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06KIEV2278, UKRAINE: ENCOURAGING GREATER SUPPORT TO BELARUSAN

June 9, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV2278 2006-06-09 15:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO3959
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2278/01 1601526
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091526Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9838
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 002278 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/09/2016 
TAGS: PREL PINR BO UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: ENCOURAGING GREATER SUPPORT TO BELARUSAN 
DEMOCRATIC REFORM 

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

1. (C) Summary:  During a June 8 meeting with DFM Khandohiy, 
U.S. Ambassador to Belarus Krol encouraged Ukraine to develop 
contacts with Belarus at a level below cabinet minister and 
suggested that Ukraine could use such contacts to promote 
more responsible Belarusan government behavior.  He also said 
the U.S. and EU embassies in Minsk would welcome the 
Ukrainian Embassy's efforts to coordinate more closely with 
them and to meet with the Belarusan democratic opposition 
efforts (which it has neglected to do to date).  End summary. 

2. (U) Visiting U.S. Ambassador to Belarus George Krol met 
June 8 with Deputy Foreign Minister Volodymyr Khandohiy to 
exchange views on Belarus.  MFA First Secretary Oksana 
Kytsun, Belarus desk officer in the Central and Eastern 
European Countries Division, and PolOff (notetaker) sat in. 

The Same Balancing Act 
---------------------- 

3. (C) Khandohiy began that, while Ukraine wanted to be and 
could be helpful on Belarus due to close cultural and 
historical ties, Ukraine needed to be mindful of the sizable 
volume of trade with Belarus and of Belarus' economic 
importance to Ukraine.  The Ukrainian government had hoped to 
gain pragmatic objectives by offering a meeting between the 
two countries' presidents, but the Belarusan government, 
which wanted the meeting for political reasons to advance 
Belarusan President Lukashenka's legitimacy, did not accept 
Ukrainian preconditions.  The Belarusan government had wanted 
to link demarcation of the Ukraine-Belarus border to the 
settling of Ukrainian debts that it claimed were still owed. 
Now, Khandohiy noted, Ukraine-Belarus relations were 
"stagnant," particularly after the Belarusan authorities had 
arrested or detained Ukrainian citizens. 

Ukrainian Good Offices 
---------------------- 

4. (C) Ambassador Krol agreed that Ukraine was in a unique 
position to be helpful.  Most Belarusans still viewed 
Ukrainians as "us" unlike Poles, Lithuanians and others whom 
Belarusans saw as "them."  Even the Belarusan state media was 
not as aggressively hostile in its characterization of 
Ukraine, suggesting that Ukraine instead was a victim of 
Western, especially U.S., manipulation.  Ambassador Krol 
opined that Ukraine might now have more of an opening, since 
in his travels along the border with Ukraine he had heard 
Belarusan citizens and local officials express interest in 
resuming a broad range of contacts with Ukraine.  The 
Belarusan Foreign Ministry might also desire to open a 
dialogue to find cooperative ways of resisting Russian 
economic pressure directed against both countries. 

Well, Maybe Yes 
--------------- 

5. (C) Khandohiy said he had known Belarusan Foreign Minister 
Sergei Martynov for many years, since both had been personal 
assistants to their respective Socialist Republic "foreign 
ministers" in Soviet times.  They had subsequently been 
assigned to the United Nations in New York at the same time, 
both working on arms control issues.  The EU, however, had 
recently become increasingly more cautionary about 
interactions with Belarus.  Khandohiy asked whether Ukraine 
could actually play a role with respect to Belarus. 

6. (C) Ambassador Krol said the EU was probably concerned 
about possible presidential summits.  Meetings at lower 
levels, however, might offer a useful channel to discuss 
Ukraine-Belarus bilateral issues.  For example, Ambassador 
Krol said he knew Lithuania met regularly with Belarus at the 
deputy foreign minister level, and he understood Poland had 
done the same in the past.  Ukraine might do the same at the 
deputy foreign minister or department director level.  In 
fact, Ambassador Krol suggested, Khandohiy might even visit 
Minsk since he already knew Martynov well.  During such a 
visit, however, Khandohiy should also meet with individuals 
outside the government.  The Belarusan government would be 
unhappy, but this was a normal practice of U.S. and EU 
officials visiting Minsk. 

An Out-of-Step Ukrainian Embassy 
-------------------------------- 

7. (C) Ambassador Krol noted the Ukrainian Embassy in Minsk 
did not meet with democratic opposition and civil society 
representatives.  The U.S. Embassy, on the other hand, met 
frequently with Ten-Plus presidential candidate Aleksander 

KIEV 00002278  002 OF 002 

Milinkevich, but Krol did not believe that Milinkevich had 
ever been received at the Ukrainian Embassy.  EU embassies 
also met frequently with, and listened to, the democratic 
opposition.  The U.S. Embassy, and likely EU embassies, would 
welcome the Ukrainian Embassy's more active role and closer 
consultation with U.S. and EU embassies on a common approach 
to the Belarusan government.  Western embassies would also 
welcome Ukrainian Embassy input on ways to make the Belarusan 
government more open to democratic values.  Ambassador Krol 
stressed that no other mission or country had t
he same 
credibility with the Belarusan government and people.  The 
Ukrainian government would be in a unique and delicate 
position if it could simultaneously be a trusted confidant of 
the Belarusan government and of the U.S. and EU. 

8. (C) Ambassador Krol encouraged greater Ukrainian 
interaction with the Belarusian people, exposing them as much 
as possible to democratic and market economic alternatives. 
Pension and health reform initiatives in Ukraine could be 
useful to Belarusans as well, as they faced the same issues 
as Ukrainians.  Ambassador Krol stressed that U.S. and EU 
joint policy toward Belarus was not to isolate the Belarusan 
people; Lukashenka and those in his regime responsible for 
repression should be isolated and squeezed, but outreach to 
the Belarusan people should be dramatically increased in all 
spheres and particularly in the information field.  Ukraine 
could play a major role in this joint policy initiative. 

9. (C) Khandohiy looked thoughtful upon hearing these points. 
 As the meeting ended, he smiled and suggested that he might 
see Ambassador Krol again, in Minsk. 

10. (U) Ambassador Krol cleared this cable. 

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

Wikileaks

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