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Identifier
Created
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Origin
06KIEV336
2006-01-26 08:12:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kyiv
Cable title:  

UKRAINE: BILATERAL COORDINATION GROUP TALKS: NATO,

Tags:   PREL  PBTS  PINR  YI  IZ  MD  BO  UP  OSCE  NATO 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KIEV 000336 

SIPDIS

SECDEF FOR OSD/ISP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2016
TAGS: PREL PBTS PINR YI IZ MD BO UP OSCE NATO
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: BILATERAL COORDINATION GROUP TALKS: NATO,
IRAQ, KOSOVO, TRANSNISTRIA, BELARUS

Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KIEV 000336

SIPDIS

SECDEF FOR OSD/ISP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2016
TAGS: PREL PBTS PINR YI IZ MD BO UP OSCE NATO
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: BILATERAL COORDINATION GROUP TALKS: NATO,
IRAQ, KOSOVO, TRANSNISTRIA, BELARUS

Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b,d).


1. (C) Summary: In Bilateral Coordination Group talks
January 24, ASD/ISP Flory and EUR A/S Fried noted U.S.
support for Ukraine's NATO aspirations, but emphasized the
importance of Ukraine demonstrating that it shared the
political, economic, and social values required to meet the
performance-based requirements for NATO membership. Deputy
Foreign Minister Volodymyr Khandohiy appealed for U.S.
support for Ukraine receiving NATO MAP status in 2006;
President Yushchenko had asked DFM Anton Buteyko to travel to
NATO capitals to lobby for Ukraine's NATO membership. ASD
Flory described the shift of the international community's
efforts in Iraq away from primarily military support toward
assistance in strengthening Iraq's political, economic, and
security structures and invited Ukraine to join in this
effort. Economics Ministry official Voitko said the
Ukrainians hoped to table a list of proposed projects for
Iraq at the next Bilateral Coordination Group round.


2. (C) Summary cont.: During a discussion of regional
issues, MFA Special Negotiator Tkach said Moldovan
procrastination in amending its "resolution 815" (as part of
Moldova's implementation of a Ukrainian-Moldovan customs
protocol) would be the first agenda item in the next round of
five-plus-two talks on Transnistria. A/S Fried stressed that
any future settlement should not negatively affect Moldova's
territorial integrity. On Belarus, A/S Fried reported that
he and an EC official were prepared to visit Minsk and meet
with the Belarusan Foreign Minister or President Lukashenko
himself to warn that a fraudulent presidential election would
have consequences. MFA Second Territorial Directorate Deputy
Director Prokopchuk said Ukraine would remain engaged on
Belarus and suggested that foreign donors consider sending

Belarusan students to Ukraine for exposure to a more
democratic country. On Kosovo, A/S Wayne described the
special circumstances surrounding the Kosovo status question,
and Khandohiy stressed that any settlement should not be
allowed to serve as a precedent for separatist movements
elsewhere. End summary.


3. (U) A U.S. delegation headed by EUR A/S Fried and
including EB A/S Wayne, ASD/ISP Flory, NSC Director Wilson
and Ambassador participated January 24 in Bilateral
Coordination Group discussions with a Ukrainian delegation
headed by DFM Volodymyr Khandohiy. Discussions reported
below cover NATO, Iraq, Transnistria, Belarus and Kosovo;
other topics reported septels.

NATO
--------------


4. (C) Noting the door was always open for participation in
NATO, ASD Flory said the U.S. strongly supported Ukrainian
aspirations for NATO membership. At the same time, the onus
was on Ukraine to demonstrate that it had implemented
political and military reforms and shared the political,
economic, and social values required to join the
performance-based organization. ASD Flory complimented
Ukraine for its significant progress in military reform,
particularly in the last year, both in carrying forward
existing programs as well as in adopting new legislation
allowing new programs to begin.


