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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07BISHKEK229
2007-03-05 12:32:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bishkek
Cable title:  

NEW KYRGYZ PRIME MINISTER DISCUSSES ECONOMIC

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  MARR  KG 
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P 051232Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BISHKEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9054
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 1977
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 0082
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0094
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 0559
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0382
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 0091
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0249
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 0491
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 2387
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1771
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO BRUSSELS BE PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP PRIORITY
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BISHKEK 000229 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/05/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR KG
SUBJECT: NEW KYRGYZ PRIME MINISTER DISCUSSES ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT AND AIR BASE ISSUES

BISHKEK 00000229 001.2 OF 003


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



1. (C) SUMMARY: During an introductory meeting March 1, new
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Azim Isabekov told the Ambassador that
he looked forward to continued cooperation with the United
States, particularly on economic development issues.
Isabekov said that the government's priorities would be to
push needed economic legislation though parliament, promote
re-development of industry and factories, and increase
spending in the social sphere. He stressed the urgency of
completing hydro-electric projects within the next three or
four years, or risk losing out on electricity export markets
to other producers. Turning to the Manas Air Base, Isabekov
said that many parliamentarians, as well as the general
public, were demanding more openness regarding base payments,
and there were concerns about environmental impacts of base
operations. He suggested meeting to resolve these issues,
especially the environmental concerns -- and then possibly
having parliament ratify any agreement. Isabekov appeared to
be tossing out ideas for discussion, and it was not clear
whether he was suggesting that parliament should ratify the
entire base agreement, or just any future agreement on
environmental issues. END SUMMARY.



2. (U) Ambassador made an introductory call March 1 on new
Prime Minister Azim Isabekov. Deputy Foreign Minister
Sarbayev also attended the meeting.

CONTINUED COOPERATION


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





3. (C) Prime Minister Isabekov said that U.S. relations were
a priority for him, and he expressed thanks for U.S.
assistance in economic and political reform. He said he
looked forward to continued cooperation, particularly on
economic development issues. Asked about his government's
priorities, Isabekov said now that the new government
structure was in place, the government would focus on
completing the budget, which has gone through its initial
reading in parliament. The government would also focus on
getting needed economic reform legislation through
parliament. He said that the government hoped to promote
greater industrial development, and would seek to increase
spending in the social sphere, including infrastructure such
as new schools. In addition to developing the mining sector,
Isabekov said that the government was looking to increase
revenues from existing projects, including through
negotiations with the Canadian operators of the Kumtor gold
mine over new conditions. (Note: First Deputy Prime
Minister Usenov recently held discussions with the Canadian
parent company; the Kyrgyz Government holds stock in the
parent company valued at approximately $350 million. End
Note.)



4. (C) Agreeing that reform of the energy sector was a key to
economic development, Isabekov noted that many people had
looked at the sector and had made many recommendations.
Isabekov said that the government would decide to proceed
with restructuring, and he wanted any process to be
transparent. He said that development of hydro-electric
projects, such as Kambarata 1 and 2, was a top priority, and
he stressed the urgency of completing projects within the
next three to four years, or risk losing out on export
markets to other producers.



5. (C) Isabekov said he was generally familiar with the scope
of international assistance projects in the country from his
earlier work in the presidential administration, but would

BISHKEK 00000229 002.2 OF 003


welcome a more detailed briefing on U.S. programs, including
USAID's Regional Energy Marketing Assistance Program (REMAP).
He was interested in expanding assistance to education,
either to school infrastructure or other educational
programs, especially in the regions recently hit by
earthquakes.

CONCERNS ABOUT THE BASE


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





6. (C) Turning to the Manas Air Base, Isabekov said that
people understood the importance of the war on terrorism for
Central Asia, but there was a need for greater openness
regarding base payments. Isabekov stressed that it was not
the leadership or the government that was pushing this issue,
but that the general public, and some parliamentarians, were
demanding greater transparency. Isabekov also raised
concerns about the environmental impact of base operations,
claiming the fuel dumping had hurt crops and livestock and
that noise from night operations was disturbing residents of
nearby villages. The Ambassador pointed out that there had
been no fuel dumping near Manas since September 2005, and
that procedures had been agreed for emergency situations.
Isabekov said his office would provide a list of ecological
problems, and he requested that the Ambassador meet with
representatives from nearby village councils. (Note: We are
working with the PM's office to arrange such a meeting. End
Note.)

RATIFYING THE AGREEMENT?


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





7. (C) Isabekov said that parliament would continue to raise
concerns about the base, and this could lead to greater
problems. He suggested reviewing the base agreement and
meeting to find solutions to the many outstanding issues,
especially the environmental concerns. Isabekov said that
parliament could then ratify any agreement. The meeting was
cut short owing to Isabekov's next meeting, but the Prime
Minister invited the Ambassador to meet again in the near
future.

COMMENT


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





8. (C) Isabekov was relaxed and engaged in this first
meeting. Although he did not go into detail, he laid out his
government's priorities for economic development and
improvements to education. He seemed to favor closer
cooperation with the U.S., and appeared interested in more
information about U.S. assistance programs.



9. (C) Regarding the base, Isabekov appeared to be tossing
out ideas for discussion. It was not clear whether he was
suggesting a full review of the base agreement or a more
limited review with respect to outstanding issues. It was
also not clear whether he was suggesting that parliament
ratify the full base agreement, or just approve any agreement
on the environmental and other concerns. Deputy Foreign
Minister Sarbayev subsequently told the Ambassador during a
March 5 meeting that, as far as he knew, the prime minister's
comments on the base agreement did not reflect a new official
policy. He had understood the prime minister to say that the
base agreement should be reviewed with respect to the
outstanding issues, especially for environmental concerns,
and we should meet to find new solutions to the outstanding
problems -- and parliament could then approve any agreement.
While Isabekov may well have been speaking off the cuff, the

BISHKEK 00000229 003.2 OF 003


issue bears watching, as his comments could be an indication
of where some in the government want to go with regard to
re-opening the base agreement.
YOVANOVITCH