2008-10-02 22:12:00
Secretary of State
Cable title:  

(SBU) Secretary Rice's September 29, 2008

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O 022212Z OCT 08
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 105791 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2018
SUBJECT: (SBU) Secretary Rice's September 29, 2008
meeting with Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin

C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 105791

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2018
SUBJECT: (SBU) Secretary Rice's September 29, 2008
meeting with Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin

1. (U) Classified by: Uzra Zeya, Deputy Executive
Secretary, S/ES, Department of State. Reason 1.4.(d)

2. (U) September 29, 2008; 9:00 a.m.; New York.

3. (U) Participants:

The Secretary
SCA Deputy Assistant Secretary George Krol
DRL Assistant Secretary David Kramer
SCA Notetaker Martin O?Mara

Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin
Ambassador to the United States Erlan Idrissov
Permanent Representative to UN Byrganym Aitimova
Chairman MFA Committee on International Information
Erzhan Ashikbayev
Deputy Chief of Protocol Bolat Assabayev

4. (SBU) SUMMARY. Secretary Rice met with Kazakhstani
Foreign Minister Tazhin for 30 minutes on September 29
to discuss bilateral relations, including the Secretary's
upcoming visit to Astana, Kazakhstan's support for
Afghanistan, and its democratic reform agenda as
Kazakhstan prepares for the OSCE Chairmanship. They
also discussed the Russia-Georgia conflict. END

The Secretary's Visit to Astana

5. (SBU) Foreign Minister Tazhin began by welcoming the
Secretary's upcoming visit to Astana. He confirmed that
President Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Masimov will be
available to meet with the Secretary.

Increasing Support for Afghanistan

6. (SBU) Tazhin described Kazakhstan's growing
assistance program for Afghanistan. In 2008, Kazakhstan
was providing budgetary funds to support education,
medical, and road construction projects. Astana planned
to build on the current program by funding additional
projects in 2009-2011. In addition to its special
assistance program, Kazakhstan intended to send staff
and medical officers to the International Security
Assistance Force headquarters as a first step toward
enhanced cooperation with NATO on Afghanistan.

7. (SBU) Tazhin said that PM Masimov will visit
Afghanistan in late October to assess potential
investment projects. Kazakhstani investors made an
ambitious bid last year to develop a copper mine
project, but had lost the tender to a Chinese
competitor. This was an important learning experience.

Kazakhstan's government and private sector were
committed to identifying investment projects in

8. (SBU) The Secretary urged Tazhin to stay engaged
with Afghanistan. She noted Afghanistan has very
limited natural resources. The Kabul government's
budget of $2.5 billion pales in comparison with
Baghdad's budget of $49 billion. Afghanistan can only
succeed if it develops as a land bridge linking South
and Central Asia. For that reason, Kazakhstan, with its
economic strength and own strategic vision for the
region, can play a pivotal role in assisting Afghanistan
and advancing regional integration.

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Kazakhstan's Road to Europe (and OSCE Chairmanship)
-------------- --------------

9. (SBU) Tazhin said Kazakhstan is pursuing a strategic
national program called the "Road to Europe" in 2009-

2011. The program set three major goals. First,
Kazakhstan seeks to step up cooperation with European
countries in energy, joint transportation networks, and
in conforming its regulations and standards with EU
norms. Secondly, Kazakhstan will liberalize its
political system by improving media and electoral laws
and introducing reforms in state administrations.
Thirdly, Kazakhstan will use the program to identify its
priorities as Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation as in Europe.

10. (SBU) The Secretary responded she was encouraged by
Kazakhstan's push to reform its media and electoral
laws. She emphasized the importance of the future
Chairman's strong support for the Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights. Kazakhstan can be a very
stable force in the region. As Central Asia's most
highly developed and resource-rich country, Kazakhstan
has the potential to influence positively its neighbors.
Kazakhstan can demonstrate leadership in the region by
pushing its domestic reform agenda forward. The United
States is committed to working with Kazakhstan to
advance the reform agenda.

Georgia-Russia Crisis

11. (C) Tazhin noted that Georgia's conflict with
Russia has significant implications for Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is the largest investor in Georgia, owning
assets such as the Batumi oil terminal, the gas
infrastructure in Tbilisi, and hotels and resorts.
Kazakhstan's private sector is expressing its concerns
to Astana about its investments in Georgia.

