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06KIEV3489, UKRAINE: PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO FOCUSED ON A NATO

September 11, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV3489 2006-09-11 14:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv
VZCZCXRO7128
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #3489/01 2541436
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 111436Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1366
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 003489 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/11/2016 
TAGS: PREL PHUM ECON ENRG UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO FOCUSED ON A NATO 
MAP, ENERGY AND BABYN YAR COMMEMORATION 

REF: KIEV 3463 

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

1.  (C) Summary:  President Yushchenko told the Ambassador 
that NATO membership was an internal question for the 
country, but that he was working with PM Yanukovych to make a 
good case for a MAP during his September 14 visit to 
Brussels.  On energy, if Ukraine could liberalize and 
diversify the sector, it would lead to political stability 
and thus less opportunity for interference.  Yushchenko said 
that he had signed a series of decrees to implement an 
anti-corruption program and was eager to cooperate more 
closely on MCC, noting that he was ready to meet again both 
on MCC and a proposed program of USG assistance for the 
reorganization of the presidential secretariat.  He expressed 
the hope that the President or Vice-President might be able 
to attend the September 27 Babyn Yar commemoration; the 
Ambassador noted that the U.S. delegation would be led by a 
cabinet-level official.  Yushchenko conveyed a letter 
addressed to President Bush regarding the fifth anniversary 
of September 11 (provided septel).  End Summary. 

2.  (C)  Comment.  Yushchenko appeared to be in good shape 
physically, certainly better than he looked in mid-July in 
the midst of political crisis and deadlock.  He was focused 
and engaged during the meeting, kept to the allotted time and 
expressed his willingness to work closely with us on all the 
key bilateral issues.  Yushchenko was accompanied only by an 
interpreter to the meeting, although foreign policy advisor 
Tymoshenko came in and out of the room throughout.  Although 
the Ambassador raised Mrs. Yushchenko's planned travel to the 
U.S. to attend Mrs. Bush's Global Literacy Conference on 
September 18 in New York City, Yushchenko gave no indication 
that he had any intention of accompanying her to UNGA or 
elsewhere.  End Comment. 

NATO - Membership is the Goal 
----------------------------- 

3.  (C)  After accepting the September 11 commemoration 
letter on behalf of the President, the Ambassador provided 
the President with a readout of the major messages delivered 
by A/S Fried (reftel) during his visit here, including on 
NATO membership (a decision at Ukraine's time and pace), and 
relations with Russia (our only concern being that improved 
relations did not result in less sovereignty for Ukraine). 
On NATO, Yushchenko told the Ambassador that he had talked to 
the PM last week and that they had agreed that Ukrainian 
membership in NATO was the only way to guarantee Ukraine's 
future national security.  However, this was now an "internal 
question" and the details regarding the pace and end point of 
Ukraine's movement toward NATO would be a Ukrainian decision. 
 According to Yushchenko, Ukraine will need "several years" 
and it would be up to him, the PM and the Speaker to make the 
case to the people. 

4.  (C)  In Yushchenko's view, a NATO MAP was important, but 
it would take several years to achieve mebmership in NATO. 
The NATO issue had been agreed in the "universal" after hours 
of discussion that had ended at 5 am the day that the 
universal was signed.  However, "we succeeded" and now "we 
have to implement it."  Yushchenko said that the U.S. and 
other allies could help - especially by supporting continued 
public discussions, conferences, and roundtables on the 
issue.  U.S. advisors could also help and should meet with 
the PM on this issue.  Yushchenko acknowledged that he was 
pushing the idea of a letter from the Prime Minister to NATO 
SYG Hoop de Scheffer on Ukraine's relationship with NATO and 
the question of a MAP, to be delivered during the PM's 
September 14 visit to Brussels.  Yushchenko implied (later 
confirmed to the Ambassador by Chief of Staff Rybachuk) that 
a draft of a letter had already been signed by Yushchenko and 
was awaiting the PM's signature.  Yushchenko commented only 
that "we hope this will work."  He said that it would be 
"helpful" for the U.S. and other Allies to tell us what we 
need to do specifically - "give me a list of 12 actions that 
you want us to take."  (Embassy Note:  Both the Embassy and 
NATO experts have had conversations with the Ukrainians about 
what they need to do next to further the relationship, and we 
will continue to engage.  End note.) 

5.  (C)  Yushchenko highlighted what he sees as the key 
problem in Ukraine with regard to NATO membership - a lack of 
real information.  He noted that Ukrainian television was 
"tied into" European channels regarding NATO.  And that the 
main effort for the government in 2007 would be to provide 
more information to the Ukrainian public.  However, we would 
"all have to get involved in order to make this happen." 

