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08KYIV97, UKRAINE: SENATOR LUGAR MEETS NEW GOVERNMENT;

January 16, 2008

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08KYIV97 2008-01-16 13:06 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #0097/01 0161306
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161306Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4719
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000097 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/16/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: SENATOR LUGAR MEETS NEW GOVERNMENT; 
PUBLICIZES UKRAINIAN REQUEST FOR A NATO MAP 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  Ukraine's plan to request a MAP at the April 
NATO Bucharest Summit dominated discussion during visiting 
Senator Richard Lugar's January 15 meetings with President 
Yushchenko, PM Tymoshenko and opposition representatives. 
Yushchenko expressed the strong hope that Ukraine's request 
for a MAP would be well-received, both by the U.S. and NATO 
Allies at Bucharest, and Tymoshenko stressed that the 
decision to request a map was jointly made with the President 
and Rada Speaker Yatsenyuk - all three signatures were on the 
letter of request.  Shadow foreign minister Gryshchenko 
representing Regions told Senator Lugar that the party would 
not support the request for MAP, but stressed that Regions 
was not anti-NATO and was interested in continued cooperation 
with the Alliance.  Both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko told 
Senator Lugar that they hoped President Bush and Secretary 
Rice would be able to visit Ukraine -- either in April or 
later this year.  Senator Lugar's discussions regarding 
energy and our biological threat reduction programs will be 
reported via septels. 
 
2. (C) Comment:  An unexpected by-product of Senator Lugar's 
visit was the fact that the letter containing Ukraine's 
request for a MAP was made public after the Senator's meeting 
with the opposition.  The orange team's worries about how and 
when to release the letter were overtaken by events, and the 
text of the letter addressed to NATO SYG De Hoop Scheffer was 
posted on the presidential website the evening of January 15 
(and the MFA tells us that the letter will be delivered to 
the NATO SYG in Brussels on January 18.)   Thus far, the 
Ukrainian Government's public reaction to the release of the 
letter has been calm, with PM Tymoshenko agreeing with 
Senator Lugar that the issue should now be discussed by 
average Ukrainians.  Ukraine's request for MAP will be both a 
key topic for PM Tymoshenko's proposed January 28-29 visit to 
Brussels and will undoubtedly kick-off a renewed domestic 
debate about the pros and cons of joining NATO - a topic for 
the Government's re-invigorated public information campaign 
about NATO.  Both the Ukrainian Government and the Allies can 
help by continuing to explain that MAP is not the same as 
membership.  Given our long-standing position that NATO's 
door is open to Ukraine, we recommend that the USG be 
supportive of Ukraine's request and work to encourage our 
Allies to take a positive approach.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Ukraine Hopes for a MAP at Bucharest 
------------------------------------ 
 
3.  (C)  President Yushchenko began his meeting by announcing 
that he, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Rada had 
just signed a joint letter requesting a MAP.  Ukraine was 
vitally interested in approval of a MAP at the Bucharest 
Summit, but U.S. backing was needed to help get Allied 
support for the request.  He said that the orange team was 
united in its request and expected that at least some in the 
Party of Regions would also be supportive.  Later in the 
conversation, Yushchenko acknowledged that about 33% of 
Ukrainians supported NATO membership; another 33% were 
opposed and 33% were undecided.  In Yushchenko's view, this 
was an "ideological struggle," not only domestically, but 
against Russian influence.  Yushchenko said he was speaking 
frankly, but stated simply NATO membership equaled Ukrainian 
independence.  Otherwise Ukraine would remain in a 
semi-colonial state because of its energy dependence on 
Russia and due to shadow "political projects" emanating from 
Russia.  In Yushchenko's opinion, there was only one way to 
assure Ukraine's sovereignty and that was through NATO 
membership -- he reiterated several times during the 
conversation that "there was no other policy."  With most of 
Ukraine's borders still undemarcated, only NATO membership 
could guarantee Ukraine's borders and territorial integrity. 
 
4.  (C)  According to Yushchenko, there will be a referendum 
on membership, but "at the right time, not today."  What was 
needed now was more intensive coordination with NATO.  In 
response to Senator Lugar,s question about the reaction to 
MAP of "undecided" Ukrainians in the weeks leading up to 
Bucharest, Yushchenko acknowledged that there would be 
debates.  In his view, the majority of Ukrainian youth would 
accept it, and the generation that lived through the Soviet 
Union would not.  However, Yushchenko stressed that the 
decision now was not whether or not to join; the decision now 
is to start a dialogue with the nation.  This will entail 
cooperation with NATO.  Yushchenko said that the letter 
requesting MAP noted that consultations with the public would 
take place at the right time.  He noted that several 
countries had held referenda on NATO membership; years of 
dialogue with society were ahead, but Ukraine could not 
afford to waste time.  A request for MAP was "important and 
 
urgent" and was supported by all branches of power. 
Yushchenko recalled that Ukraine's EU and NATO aspirations 
were enshrined in law since 1993.  In the
past, these 
aspirations had not been supported by BYuT, the Socialists or 
the Communists.  However, now BYuT supports, and Regions had 
supported this policy before as had Lytvyn.  Today, according 
to Yushchenko, only the Socialists and Communists opposed MAP 
for Ukraine. 
 
