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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07ASHGABAT1378
2007-12-19 09:24:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

TURKMENISTAN: DIP DOYEN DEPARTS

Tags:   PREL  SOCI  AM  KG  TX 
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VZCZCXRO5465
RR RUEHAG RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW RUEHROV
DE RUEHAH #1378 3530924
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 190924Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9915
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 3133
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0948
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0822
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1396
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2021
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0659
						C O N F I D E N T I A L ASHGABAT 001378 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/CARC

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/18/2017
TAGS: PREL SOCI AM KG TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: DIP DOYEN DEPARTS


Classified By: CHARGE RICHARD E. HOAGLAND FOR REASONS 1.4 (B), (D)



1. (C) Some of the diplomatic corps gathered December 18 for
the farewell dinner to fete diplomatic doyen Armenian
Ambassador Aram Grigoryan, who departs Turkmenistan December
30 after serving nearly 11 years in his post. When Charge
asked about his next assignment, the decidedly drunk
Grigoryan muttered vaguely he's returning to his foreign
ministry in Yerevan.

THE BACK STORY



2. (C) Officious and bullying, the portly Grigoryan did
himself in earlier this year when he hosted a dinner marking
the anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War,
otherwise known as World War II. He told German Ambassador
Hans Mondorf he was not allowed to sit with the "winners"
because "losers have to sit alone." Rather than admit this
was a tasteless joke, he enforced his seating plan.



3. (C) Mondorf walked out and reported the incident to his
foreign ministry. Berlin formally protested to Yerevan, and
Yerevan supposedly recalled Grigoryan. He hosted his own
farewell and flew to Armenia. However, he returned to
Ashgabat several weeks later, earning the sobriquet
Ambassador Boomerang. He bragged he had convinced his
foreign ministry to give him time to wind up his business
affairs in Ashgabat. Exactly what business affairs he had to
wind up is unclear, but it was widely rumored among the
ambassadors, whether accurate or not, that Grigoryan owned a
string of kebab shops and possibly several brothels.

THE DINNER



4. (C) In a show of solidarity, all the FSU ambassadors,
including Russian Ambassador Igor Blatov, attended the
farewell dinner, but attendance by others was spotty. French
Ambassador Christian Lechervy, representing the EU contact
embassy, was the Western Europeans' designated goat, but he
arrived 90 minutes late and stayed for only a half hour.
Ukrainian Ambassador Viktor Mayko, the nominal host, stumbled
over his lukewarm opening toast. Searching for something
nice to say, he praised the extremely rotund Grigoyan as a
great sportsman. Someone called out, "What sports?" Mayko
attempted, "He plays tennis?" Someone else yelled, "No, he
plays DVDs!"



5. (SBU) Charge was then called on to offer a toast, and
toasted "the brave Armenian people and nation." That seemed
to set the tone, because the rest of the many toasts during
the evening were variations -- toasts to Armenian
intelligence, Armenian entrepreneurship, Armenian women, but
none specifically to Grigoryan.

THE TORCH IS PASSED



6. (U) With Grigoryan's departure, the mantle of doyen now
passes to Kyrgyz Ambassador Zarylbek Akmatbekov, an elderly
academic who has been in place only six and a half years.
HOAGLAND