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September 18, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV3570 2006-09-18 15:04 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

DE RUEHKV #3570/01 2611504
P 181504Z SEP 06

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KIEV 003570 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/18/2016 
     B. KIEV 3489 
     C. KIEV 3029 
     D. KIEV 3463 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
1. (SBU) Summary.  Despite the positive dynamics of PM 
Yanukovych's September 14 visit to NATO HQ (ref A), 
Yanukovych's declaration that Ukraine was not ready for a 
Membership Action Plan (MAP) drew swift public complaints 
from FM Tarasyuk and Defense Minister Hrytsenko September 15, 
followed by a five-hour session between Yushchenko and 
Yanukovych.  Yushchenko subsequently delivered a late evening 
statement to the press distancing himself from Yanukovych's 
MAP comments and various actions of Yanukovych's government 
and the Party of Regions over the past month.  On NATO, 
Yushchenko said that Yanukovych's statement on MAP had 
represented the opinion of his party, was mistaken, was not 
in Ukraine's national interest, and needed to be corrected. 
2. (C) Comment: Yanukovych's comments in Brussels are not 
inconsistent with the message delivered by A/S Fried 
September 7 (ref D).  Yanukovych's commitment to broaden 
practical cooperation with NATO and his pledge for a public 
information campaign to remove biases and misunderstandings 
among Ukrainians about NATO and its relationship with Ukraine 
(ref A) will form the basis of our near-term NATO-Ukraine 
3. (C) The implications for Ukrainian foreign policy making, 
however, are less promising.  Based on what Yushchenko told 
us before Yanukovych's Brussels trip about his desires for 
the message on NATO/MAP (refs B, C) and what Yushchenko, 
Tarasyuk, and Hrytsenko said publicly September 15, it is 
clear that Yanukovych's September 14 comments on MAP were not 
fully coordinated with the President, Foreign Minister, and 
Defense Minister.  Yanukovych's speech raises questions 
domestically not only about policy coordination (between the 
President and PM, and within the Cabinet between PM and the 
FM/Def Min), but institutional competencies in the wake of 
political reform (including the President's constitutional 
right to set foreign and security policy, and the role of the 
National Security and Defense Council), and coalition 
dynamics (both prior promises made in negotiating the 
Universal National Unity agreement and ongoing efforts to 
establish a formal broad coalition).  (Note: the Universal 
made no explicit mention of MAP despite strong attempts by 
4. (C) Many of these issues were already playing out as 
Ukraine's political elite and institutions feel their way 
forward in the wake of constitutional reform, which changed 
the power relationships between President, Premier, Cabinet, 
and parliament.  Yanukovych's MAP comments may serve as a 
convenient lightning rod and catalyst for further discussion 
about who speaks for Ukraine on foreign policy.  End Summary 
and Comment. 
Yushchenko: Concern about Mistakes in General, and MAP 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
5. (SBU) Late September 15, Yushchenko summoned PM Yanukovych 
to the Presidential Secretariat for what turned into a five 
hour meeting so that Yushchenko could reinforce policy 
directions laid out in the Universal National Unity 
Agreement.  Afterwards, Yushchenko told the press that he had 
invited Yanukovych for a discussion to "carry out the first 
political warning related to the activities of various 
politicians and the administration which violated the 
Universal and constitutional agreements.  Unfortunately, 
today I as the President must talk about the activities of 
the new government and majority which, to be honest, are 
cause for concern." (note: Yanukovych's statement in Brussels 
does not appear to be inconsistent with the NATO language in 
the Universal.) 
6. (SBU) Several of Yushchenko's public comments touched on 
economic, social, political and personnel developments, 
echoing growing public complaints over the past week.  He 
called on the Prosecutor General to investigate the distorted 
pattern of VAT refunds since early August, with flows going 
nearly exclusively to Regions' political base in the Donbas 
(Donetsk and Luhansk), as well as alleged tax pressure 
against businesses.  Yushchenko also called for the formation 
of a broad coalition of national unity and decried pressure 
against MPs in the Rada (parliament) to switch factions, 
characterizing it as an unfortunate sign of political 
pressure that violated the decisions of the people as 
expressed in election results.  On a positive note, 
Yushchenko said Yanukovych agreed that it was important to 
KIEV 00003570  002 OF 003 
give significant rights to the political opposition. 
7. (SBU) Press coverage highlighted Yushchenko's critique of 
