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06KIEV2359, UKRAINE: ORANGE-BLUE COALITION TALKS ALLEGEDLY

June 16, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV2359 2006-06-16 16:54 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO1863
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2359/01 1671654
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 161654Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9966
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 002359 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/16/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PINR SOCI MARR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: ORANGE-BLUE COALITION TALKS ALLEGEDLY 
MOVING QUICKLY 

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

Summary 
------- 

1. (C) A coalition agreement between the Party of Regions and 
Our Ukraine (OU) could be reached tonight (June 16), 
according to Regions MP and de facto shadow foreign minister 
Leonid Kozhara.  In a conversation with DCM, Kozhara 
dismissed OU's public distinction between "consultations" and 
"negotiations" as semantics; the two sides were at the 
bargaining table and "had more in common than differences." 
Kozhara dismissed press speculation about key Orange-Blue 
coalition government positions having already been filled; 
once a coalition deal was sealed, the two sides would agree 
on Rada committee structure, and then Regions leader 
Yanukovych would work out the top job assignments with 
President Yushchenko.  Kozhara said the coalition agreement 
text addressed Ukrainian cooperation with NATO and referred 
to the status of the Russian language in terms of the 
Ukrainian constitution.  Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) MP Hryhoriy 
Nemirya told us separately Yushchenko and Tymoshenko met the 
afternoon of June 16 following a meeting that morning where 
BYuT and the Socialists rejected OU's offer to join a grand 
coalition.  Earlier, Yuliya Tymoshenko and her MPs had voted 
June 15 on next steps; the "overwhelming majority" wanted to 
continue efforts to form an Orange coalition until June 24 
(when the president was empowered to call new elections if he 
chose to), and only then go into opposition.  Citing an 
unpublished NGO Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF) poll, 
Nemirya claimed the majority of respondents still wanted an 
Orange coalition.  The DIF's director, though, told us the 
poll only showed that public support for Yushchenko was 
weakening in western Ukraine -- which would help BYuT if new 
elections were called.  As of 1800, OU's political council 
was meeting; OU's point man in the coalition formation 
effort, Roman Bezsmertny, pledged to call DCM with a readout. 
 In a conversation with Ambassador on the evening of June 16, 
Foreign Minister Tarasyuk said he expected a coalition 
decision on Monday, June 19.  End summary. 

Regions: Coalition Agreement Maybe Tonight... 
--------------------------------------------- 

2. (C) Party of Regions MP Leonid Kozhara, who serves as the 
party's de facto shadow foreign minister, told us on the 
afternoon of June 16 that Regions could finish a coalition 
agreement with Our Ukraine (OU) by as early as tonight (June 
16).  Kozhara dismissed OU's distinction between 
"consultations" and "negotiations" as semantics (reftel); the 
two sides were at the bargaining table and "had more in 
common than differences."  Kozhara, who left the talks to 
take our call, predicted that once the two sides finished the 
coalition agreement, they would quickly move on to discuss 
Rada committees and filling key government positions.  (Note: 
In a conversation with Ambassador on the evening of June 16, 
Foreign Minister Tarasyuk said he expected a coalition 
decision on Monday, June 19.  Tarasyuk emphasized that OU was 
negotiating with its Orange partners as well as with Regions; 
neither option had been closed off.) 

...The Viktors Alone Will Make Key Assignments... 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 

3. (C) Responding to a question about a June 16 Ukrainska 
Pravda article that, quoting "sources," went into great 
detail about who would do what in an Orange-Blue coalition 
government, Kozhara attributed the article to leaks from 
working-level MPs who were holding preliminary personnel 
discussions.  Kozhara emphasized that key position 
assignments would be worked out "at the top": directly 
between Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych and President 
Yushchenko. 

...And NATO Membership Decided Via Referendum 
--------------------------------------------- 

4. (C) Pressed for details on the contents of the coalition 
agreement, Kozhara said that the language on NATO was 
concise: Ukraine would develop "productive, cooperative 
relations" with NATO, and membership in the alliance would be 
decided via a referendum.  Kozhara refused to be drawn out on 
the question of Russian being made the second State language, 
simply noting that, on this issue, the coalition agreement 
text was "in line with the Constitution" and contained no 
formula for granting "official status" for Russian. 

Tymoshenko Bloc: Still Doing CPR On Team Orange... 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 

5. (C) Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) MP and Tymoshenko foreign 

KIEV 00002359  002 OF 002 

policy guru Hryhoriy Nemirya told us June 16 that Yushchenko 
and Tymoshenko met in the late afternoon of June 16.  In the 
morning of the same day, the Orange troika had met at the 
Rada, with Tymoshenko and Oleksandr Turchynov representing 
BYuT, Oleksandr Moroz and Yosef Vinsky representing the 
Socialist Party (SP), and Roman Bezsmertny and Prime Minister 
Yuriy Yekhanurov from OU.  The talks, Nemirya said, went 
nowhere; Bezsmertny and Yekhanurov had urged
BYuT and the SP 
to join OU and Regions in a grand coalition, a proposition 
that Tymoshenko immediately rejected and Moroz rejected after 
consulting with the Socialist Party's political council.  The 
troika agreed, though, to meet again on June 17.  Nemirya 
said OU and Regions were, in fact, at the negotiating table; 
OU was being led by oligarch Petro Poroshenko, and Regions by 
MPs Mykola Azarov and Raisa Bohatyrova. 

...BYuT Troops Solidly With Yuliya.. 
------------------------------------ 

6. (C) Nemirya related that BYuT gathered its 129 MPs on June 
15 to vote on what to do next.  The BYuT troops were offered 
three options by Tymoshenko: join a grand coalition with OU 
and Regions, immediately go into opposition, or continue 
talks about forming an Orange coalition until June 24 (when 
the president will have the constitutional authority can call 
new elections but is not required to do so) and then, if need 
be, go into opposition.  According to Nemirya, there were 
"zero" votes for joining a grand coalition, 36 votes for 
going into opposition, and an "overwhelming majority" for 
continuing to find a way to make an Orange coalition happen. 

7. (SBU) Nemirya, citing an unpublished poll by the respected 
NGO Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF), claimed that the 
majority of the Ukrainian people still wanted an Orange 
coalition.  However, we spoke with DIF Director Ilko 
Kucheriv, a trusted Embassy interlocutor, who told us that 
the poll Nemirya apparently referred to did not contain any 
questions about an Orange coalition.  It did ask people how 
they would vote if new parliamentary elections were held; the 
poll indicated that the results would be roughly the same, 
although media speculation about an OU-Regions coalition was 
eating into support for Yushchenko in Lviv and 
Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts -- good news for BYuT, Kucheriv said. 

...And OU: We'll Call You 
------------------------- 

8. (SBU) As of 1800, OU's political council was meeting; 
Bezsmertny pledged to call DCM with a readout when the 
leadership huddle ended.  Separately, Bezsmertny's longtime 
aide confirmed to us that MPs Petro Poroshenko and Roman 
Zvarych were representing OU in the talks with Regions. 
Bezsmertny and Yekhanurov were the designated 
Tymoshenko-Moroz interlocutors for OU. 

Comment: Possible Curtain Calls to This Drama 
--------------------------------------------- 

9. (C) Comment: The June 24 deadline that Nemirya referred to 
in paragraph 6 only gives the president the constitutional 
authority to call new elections.  Yushchenko is not required 
to dismiss the Rada, and has said publicly that he will not 
call new elections.  The bottom line: the twists and turns in 
this saga could continue beyond June 24. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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