145637 3/13/2008 11:56 08KYIV527 Embassy Kyiv CONFIDENTIAL VZCZCXYZ0000 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHKV #0527/01 0731156 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 131156Z MAR 08 FM AMEMBASSY KYIV TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5194 INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE C O N F I D E N T I A L KYIV 000527
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/13/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, NATO, UP SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PM TYMOSHENKO READY TO DO EVERYTHING IN HER POWER TO GET A MAP AT BUCHAREST
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4(a,b,d).
1. (C) Summary: PM Tymoshenko told the Ambassador that she would do "everything in her power" to get a MAP for Ukraine at Bucharest, during a 90-minute March 13 meeting. Tymoshenko said that she understood that it was important that her statements about wanting something positive at Bucharest not be misinterpreted as her being ready to settle for something less than a MAP -- especially as she was discussing this issue in meetings and phone calls with Allied leaders. She thanked the USG for the work being done at the highest levels on Ukraine's behalf and said that she would welcome a call from the Secretary to discuss tactics. Tymoshenko noted that her office was working on setting up a meeting or phone conversation with German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy before the Bucharest Summit, and that she would appreciate USG support in helping to make these meetings happen. Although continuing to note that she and her government remained under extreme pressure from President Yushchenko and key leaders in the Presidential Secretariat, who she said were trying to block her work,
SIPDIS Tymoshenko reiterated that she and the President were united in their support of MAP and acknowledged that complaining about strains within the coalition to European Allies would not help her make the case for MAP.
2. (C) Comment. The Prime Minister was unaccompanied to the meeting (top foreign policy advisor Nemiryia was in Brussels to attend the European People's Party (EPP) congress). She appeared surprised that her push for some kind of positive response to what NATO leaders were describing to her as a lack of Allied consensus on a response to Ukraine's request for a MAP was being interpreted as a sign that she was not fully committed. Tymoshenko internalized the suggestion that she needed to be clear and convincing in upcoming talks about her commitment to nothing less than a MAP for Ukraine and appreciated our frank assessment that convincing Chancellor Merkel to support Ukraine's request was key. She understands that Germany is nervous about Ukraine's MAP request because of concerns about internal unity in Kyiv and the possible Russian reaction to a MAP for Ukraine and pressed for specifics about what she could do to counter those concerns. Tymoshenko was particularly eager to get advice from the Secretary about how best to approach Merkel. End Summary and Comment.
Making the Push on MAP
3. (C) After the Ambassador updated the Prime Minister on the state of play within the Alliance as to how to respond to Ukraine's request for a MAP, PM Tymoshenko started out by expressing appreciation for all of the work that the USG is doing at the highest levels to support Ukraine. She noted that Ukraine had been under pressure "from all sides" since sending the letter, but that the Ukrainian side was committed to do everything possible to succeed in getting a MAP. The PM said that MAP was very important and if there was no consensus among NATO Allies, then we would need to find a way to show progress in Ukraine's relationship with NATO at Bucharest.
4, (C) During her March 12 telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer, Tymoshenko said that she
SIPDIS told him that she and the Government were ready to do everything necessary to help with this issue in order to succeed at Bucharest and to overcome the skeptics within the Alliance. She said "I asked him to tell me what needs to be done in order to get a positive result at Bucharest, and I will do it." Tymoshenko admitted that she had said to De Hoop Scheffer that she understood that there was now no consensus within NATO and she appreciated whatever he could do, but took the point that this could have been taken to mean that she supported something less than a MAP for Ukraine at Bucharest. However, this was not correct; she did support a MAP for Ukraine at Bucharest and if necessary, she would send a letter to the Secretary General to make this point clear.
5. (C) Tymoshenko noted that her office was also working on setting up meetings or telephone conversations with German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy before the Bucharest Summit, and said that she would appreciate USG support in helping to make these meetings happen. Tymoshenko said that she had hoped to meet Merkel in Brussels at the EPP congress, but that President Yushchenko had decided to attend himself and opposed her taking part. She said that she would do "everything in her power" to get MAP. The PM wryly noted that Ukraine's 2008 Annual Target Plan (ATP) was still awaiting signature by President Yushchenko and that she would
push him to sign the ATP at their next meeting. However, there had been some positive movement in Kyiv, including the unblocking of the Rada, and that she and the Government would do everything necessary to change attitudes toward MAP inside and outside of the country.
Strains Inside the Coalition - But not over MAP
6. (C) Tymoshenko expressed her thanks to the USG for encouraging President Yushchenko to keep the democratic coalition intact, but said that the internal situation within the coalition was "becoming more critical on a daily basis." She bemoaned the critical public statements issued from the Presidential Secretariat, clearly authorized by the President, that had forced the Government to waste time fighting back. According to the PM, the Government wanted to undertake difficult reforms to deal with the gas situation and inflation, but when she got serious about issues like limiting social expenditures, she was faced with serious criticism from President Yushchenko. The Government's privatization program -- something that she is counting on to bring revenues for the budget -- is near collapse. In Tymoshenko's view, someone had told the President that he could bring down the Government if he stopped the privatization program; by keeping in place State Property Commission head Semenyuk (who she described as completely in step with Presidential Secretariat head Baloha), Yushchenko had succeeded.
7. (C) According to Tymoshenko, if the President continued in this direction and the orange coalition collapsed, then there was no alternative to having her Rada deputies and half of Our Ukraine's deputies leave the Parliament and force new elections. In her view, if the President was already thinking about the next presidential election, then he was "two years too early." Perhaps the answer was a new constitution and the establishment of a purely parliamentary system. However, consensus would be required in order to adopt a new constitution. And, thus far, the President was moving in the opposite direction by advocating a presidential form of government.
8. (C) Although her internal political difficulties were acute, Tymoshenko admitted that complaining about them to NATO leaders like Merkel would be counterproductive -- and actually an argument against giving Ukraine a MAP at Bucharest. Tymoshenko reiterated that she and Yushchenko were united on MAP. Acknowledging Merkel's recent statements that the majority of Ukrainians were opposed to NATO membership, Tymoshenko agreed that Ukraine was not ready for membership, but "we need to get ready" and MAP would help do that. She noted that a similar phenomenon had happened with EU membership; five years ago most Ukrainians were opposed, but now more than 70% supported.
Worries about Russia's Reaction
9. (C) Tymoshenko asked for more details about why some countries opposed MAP for Ukraine. She acknowledged there were legitimate concerns about the unity of the Ukrainian Government, but asked whether concern about Russia's reaction was the real problem. The Ambassador noted that the USG was trying to help keep the Russians calm about ongoing discussions in NATO and Ukraine's request for a MAP, and that Ukraine could also help on this. Tymoshenko said that she would talk to East Europeans and the Balts about lobbying Merkel to support Ukraine's request.
10. (C) Noting the proposed visit of President Bush to Kyiv, Tymoshenko said that she hoped there would be public discussions of the close relationship that had evolved between Russia and NATO. In fact, in many ways, Ukraine's own relationship with NATO was lagging behind. By highlighting specific results of Russia's good cooperation with NATO, President Bush would be able to prove to those people living in eastern Ukraine that NATO and Russia were not enemies and in fact, were cooperating closely.
11. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. Taylor