5. (C) ASD Flory praised Ukraine's contributions to
international security, beginning in the mid-1990s in Bosnia,
following through with contributions of forces for Iraq and
Kosovo, and looking forward to future participation in 2006
in Operation Active Endeavor. Ukraine had provided welcome
relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, for
which the U.S. was particularly grateful, and after the
Pakistan earthquake. ASD Flory welcomed Ukraine's decision
to contribute airlift for transport of African Union troops
to Sudan. He said the U.S. was ready to assist in the
transformation of Ukraine's military so that it could be more
capable to respond to future challenges.


6. (C) A/S Fried noted that, throughout the process of NATO
enlargement, membership in NATO hinged not so much on NATO's
views but on the determination of the candidate country to
join. When countries such as Poland and Romania moved
decisively forward in their bids for membership, opinion
within NATO consolidated in their favor. A/S Fried noted
that public attitudes in NATO candidate countries were more
important than many people realized. NATO, while not yet
concerned, was mindful of the low levels of popular support
within Ukraine for NATO membership. NATO would look to the
Ukrainian government to implement a public education campaign
after the March 2006 parliamentary elections.


7. (C) MFA NATO Department Deputy Director Vladislav Yasnyuk
acknowledged that Ukrainian public opinion was divided on
NATO membership, with about a third of the population in
favor, a third opposed, and the remainder undecided. The
Ukrainian government had appropriated funds for a public
education effort only about a year ago, but Ukraine was
encouraged by the example of new NATO members that had been
able to double public acceptance of NATO membership to the
60-70 percent range in two or three years. Furthermore,
Ukrainian law designated NATO membership as an element of its
approach to national security. The parliamentary action
provided the foundation for unified action by the
government's executive and legislative branches. Finally,
President Yushchenko had identified NATO membership as an
important goal of Ukrainian foreign policy.


8. (C) DFM Khandohiy said the NATO Membership Action Plan
(MAP) was the main priority of Ukraine's interaction with
NATO. Ukraine hoped to be included in what NATO itself had
identified as the "NATO enlargement summit" in 2008. Much
work remained to be done to achieve this goal, however. MAP
would provide the impetus and the framework for the necessary
steps to move toward NATO membership, Khandohiy emphasized.
If NATO approved a Ukrainian MAP early in 2006, then Ukraine
would have more than two full MAP cycles, which normally
started in September, before the 2008 summit. He asked for
USG support for a NATO-Ukraine meeting on the margins of the
NATO informal summit in Sofia to consider this possibility
further.


9. (C) Khandohiy said President Yushchenko had recently
designated Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko as his
Special Representative for NATO. Yushchenko had asked
Buteyko to visit NATO capitals in this capacity with a letter
from Yushchenko underscoring Ukraine's desire to receive a
MAP this year.

Iraq
--------------


10. (C) ASD Flory expressed U.S. appreciation for Ukraine's
contribution to Iraq. Ukraine had contributed forces to the
Multinational Forces and continued to play a role by
providing personnel to military headquarters and for the NATO
training mission. The U.S. also appreciated the extensive
consultations and sensitivity with which Ukraine had reduced
its Iraq contribution. U.S. and international efforts in
Iraq had now transitioned to the next step of helping Iraq
build its own institutions and fill the vacuum created by the
departure of the Hussein regime. The conduct of three
elections, and increasing voter participation, attested to
the effectiveness of these efforts. The economic dimension
of the new strategy aimed to establish a real and sustainable
economy that would demonstrate the new government's capacity
to improve the daily lives of ordinary Iraqis. Efforts to
improve security would begin to put greater emphasis on the
professionalism of police forces. In a telling sign of the
Iraqi government's greater legitimacy, U.S. military
commanders were reporting a tenfold increase of information
from the Iraqi population on insurgency forces.


11. (C) A/S Fried reiterated ASD Flory's expressions of
appreciation for Ukrainian contributions to Iraq under
difficult circumstances. He said the coalition's
contributions would be judged by the outcome of events in
Iraq, which now appeared more likely to be positive than
negative.


