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07KYIV2752, UKRAINE: PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO FINALLY TO VISIT

November 6, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV2752 2007-11-06 08:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO8924
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #2752/01 3100820
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 060820Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4260
INFO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 0049
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0008
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 002752 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2016 
TAGS: PHUM PREL IS UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO FINALLY TO VISIT 
ISRAEL? 
 
REF: A. KYIV 2718 
     B. KYIV 764 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) and 
 (d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  Israeli Embassy DCM Shahar Arieli confirmed 
that President Victor Yushchenko plans to visit Israel in 
mid-November and that he would also visit Ramallah and meet 
with Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, 
although he noted that previous planned visits did not 
materialize.  Arieli said the Ukrainian Embassy would be 
arranging Yushchenko's meeting with the Ukrainian diaspora in 
Israel, but he wondered how many people would gather.  Issues 
likely to be raised by the Israelis will include GoU efforts 
to counter anti-Semitism and Yushchenko's decision to honor 
the controversial Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) leader Roman 
Shukhevych, who some allege assisted German forces with 
genocide during the Second World War.  Arieli suggested that 
Yushchenko would push for Knesset recognition of the 
Stalin-era "Holodomor" famine as genocide, but also noted 
that the Knesset rarely took a position on foreign policy 
issues and that Israelis generally had questions about 
whether the Holodomor was truly directed only against 
Ukrainians.  End Summary 
 
2. (C) Israeli Embassy DCM Shahar Arieli noted in passing to 
us, during a November 1 meeting primarily on other topics, 
that Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko was planning to 
visit Israel in mid-November.  (Note:  The Interfax wire 
service cited Presidential Secretariat Deputy Chief of Staff 
Oleksandr Chaliy as saying November 1 that Yushchenko would 
visit Israel November 14-15 and "sign documents aimed at 
boosting bilateral cooperation.")  During the visit, 
Yushchenko would also visit Ramallah and have a meeting with 
Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (whom 
Arieli referred to by the honorific "Abu Mazen").  Arieli 
said the Israeli government would not object to the proposed 
meeting with Abbas, although noted that the Israelis had 
resisted the idea when the Ukrainians had proposed it last 
time Yushchenko was scheduled to visit Israel (a 2006 visit 
which ultimately did not take place, ref B). 
 
3. (C) When we congratulated Arieli for finally scheduling 
the Ukrainian president's visit, he wryly noted that dates 
had also been agreed for earlier planned trips that 
ultimately did not materialize.  Although Yushchenko was 
personally committed to making a trip to Israel, his advisers 
were wary regarding the possibility that such a visit might 
stoke ongoing and simmering bilateral differences.  For their 
part, the Israelis would raise what they see as a a lack of 
action against the Interregional Academy for Personnel 
Management (known by its Ukrainian acronym, MAUP), which 
publicly espouses an anti-Semitic line.  (Note: Also as noted 
ref B, the Israelis are also likely to raise Ukraine's 
membership in the UN Committee on the Exercise of the 
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.  In our 
discussions with MFA contacts on this subject, the Ukrainian 
approach has been simply to not participate in what they 
describe as a "moribund committee," but they also do not want 
to attract negative Middle Eastern attention by formally 
withdrawing.  End Note.)  Arieli suggested that Yushchenko 
would push for Knesset recognition of the Stalin-era 
"Holodomor" famine as genocide (the Ukrainian National Day of 
Rememberance for the Holodomor is scheduled for November 24). 
 He noted that, on this point, however, the Knesset rarely 
took a position on foreign policy issues and Israelis 
generally had questions whether the Holodomor was truly 
directed against the Ukrainians as a group and about the 
number of deaths from hunger. 
 
4. (SBU) Arieli said the Ukrainian Embassy would be arranging 
Yushchenko's meeting with the Ukrainian diaspora in Israel, 
but he wondered how many people would gather.  Israelis of 
Ukrainian origin generally did not maintain a strong 
emotional tie to Ukraine and tended to view their birth in 
the territory of the modern Ukrainian state to be an accident 
of geography.  (Note:  Probably the most famous Israeli born 
in Ukraine was former Prime Minister Golda Meir, who was born 
in Kyiv, then immigrated to the U.S.)  Arieli commented that 
the historical connection between the two countries was 
always noted in a ceremonial way during official visits and 
meetings, but had little real significance for the 
relationship.  Arieli opined that the Ukrainian Embassy would 
also try to do something to further the bilateral economic 
relationship, but he was unsure what could be done 
practically to strengthen this area. 
 
5.  (C) Arieli asked for our view's on President Yushchenko's 
 
KYIV 00002752  002 OF 002 
 
 
recent decision to honor controversial Ukrainian Insurgent 
Army (UPA) leader Roman Shukhevych.  Arlieli asserted that 
Shukhevych led an SS police auxiliary unit during the early 
stages of the Second World War and reasoned that, because the 
unit was used to cont
rol civilians and not in combat, 
Shukhevych must have been complicit in war crimes committed 
by German forces - including massacres of Jews.  We noted 
that we have heard differing views on the Shukhevych's role 
and welcomed any information that would shed light on 
allegations of his role in war crimes.  He said this issue 
was also likely to be brought up during Yushchenko,s visit 
to Israel. 
 
6.  (SBU) Also on the agenda would be Israeli concern concern 
about several recent anti-Semitic incidents and the rise in 
xenophobic attacks beginning in late 2006.  Arieli agreed 
that the diplomatic community should follow-up with Ukrainian 
law enforcement officials on their recent promises to combat 
hate crimes and said his Embassy would support our efforts to 
press the GoU on this this issue.   He discounted 
Yushchenko,s order to return Torah scrolls in government 
archives to Jewish communities as a public relations effort 
to improve his image before going to Israel.  He added that 
he would rather see the GoU focus on stopping violent 
xenophobic attacks than issue decrees on religious property 
restitution. 
 
7. (C) Comment:  Although the visit is currently "on," there 
is still skepticism in Kyiv that it will actually take place. 
 Ongoing political negotiations regarding the formation of a 
new parliamentary coalition and a possible start date for the 
parliament could result in another postponement of the trip. 
However, the pending visit almost certainly motivated several 
positive steps that Yushchenko recently took to combat 
anti-Semitism and xenophobia (see ref A).  Despite these 
positive steps, if the trip takes place, Yushchenko will 
likely have to defend his decision to honor Shukhevych and 
reassure his Israeli counterparts that the GoU is taking 
steps to counter the recent anti-Semitic incidents if this is 
to be a successful visit. 
 
8. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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