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2005-10-05 08:41:00
US Office Almaty
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L  ALMATY 003604 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2015

Classified By: Ambassador John Ordway, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (U) Participants:

U.S.: EUR A/S Fried
Ambassador Ordway
SA DAS Gastright
DASD MacDougall
NSC Director Merkel
Astana PO Tracy (notetaker)

Kazakhstan: Foreign Minister Tokayev
First Deputy Foreign Minister Aliyev
MFA Chief of Staff Ashkybayev
MFA Americas Director Asanov

2. (C) Summary. A/S Fried and Foreign Minister Tokayev met
over lunch on September 30. While the FM saw some prospects
for stability in Kyrygzstan, Tokayev echoed President
Nazarbayev's pessimism over the situation in Uzbekistan.
Tokayev indicated readiness to expand security cooperation
via NATO's Partnership for Peace Program (PfP). The FM
assured A/S Fried that Kazakhstan had rejected any
anti-American tone for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(SCO). DAS Gastright welcomed Kazakhstan's interest in
greater engagement in Afghanistan. A/S Fried pressed for
strengthening the legitimacy of the elections process as a
necessary precursor to Kazakhstan's long-term stability.
Tokayev commented on increasing pressure by the Chinese to
obtain oil assets and discussions over gas for Georgia. End

Regional Stability


3. (C) A/S Fried expressed appreciation for President
Nazarbayev's commitment to helping Kyrgyzstan get through the
winter (A/S Fried's September 30 meeting with Nazarbayev
reported septel). President Bakiyev and Prime Minister
Kulov, he said, were working to address key issues --
corruption and building up the economy. Fried said he
feared, however, that Nazarbayev's pessimism over
Uzbekistan's direction was well founded. President Karimov
was now accusing the United States of engineering the May
violence in Andijon.

4. (C) Nazarbayev, Tokayev said, had hoped that Karimov could
be persuaded to reverse Uzbekistan's heavy reliance on
repression. That prospect, however, seemed increasingly
unlikely. The FM also noted Nazarbayev's concern over recent
friction between Bakiyev and Kulov. Astana had been relieved
to see that the two had managed to avoid a public split.
Kulov was a charismatic figure and increasingly popular, but
he was wise to avert a break with Bakiyev. Kyrgyzstan, the
FM remarked, is "too small for two leaders." A/S Fried
agreed that Kulov appeared to be keeping his options open but
maintained that Kyrgyzstan would benefit by having more than
one personality capable of leading the country.

Security Cooperation


6. (C) A/S Fried emphasized U.S. interest in greater

security cooperation between the United States and Kazakhstan
and recommended NATO's PfP program as a vehicle for expanded
engagement. Kazakhstan's interests and geography, DASD
MacDougall commented, provided an unusual opportunity for
Astana to play important roles in Euro-Atlantic and Asian
security institutions.

7. (C) Tokayev expressed satisfaction with Kazakhstan's
progress on bolstering its NATO Individual Partnership Action
Plan (IPAP). Kazakhstan was also ready to advance
cooperation on Caspian security. While Kazakhstan had a
strong interest in maintaining the SCO framework as a
consulting mechanism, Astana did not see any contradiction in
also pursuing a strong partnership with NATO.

8. (C) A/S Fried responded that there was no question of
choice between NATO and the SCO. The United States
recognized Kazakhstan's need for good relations with its
neighbors, particularly China and Russia. However, an
anti-American SCO would be counter-productive. Tokayev
insisted that this would not be the case and that Kazakhstan
was making this point to SCO members.

Engagement in Afghanistan


9. (C) DAS Gastright welcomed Nazarbayev's comments on
Kazakhstan's ability to provide Afghanistan with technical
and financial support. With Afghanistan's limited local
capacity to carry out projects such as road building, the
United States was looking for partners and offered to
coordinate Kazakhstan's interest in Washington.

10. (C) Afghanistan, the FM responded, remains unstable, and
Coalition operations must continue. The FM had provided
Foreign Minister Abdullah with a list of possible areas for
engagement. Astana wanted to assist Kazakhstani companies to
tap into existing credit lines (NFI) to take advantage of
commercial opportunities on a larger scale. Kazakhstan had
also recently beefed up its profile in Afghanistan by posting
an Ambassador in Kabul. Tokayev expressed frustration that
Kazakhstan has resources to invest in Afghanistan but that
Uzbekistan's draconian border practices impede the
development of commercial ties southward.



11. (C) A/S Fried emphasized the importance of a legitimate
process in Kazakhstan's December presidential elections. A
winning percentage, whatever its size, backed by free and
fair elections provided a mandate that no illegitimately
inflated vote count ever could. Media access on an equal
basis for all candidates was also critical. A/S Fried
welcomed the news that opposition newspapers had reached
agreement with a new printer after their contracts with
Vremya Print were terminated. Ambassador added that the
government's attention to the incident is the type of action
that will reinforce the integrity of the elections.

12. (C) Tokayev maintained that the government wishes to
avoid incidents that will tarnish the legitimacy of the
elections. However, Astana wants to see an OSCE that is
neutral in its observations. The minority must be heard, the
FM continued, but the minority should not be permitted to
impose its view on the majority. NSC Director Merkel
responded that while standards are important, perceptions
also play a role in assessing elections. The quality of
access for local observers therefore will be important.

13. (C) ODIHR understands, A/S Fried pointed out, how to
distinguish between serious questions and minor issues in an
assessment -- and that is the opinion to which the
international community will turn for gauging the elections.
Nazarbayev understands, he continued, that Kazakhstan's
future depends on more than oil and a strong economy. The
long-term goal is a political process that can survive any
particular individual. A/S Fried also noted that following
the December elections would be the right moment for the
United States to begin closing in on the question of
Kazakhstan's bid to be OSCE Chairman-in-Office in 2009.

Oil and Gas


14. (C) The FM remarked on the growing aggressiveness of
Russian and Chinese oil companies in the Kazakhstani market.
China is still pursuing purchase of Petro-Kazakhstan although
an Indian company (NFI) has also expressed interest.
(Comment: The purchase of PK remains a sensitive issue since
it would provide access to refining capacity as well as to
crude.) NSC Merkel asked about gas for Georgia.
Negotiators, Tokayev responded, were looking at commercially
viable options, but Kazakhstan would not supply gas without
an expectation of return on the investment.

15. (U) A/S Fried has cleared this message.

16. (U) Dushanbe minimize considered.