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08KYIV522, UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO CONFIRMS COALITION UNITY,

March 13, 2008

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08KYIV522 2008-03-13 06:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO3665
PP RUEHLMC
DE RUEHKV #0522/01 0730646
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 130646Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5190
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 000522 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/13/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO CONFIRMS COALITION UNITY, 
SUPPORT FOR PM ROLE ON MAP 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(b,d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  The Ambassador and President Yushchenko met 
late March 11 to discuss Ukraine's bid for a NATO MAP at the 
April 2-4 Bucharest Summit.  The Ambassador told President 
Yushchenko that President Bush was talking to NATO Allies 
about MAP for Ukraine and that the U.S. believes that unity 
within the Ukrainian government is essential to making the 
case stronger in convincing holdouts that Ukraine was ready 
for MAP and that Prime Minister Tymoshenko needed to be on 
message and openly supportive of MAP in conversations with 
German Chancellor Merkel, French President Sarkozy, and NATO 
Secretary-General de Hoop Scheffer.  Yushchenko said that he 
 
SIPDIS 
felt he had an understanding with Sarkozy, but would work 
hard to get meetings with Merkel for both Tymoshenko and 
himself, and asked for U.S. assistance in gaining the German 
Chancellor's agreement to a meeting.  Yushchenko said that he 
did not want to contemplate a plan B -- failure at Bucharest 
would come at a high cost for himself and for Ukraine's 
national security.  In terms of the coalition's unity, he 
said that Tymoshenko complicated relations by continuing to 
spout what he called "election rhetoric and populism," but 
that he understands that some NATO allies use disunity in 
Kyiv as an excuse to oppose MAP for Ukraine and emphasized 
that there was no alternative to the current coalition. 
Yushchenko added that the coalition would face some 
difficulties in the near term, because two of its MPs were in 
the hospital in serious condition.  He thought that it would 
be difficult to pass sensitive legislation, like the budget 
amendments, but that the coalition would negotiate with 
Regions and the Lytvyn Bloc on a case-by-case basis for their 
support. 
 
2. (C) Comment.  Yushchenko clearly took on board the message 
on political unity at home and the importance of Tymoshenko 
going to Berlin, Paris and Brussels, and he expressed full 
support for all three meetings.  It was also clear that 
although frustrated with Tymoshenko as a coalition partner, 
he was committed to keeping the coalition intact.  Moreover, 
when he talked about the importance of NATO for Ukraine's 
security and place in the world, it was clear how highly he 
values this relationship with the alliance and with the West. 
 End summary and comment. 
 
Ambassador: Team Needs to be Focused and United 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
3. (C) The Ambassador began by informing President Yushchenko 
that President Bush had been working hard, talking to his 
NATO ally colleagues about MAP for Ukraine.  The USG would be 
disappointed if the coalition fell while we are making these 
efforts.  In the USG's view, in order to convince reluctant 
leaders like France and Germany that 
Ukraine was ready for MAP, the West must see that there is 
unity within the Ukrainian Government.  Finally, Tymoshenko 
needed to be on message and openly supportive of MAP in 
meetings with German Chancellor Merkel, French President 
Sarkozy, and NATO Secretary-General de Hoop Scheffer.  The 
Ambassador also asked whether Yushchenko had really agreed to 
a plan B for Bucharest in his meeting with Sarkozy -- as the 
French FM reported at the NATO ministerial last week -- and 
whether Yushchenko wanted such a back-up plan. 
 
Yushchenko on Reaching Out to Foreign Leaders 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) According to Yushchenko, during his meeting with 
Sarkozy, the French President had told him that France would 
utilize all French resources on MAP, and would not waste any 
resources on other issues (i.e. plan B).  Yushchenko said 
Sarkozy made this point several times.  He believed that he 
had a firm agreement with Sarkozy -- he could call the French 
President at any time and would now follow up with a telegram. 
 
5. (C)  Yushchenko said he had met with German FM Steinmeier 
in early February.  Steinmeier had warned Yushchenko not to 
take seriously the support of any country that said it 
favored MAP for Ukraine until after Kosovo declared its 
independence on February 17.  Depending on the outcome of 
that event, NATO might postpone the Ukrainian question. 
Yushchenko said that Steinmeier's answers were vague and that 
he avoided committing to a specific German position. 
Therefore, a meeting with Merkel was very important. 
Presidential foreign policy adviser Oleksandr Chaliy added 
that Merkel seemed to be avoiding contact with Yushchenko -- 
it was very hard to get her to agree to a meeting. 
Yushchenko asked the U.S. to help arrange a meeting for him 
with Merkel. 
 