12. (C) MFA Third Territorial Directorate Deputy Director
Pasko described Ukraine's contributions to Iraq and said
Ukraine looked forward to greater trilateral cooperation with
Iraq and the United States. Economics Ministry Bilateral
Trade and Economic Cooperation Director Yaroslav Voitko said
Ukraine was interested in helping to develop Iraq's energy
sector. In the next round of the Bilateral Coordination
Group, the Ukrainian delegation hoped to provide a list of
potential projects in which Ukrainian companies could join
with U.S. partners to develop energy-related projects in Iraq
either as principal implementers or as sub-contractors.

Transnistria
--------------


13. (C) MFA Special Negotiator for Transnistria Dmytro Tkach
said the Yushchenko plan had been designed to unblock the
Transnistria negotiation process and move it toward a proper
dialogue among all sides. The plan had overcome Moldovan
refusal to negotiate with the Transnistrian authorities,
which Moldova referred to as a "bandit regime," by
establishing a multilateral negotiation process. Until now,
Ukraine had been allowing transit of Transnistrian goods
under an old Commonwealth of Independent States agreement.
As the result of an agreement signed by the Ukrainian and
Moldovan Prime Ministers December 30, Ukraine had resolved to
implement a new customs regime for Transnistrian goods.
This, however, required the Moldovan government to modify its
"resolution 815," which it had not yet done. Ukraine had
proposed that the lack of Moldovan action be the first agenda
item for the next 5-plus-2 negotiations.


14. (C) A/S Fried said the U.S. was concerned about
Transnistria as it affected Moldovan sovereignty and as an
indicator of Russia's relations to other "frozen conflicts"
within the boundaries of neighboring countries. Just as
Russia expected the international community to respect its
territorial integrity, Russian should respect Georgia and
Moldova's territorial integrity. While Moldova might be
taking a rhetorically harsh stance toward Transnistria,
Moldova's views were not inconsistent with the reality of
Transnistrian leader Ihor Smirnov's behavior and regime. A
Transnistria solution would not be possible without Ukrainian
participation and support, particularly along Ukraine's
border with Moldova/Transnistria. The U.S. was pleased that
the Ukrainians had announced their intention to enforce the
customs protocol with Moldova. A/S Fried said he hoped the
Ukrainians would be clear and unambiguous that, while various
formulae were possible, any settlement of Transnistria had to
respect Moldovan integrity. While the U.S. did not expect a
solution in the near term, a solution might be possible in
time if Ukraine, the U.S., and other friendly parties were
consistent and patient; in the meantime, it was important to
do no harm.

Belarus
--------------


15. (C) A/S Fried said Belarus' March 19 presidential
election provided an opportunity for the international
community to shine a spotlight on the worsening situation in
Belarus. Belarusans did not deserve President Lukashenko,
Fried declared, and the U.S. wanted Belarus to be a free and
democratic country. The USG was working closely with the EU
to develop a united and consistent approach. The U.S. and EU
were cooperating to support independent media in Belarus,
including the establishment of an external broadcasting
network. In the meantime, no one should rule out the
possibility, although admittedly remote, that opposition to
Lukashenko might galvanize around the elections, as happened
in Ukraine. Even if opposition candidate Milinkevich could
not win, he could establish himself as a legitimate
opposition voice. Realism should not lead anyone to view
Lukashenko as destiny, A/S Fried concluded.


16. (C) A/S Fried informed the Ukrainian delegation that he,
together with EC Director General Robert Cooper, were hoping
to arrive in Minsk January 31, with a meeting with Belarusan
officials on February 1. The U.S.-EU joint mission would
seek to meet with the Foreign Minister, or Lukashenko
himself, to express international concern over the possible
conduct of the presidential election and to warn that the
U.S., EU, and other pro-democratic countries would draw
conclusions from a fraudulent election, including with regard
to the legitimacy of a third Lukashenko presidency. The
Belarusans had reacted with nervousness to the prospective
visit. A/S Fried considered the likelihood that the visit
would go forward as planned was only 50-50.


