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06TASHKENT300 2006-02-08 14:26:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tashkent
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1. (SBU) As part of the 2006 Russian Chairmanship of the G-
8, the Russian Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Farit
Mukhametshin, invited other G-8 ambassadors to discuss how
their countries might cooperate on assistance to
Uzbekistan. The chief of the United Nations Office of Drug
Control (UNODC) and the Swiss Ambassador also attended.
(Note: Canada was the only G-8 country not represented, as
it does not have a mission in Uzbekistan. The Swiss
attended because Switzerland is a member of the Russia-
chaired G-8 working group on counterterrorism. End note.)
Ambassador Mukhametshin identified what the Russians saw as
their three priority areas for G-8 cooperation: energy
security, infectious disease control, and education. He
also emphasized cooperation against terrorism and
distributed English-language copies of documents already
presented to G-8 Sherpas.

2. (C) All ambassadors welcomed the initiative, but some,
including the U.S., expressed strong reservations regarding
Uzbekistan's willingness to cooperate in these areas. The
French Ambassador stated at length his embassy's
difficulties engaging the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)
in a bilateral dialogue. The U.S. Ambassador noted similar
problems, adding that without an effective bilateral
dialogue the U.S. ability to contribute to these efforts in
Uzbekistan could be limited. He stated that the Embassy's
recent attempts to engage the GOU on energy and education
issues have been ignored; in fact, the GOU actions have
made it very difficult for the Embassy to continue work in
education at all. However, he noted, the GOU has responded
positively to some initiatives on infectious disease
control and, therefore, there might be some potential for
constructive dialogue in that area.

3. (C) COMMENT: At this point, we are prepared to give the
Russian Ambassador the benefit of the doubt in his efforts
to listen to the opinions of G-8 member countries. While
we are ready and willing to participate and support G-8
goals, as far as we can, absent a concrete bilateral
dialogue with the GOU, we see only limited room for Embassy