Yanukovych's statement at NATO that Ukraine was not ready for 
a MAP.  Yushchenko said that Yanukovych had expressed the 
views of his party (note: by implication, not the government) 
and that Ya
nukovych had been mistaken in Brussels; his 
position was not in accordance with Ukraine's national 
interests and needed to be corrected. 
All the President's Men: The PM Was Wrong 
8. (SBU) Earlier September 15, Yushchenko loyalists lined up 
to deliver public criticism of Yanukovych's MAP stance, 
implying that he was not speaking for the government, and 
suggesting remedial next steps.  Yushchenko's legal adviser 
Mykola Poludenny gave a press briefing in which he stated: 
"what we are saying is that the Cabinet of Ministers was 
supposed to give a signal in Brussels that Ukraine would join 
the NATO MAP."  Responding to questions about the 
implications for institutional relations, Poludenny 
suggested: "The president has enough instruments to protect 
his position and adequately influence the situation." 
9. (C) FM Tarasyuk and DefMin Hrytsenko held separate press 
conferences to take issue with Yanukovych.  Both bemoaned the 
lost opportunity to secure an invitation to join MAP at the 
Riga Summit.  Presaging one of the lines Yushchenko would 
later take, Tarasyuk characterized Yanukovych's statement as 
made "by the leader of a political party," adding: "nobody 
has canceled the basic priorities of Ukraine's foreign 
policy."  (Note: On September 13, NATO International staff 
circulated copies of two letters.  One from FM Tarasyuk sent 
to the NATO SYG, dated August 24, asked for a positive 
response on MAP.  A second from PM Yanukovych, dated August 
31, was positive on cooperation and strategic directions, but 
was not the letter Yushchenko had signed in mid-August and 
tried to get Yanukovych to cosign, apparently in vain.  See 
refs A-B.) 
10. (SBU) While acknowledging that Yanukovych had spoken in 
favor of cooperation with NATO and had not questioned the 
ultimate objective of joining NATO, Hrytsenko previewed 
another line Yushchenko would later voice when he described 
Yanukovych's MAP statement as a mistake.  "The president as 
head of state and the official in charge of national 
security, foreign and defense policy has clearly stated that 
Ukraine should say that it is prepared and wants to join a 
MAP, both verbally and in writing.  This was not done." 
11. (SBU) Hrytsenko said he planned to ask Yushchenko to 
raise NATO policy at an executive session of the National 
Security and Defense Council (NSDC), a constitutional body 
with the President as its head that is able to set policy and 
task government ministers with implementation.  He also 
brushed off suggestions that his criticism of Yanukovych 
might lead to his dismissal: "Don't even dream about it.  I 
will continue working in my capacity until the president 
decides otherwise." 
12. (C) MFA Acting DG for NATO Slava Yasniuk, who has worked 
on NATO issues since 1996, professed to us September 15 that 
he had "seen it all on NATO" but still felt caught off guard. 
 Policymakers involved in the process knew that there had 
been two scenarios, essentially the president's and the 
premier's; however, in such cases of dispute a resolution is 
usually worked out a week before an event.  This time, 
Yushchenko and Tarasyuk were engaging Yanukovych literally 
"until the very last moment," but the final result was still 
"a surprise for us."  (Note: While Tarasyuk did not accompany 
Yanukovych to Brussels because of a supposed illness, it may 
have been mere diplomatic cover for bureaucratic jostling, 
since Yushchenko had approved Tarasyuk's travel and Tarasyuk 
subsequently agreed to see visiting former U.S. Ambassador 
Pifer the morning Yanukovych was in Brussels). 
Substantive Work Will Continue Regardless 
13.  (SBU) On a positive note, Hrytsenko told the press that 
he would continue implementing the substance of what could 
have been a MAP "because Ukraine and Ukrainians need 
implementation of the plan," including a strong army, 
well-paid personnel, and better living standards. 
14. (C) The MFA's Yasniuk was also upbeat, stressing the 
positive aspects of Yanukovych's speech, including his 
emphasis on cooperation (Active Endeavor, Afghanistan/ISAF) 
and the public education/outreach campaign.  Yasniuk noted to 
us that Ukraine had prepared its annual work plan for 2007, 
KIEV 00003570  003 OF 003 
submitted to Brussels for review, in the format of a MAP, 
rather than the previous annual target plan.  Regardless of 
the title, once NATO provided its feedback, the GOU would 
task various government ministries with fulfilling the plan 
of action and moving forward on steps and reforms Ukraine 
needed to make on their own merit.  Echoing Hrytsenko, 
Yasniuk suggested Yushchenko may turn to the NSDC as an 
implementing agent for his policy decisions. 
15. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website at: 




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