 

9. (C) DNSA Crouch described his NATO-related exchange with 
Party of Regions leader Yanukovych, in which he had urged 
Yanukovych to keep options open regardless of whether Regions 
ended up in opposition or government; there was no need to 
turn up the rhetoric that marked the campaign (septel).  A 
reserved Yanukovych had said little but seemed amenable to 
keeping options open.  Tarasyuk noted that when Yanukovych 
had been PM under Kuchma (November 2002-December 2004), 
Regions' Rada faction had voted unanimously in favor of 
NATO-related legislation and policies, without reservations; 
that applied to the SPDU(o) party of then-Kuchma chief of 
staff Medvedchuk as well.  Hrytsenko added that it was 
fortunate that the SPDU(o) and Natalya Vitrenko's People's 
Opposition bloc, which had both run in the March 2006 
parliamentary elections primarily on an anti-NATO, pro-Russia 
platform, had done poorly and failed to make it over the 
three-percent threshold into the next Rada.  Crouch asked if 
this were due to the NATO issue or other causes.  Hrytsenko 
judged other factors had been more decisive. 

10. (C) Tarasyuk suggested that the Socialists were actually 
more difficult to deal with on NATO issues than Regions. 
Hrytsenko demurred, saying that the Socialists cared most 
about economic issues; the Socialists in fact had supported 
all necessary reforms and legal measures related to NATO, 
including peacekeeping operations, Partnership for Peace, 
interoperability, additional Kosovo budget, security sector 
reform, and so on.  The Socialist problem arose theoretically 
in the Rada if a bill appeared too NATO-oriented; Hrytsenko 
suggested there were workarounds, and that much progress 
could be made over the next two years without a crisis 
decision point.  In any event, the Socialists would have much 
to lose by threatening a walkout, since they had no interest 
in returning to the opposition.  Tarasyuk said that he had 
reached out to a Socialist International and European 
Parliament figure and former Polish President Kwasniewski to 

KIEV 00001639  003 OF 004 

engage Moroz on NATO issues. 

11. (C) DNSA Crouch asked whether the new government would be 
strongly in favor of launching MAP no matter what its 
composition.  As the U.S. engaged allies, it was important to 
know Ukraine's unequivocal intent, particularly if the 
government coalition contained parties that were not fully 
pro-NATO.  Given the skepticism on expansion in general, it 
would be important for the new GOU to state clearly that MAP 
and membership were definite goals.  Hrytsenko said yes. 
Tarasyuk grimaced while remaining silent.  Hrytsenko said 
that the GOU was aware of the reluctance of France to approve 
a MAP for Ukraine and would work with central European 
friends like Slovakia and Hungary on outreach to skeptics. 

Main course: Spicy coalition fare 
--------------------------------- 

12. (C) Tarasyuk then switched hats from that of Foreign 
Minister to that of a leader of Rukh, one of six parties in 
the Our Ukraine (OU) bloc, and a member of OU's seven-person 
Political Council.  He stated that Yushchenko and the OU 
Political Council saw no alternative to an Orange coalition 
but were determined to insist on negotiating a policy 
document prior to discussion of positions.  The Socialists' 
three ministers in the Tymoshenko and Yekhanurov governments 
in 2005-06 had never challenged Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic 
course, making Socialist leader Moroz' insistence during 
recent negotiations on striking mention of NATO in the 
coalition document all the more strange.  Tymoshenko cared 
only about becoming Prime Minister, he said; the policy 
substance of the coalition document mattered little to her. 
Our Ukraine wanted to resolve the potential policy disputes 
now, before moving forward with filling positions and forming 
the government; otherwise the coalition would collapse in 
short order.  Tarasyuk identified Yushchenko's red line 
issues as NATO, land privatization, and reprivatization. 
Tarasyuk suggested there was a workable formula on NATO for 
the Socialists:  the existing Law on the Fundamentals of 
National Security already endorsed NATO and EU membership as 
guiding principles. 

13. (C) Hrytsenko, who
 had served as policy planning chief 
for Yushchenko's 2004 presidential campaign and prior to that 
directed the Razumkov Center, one of Ukraine's leading policy 
think tanks, gently disagreed on the wisdom of setting up too 
specific economic performance targets in the coalition 
document.  No Ukrainian leader could meet a proposed 8% GDP 
growth target, given looming showdowns with Russia over the 
natural gas contract and ballooning social payments.  The key 
was that Tymoshenko would sign nearly anything OU proposed if 
OU would agree on her becoming PM.  DNSA Crouch asked 
Tarasyuk if OU was prepared to take that step.  Without 
answering directly, Tarasyuk reverted to the OU standard 
line:  first, agreement on the policy and rules documents, 
then on positions. 

