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07ASHGABAT1281 2007-11-26 11:28:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ashgabat
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1. (C) The Government of Turkmenistan has agreed to renew the
blanket overflight and landing clearance request number 999C
that had been due to expire November 30. Deputy Chairman of
the Cabinet of Ministers and Foreign Minister Rashit Meredov
called in the Charge to deliver this news. Meredov said the
present procedure of annual renewal, informing MFA by
diplomatic note that the transits are for humanitarian
purposes, should continue. He said this has served both
countries for many years, and there is no need to change.
The only request, said Meredov, is that the number of future
flights should remain approximately the same as it has been
in the last couple of years. He said the Embassy would
receive a diplomatic note within a few days detailing this

2. (C) Turning to the issue of medical flights, Meredov said
his government did not see why blanket approval was
necessary, given the possibility of obtaining medical care in
Turkmenistan. (NOTE: The Embassy had been informed at the
same time as the notice regarding military flights, by
separate diplomatic note, that the annual blanket clearance
for medical flights would also be subject to the same
requirement to ask for permission for overflight and landing
for each flight. END NOTE.) Therefore, he said, landing
clearance for those flights should be sought on a
case-by-case basis. He assured they would be approved within
24 hours. Charge countered that medical flights are only
necessary for emergency cases, and 24 hours could be too long
a delay when a life is at stake. She said single requests
for flights could be acceptable, but that approval would be
needed within a few hours. Meredov agreed that MFA would
respond to requests for landing clearance for medical flights
within a few hours.

3. (C) COMMENT: Meredov had come immediately from a meeting
with President Berdimuhamedov, so we can be assured that this
decision to continue with blanket overflights has the
blessing from on high. Better heads prevailed on this issue,
realizing how important these flights are not only for the
success of Operation Enduring Freedom, but also for
U.S.-Turkmenistan bilateral relations. END COMMENT.