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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06KYIV4597
2006-12-20 15:30:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kyiv
Cable title:  

UKRAINE: POSSIBLE RESOLUTION OF FOREIGN MINISTER

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  UP 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO0183
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #4597/01 3541530
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 201530Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0743
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 004597 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: POSSIBLE RESOLUTION OF FOREIGN MINISTER
TARASYUK'S STATUS IN SIGHT?

REF: KYIV 4433

Classified By: Political Counselor Kent Logsdon, reason 1.4 (b,d)



1. (C) Summary. Party of Regions MPs forcibly prevented
Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk from attending the weekly
cabinet meeting December 20, initiating a scuffle at the
Cabinet of Ministers' building with several Our Ukraine (OU)
MPs who had arrived in support of Tarasyuk. Yushchenko's
representative to the Cabinet, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, walked out
in protest of the Cabinet's refusal to admit Tarasyuk. PM
Viktor Yanukovych told the press later that President Viktor
Yushchenko should nominate an acting Foreign Minister,
suggesting that the Rada (parliament) would act if Yushchenko
did not. Yanukovych's Chief of Staff Serhiy Lyovochkin told
Ambassador that he and Yushchenko's Chief of Staff Viktor
Baloha had reached a tentative compromise, subject to
Yushchenko's approval, which could lead to Presidential
Secretariat deputy head Oleksandr Chaliy replacing Tarasyuk

SIPDIS
as early as December 21, prior to Russian President Putin's
December 22 visit to Kyiv. Yushchenko's reaction to the
proposed deal remains unknown as of COB December 20.



2. (C) Comment: Chaliy has been rumored as Tarasyuk's likely
replacement for months, even before he joined the
Presidential Secretariat in September. While Yushchenko has
publicly backed Tarasyuk's status as FM repeatedly in the
past several weeks, Baloha was notably lukewarm after the
December 1 Rada vote, suggesting publicly Tarasyuk would
accept the Rada decision (reftel), leading to sustained press
speculation that the Presidential Secretariat preferred
Tarasyuk's exit. While the proposed compromise could resolve
the thorny issue of Tarasyuk's fate prior to Putin's
scheduled December 22 visit and offer a possible face-saving
way out for Yushchenko, it would not resolve the larger
institutional jostling between the President and Prime
Minister's teams. Although both sides continue to insist
that they seek compromise and cooperation rather than
conflict, the war of words and struggle for power advantage
will continue, even though we expect it may temporarily quiet
down during the upcoming Ukrainian holiday season which runs
through January 15 (Old New Year). End Summary and Comment.

An unseemly scuffle at the Cabinet


--------------------------





3. (SBU) FM Borys Tarasyuk, armed with the court order
reinstating him as Foreign Minister in the wake of the
December 1 Rada vote to dismiss him, arrived for the weekly
Cabinet meeting December 20 in the company of several OU MPs.
For the second time in December, he failed to gain access.
Tarasyuk had been prevented from attending a December 6
Cabinet meeting by the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers
Tolstoukhov. This time, a group of Regions MPs blocked

Tarasyuk at the door, leading to a heated verbal exchange and
shoving match outside the Cabinet of Ministers.



4. (SBU) Inside the Cabinet meeting room, Presidential
Secretariat deputy head Yatsenyuk, Yushchenko's

SIPDIS
representative to the Cabinet, argued in vain to convince the
Cabinet to allow Tarasyuk to attend. Yatsenyuk subsequently
walked out of the meeting in protest, telling journalists
outside: "I tried to convince members of the government to
allow him to attend as a way out of the conflict;
unfortunately, they refused to listen to me." OU's Mykola
Katerynchuk, who accompanied Tarasyuk to the meeting,
denounced the action by Regions' MPs as an act of hooliganism
which represented "a direct attack on presidential powers."

Yanukovych's demand, a potential compromise?


--------------------------





5. (SBU) After the Cabinet meeting, Yanukovych told the press
that the Cabinet had discussed the barring of Tarasyuk from
attending and suggested Yushchenko should appoint an acting
foreign minister, adding: "if the President does not select
one, the Rada should decide on this."



6. (C) Yanukovych's Chief of Staff Lyovochkin told Ambassador
later December 20 that he and Head of the Presidential
Secretariat Baloha had reached a tentative deal to resolve

SIPDIS
the impasse over the Foreign Minister. Noting that Baloha
still needed to gain Yushchenko's approval, Lyovochkin said
that the proposed deal, which would acknowledge Presidential
prerogative in determining who serves as Foreign Minister
while meeting Yanukovych's demand for Tarasyuk's removal,
would involve:

-- The Rada withdrawing its December 1 dismissal of Tarasyuk;
-- Yushchenko forwarding a request to the Rada to dismiss
Tarasyuk, followed by a Rada vote to accept the request,

KYIV 00004597 002 OF 002


combined with:
-- Yushchenko proposing Chaliy's nomination as FM, which the
Rada would approve.



7. (C) Lyovochkin said that he and Baloha would need to work
closely with Rada officials to facilitate the various actions
being completed, ideally December 21, in advance of Putin's
pending visit to Kyiv December 22. (note: Putin's dislike of
Tarasyuk is well known. Tarasyuk was previously dismissed as
FM in August 2000 by then President Kuchma in the wake of a
Kuchma-Putin meeting in Yalta. Two other GOU officials
dismissed at the same time, rumored to have been at Putin's
request for being anti-Russian, were then MFA Political
Director (and current deputy Foreign Minister) Andriy
Veselovsky and then head of Military Intelligence Ihor
Smeshko.)



8. (SBU) Note: as of COB December 20, there was no word from
the Presidential Secretariat on the results of the
Baloha-Yushchenko meeting and whether Yushchenko would accept
the deal outlined by Lyovochkin.



9. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website:
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev.
Taylor