wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06BISHKEK1195
2006-08-16 06:05:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bishkek
Cable title:  

A/S BOUCHER'S MEETINGS IN BISHKEK

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  MARR  KG 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO1410
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHEK #1195/01 2280605
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 160605Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY BISHKEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7988
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 1676
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE IMMEDIATE 1127
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO BRUSSELS BE IMMEDIATE
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE IMMEDIATE 2085
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 1465
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BISHKEK 001195 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR KG
SUBJECT: A/S BOUCHER'S MEETINGS IN BISHKEK

BISHKEK 00001195 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: Amb. Marie L. Yovanovitch, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Assistant Secretary for South and Central
Asian Affairs Richard Boucher met with a range of Kyrgyz
Government officials, parliamentary deputies, business and
civil society leaders, and American implementing partners
during his August 10-11 visit to Bishkek. A/S Boucher used
the meetings to gauge the current state of U.S.-Kyrgyz
relations, to push for steps to strengthen bilateral
cooperation, and to show support for U.S. Government programs
and outreach efforts in Kyrgyzstan. A/S Boucher specifically
urged senior Kyrgyz Government officials to refrain from
allowing third parties to interfere in our relations (as they
had in the recent PNG crisis), to demonstrate support for the
Manas Air Base agreement, to regularize the Embassy,s
surveillance detection program, and he encouraged greater
attention to regional integration. Foreign Minister
Jekshenkulov told Boucher that both sides should move beyond
recent difficulties and focus on economic and security
cooperation. Prime Minister Kulov briefed on the
constitutional reform process and invited greater American
investment, specifically in the power sector. A/S Boucher's
meeting with President Bakiyev will be reported septel. End
Summary.



2. (U) Assistant Secretary Boucher was accompanied in all
meetings by Ambassador Yovanovitch and Senior Advisor Hayden.



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


PM KULOV: REFORMS MOVING AHEAD


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





3. (C) During a friendly and open discussion August 10, Prime
Minister Felix Kulov briefed on the constitutional reform
process, saying it was necessary to move slowly to improve
the current drafts and to ensure that there were sufficient
checks and balances between government institutions in any
final version of a new constitution. Kulov said that his
main concern was economic development and that more radical
reforms were needed. Privatization would allow Kyrgyzstan to
export electricity successfully, and he attached much
significance to ongoing discussions with the American firm
AES, with an eye toward export of electricity to Afghanistan
and Pakistan. Kulov expressed his satisfaction with the
final Manas Base agreement, which would also help the Kyrgyz
address terrorism issues. He said that the provision of
helicopters under the agreement would enable the Kyrgyz to
undertake operations in the mountainous south, especially in
detecting drug traffickers in a timely manner.



4. (C) A/S Boucher welcomed the Prime Minister's statements
regarding the power sector, in particular regarding
discussions with AES. Boucher said that the U.S. was very
pleased with the Manas Air Base agreement, and he suggested

that a show of support for the Base from the Prime Minister
and other senior Kyrgyz Government officials -- possibly a
visit to the Base on September 11 -- would be appreciated.
Boucher also thanked the Prime Minister for his help in
establishing a commission to resolve the problem of the
American University in Central Asia (AUCA) law program, and
stated that the university was important as an institution
that the U.S. continues to support, and as a symbol of the
relations between Kyrgyzstan and the U.S.



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



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


FM JEKSHENKULOV: PUTTING RECENT DIFFICULTIES BEHIND US


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



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





5. (C) In an August 10 meeting, Foreign Minister Alikbek
Jekshenkulov moved quickly to try to "turn the page" on
recent strains in the bilateral relationship and to focus on
future cooperation. Jekshenkulov attributed recent problems
to "forces that want to come between us," and claimed that he
wanted to pursue a balanced foreign policy. Jekshenkulov
encouraged strategic investments from the U.S., particularly

BISHKEK 00001195 002.2 OF 003


in energy, agriculture, communication, and mining. He also
made a pointed plea for continued U.S. Government support of
Kyrgyzstan's Drug Control Agency (DCA).



6. (C) A/S Boucher noted that recent negative Kyrgyz
Government actions had come as a surprise to us and had
raised doubts in Washington about the Kyrgyz Government,s
intentions. The U.S. had responded with steps it thought
necessary, and no further action was planned. Boucher urged
working together on issues in common, such as the Manas Air
Base agreement, and he urged Jekshenkulov and other senior
officials to demonstrate their support for the agreement.
Boucher also raised regional integration efforts, encouraging
the Kyrgyz to work with AES on its feasibility study of power
lines to Afghanistan. Finally, Boucher said that the U.S.
was committed to moving forward with the Millennium Challenge
Account program, but questions have been raised about the
direction in which Kyrgyzstan is moving.