12. (C) Tazhin said that Kazakhstan intends to continue
its very open dialogue with Russia. Kazakhstan had
expressed to Russia its understanding of the
"humanitarian" basis for Russia's actions in Georgia.
Nevertheless, Kazakhstan firmly supports the principle
of territorial integrity and negotiations to reach a
settlement over the conflict zones.

13. (C) Tazhin said that Foreign Minister Lavrov had
told him in their recent meeting that Russia is not
against the principle of territorial integrity and has
no claims on other neighbors, but it views South Ossetia
and Abkhazia as unique cases. Tazhin does not believe
that Russia intends to challenge the territorial
integrity of other potential zones of conflict such as
Ukraine. He emphasized that Kazakhstan will continue to
engage the United States as a strategic partner as
Kazakhstan deals with the long-term implications of the
recent conflict.

14.(C) The Secretary noted that the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization, in particular China and Kazakhstan, sent a
powerful signal to Russia that its actions in Georgia
are unacceptable. South Ossetia and Abkhazia are not
analogous to Kosovo. The Secretary expressed concern
that Russia has created a dangerous principle by issuing
Russian passports to people living in places like
Georgia's conflict zones. Russia's disregard for
territorial integrity in order to protect citizens
living outside of Russia is reminiscent of Germany's
pre-WWII policy towards Sudeten Germans. The Secretary
noted that Russia needed to recognize its Georgia
adventure and that its recognition of South Ossetia and
Abkhazia were big mistakes.

U.S.-Russia Relations

15. (C) The Secretary said the U.S.-Russia partnership
will continue but is damaged. Recalling her meeting
with FM Lavrov in New York, the Secretary said the
United States and Russia agreed to continue to work
together in key areas of cooperation, such the UN
resolution on Iran, the Middle East Quartet, and arms
control. In their meeting, the Secretary cautioned
Lavrov not to exacerbate the conflict with Georgia by
establishing military bases and Russian businesses in
South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Secretary emphasized
that the U.S. objective now is to maintain constructive
bilateral relations with Russia as the United States
moves through the presidential transition.

IAEA Board of Governors

16. (C) The Secretary stated that Kazakhstan would be
an excellent IAEA board member given its nuclear
nonproliferation and disarmament credentials. She
encouraged Tazhin to clarify Kazakhstan's status in the
Middle East/South Asia regional group and to apply for
the Board of Governors seat next year. The United
States will support Kazakhstan as it pursues this
approach. We are supporting Afghanistan's candidacy
this year because it offers the best chance of defeating
Syria's bid for the seat. Tazhin indicated that
Kazakhstan would postpone its candidacy until the next

Certifying Kazakhstan's Human Rights Record

17. (SBU) Tazhin said that Kazakhstan does not
understand why the U.S. Congress requires the State
Department to certify every six months that Kazakhstan
has made significant improvements in the protection of
human rights and civil liberties under Section 698(a) of
the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related
Programs Act. The certification requirement casts
Kazakhstan, but not Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and
Turkmenistan, into the same category as Uzbekistan and
Russia. He added that the certification requirement
applies to an insignificant amount ($19 million) of
bilateral assistance funds. Astana views this request
as inappropriate for a strategic partner of the United
States. The Secretary said that she would look into the
matter and address it during her upcoming visit to

Jackson-Vanik Amendment

18. (SBU) Tazhin asked the Secretary for the
Department's support in "graduating" Kazakhstan from the
Jackson-Vanik Amendment. Kazakhstan has an exemplary
record of respecting the right to emigrate. Senator
Lugar announced his support for lifting Jackson-Vanik
earlier this year. Lifting Jackson-Vanik is important
because Kazakhstan hopes to complete its negotiations
with the United States of the World Trade Organization
bilateral accession agreement.

19. (C) The Secretary noted that while the Jackson-
Vanik legislation was introduced as a measure to promote
Jewish emigration, the U.S Congress now uses Jackson-
Vanik to express its views on World Trade Organization
issues. For that reason, Kazakhstan is now caught up in
the politics surrounding U.S. trade policy. In closing,
the Secretary assured Tazhin that the United States is
committed to concluding a strong bilateral WTO accession
agreement and removal of Jackson-Vanik.