14. (C) While sorting out policies first was formally a good 
procedure, Hrytsenko allowed, current coalition formation 
dynamics suggested ulterior agendas were at work.  OU leaders 
were also thinking about positions.  Hrytsenko stated that 
those in OU who were pushing for 50 objectives to be included 
in the coalition document were the same people who did not 
want Tymoshenko as PM.  Likewise, Tymoshenko was drawing her 
own redlines, stating that she would refuse to work in 
government with certain OU figures.  Tarasyuk claimed that 
the situation was actually worse; while Tymoshenko was 
accusing OU of meeting with Regions, OU knew that she had met 
with Regions strategist Andriy Klyuyev three times in the 
past week.  Furthermore, he alleged she was in contact with 
Moscow through an SPDU(o) proxy.  (Note:  This recalls a 
similar OU charge brought up consistently since September 
2005, in the wake of Tymoshenko's dismissal, when she made a 
quick visit to Moscow.) 

15. (C) Having slammed Tymoshenko as cavorting with Regions 
and the Kremlin, Tarasyuk caveated his criticism by stating 
that OU was "sincere" in doing its best to create an Orange 
coalition.  The two main obstacles were personal ambitions 
(Tymoshenko) and differences in substance, particularly with 
the Socialists on foreign policy.  Hrytsenko retorted that 
the programmatic differences between the parties were being 
exaggerated.  Tarasyuk, claiming to be an optimist, predicted 
that OU, BYuT and the Socialists would be able to agree on a 
program and on who would serve as PM.  He added, "I do not 
rule out Tymoshenko as PM."  OU wanted neither a "white" 
coalition with Regions nor Tymoshenko in opposition, he 
stressed. 

16. (C) DNSA Crouch pressed on how OU, BYuT and the 
Socialists could move beyond what appeared to be a Ukrainian 

KIEV 00001639  004 OF 004 

political version of the chicken-and-egg dilemma.  DFM 
Buteyko wryly commented that the ultimate spur to clinch a 
coalition deal would be having the clock reach 2345 on the 
60th and final day for a coalition to be formed (note: after 
convening of the new Rada, which would put establishment of a 
new government potentially into July).  Hrytsenko saw two 
options:  Tarasyuk could convince his skeptical OU colleagues 
to accept Tymoshenko as PM, or, less likely, someone could 
convince Tymoshenko to accept a technocratic PM on the 
grounds that a coalition might collapse later in 2006, which 
would leave her out of office and out of the Rada until the 
next election. 

17. (C) The immediate problem, maintained Hrytsenko, was the 
lack of any discussion or meetings on a daily basis between 
the three parties.  Revealing that he had stopped by Our 
Ukraine's headquarters on his way to dinner to talk to OU 
Chairman and lead negotiator Roman Bezsmertny, Hrytsenko said 
that he had advised Bezsmertny to get together with 
Tymoshenko outside Kiev informally, for coffee, out of the 
public eye, to break the current cycle of the parties using 
the media to level charges and accusations, complicating 
relations without offering solutions.  The lack of any 
contact for the past five days (note: since People's Union 
Our Ukraine's Executive Council rejected a key part of the 
April 13 coalition protocol) was a real problem, Hrytsenko 
maintained; there needed to be daily contact and discussion. 

18. (C) NSC Director Wilson expressed concern that the 
Ukrainian detractors of democracy and a Euro-Atlantic course 
would benefit from the Orange team falling apart a second 
time, reinforcing their case for the need for "stability" 
above other considerations.  Hrytsenko took issue with the 
underlying assumptions.  Yanukovych and Regions had not 
benefited from the 2005 Orange divorce, he claimed, securing 
little more than two-thirds of Yanukovych's 2004 vote (32 to 
44 percent) and seeing other parties eat away at their base. 
Regions of course awaited the second collapse of Team Orange 
and no doubt would seek to pick off votes in the Rada. 
Hrytsenko suggested, however, that Tymoshenko herself was 
also a master of tactics in this regard, knowing how to use 
the influence and power of the PM's office to motivate MPs to 
vote.  In the aftermath of the loss of criminal immunity for 
local and provincial council deputies, Hrytsenko maintained 
that regional officials would be far less brave in 
challenging central authorities. 

19. (U) DNSA Crouch cleared this cable. 

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

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