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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07DUSHANBE135 2007-01-26 13:48:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Dushanbe
Cable title:  

INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING BUREAU LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR

Tags:   ABLD ECPS OIIP PGOV PREL KPAO TI 
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1. (U) SUMMARY. The International Broadcasting Bureau's Jim
Lambert briefed Minister of Transportation and Communications
Abdurahim Ashurov January 23 on the history of its broadcasts
and transmissions from Tajikistan and proposed that the United
States and Tajikistan negotiate and sign a bilateral
governmental agreement. To date, the International Broadcasting
Bureau has conducted its programs on a commercial basis; the
current five-year commercial agreement is set to expire in
December 2007. Lambert promised to send a draft agreement and
invited Ashurov to send a team to Munich to see the facilities
and meet with other International Broadcasting Bureau staff.
Ashurov promised to consider the agreement, stating that
cooperation with the United States on all fronts was a priority;
but noting also that the International Broadcasting Bureau's
work in Tajikistan can no longer be considered as simply
technical or commercial, but rather an issue of broader foreign
policy. END SUMMARY



2. (SBU) The Ambassador set the stage by explaining the
on-going commercial agreement between the International
Broadcasting Bureau and Tajik Radio Telecom which allows the
International Broadcasting Bureau to broadcast into Pakistan.
The International Broadcasting Bureau wants to broaden the scope
of its broadcasts to include China, but a commercial agreement
does not adequately ensure Tajik government support for
transmissions from its territory, so a bilateral governmental
agreement is needed. Lambert then fully explained the ongoing
broadcasting program, including the recent installation of an
800-kilowatt amplitude modulated transmitter and antenna. The
International Broadcasting Bureau plans to install generators to
ensure a consistent power supply, and shortwave antenna and
transmitter that can reach most of China, in addition to the
current Urdu broadcasts into Pakistan. Lambert emphasized the
close cooperation with Tajik Radio Telecom, as well as the
technology and training already transferred to Tajikistan.



3. (U) Because the original equipment leased by Radio Free Asia
in 1995 and again by the successor agency International
Broadcasting Bureau in 2002 cannot carry the required
transmission loads, the International Broadcasting Bureau began
installing new technology for Tajik Radio Telecom, and plans
further upgrades. This will benefit Tajikistan in the long run,
because its technicians are getting the training now, and the
equipment will revert to them in ten years. The International
Broadcasting Bureau has also provided building renovations at
the broadcasting site. The current program also benefits Tajik
Radio Telecom because it is able to sub-lease 12 hours each day
on the current transmitters to other broadcasters. (Note: We
have just learned that Tajik Radio Telecom's main sub-lessee is
Radio Russia. It is ironic that U.S. provided equipment is used
to broadcast programs that often portray America in a negative
light. End note.)



4. (U) The current commercial program expires in December 2007,
and there is no current government to government agreement. For
this reason, Lambert recommended that the International
Broadcasting Bureau send a draft proposal and an invitation for
the Tajiks to meet with the International Broadcasting Bureau in
Munich in February.



5. (U) Minister Ashurov thanked Jim Lambert for the
information, and stated that he agreed in principle with the
idea of the meeting to discuss a new agreement. He said ongoing
as well as new broadcasts would have to be discussed at the
policy level within his government to determine if the
transmission agreement complied with Tajik law. This is not
simply a commercial or technical issue, he said, but one of
broader foreign policy. Tajikistan wants to have positive,
law-based relationships with all of its neighbors. Ashurov
emphasized his interest in cooperation with the United States
across all areas within the purview of his ministry.



6. (SBU) COMMENT: The meeting represented a first effort to
fully brief the Tajik government on the International
Broadcasting Bureau's activities, but it will take numerous
briefings and meetings to fully explain the scope of the
broadcasts and get the Tajiks to agree to an intergovernmental
agreement, in addition to extending the commercial agreement
with Tajik Radio Telecom which expire in December. Given the
growing ties between Tajikistan and China, the Tajik government
may not agree to allow us to use its territory for broadcasting
to China. We will need to use all our diplomatic efforts in

DUSHANBE 00000135 002.2 OF 002


Tajikistan and Washington to explain that the transmissions do
not pose a threat to regional stability or relations. END
COMMENT



7. (U) By briefing the government of Tajikistan and initiating
discussions about an inter-governmental agreement, the
International Broadcasting Bureau has complied with Embassy
Dushanbe's request (Reftel), and the Embassy will once again
entertain country clearance requests for its technical advisors
for maintenance and repair of existing capacity as well as site
surveys for planned expansion. However, the Bureau should not
plan on installing new capacity or start new broadcasts without
first obtaining agreement from the host government.
JACOBSON