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Cablegate: Ukraine: Verkhovna Rada Overides Veto of Land Sale

VZCZCXRO4881
RR RUEHIK
DE RUEHKV #0105 0220847
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220847Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9178
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KYIV 000105

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/UMB, EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT
COMMERCE FOR CLUCYK

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: VERKHOVNA RADA OVERIDES VETO OF LAND SALE
MORATORIUM

REFS: A. 2009 KYIV 2172 B. KYIV 0068

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

1. (U) Summary. Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada,
overturned President Yushchenko's veto of the bill extending the
moratorium on the sale of agricultural land until January 1, 2012.
In a widely expected move, the Rada confirmed its decision to
formally put agricultural land sales on hold for two more years.
The extension of the moratorium benefits large agricultural
companies and land speculators to the detriment of small farmers,
who have no choice but to lease their land for low rents. End
summary.

2. (U) As predicted (Ref B), the Parliament of Ukraine on January
19 overturned President Yushchenko's veto of the law extending the
moratorium on sales of farmland until January 1, 2012. Several
attempts to overturn the veto during the morning session failed, and
the matter was sent to the Committee for Agricultural Policy and
Land Relations for consideration. During the afternoon session, the
parliamentary deputies returned to the issue and gathered enough
votes to overturn the veto in the fifth round of voting (three
during the morning session, two in the afternoon). The moratorium
was upheld by the Party of Regions (151 votes), Bloc of Yulia
Tymoshenko (151 votes), Our Ukraine (16), Communists (27), Bloc of
Lytvyn (20) and 1 unaligned deputy (366 votes out of 466 total).

3. (U) Even had the moratorium expired, land sales would still have
been stalled. Valeriy Bevzenko, Chairman of the Committee for
Agricultural Policy and Land Relations, stated that required
legislation on land market regulation and creating a registry would
not be ready for another five or six years. As a result, he expects
the moratorium to be extended again in 2012.

4. (SBU) Comment. This consecutive extension of the agricultural
land sale moratorium plays into the hands of large agricultural
companies and land speculators. Farmers, unable to sell their
property, lease the land to large farm holdings while receiving low
monthly payments for the use of their property. Legislation needed
to end the moratorium is unlikely to be passed any time soon and
lacks support in the Rada. End comment.
TEFFT

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