Cablegate: Ukraine: Black Sea Strategy Presented to German Marshall

DE RUEHKV #2810/01 3171015
P 131015Z NOV 07





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: Black Sea Strategy Presented to German Marshall
Fund Conference

REFS: A. KYIV 2753
B. ANKARA 2491
D. STATE 132171


1. (SBU) Summary: Academics and NGO representatives considered the
Euro-Atlantic community's approaches to the "Eastern European
neighborhood" during a conference held in Kyiv October 26-27.
Despite the theme, conference participants were focused on Ukraine
and particularly Ukraine's prospects for both EU and NATO
membership, although we also presented the U.S. Black Sea strategy
(ref D) and suggested that U.S. and EU common interests in Black Sea
security formed a solid basis for a new Eastern European
neighborhood approach. At a practical and concrete level, Ukraine
continues to exercise leadership in the Black Sea region, with its
sponsorship of a Proliferation Security Initiative exercise,
chairmanship of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), and its
plans to hold BSEC-related meetings on "frozen conflicts" and energy
security. One highlight of the conference was the participation of
Tymoshenko foreign policy advisor, and FM dark-horse candidate,
Hryhoriy Nemyria. End summary.

2. (U) On October 26-27, the German Marshall Fund of the United
States, the Center for Applied Policy Research, and the Heinrich
Boell Foundation jointly held a "Transatlantic Roundtable" in Kyiv
dealing with current developments and challenges in the "Eastern
European neighbourhood." Fifty distinguished experts and high-level
policymakers discussed the topic of "The Euro-Atlantic Community and
its Changing Eastern Neighbourhood: A New Policy in the Making?"
(At least one other roundtable was held in Kyiv, from January 28-30,
2005, on the theme "Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic Community: A
Strategic Dialogue.") The presenters and participants ranged
widely, from former Slovak Foreign Minister Pavol Demes (one of the
organizers); Pirkka Tapiola, Senior Advisor to EU High
Representative Javier Solana; and James Sherr of the UK Defense
Academy to researchers and NGO directors who seemed to have been
invited based on personal connections with the organizers.

3. (U) In addition to a dinner on the first evening with a keynote
speech by European Commission Ambassador Ian Boag, the conference
was divided into four sessions. The first session addressed
"Ukraine after the parliamentary elections: internal and external
challenges." Given the absence of a new government, the
conversation focused on the prospects for an "orange" coalition and
policy priorities for any new Ukrainian government. The second
session addressed "Challenges for democracy, stability, and Western
integration: the view from the Eastern Neighborhood" (with
presentations by a Belarusan, Georgian, Russian, and a German). The
third session addressed "European and U.S. strategies to Eastern
neighbors: Is there a trans-Atlantic framework?" And the fourth
session addressed "Outlining the contours of a new European Eastern
strategy." We attended the first, third, and fourth sessions as
well as delivering informal remarks at the third session.

4. (U) In Session III, Arkady Moshes, a Russian who is now a senior
researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, and
James Sherr presented their views. They both noted their particular
qualifications to comment on both EU and U.S approaches to Eastern
Europe, with Moshes having just finished a two-month stint, ending
in August, as a public policy scholar with the Kennan Institute's
Woodrow Wilson Center and Sherr noting his time in the U.S. and his
dual U.K. and U.S. citizenship. Despite the supposed
"trans-Atlantic" flavor to the roundtable, they both focused their
comments on the EU's relationship to Ukraine (especially the
inadequacies of the EU's European Neighborhood Policy) and the
implications of the EU-Russia and U.S.-Russia relationship for
Ukraine, with a nod toward the role of Ukraine's NATO aspirations.
Moshes threw out the provocative statement that "Russia is a factor,
but not the decisive factor in the region."

5. (U) In Session III, invited to respond first, we drew on ref D's
talking points to make the case that the EU and U.S. common
approaches to Black Sea security formed a basis for a common
approach to the region. We stressed that the U.S. does not seek to
supplant existing international agreements, especially not to seek
changes to the Montreux Convention, or advocate the creation of new
organizations or institutions in the Black Sea region. We detailed
the U.S. assistance efforts in the region, and, especially relevant
given the sponsorship of the roundtable, noted the U.S. Government
had provided $10 million to the German Marshall Fund's Black Sea
Trust, which would provide grants to support democratic development,
regional civil society cooperation, and good governance.
Unfortunately, most of the remaining comments continued to examine
the role and relevance of Russia's views in forming approaches to
the Eastern neighborhood. Susan Stewart, a U.S. citizen and
research fellow with the German Institute for International and
Security Affairs in Berlin, did support the need to develop

KYIV 00002810 002 OF 002

cooperative and practical approaches to Black Sea security, while
Kirk Mildner, principal economist with KfW-Bankengruppe in
Frankfurt, argued that substantially larger sums of money needed to
spent on the Black Sea region in order to be effective.

6. (SBU) Session IV was highlighted by the participation of Yulia
Tymoshenko's foreign policy advisor, Hryhoriy Nemyria, who is
considered a dark horse candidate for the FM slot in a possible
Tymoshenko-led government. Nemyria focused his comments on the need
for Ukraine to balance its approach between Russia and the West,
arguing that a future Tymoshenko government would have to first
address the energy relationship with Russia before addressing
NATO-related issues. He also noted that Ukraine might be effective
in bringing Russia closer to the EU, acting as an interlocutor and
stabilizer. The reaction among participants to Nemyria's last point
was highly skeptical, with several other panel members noting that
any attempt by Ukraine to "freelance" between Russia and the EU
would be unsuccessful and expose Kyiv to further pressure from

7. (SBU) Comment: While academics debate theoretical and
politically unrealistic proposals (for example, arguing that Ukraine
should not be lumped in with other countries in the EU's European
Neighborhood policy and should be offered the immediate prospect of
EU membership), Ukraine continues to implement practical and
concrete steps to exercise leadership in the Black Sea region. It
has sponsored, with Poland, a Proliferation Security Initiative
exercise/demonstration, the first ever for the Black Sea (ref A);
assumed BSEC chairmanship November 1; and, as part of its BSEC
program, will host a BSEC ministerial meeting in Kyiv in January
2008 that will also feature a BSEC-EU bilateral meeting to consider
the EU policy paper "Black Sea Synergy - a new regional cooperation
initiative." Ukraine is also holding a BSEC-related conference
November 14-15 on "Security and Stability in the Black Sea Region:
Regional Cooperation and Settlement of 'Frozen' Conflicts.'"

8. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website:


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