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08KYIV299, UKRAINE: READY TO WORK WITH FINLAND AS OSCE

February 7, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV299 2008-02-07 05:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #0299/01 0380545
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 070545Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4900
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000299 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT ALSO FOR EUR/UMB AND EUR/PRA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PBTS OSCE RS UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: READY TO WORK WITH FINLAND AS OSCE 
CHAIRMAN-IN-OFFICE 
 
REF: A. KYIV 29 
     B. SECSTATE 167807 
     C. 06 KIEV 477 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4(b,d) 
 
1.  (C) Summary: Unlike their Spanish predecessors, the Finns 
appear ready to take on the problem of Russia in the OSCE 
context, judging by Finnish Foreign Minister Kanerva's 
January 15-16 visit to Kyiv in his capacity as OSCE 
Chairman-in-Office (CiO).  Kanerva met with President 
Yushchenko, FM Ohryzko and other Ukrainian government 
representatives and spent time with the OSCE Project 
Coordinator in Ukraine (PCU), throughout his visit expressing 
particular interest in Ukraine's view of Russia's actions 
within the OSCE context.  The PCU head hopes that the Finns 
will be more supportive of the PCU's role, which had been 
taking hits recently due to a Russian disinformation campaign 
against it.  Kanerva and his Ukrainian interlocutors 
expressed nervousness over the possibility that Russia would 
continue to play a spoiler's role more broadly by 
undercutting the OSCE's support of democratic standards and 
reforms.  Ukraine looks forward to receiving a CiO Special 
Envoy on Conflicts in the OSCE area, who is expected to visit 
Kyiv in February.  End summary. 
 
Finnish Visit a Success - Focus on Russia in the OSCE 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
2.  (SBU)  Finnish FM Kanerva visited Kyiv on January 15-16, 
meeting with President Yushchenko, Foreign Minister Ohryzko, 
Speaker (and former Foreign Minister) Yatsenyuk, and Deputy 
Prime Minister Nemyria (Prime Minister Tymoshenko's key 
advisor and point person for European integration).  The 
brief meeting with President Yushchenko was focused on the 
Transnistria conflict and energy security.  Yushchenko made a 
press announcement after the meeting reiterating his 
commitment to the 5-plus-2 talks and stressing that 
Transnistria issues must be resolved on the basis of Moldovan 
sovereignty and territorial integrity. 
 
3.  (C)  According to MFA Director for the UN and Other 
International Organizations (to include OSCE) Serhiy 
Kyslytsya, FM Kanerva was especially interested in Ukraine's 
view of Russian actions in the OSCE framework, noting to his 
counterpart FM Ohryzko that Russia had essentially prevented 
Spain from any enjoying any success as OSCE 
chairman-in-office.  Ohryzhko was sympathetic, but focused on 
Ukraine's foreign policy priorities like European 
integration, Euro-Atlantic integration, and good relations 
with Russia.  According to Kyslytsya, the Finns plan to 
dispatch a Special Envoy to the region to talk to OSCE 
governments about seeking ways to resolve the "frozen 
conflicts," including Transnistria. 
 
4. (C) MFA International Organization Department OSCE 
Division Chief Volodymyr Tolkach separately gave a similar 
readout, stating that achieving OSCE consensus was important. 
 Tolkach, however, shared U.S. concerns that Russia and its 
proxies among CIS countries desired to weaken the OSCE Office 
of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) through 
its supposed reforms.  He privately suspected Russia of being 
behind Kazakhstan's bid to become CiO in 2010, although 
Tolkach caveated that the view was his own "off the record" 
opinion.  (Comment:  Although only expressed privately, MFA 
appears to view Russian actions in the OSCE framework as 
transparently disingenuous and manipulative.  Publicly, MFA 
is trying to maintain a neutral stance, balancing its desire 
for both better European and Western relations with a goal of 
achieving positive and stable relations with Russia.) 
 
