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06KYIV4466, EU MAKES BELARUS AN OFFER, AWAITING RESPONSE

December 5, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KYIV4466 2006-12-05 14:48 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO6722
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #4466 3391448
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051448Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0603
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 004466 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT ALSO FOR EUR/UMB AND EUR/ERA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2016 
TAGS: PREL KDEM PHUM EAID EUN BO UP
SUBJECT: EU MAKES BELARUS AN OFFER, AWAITING RESPONSE 
 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4(b,d) 
 
1. (C) Summary:  EU European Commission official Jean-Eric 
Holzapfel told us December 4 that the initial Belarusan 
government reaction was noncommittal to the November 21 
delivery of an EU non-paper stating its readiness to assist 
Belarus if the government implemented democratic reforms. 
The timing of a follow-up EU Troika visit on the offer was in 
doubt after initial plans to visit during the week of 
December 4 had been scrubbed due to conflicts with the OSCE 
ministerial.  Regardless of Minsk's response to the offer, 
the EU had succeeded in one area -- communicating to the 
Belarusan people its willingness to help Belarus.  End 
summary. 
 
2. (U) We met December 4 with the EC's Jean-Eric Holzapfel, a 
French citizen whose business card describes him as 
"Coordinator of Relations with the Republic of Belarus," to 
obtain a read-out of European Commission Head of Delegation 
Ian Boag's November 20-21 visit to Minsk.  (While based in 
Kyiv, Boag is dually accredited to Belarus.)  As reported by 
the media and the EC's press release, the EU transmitted a 
document both in Minsk and Brussels "setting out what the EU 
could bring to Belarus, were Belarus to engage in 
democratization and respect for human rights and rule of 
law."  Holzapfel told us Boag visited Minsk expressly to 
present the non-paper, entitled "What the European Union 
Could Bring to Belarus," to Belarusan government officials. 
 
3. (SBU) Holzapfel said Boag and the Charges d'Affaires of 
the German and Slovak Embassies in Minsk, representing the EU 
Troika, met with new Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei 
Yevdochenko and then Boag met alone with the head of the 
Presidential Administration Foreign Policy Department, Maxim 
Vladimirovich Reznikov, to pass the non-paper.  (Note: The 
full text of the non-paper and the press release can be found 
in the European Commission section of the EU website.)  Boag 
had also held a press conference while in Minsk and met with 
NGO representatives to brief them on the EU effort. 
 
4. (C) Holzapfel observed the Belarusan officials had only a 
few days to digest the contents of the non-paper, so their 
initial reaction was noncommittal.  A follow-up EU Troika 
visit had initially been planned for the week of December 4, 
but the unavailability of the appropriate officials due to 
the OSCE Ministerial had forced cancellation of the plans. 
The EU was considering its options.  The Finnish presidency 
very much wanted the visit to occur during its tenure, but 
the time remaining before the end of the year was limited. 
If the visit slipped to the German presidency, the timing of 
the trip would be complicated by the onset of the Belarusan 
local elections (in January). 
 
5. (C) In the meantime, Holzapfel commented, he and his 
colleagues were gauging the Belarusan reaction as conveyed in 
the media.  Belarus Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Popov 
had sounded a skeptical and cool note, characterizing the EU 
offer as "nothing new" and an EU attempt to "impose some 
incomprehensible and abstract declaration."  Popov had also 
charged that the EU was attempting to impose "real economic 
sanctions against Belarus, which will affect the concrete and 
vital interests of ordinary Belarusans" and noted the 
imminent increase in Schengen visa charges for Belarusan 
travel to the EU.  On the other hand, Presidential 
Administration deputy Natalya Petkevich on November 26 had 
indicated Belarusan readiness to begin consultations, adding 
that "Belarus is "ready for dialogue with the European Union, 
the United States, and any other country in the world, but on 
the basis of equality and mutual respect."  Holzapfel noted 
her comments might be significant since rumor had it that 
Petkevich was Belarusan President Lukashenko's mistress.  In 
the end, the Belarusans might condition their response on the 
EU decision regarding suspension of Generalized System of 
(trade) Preferences (GSP), a decision that the EU was to take 
up in Brussels December 5. 
 
6. (C) Whatever the outcome, Holzapfel said the EU had wanted 
to send a message to the Belarusan people that the EU was 
ready to engage with Belarus if the government took the 
appropriate steps to institute democratic reforms.  He had 
held a regional press conference in Brest November 29 to 
reinforce this message.  We noted that any news was better 
than no news when Holzapfel said Belarusan national TV had 
broadcast a report critical of the EU offer on November 26. 
 
7. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Gwaltney

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