17. (C) MFA Second Territorial Directorate Deputy Director
Ihor Prokopchuk said Ukraine shared the international
community's concern over the deteriorating situation in
Belarus. Ukraine would continue to join EU statements (in
the OSCE) on Belarus, which Prokopchuk believed enhanced the
impact of the statements. Ukraine would also continue
actively participating in multilateral meetings on Belarus,
such as the early December meeting in Stockholm. Ukraine was
willing to offer its services to move Belarus out of its
isolation and believed that contacts with potentially
dissatisfied members of the Belarusan bureaucracy were a
useful tactic.


18. (C) Ukraine had a channel to Lukashenko and was
considering using it to deliver a targeted message. Such a
message could stress the importance of free and fair
elections or the opening of an EC regional office in Minsk.
Prokopchuk said the U.S., EU, and Ukraine also had to
consider an important issue -- how they would respond "on
March 20" after a free and fair presidential election had not
occurred. What would be the consequences? A/S Fried agreed
on the importance of the post-election response and hoped
Ukraine would participate in developing and executing the
response.


19. (C) Prokopchuk noted the increasing restrictions that the
Belarusan government was placing on overseas study. He
proposed that donor governments consider developing a
mechanism to provide funds instead for Belarusans to study in
Ukraine. Belarusan students would gain higher academic
qualifications at the same time they gained exposure to
Ukraine's greater democracy. Fried said contact with civil
society was an important long-term effort and agreed that
Ukrainians had a unique advantage in reaching out to members
of Belarus' younger generation.

Kosovo
--------------


20. (C) A/S Wayne said the current situation in Kosovo was
not sustainable. NATO had intervened to stop Serbian
atrocities six and a half years ago. Under the authority of
UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the United Nations had
assumed the extraordinary obligation to determine Kosovo's
future status. Kosovo's future was uncertain but would not,
under any scenario, include return to Serbian control. The
situation in Kosovo was significantly different from the
so-called frozen conflicts in places such as Abkhazia, South
Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh. Kosovo was no longer under
Serbian control as a result of a NATO intervention and was
now under UN administration. The U.S. appreciated Ukraine's
contributions to peacekeeping forces in Kosovo.


21. (C) Noting that Ukrainian FM Tarasyuk was in Kosovo as he
spoke, DFM Khandohiy said he hoped the visit would not be
unduly hampered by the death of Kosovar President Ibrahim
Rugova. In Pristina, Tarasyuk would visit the Ukrainian
contingent of the peacekeeping forces and meet with UN
officials, then continue on to Belgrade. Khandohiy said
Tarasyuk's visit underscored the importance of Kosovo to the
Ukrainian government. Ukraine fully understood the need to
give new impetus to settlement efforts and strongly supported
UN efforts under UNSCR 1244, which provided the framework for
future talks on Kosovo's status. Ukraine stood ready to
continue its contributions to stability in the Balkans
generally and in Kosovo in particular. Ukraine felt strongly
that the settlement process in Kosovo should not be allowed
to affect other parts of Europe by encouraging separatist
movements, especially in the areas of frozen, or protracted,
conflicts. Kosovo should be treated as a unique situation
with no linkages to other areas and, Khandohiy said, he hoped
this point would be taken into account during negotiations on
a Kosovo settlement. (Note: According to a January 25
Interfax Ukraine report, Serbia and Montenegro Foreign
Minister Vuk Draskovic said Tarasyuk had expressed Ukrainian
support for "Serbia and Montenegro's territorial integrity in
the issue of the status of Kosovo" during their meeting.)


22. (U) The delegation cleared this cable.


23. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website:
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev.
HERBST