5.  (C)  PCU Deputy Volker Frobarth was satisfied with the 
outcome of Kanerva's visit.  Frobarth said the visit went 
much better than expected, and he believed Finland shared the 
PCU's vision for continuing its work in Ukraine. 
Acknowledging that the PCU had been under intense scrutiny 
from OSCE headquarters in Vienna and criticized in a number 
of areas, Frobarth blamed Russian interference and constant 
complaining as the reason.  He noted that a former PCU Head 
of Mission had close ties with the White House and, with the 
current PCU head also a former American diplomat, the 
Russians had exploited these facts to try to discredit the 
PCU and its goals.  They and their proxies initiated a 
campaign to portray the PCU as an out-of-control, rogue 
entity pursuing USG, rather than OSCE, goals.  Frobarth 
decried this portrayal as unfair and patently ridiculous, and 
one that any interested observer would quickly dismiss as 
preposterous.  The Russians went so far as to accuse the 
former PCU Head of personally financing part of the Orange 
Revolution.  Frobarth lamented, however, that many in Vienna 
were uninterested in actually discerning the facts for 
themselves.  In a backhanded compliment to the Russian 
disinformation campaign, he admitted that Russian persistence 
in repeating unsubstantiated allegations of wrongd
oing had 
caused problems for the PCU 
 
6.  (C)  Frobarth expressed optimism that Vienna's 
dissatisfaction with the PCU would dissipate under Finnish 
leadership.  FM Kanerva mentioned to Frobarth that he was 
completely impressed by the operation and found the 
criticisms of the PCU to be baseless.  Frobarth opined that 
the Finns had been dealing with the Russians for years and 
had a better "perspective" on their operating style than the 
outgoing Spanish.  Frobarth expressed the need for the PCU to 
continue on its current track, which he believed would be 
maintained under Finnish leadership.  A Russian proxy as 
Ambassador (although Frobarth doubted its likelihood) could 
roll back all the positive progress and momentum the PCU had 
achieved in recent years.  The PCU remained committed to 
electoral reform, rule of law, and civil society programs 
which formed the bedrock of the PCU mission to help further 
solidify democratic gains in Ukraine. 
 
Ukraine Supportive of OSCE and PCU 
---------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C)  As he has done previously (ref C), Tolkach continued 
to express support for the PCU and its projects.  Frobarth 
indicated that every Ukrainian official who met with Kanerva, 
from the President on down, expressed similar support and 
gratitude.  Frobarth described his working relationship with 
Tolkach as supportive and positive, although he noted that 
Tolkach was mildly frustrated with being unable to view the 
complete results of two OSCE internal audits.  Tolkach made 
the same point directly to us regarding the PCU.  Echoing 
what he told us in early 2006, Tolkach said relations with 
PCU Head Ambassador Schumaker (note: who arrived in Kiev in 
Fall 2005) were amicable and he was fully satisfied, but then 
added that he felt he was being kept out of the loop.  He 
cited the PCU's internal audit as an example.  Frobarth said 
the audit's substance had been relayed to Tolkach informally, 
but, per organizational guidelines, the PCU cannot give 
Tolkach the actual report.  Frobarth admitted some 
information in the audit, which had been denied to the 
Ukrainians, had been released to the Russians upon their 
insistence.  According to Frobarth, this was a mild 
embarrassment and added to the perception that Russia 
received special treatment for its intransigence, while 
requests from a cooperative Ukraine were being ignored. 
 
8.  (C)  Tolkach said Ukraine strongly supported Kazakhstan's 
bid for CiO in 2010, but will be watching its actions 
closely.  Comparing Ukraine to other CIS countries, Tolkach 
highlighted the fact that the Ukrainian Government had 
seconded observers to ODIHR to monitor recent elections in 
Georgia, and that Ukraine had welcomed ODIHR to observe its 
three most recent elections.  Tolkach said Ukraine's actions 
showed it was committed to democratic principles and reforms 
and that Ukraine expected Kazakhstan to do so as well. 
Tolkach also expressed a desire for the USG to support 
Ukrainian candidates to OSCE posts.  Tolkach noted Russia had 
two Heads of Mission positions; Romania had very good 
representation in OSCE; and even Moldova had two members in 
the high commission for ethnic minorities; but Ukraine only 
had filled only one position with policy responsibilities. 
Tolkach indicated to us that Ukraine was planning on 
proposing a candidate to be HOM for Montenegro and would 
appreciate U.S. support.  (Embassy note: Most recently, 
Ukraine was unsuccessful in its bid to take over as head of 
the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.  End note.) 
 
9. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

Wikileaks

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