5.  (C)  Lugar noted that he had supported NATO expansion 
since 1992 and recalled that during the Clinton 
Administration, a compromise had been found in the creation 
of the Partnership for Peace.   In 1996, NATO's first round 
of expansion had been difficult; in the second tranche, 
Congress had been more receptive.  Lugar said he would relate 
Ukraine's story to the Senate, and although there were 
differences of opinion in the U.S., he was sympathetic to 
Yushchenko's message.  In response to the Ambassador's 
question about when the letter requesting MAP would be sent, 
Yushchenko responded that this was a "technical" question 
once agreement and understanding had been reached with the 
Allies.  The Ukrainian Government was talking to European 
partners and the U.S. in order to "avoid complications."  In 
Yushchenko's words, "if the letter goes out and Ukraine does 
not get MAP at Bucharest, then it would be very bad for us." 
FM Ohryzko said "we can't fail -- if we do so, it would be a 
huge step backward." (Embassy note:  The FM was presumably 
referring both to the prospects for NATO membership and for 
the success of the new government which would be publicly 
criticized by their opposition.  End note.) 
 
Tymoshenko Highlights Unified MAP Request 
----------------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C)  At her meeting with Senator Lugar, PM Tymoshenko led 
off with a reference to the request for MAP, highlighting 
what she termed "the historic fact" that the President, 
Government and Parliament were completely unified in signing 
this request for a MAP for NATO.  She and the President had 
even sipped celebratory glasses of champagne after the 
signing.  In response to Senator Lugar's question about 
moving forward on MAP, Tymoshenko said that a unified 
government would allow Ukraine to rapidly achieve all of the 
important priority goals that have been pending for the past 
17 years.  When Senator Lugar asked about the unity of the 
orange team, Tymoshenko said that there was still work to be 
done, but that the members of the orange team had good 
relations with each other and that all were committed to 
cooperating in order to succeed.  She said that cooperation 
with the President was much better than it had been in 2005, 
but there were challenges still ahead. 
 
7.  (C)  In response to the Senator's comment that the letter 
requesting MAP was now public, Tymoshenko was relaxed, noting 
that it was the right time for the Ukrainian people to 
discuss the request, and noted that she was pleased that the 
opposition would be taking part in the debate.  The PM said 
that the large number of Ukrainians opposed to or undecided 
about NATO was the result of a propaganda machine that had 
worked overtime up until now.  The Government's challenge 
would be to give out real facts and rebuild the people's 
"mentality" through information.  Tymoshenko said that her 
government was committed to providing funds in the budget for 
a NATO information campaign. 
 
Regions to Oppose, but is not Anti-NATO 
--------------------------------------- 
 
8.  (C)  Referencing his earlier meeting with President 
Yushchenko, Senator Lugar raised with shadow foreign minister 
Gryshchenko the MAP request letter signed by the President, 
PM Tymoshenko and Rada Speaker Yatsenyuk and suggested that 
this request would trigger a discussion within the USG about 
how to assist in pushing forward on MAP, while realizing that 
MAP was a process of intensified interaction and dialogue, 
and not membership.  Lugar asked about the reaction within 
the Party of Regions to the request, and Gryshchenko replied 
that for many Ukrainians, and especially Regions supporters, 
the "benefits of NATO were still not clear."   Gryshchenko 
also noted he was still not completely clear on role of 
"shadow FM," but believed that overall purpose of the shadow 
cabinet was to provide input and contrasting views to 
government and be prepared to step in if government failed. 
 
9.  (C)  Gryshchenko indicated that although foreign policy 
experts (like himself and Regions MP Leonid Kozhara who also 
attended the meeting) were supportive of the request for MAP, 
their personal opinions were irrelevant.  Gryshchenko 
predicted that Regions would not be able to support a request 
for MAP at this juncture, but that the U.S. needed to 
 
understand that this did not mean that the party was 
anti-NATO.  The party had taken its position in the 2006 
elections (calling for a referendum on neutrality) to 
undercut the position of radical anti-NATO forces.  He 
lamented that foreign policy had "been taken hostage" by 
politics in recent years, noting that under the Yanukovych 
government large budgets had been allocated for a NATO public 
information campaign.  (Embassy Note: The Yanukovych 
government's info campaign was widely seen as under-budgeted, 
and not very effective.  End Note.)   The current government 
had control over the political levers and could decide their 
NATO policy without obstruction.  Regions would reserve its 
official position for now and react following an internal 
meeting of the Party's Politrada (political council). 
 
Yushchenko Also Looking for Closer EU Ties 
------------------------------------------ 
 
10.  (C)  Also on the European front, President Yushchenko 
told Senator Lugar that after a successful February 5 WTO 
General Council meeting, he anticipated fast movement toward 
a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.  Ukraine had a plan 
including the issues to be resolved -- approximately 6-7 
pages worth -- and Yushchenko was confident that an FTA with 
the EU could be achieved this year.  He noted that an 
Enhanced Agreement with the EU was even more important; 
Ukraine wanted a "Neighborhood Policy Plus."  Yushchenko said 
that he had talked to French President Sarkozy regarding some 
kind of associate membership with the EU and noted his belief 
that key partners like the UK and Germany would also be 
supportive. 
 
11. (U)  Senator Lugar did not have an opportunity to clear 
this message before his departure from Kyiv. 
 
12. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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