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07KYIV654, UKRAINE/BELARUS SUMMIT STILL PLANNED FOR MARCH

March 22, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV654 2007-03-22 08:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO2218
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0654/01 0810857
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 220857Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1620
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 000654 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/21/2017 
TAGS: PREL KDEM PHUM ENRG EPET BO UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE/BELARUS SUMMIT STILL PLANNED FOR MARCH 
 
REF: A. MINSK 198 
 
     B. KYIV 478 
     C. 06 KYIV 4647 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Plans are still proceeding for a Kyiv summit 
between President Yushchenko and Belarusan President 
Lukashenko, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Veselovsky 
during a meeting with EUR DAS Kramer, NSC Director Sterling, 
and the Ambassador.  Kramer warned Veselovsky that such a 
meeting could support Lukashenko's efforts to legitimize 
himself without obtaining the concrete results that Ukraine 
sought.  MFA Fourth Territorial Department Director 
Prokopchuk separately told visiting Embassy Minsk POL/ECON 
Chief that the meeting would take place by the end of March. 
In addition to bilateral agreements, both Prokopchuk and 
Yuliya Mostova, arguably the country's most influential 
journalist (and spouse of Defense Minister Hrytsenko), argued 
that Belarus, as another natural gas and oil transit country, 
could partner effectively with Ukraine to counter Russia's 
role as a natural gas and oil supplier.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) Over a March 19 working lunch, Deputy Foreign Minister 
Andriy Veselovsky told EUR DAS David Kramer, NSC Director 
Adam Sterling, and Ambassador that President Yushchenko 
needed, for domestic political reasons, to go forward with 
plans to meet with Belarusan President Alexander Lukashenko. 
First stressing that the Ukrainian MFA was not originally 
responsible for the initiative, Veselovsky said that, now the 
plans had leaked, Yushchenko would appear feckless if he were 
to cancel.  Yushchenko's representatives had seen the 
proposed meeting as a chance for Yushchenko to show he can 
secure concrete benefits for Ukraine.  Among the agreements 
the meeting could produce was simplified transit arrangements 
for crossings between Slavutych and the Chornobyl nuclear 
power plant (Chornobyl agreement).  Veselovsky acknowledged 
that the U.S. and EU would be irritated if a 
Yushchenko-Lukashenko meeting took place, but, he reasoned, 
their irritation would pass and Ukraine would continue to 
benefit from the new Ukraine-Belarus agreements.  If the 
meeting did not take place, Yushchenko's critics in the 
government would argue that Yushchenko had been unable to do 
something as simple as holding a meeting with a neighboring 
head of state. 
 
3. (C) Kramer urged Veselovsky not to break ranks with U.S. 
and EU friends in the absence of any positive steps -- such 
as release of political prisoners -- from Lukashenko. 
Lukashenko's repressive practices had isolated Belarus and 
this isolation should continue until Lukashenko initiated 
democratic reforms.  While he understood Ukraine's special 
circumstances arising from its shared border with Belarus, 
Kramer warned that Lukashenko was likely to exploit 
Yushchenko to legitimize himself without, in the end, 
providing the concessions that Ukraine was seeking. 
 
4. (C) On March 20, MFA Fourth Territorial Department 
Director Ihor Prokopchuk told visiting Minsk POL/ECON Chief 
Dereck Hogan that the Yushchenko-Lukashenko meeting would 
definitely take place by the end of March and intimated that 
this meeting would be a private one between the two leaders 
only.  Concluding the Chornobyl agreement would be the most 
important topic, but Yushchenko and Lukashenko would discuss 
six other agreements, including the signing of a 
Ukraine-Belarus consular agreement.  Prokopchuk said 
Yushchenko would also push for release of political prisoners 
(especially Aleksandr Kozulin) and for Belarusan permission 
for the EU to open its mission in Minsk.  He noted working 
level discussions on Belarusan ratification of the 
Ukraine-Belarus border demarcation treaty had gone nowhere, 
so the two leaders would need to discuss this topic and come 
to agreement on it for progress to be made. 
 
5. (C) Prokopchuk told Hogan that recent events surrounding 
the Belarus-Russia energy relationship had highlighted the 
need for Belarus and countries in the region to diversify 
their energy supplies.  No matter how loyal Belarus had been 
to the Russians on policy issues and how close the political 
and diplomatic relationship, Russia in the end still insisted 
on raising the price of energy to Belarus.  This event could 
cause Lukashenko to be more serious about stabilizing 
relations with the West and other countries in the region in 
order diversify energy supplies.  Since the Belarus-Russia 
row, Belarusans had shown Ukraine increased interest on 
coordinating their energy arrangements.  One proposal was for 
Central Asian oil to be delivered to Belarus through the 
Odesa-Brody pipeline.  Prokopchuk concluded Ukraine wanted to 
engage Belarus bilaterally and observe positive reform in the 
country, but that it does not want to act as a "unilateral" 
mediator in the process.  He also stated that Belarusans had 
no other alternative but to introduce reform on energy policy 
 
KYIV 00
000654  002 OF 002 
 
 
and other issues.  Belarus would not make rapid decisions or 
changes, however, partly because the country still had ample 
energy reserves. 
 
6. (U) In a possible indication that Ukrainian elite thinking 
might be changing regarding Belarus, respected analytical 
weekly Dzerkalo Tyzhnya editor-in-chief Yuliya Mostova urged 
the U.S. to liberalize its approach to Belarus.  In a March 
19 meeting with Kramer, Sterling, and Ambassador, Mostova 
said Lukashenko, now that he was Moscow's enemy number one, 
was serious about wanting to get an agreement of gas transit 
countries (Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Poland) that 
could work effectively against Russia's monopoly of natural 
gas supply.  Such an agreement, once reached, Mostova argued, 
would be good for the region and function like a "missile 
defense shield" in the energy sphere. 
 
7. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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