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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ASHGABAT1228
2006-12-04 13:16:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

TURKMENISTAN GROUNDS CZECH MILITARY PLANE OVER

Tags:   MARR  MCAP  PREL  OSCE  TX  EZ 
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VZCZCXRO5370
RR RUEHAST RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHAH #1228 3381316
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041316Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE 0076
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8055
INFO RUCNOSC/OSCE POST COLLECTIVE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1704
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0445
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0503
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1290
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ2/HSE/CCJ5//
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC//DHO-2/REA/NMJIC-J2//
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//J5/RUE//
						UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001228 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (PERRY, NICOLAIDIS)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MCAP PREL OSCE TX EZ
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN GROUNDS CZECH MILITARY PLANE OVER
WEAPONS

Summary
-------



1. (SBU) Turkmenistan on December 2 grounded at the Ashgabat
airport a transiting Czech military plane transporting
high-ranking Czech military and civilian officials from Kabul
because some on board were carrying weapons. The issue was
resolved 14 hours later through diplomatic channels, but the
Czech government reportedly intends to raise the issue
December 4 with Turkmenistan's delegation at the OSCE
Ministerial in Brussels. The Czechs did not ask the embassy
for assistance,in this case. In the future, DATT Ashgabat
would be happy to assist with providing information on
Government of Turkmenistan requirements for overflight and
refueling. This incident also underscores the need to
observe fully all details of notification requirements. End
Summary.

Unfortunate Incident


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





2. (U) Turkmenistan authorities on December 2 grounded a
Czech plane carrying Czech Army Chief of Staff Pavel Stefka,
Deputy Defense Minister Martin Bartak, two parliamentarians
and four armed bodyguards, who were returning from attending
a ceremony turning over command of Kabul's international
airport to Czech troops. According to press accounts,
Turkmenistan refused to allow the flight to take off after
refueling -- notwithstanding the fact that the Czech plane
had written permission to land -- because of alleged
discrepancies in the plane's manifest, which showed there
were weapons on board. Turkmenistan had informed the Czech
Embassy in Moscow by fax about its decision to deny refueling
December 1 at 20:15 Moscow time, after embassy employees had
departed for the weekend, but failed to make any follow-up
phone calls. The Czech plane was forced to stand on the
runway for 14 hours, until the disagreement was resolved.
(Comment: We are not sure but think it highly unlikely the
passengers were permitted to deplane. End Comment.)
Although the Government of Turkmenistan apologized, Czech
authorities have expressed their intention to raise the
incident on the fringes of the OSCE Ministerial in Brussels
December 4.

Comment


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





3. (SBU) The Government of Turkmenistan does not accept
changes in manifests -- especially those involving weapons,
which are banned here. Guns on planes is a particularly
sensitive issue because Niyazov believes that is how the guns
used in the assassination attempt on him in 2002 were brought
into the country. DATT Ashgabat stands ready to assist in
providing information on Government of Turkmenistan
overflight and refueling procesures. This incident also
underscores the importance of observing fully all details of
notification requirements. Clearly the Government of
Turkmenistan places lesser value on welcoming foreign
dignitaries than it does on enforcing its own rules and
regulations.
BRUSH