6. (C) Both Yushchenko and Chaliy were concerned that it 
 
KYIV 00000522  002 OF 003 
 
 
would be hard to get Tymoshenko to meet with the three 
leaders named by the Ambassador. (Note: We believe she is 
ready to meet them. End note.)  Yushchenko suggested that he 
and the Prime Minister sign a joint letter to Merkel, 
Sarkozy, and de Hoop Scheffer.
 The Ambassador suggested that 
personal contact would be better.  Yushchenko agreed that he 
would meet with Tymoshenko on March 12 to stress the 
importance of her having the three meetings.  (Note. DPM 
Nemyria told us that Tymoshenko had a phone call already 
scheduled with de Hoop Scheffer for the afternoon of March 
12. End note.)  Yushchenko also said that he would see Merkel 
in Brussels at the European People's Party conference on 
March 13 and at that time would ask the Chancellor to meet 
with Tymoshenko. 
 
No Plan B for Bucharest 
----------------------- 
 
7. (C) Yushchenko said that he did not want to develop a plan 
B or a strategy for what to do if the NATO allies did not 
offer Ukraine MAP in April.  It had cost him a lot just to 
request MAP; he did not want to think about failure.  In 
addition, he did not see any good alternatives to MAP.  He 
noted that the Russian mass media was playing up Merkel's 
comments in Moscow opposing NATO membership for Ukraine and 
Georgia.  Yushchenko concluded that he would stay optimistic 
-- that they could get their homework done and get Tymoshenko 
to the meetings she needed to have.  Five times, Ukraine had 
declared its independence throughout its history, but Ukraine 
had never had international guarantees or recognition and 
each time it had been overrun by another country.  NATO would 
bring long-term security to Ukraine -- it was a national and 
personal priority. 
 
NATO Through the Domestic Prism 
------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Yushchenko said he thought there was more political 
unity on MAP than it seemed from the outside.  Several weeks 
prior, he had met with opposition leader Yanukovych and 
Speaker Yatsenyuk.  He had pointed out that in the book 
Yanukovych had published in 2004 about Ukraine's strategy 
through 2015, Yanukovych had written that Ukraine should get 
MAP in 2006 and join NATO in 2008.  The personal 
circumstances of the players had changed, but the strategic 
policy had not.  Yushchenko reminded Yanukovych that he had 
not come out opposed to his own 2004 book or recalled his 
signature from the 2003 law on the fundamentals of national 
security; a law, Yushchenko added, that had been passed by a 
wide number of political forces.  So Regions had not really 
changed its position on NATO, it was just using MAP to play 
to its electorate.  Tymoshenko was doing the same. 
Yushchenko criticized both leaders for not holding an 
internal debate about how their actions affected Ukraine's 
national security. 
 
The Coalition is Strained, but Will Stay Together 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
9. (C) The problem with Tymoshenko, Yushchenko said, is that 
she was still spouting election rhetoric, making it hard to 
work with her.  Yushchenko said he would be frank -- the 
current coalition was painful for him, but he saw no 
alternatives.  When asked about rumors that his chief of 
staff, Viktor Baloha, was planning to disable the current 
coalition, Yushchenko said that he had not authorized anyone 
to try to reformat the coalition.  He added that whether the 
coalition could even muster 226 votes was now in doubt. 
There were two MPs in the hospital in serious condition. 
(Note.  One is OU-PSD MP Spidorenko, who has been in and out 
of intensive care with heart problems since the fall. 
Yushchenko could not remember the second MP's name. 
Interestingly, Yushchenko was clearly not considering OU-PSD 
Plyushch as a possible vote -- although he did not sign the 
coalition agreement, Plyushch holds an OU-PSD seat and could 
still vote with the majority, giving them 226 votes.  End 
note.) 
 
10. (C) It was important, Yushchenko said, not to let others 
doubt that they have 226.  Therefore, the coalition should 
conduct negotiations with Regions and Lytvyn Bloc to reach 
tactical agreements on certain legislation, but never let 
them suspect there were not already 226 MPs on board. 
Yushchenko's only demand was that the coalition negotiate 
together, that there be no secret or parallel negotiations. 
This situation, he warned, meant that adopting sensitive laws 
-- such as the budget amendments and the 12 laws in the 
coalition agreement --  would be complicated, and some might 
not get passed at all.  This was just the reality Ukraine 
faced at this time. 
 
KYIV 00000522  003 OF 003 
 
 
 
11. (C) The election-oriented behavior of the Prime Minister, 
Yushchenko said, moved the coalition in a negative direction. 
 Tymoshenko was not against the coalition, she merely put her 
self-interest first.  This was where the problems with MAP 
cropped up (presumably because being overly pro-NATO could 
hurt Tymoshenko in campaigning in the East during the next 
presidential election.)  The Presidential Secretariat had 
worked hard to create the right circumstances for her to back 
MAP, but she had agreed to them -- they just had to engage 
her a lot on the issue.  Yushchenko said that in general, 
Tymoshenko challenged his authority 20 times day, but he only 
responded once.  Nevertheless, he would keep this coalition. 
 
12. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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