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08KYIV1553, UKRAINE: ICRC TO CLOSE ITS DELEGATION IN KYIV

August 12, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08KYIV1553 2008-08-12 07:33 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #1553 2250733
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 120733Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6178
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0134
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 001553 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2016 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: ICRC TO CLOSE ITS DELEGATION IN KYIV 
 
Classified By: Acting POL Counselor for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  The Head of the Kyiv Regional Delegation of 
the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent 
(ICRC) informed Post on August 7 that it will close its Kyiv 
delegation later this year.  The reasons given were its 
strategy to consolidate regional operations, position itself 
closer to conflict areas, and to cut operational costs. 
Delegation Head Jean-Jacques Bovay explained that its 
regional activities were either completed, will be handed 
over to the host government (in the case of Ukraine), or will 
be managed by its Moscow delegation.  Bovay said that the GoU 
seemed unconcerned by the closure and that he will make the 
news public in late September. 
 
2.  (C)  We were surprised by Bovay's account of the GoU's 
indifference towards the ICRC's closure in Kyiv.  Bovay 
acknowledged that the GoU's preoccupation with political 
infighting and the summer holidays likely had something to do 
with its muted response.  Although Post has not worked 
closely with the ICRC Delegation in Kyiv, we believe that its 
presence was useful in promoting a focus on international 
humanitarian law issues within Ukraine and hope that it will 
continue to provide a presence in Kyiv from its delegation in 
Moscow.  With recent developments in Georgia, Post will stay 
in contact with ICRC Kyiv to see if it may change its closure 
plans in order to deal with any inflows of migrants fleeing 
the conflict areas.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Kyiv ICRC Delegation to Close In November 2008 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
3.  (C) The Head of the Kyiv Regional Delegation of the ICRC, 
Jean-Jacques Bovay, told PolOff on August 7 that his 
organization will close its office in Kyiv later this year. 
Bovay explained that the ICRC, which has been in operation in 
Kyiv since 1995 covering Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova, had 
concluded some of its activities, will hand over some its 
programs to the host government (in the case of Ukraine), or 
will continue to run them from its Moscow delegation.  He 
explained that the decision to close the delegation in Kyiv 
was made because of the need to consolidate its operations in 
the region, hand over ownership of some of its programs to 
the host government where appropriate, position itself closer 
to conflict areas, and to cut the rising cost of maintaining 
its office in Kyiv. 
 
4.  (C) Bovay explained that ICRC's mandate to provide 
protections to detainees in Moldova was no longer necessary 
with the recent release of all detainees of concern.  In the 
case of Belarus, he said its Moscow delegation would take 
over discussions with the Government of Belarus regarding two 
persons of concern still in detention.  He said that 
activities with Ukraine's armed services to promote 
international humanitarian law (IHL) would be taken over by 
the GoU, while activities to advise Ukrainian authorities on 
IHL treaty implementation, IHL training for security 
services, and training on the law of armed conflict will be 
managed by its delegation in Moscow.  He said that activities 
to promote IHL at Ukrainian schools and universities will be 
assumed by Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science.  He 
added that ICRC financial support for the Ukrainian Red Cross 
will continue at slightly higher levels than in previous 
years. 
 
5.  (C) Bovay explained that he was in the process informing 
Embassies of major ICRC donor countries as well as NGOs and 
international organizations involved with refugees, including 
the UNHCR.  He mentioned that he had already informed the GoU 
and seemed dismayed at its apparent indifference to the news. 
 He expressed concern that the GoU did not fully appreciate 
ICRC's contributions and mentioned that the MFA was only 
concerned about maintaining the status of its agreement with 
the ICRC, which Bovay confirmed would remain in force.  He 
intends to travel to Minsk later this month to inform the 
Government of Belarus and will release the information to the 
public at the end of September.  He projected the closure 
date will be in mid-November of this year. 
 
6.  (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
PETTIT

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