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09KYIV1753, POROSHENKO CONFIRMED AS NEW FOREIGN MINISTER

October 9, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV1753 2009-10-09 17:00 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO7063
PP RUEHDBU RUEHSL
DE RUEHKV #1753/01 2821700
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091700Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8565
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 001753 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: POROSHENKO CONFIRMED AS NEW FOREIGN MINISTER 
 
REF: KYIV 00406 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Colin Cleary for reasons 1.4(b,d) 
 
SUMMARY 
-------- 
 
1. (C)  The Rada approved President Yushchenko's nominee, 
Petro Poroshenko, as Ukraine's new Foreign Minister on 
October 9.  The position has been vacant since March when the 
Rada ousted former FM Oryzhko over his vocal opposition to 
Prime Minister Tymoshenko's policies.  Poroshenko, a wealthy 
businessman with broad political connections, called for 
increased European integration and more pragmatic relations 
with Russia.  His ability to balance the demands of 
Yushchenko and PM Tymoshenko is likely key to his nomination. 
 Among other holdings, Poroshenko controls the popular 
national TV Fifth Channel.  End Summary. 
 
COALITION BACKS PRESIDENT'S NEW PICK 
------------------------------------ 
 
2. (U) The Rada on October 9 approved Petro Poroshenko as 
Ukraine's new Foreign Minister.  President Yushchenko 
announced Poroshenko's nomination the previous day when he 
withdrew his earlier nomination of the current Ukrainian 
Ambassador to the U.S., Oleg Shamshur.  Poroshenko was backed 
by 240 of 450 MPs, including two from the opposition. 
Yushchenko and the coalition led by Prime Minister Tymoshenko 
have been at loggerheads over a replacement for former FM 
Volodomyr Oryzhko who was ousted by the Rada on March 3 
(ref).  The Rada's refusal to consider Yushchenko's 
nomination of Ambassador Shamshur left the position vacant 
for more than six months.  After his Rada confirmation, 
Poroshenko called for Ukraine to continue its efforts at 
European integration and for "pragmatic, mutually beneficial 
relations with Russia, based on respect for mutual 
sovereignty." 
 
CAREER MIXES BUSINESS AND POLITICS 
---------------------------------- 
 
3. (U) Poroshenko is one of Ukraine's richest businessmen. 
Estimates vary, but many consider him a (dollar) billionaire. 
  Poroshenko controls Ukrprominvest, which has interests in 
bus manufacturing, shipyards, banking, and media.  He also 
owns Roshen, Ukraine's largest confectionery company, which 
has factories in both Ukraine and Russia.  Poroshenko served 
as a member of parliament from 1998 to 2005 in various 
political parties and was the Chairman of the National 
Security and Defense Council in 2005.  Since 2007 he has 
served as the Chairman of the National Bank's Supervisory 
Council.  In addition to his business and political 
activities, in 2002 Poroshenko completed his doctoral studies 
at the Kyiv Institute of International Relations.   He speaks 
English. 
 
COMPROMISE CARETAKER? 
--------------------- 
 
4. (C)  Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) MP Valeriy Pysarenko told us 
BYuT backed Poroshenko's nomination because he may be able to 
help normalize relations with Russia.  Pysarenko explained 
that unlike previous FM Oryzhko, Poroshenko can engage 
constructively with Moscow and would not needlessly provoke 
the Kremlin.  Pysarenko said that Poroshenko is also willing 
to cooperate with the Prime Minister on foreign policy rather 
than oppose her as Oryzhko had.  Ihor Kohut, Director of the 
Agency for Legislative Initiatives told us that Poroshenko 
was a good compromise candidate for the FM job.  He said that 
Poroshenko has good personal relations with both the 
President and PM and was strong enough to balance between 
each of their demands.  Kohut described Poroshenko as a 
"caretaker" Foreign Minister who has the chance to "steady 
the weak Ministry of Foreign Affairs" until a new president 
is elected. 
 
OR PM CURRYING FAVOR? 
--------------------- 
 
5. (SBU)  Party of Regions MP Nestor Shufrych criticized PM 
Tymoshenko's bloc for its support of Poroshenko's nomination. 
 He said that Tymoshenko's sole reason for backing Poroshenko 
was to gain access to his media and financial resources, 
including the popular television station Kanal 5, for the 
upcoming presidential election.  Kohut agreed that Tymoshenko 
likely considered the benefits of Poroshenko's media and 
financial resources, but doubted that this was the most 
important factor in his approval. 
 
NEMYRIA 
------- 
 
KYIV 00001753  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6. (C)  Deputy Prime Minister Nemyria, commenting to visiting 
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Wallander October 8, 
noted that Poroshenko's wealth -- he called him a billionaire 
-- created potential conflicts of interest.   While 
Poroshenko was National Security and Defense Council 
Secretary, he came under criticism that his business 
interests in Russia had created a conflict.   Nemyria said 
that Yushchenko had consulted more on Poroshenko's nomination 
than he had Shamshur's.   The President had floated the 
nomination with Poroshenko a month to two before and gave 
time for Poroshenko to build support.  Nemyria highlighted 
Poroshenko's ambitious nature but added that there was no 
"ideal candidate" at this juncture. 
 
JUMPING RIGHT IN 
---------------- 
 
7. (SBU)  Poroshenko jumped right into his role, reportedly 
joining Yushchenko in Chisinau October 9 for the C
IS Summit. 
 He will have the opportunity to present himself to Ukrainian 
Ambassadors from around the world as they meet in Kyiv 
October 12-13. 
PETTIT

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