KIEV 00003489  002 OF 003 

Energy Policy 
------------- 

6. (C) Yushchenko described energy as a key issue for 
national security.  If Ukraine could liberalize and diversify 
the sector, it would lead to political stability (and thus 
le
ss opportunity for the Russians to intervene).  For 
example, with gas prices going up, Ukraine could expand its 
nuclear energy.  Ukraine had uranium mines, Yushchenko noted, 
and would be looking to the U.S. and Europe for cooperation 
in expanding generation capacity, including new power 
stations.  (Comment:  Importantly, Yushchenko this time did 
not mention Ukraine seeking uranium enrichment or 
reprocessing.) 

Gas Pipeline via Ukraine? 
------------------------- 

7. (C) Yushchenko then focused on alternative energy supply 
arrangements, including supplying gas and oil from Azerbaijan 
and Central Asia via Ukraine to Europe.  Yushchenko stated 
that Azerbaijan President Aliyev was even more interested 
than he in a new gas pipeline and Yushchenko described 
cooperation with Kazakhstan as even more promising.  He noted 
that Energy Minister Boiko had met recently with EU energy 
officials looking for support on the gas pipeline. 

Odesa-Brody 
----------- 

8. (C) Azerbaijan was an ally of Ukraine's on the Odesa-Brody 
pipeline, Yushchenko said.  He expected Azerbaijan to be the 
lead supplier of crude; some could be refined in Ukraine, the 
rest supplied to European refineries via the Druzhba 
pipeline.  Ukraine was willing to give Odesa-Brody 
concessions to make this work, but he argued a U.S. political 
presence was necessary as well for success.  He added that 
Ukraine and the EU may soon establish a working group on 
Odesa-Brody.  In addition, he noted the Kazakhs were 
interested in the Polish-Ukrainian consortium Sarmatia's 
plans to expand capacity at the oil terminal at Pivdenniy 
near Odesa, which feeds into Odesa-Brody.  Overall, 
Yushchenko said, it was hard to get these Odesa-Brody 
projects started, but once they got going, he thought they 
would roll ahead quickly. 

Vanco's Tender 
-------------- 

9. (C) The Ambassador raised recent comments by GOU officials 
that had aroused concerns that the GOU might change course 
after its tender award for oil and gas exploration in the 
Black Sea to the U.S. company Vanco.  He noted that it was 
preferable to allow private firms to take this sort of risk, 
rather than have state-owned companies attempt such 
exploration, as some in the GOU suggested.  Yushchenko 
agreed, stating that since the GOU had awarded the tender, 
now was the time to execute it.  Yushchenko offered to meet 
with Vanco chairman Gene Van Dyke and instructed his staff to 
make arrangements. 

Transnistria - Smirnov's Wants a Meeting 
---------------------------------------- 

10.  (C)  In response to the Ambassador's urging that Ukraine 
stay positively engaged on finding a resolution to the 
Transnistria problem, Yushchenko noted that more progress was 
needed on the "5 2" mechanism.  The upcoming "independence 
referendum" was taking attention away from the proposed 
"election" included in the Yushchenko plan (a nationwide 
election to be conducted under free and fair conditions), as 
well as from other important issues.  He noted that 
Transnistrian leader Smirnov had requested "another" meeting 
(possibly a reference to some kind of official contact with 
Ukrainian officials in the future). 

Fighting Corruption; Support for MCC 
------------------------------------ 
11.  (C)  Yushchenko told the Ambassador that he had recently 
signed a series of "super-important" documents to implement a 
full-scale anti-corruption program.  He was pleased that the 
MCC anti-corruption program was moving ahead and was eager to 
discuss further what needed to be done so that Ukraine might 
qualify for a full MCC compact in the future.  The Ambassador 
reviewed the outlines of the MCC program, noting to 
Yushchenko that a great deal was possible to accomplish under 
MCC, but that the GOU needed to first succeed in its MCC 
anti-corruption program.  Yushchenko said that he was ready 
to meet on the issue. 

KIEV 00003489  003 OF 003 

12.  (C)  When the Ambassador asked about speculation in the 
press about upcoming personnel changes in the Presidential 
Administration and the National Security and Defense Council 
(NSDC), Yushchenko confirmed that changes were being 
considered.  (Embassy Note:  Yushchenko gave no hint to the 
Ambassador about the timing of these changes and/or who and 
what positions might be involved.  End Note.) 

Babyn Yar - A High-Level U.S. Delegation? 
----------------------------------------- 

13.  (C)  At the conclusion of meeting, Yushchenko urged the 
USG to send a high-level delegation to the September 27 
commemoration ceremony for Babyn Yar.  He said that it was 90 
percent certain that President Putin would represent Russia, 
the Israeli President was confirmed, and there would be 
high-level representatives from the Baltic states, Romania 
and Germany.  The Ambassador noted that the President and 
Vice-President would not be able to attend, but confirmed 
that the U.S. delegation would be led by a cabinet-level 
official.  We hoped to have more information about the 
delegation in the coming days. 

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

 

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