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


PARLIAMENT: A MIXED REVIEW


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





7. (C) Parliamentary Speaker Marat Sultanov told A/S Boucher
that he would give parliament a "50-50 grade" for how well it
has fulfilled its oversight responsibilities vis-a-vis the
president and the government. Regarding constitutional
reform, Sultanov said that Central Asian "tendencies towards
authoritarianism" meant that a strong presidential form of
government was dangerous; similarly, the parliamentary form
had disadvantages, as Kyrgyzstan's democracy was likely too
fragile to survive the infighting of shifting party alliances
that would accompany such a system. Sultanov concluded that
he favors a middle-ground mixed form of government, adding
that he believed President Bakiyev and many members of
parliament were also beginning to lean more towards the mixed
form as well. A/S Boucher suggested that Sultanov consider a
trip to the United States.



8. (C) In an August 11 meeting, parliamentary deputy and
chair of the constitutional working group Azimbek Beknazarov
spoke mainly about the role of the judiciary and the issue of
corruption. Beknazarov said that he was troubled by the
absence of rule of law in Kyrgyzstan. Referring to the
return of five Uzbek refugees to Uzbekistan, he said that the
Kyrgyz Government would do anything to please Karimov, and
that the refugee return was likely a "present" to the Uzbek
president in the lead up to Bakiyev's visit to Tashkent later
this year.



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


ISLAMIC CLERICS: STRUGGLING FOR YOUNG MINDS


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





9. (C) During a meeting at the Central Mosque in Bishkek,
Mufti Muratala aji Jumanov, the rector of the Islamic
University, and several Islamic clerics expressed their
gratitude for the warm relationship with the Embassy and the
Muslim Outreach programs, which have sent dozens of Islamic
leaders to the U.S. While pleased with these close ties, the
Mufti candidly shared his concerns about the misleading
portrayal of the Islamic faith by the U.S. Government and
Western media, specifically addressing the way terrorist acts
are often stereotypically labeled "Islamic terrorism." When
asked about Hizb-ut Tahrir (HT), the Mufti said he believed
that the fundamentalist organization does not have popular
support among Kyrgyz citizens. He said he opposed the
group,s desire to create an unconstitutional state,
asserting that Kyrgyzstan must operate within the confines of
its constitution. When asked about the recent killing of
Imam Muhammadrafiq Kamalov during a police operation in Osh,
the Mufti and rector felt that an investigation by the
authorities was needed, and they doubted claims that Kamalov
was linked to terrorists.


BISHKEK 00001195 003.2 OF 003




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


NON-GOVERNMENT ACTORS: SIMILAR THEMES


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





10. (C) During a roundtable discussion with representatives
from American civil society implementing partners (Freedom
House, Urban Institute, IFES, International Republican
Institute, and the National Democratic Institute), the
participants were skeptical that the constitutional reform
process would bring substantive change, though some expressed
hope that a form of proportional representation in parliament
would emerge, which would make the development of true
political parties more viable. Bakiyev was consolidating his
power over the government, but that government was
increasingly weak, making it suspicious of outside civil
society actors.



11. (C) Five Kyrgyz civil society leaders noted that civil
society has a real voice in Kyrgyzstan and engages with the
government in policy debate and discussion. As Kyrgyz
political parties were not well developed, non-governmental
organizations actually played more of an oppositionist role
than did the parties themselves. Kyrgyz business leaders
suggested that the U.S. continue to help with constitutional
reform and rule of law and also increase direct investment,
particularly in the energy sector. They called the conditions
in Kyrgyzstan still "unsettled."



12. (C) Each group agreed that corruption was the single
largest problem facing the country. When asked how best to
address the issue, most thought that a widespread crackdown
was not possible, in part because the central government was
too weak, salaries were too low, and close family and clan
ties made for multiple conflicts of interests. They argued
that a step-by-step approach, addressing regulatory
improvements and reducing rent-seeking opportunities was more
likely to have an impact.



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


POLICE ACADEMY: NEW CENTER OPENED


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





13. (U) On August 11, A/S Boucher inaugurated the new U.S.
Government-financed forensic training center at the Kyrgyz
Academy for Traffic. In his remarks at the opening ceremony,
Boucher emphasized the role of the center -- and of a
well-trained police force -- in promoting the rule of law and
combating corruption Kyrgyzstan. Interior Minister Murat
Sutalinov thanked the Assistant Secretary for the many
contributions that the U.S. has made recently to strengthen
Kyrgyz law enforcement efforts.



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


COMMENT


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





14. (C) The Assistant Secretary's visit focused attention on
several key issues, including strengthening the bilateral
relationship, supporting the base agreement, making
constitutional reform transparent, and building on regional
integration efforts. Kyrgyz Government interlocutors clearly
wanted to move past the recent strains in the bilateral
relationship and to talk about areas of future cooperation,
especially economic assistance and investment. In that
regard, Prime Minster Kulov hit positive notes with his
discussion of Kyrgyz cooperation with AES and the efforts to
resolve the American University of Central Asia,s problems.
As other interlocutors pointed out, however, much will depend
on how the government manages the constitutional reform
process and how it addresses the problem of corruption. END
COMMENT.



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