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06KYIV4491, UKRAINE: FM TARASYUK’S LEGAL LIMBO

December 7, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KYIV4491 2006-12-07 16:19 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO9304
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #4491/01 3411619
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071619Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0648
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 004491 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/07/2016 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: FM TARASYUK'S LEGAL LIMBO 
 
REF: A. KYIV 4478 
     B. KYIV 4433 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i., Sheila S. Gwaltney for reasons 
1.4 (b,d). 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: Foreign Minister Tarasyuk called in EU and 
NATO ambassadors and charges December 7 to confirm his 
position as Minister of Foreign Affairs.  He reported that he 
had filed a suit to block the Rada's move to dismiss him on 
the basis of three procedural errors.  The court would hold 
its first hearing December 11.  Tarasyuk had also filed a 
complaint with the Prosecutor's General Office that Minister 
of the Cabinet of Ministers Tolstoukhov and Acting Prime 
Minister Azarov had exceeded their authority by preventing 
him from attending a Cabinet of Ministers' meeting December 
6.  According to Tarasyuk, due to a backlog of cases, the 
Constitutional Court was unlikely to clarify procedures on 
removal of the foreign and defense minister before January 
2007. 
 
2. (C) Comment: Tarasyuk presented the appearance of a man 
under stress, but also very determined to stay in office 
given President Yushchenko's unequivocal support (ref A).  By 
keeping Tarasyuk at the MFA's helm, Yushchenko and Tarasyuk 
are determined to demonstrate the President's primacy in 
foreign affairs, by directly and publicly challenging the 
Rada's authority to remove Tarasyuk against the President's 
wishes.  We will watch how the judiciary approaches the case, 
but with PM Yanukovych back in town after his Washington 
trip, the next political move seems to be the Government's. 
End summary/comment. 
 
Ambassadorial Huddle 
-------------------- 
 
3. (U) Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk briefed EU and NATO 
ambassadors and charges December 7 on the status of his 
efforts to oppose the Rada's December 1 resolution to remove 
him from office (ref B).  Although called at short notice, 
the well-attended briefing included a fair number of 
Ambassadors, as well as European Commission Head of Mission 
Ian Boag and acting chiefs of the NATO Liaison Office and 
NATO Information and Documentation Center.  Tarasyuk asked 
the diplomatic representatives to confirm to their capitals 
that he continues to be the Foreign Minister, implying that 
he had the full backing of President Yushchenko. 
 
The Legal Play 
-------------- 
 
4. (SBU) Noting that he had received numerous questions about 
his legal status at the Finnish national day reception the 
previous evening, Tarasyuk said there were three procedural 
flaws that invalidated the Rada resolution. 
 
-- First, the Prime Minister had submitted draft resolution 
2629-1, but Article 93 of the Ukrainian Constitution and 
Article 84 of the Rada's rules of procedure specified that 
only the President, Rada deputies, and the Cabinet of 
Ministers could submit legal initiatives to the Rada.  The 
Cabinet of Ministers had never considered the Prime 
Minister's draft resolution and so had never approved it. 
 
-- Second, while the Constitution is silent on who could 
dismiss the Foreign Minister, it does specify that the 
President nominates the Defense and Foreign Ministers.  By 
implication, the President would also be the only official 
able to terminate the appointment, which is confirmed by 
Article 202 of the Rada rules of procedure.  (Note:  Article 
202 says the Prime Minister can request the removal of 
ministers, but, in the case of the Defense and Foreign 
Ministers, the President can do so.  As we observed in ref B, 
however, Article 202 also contains a second provision that 
authorizes the Prime Minister to remove a member of the 
Cabinet of Ministers in response to a coalition initiative. 
This second provision does not specifically exclude the 
Defense and Foreign Minister, leading to some ambiguity 
regarding the Prime Minister's authority.) 
 
-- Third, according to Article 88 of the Rada rules of 
procedure, all draft legislation must be accompanied by an 
explanatory note that includes the objectives and functions 
of the proposed law.  This had not happened with the 
resolution regarding Tarasyuk's dismissal.  Furthermore, the 
committee of jurisdiction is also required to examine draft 
legislation first and forward the bill to the Rada as a whole 
with its recommendations.  This also had not been done. 
 
Blocking Tactics 
---------------- 
 
 
KYIV 00004491  002 OF 002 
 
 
5. (U) Tarasyuk said he filed a suit with the Shevchenko 
district court based on these procedural flaws.  On December 
5, the court suspended any action to remove Tarasyuk from his 
position until it could consider the case.  Tarasyuk said the 
court was due to take up his suit on December 11.  He 
acknowledged that, after an initial hearing, the district 
court might decide to postpone further examination of the 
case until Ukraine's Constitutional Court had ruled on the 
underlying constitutional issues; if so, Tarasyuk opined, the 
ruling to suspend his removal would likely remain in force. 
Tarasyuk also noted that the court's action could be appealed 
during a ten-day period, i.e., until December 15, after a 
deci
sion has been announced.  He had no knowledge that the 
Prime Minister's office or any other office had appealed. 
 
6. (SBU) Tarasyuk confirmed that he had been prevented from 
attending a Cabinet of Ministers meeting December 6.  He had 
sent a letter to the Prosecutor General's Office requesting 
that it initiate a criminal case against Minister of the 
Cabinet of Ministers Anatoliy Tolstoukhov and acting Prime 
Minister Mykola Azarov on the grounds that they had exceeded 
their authority and illegally prevented him from carrying out 
his duties. 
 
7. (SBU) In the meantime, a number of Rada deputies had 
submitted a request November 14 for the Constitutional Court 
to clarify procedures for dismissal of the Defense and 
Foreign Ministers.  Tarasyuk said a Constitutional Court 
judge, speaking privately, had told him that, given its 
backlog, the Court could take up the issue by January 2007 at 
the earliest. 
 
Holding the Line 
---------------- 
 
8. (C) In remarks to a smaller group of diplomats after the 
larger briefing, Tarasyuk stressed that the case was not just 
about his personal fortunes; his removal as Foreign Minister 
would set a bad precedent and endanger the President's 
authority to conduct foreign policy.  Any attempt to settle 
the constitutional ambiguities by cohabitation required good 
will on both sides.  Tarasyuk was prepared to meet with 
Yushchenko, Prime Minister Yanukovych, and Rada speaker Moroz 
to discuss the issue of his dismissal, but no meeting was 
planned.  When one ambassador observed that the continuing 
political uncertainty was bad for Ukraine's reputation 
abroad, Tarasyuk could only quip that his life was certainly 
worse than that of any observer of Ukraine's political scene. 
 
9. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Gwaltney

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