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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09ASHGABAT1106
2009-09-01 13:04:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

MINISTER OF EDUCATION UNHELPFUL ON STUDENTS EXIT

Tags:   PREL  SCUL  SOCI  TX 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO6050
PP RUEHAG RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHNEH RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSL
RUEHSR
DE RUEHAH #1106/01 2441304
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011304Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3382
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5602
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3321
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3185
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3845
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMCSUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 3850
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 001106 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, STATE FOR EUR/ACE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/01/2019
TAGS: PREL SCUL SOCI TX
SUBJECT: MINISTER OF EDUCATION UNHELPFUL ON STUDENTS EXIT
TO BISHKEK

REF: A. ASHGABAT 1079

B. ASHGABAT 1070

C. ASHGABAT 1049

D. ASHGABAT 0938

Classified By: Charge Richard Miles, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).



1. (C) SUMMARY. On August 31, CDA Richard Miles met with
Minister of Education, Gulshat Mammedova, to discuss the
ongoing imbroglio with students attempting to study at the
American University in Central Asia (AUCA). The Minister was
unhelpful and stuck to the now tired excuses of trying to
protect the students. When asked to ensure that the students
would have no trouble departing to study at the American
University in Bulgaria (AUBG), she promised to "review the
matter." END SUMMARY.

AS EXPECTED, THE STANDARD LINES



2. (C) After many delays, new Minister of Education, Gulshat
Mammedova, finally agreed to meet with the Charge to discuss
her Ministry's role in forbidding students from traveling to
study at AUCA. Mammedova, Ministry of Education (MOE) Head
of the International Relations Department, Nury Bayramov, and
MFA representative, Ata Eyeberdiyev, attended the meeting
from the GOTX side. The Charge, PAO, and PD FSN/Translator
attended the meeting from the USG side.



3. (C) The Charge started by outlining the various problems
the Embassy has faced in trying to send scholarship students
to AUCA. He then explained that while the USG does not agree
with the decision, we have accepted it and are moving forward
with a plan to send the students to AUBG. He continued that
while the USG will continue to try and send students to AUCA,
we realize, that for this year, this will not be possible.



4. (C) Mammedova responded that she personally had met with
the students and that the Ministry of Education is "not
preventing anyone from studying abroad." She reiterated the
reasons she gave parents at an earlier meeting (Reftel); that
there was no bilateral agreement with AUCA, that the MOE's
action were taken to protect the students as any diplomas
from AUCA would not be recognized, and that the MOE is simply
"worried about the kids' futures." She mentioned that MOE
had repeatedly made their concerns known to the Embassy about
the AUCA scholarship program, but that despite all of their
protests, the Embassy continued with the recruitment process.
She finished by saying that the MOE has nothing against
students studying abroad, but only in necessary majors and
under the support of a bilateral agreement.

NOT QUITE ACCURATE ...



5. (C) Charge interjected and pointed out that he personally
had heard nothing in his ten months in Turkmenistan of any
MOE or GOTX objections to the scholarship program or to
students studying at AUCA, despite the fact that he had
spoken with her predecessor on multiple occasions and also
with Deputy Chairman Saparlyev (Education, Health, Science,
and Religion) also on several occasions. The Charge also
noted that it was "not quite accurate that the MOE had not
denied students the right to travel, as several students were
pulled off of airplanes precisely because they were intending
to study at AUCA." He then continued that the primary focus
now should not be on the past, but rather on the future by
ensuring that these students are able to continue their
education and that the USG hopes the students will be allowed
to study at AUBG without any further problems from the MOE.



6. (C) Mammedova, after consulting with Bayramov, promised
to "review the matter of AUBG." (COMMENT: On multiple
occasions Bayramov has told students that there would be no
problems with studying at AUBG. It appears that they may be
backtracking on this promise, as they did not anticipate the
USG to arrange these transfers so quickly. END COMMENT.)

ASHGABAT 00001106 002 OF 002


She said that it is her responsibility to "take care of the
students" and that includes "looking into their fields of
specialization also."

MORE STONEWALLING



7. (C) Charge continued to raise several areas of MOE-USG
cooperation and pending questions including a personal appeal
to resolve the matter of registration for the Ashgabat
International School. After consultations with Bayramov,
Minister Mammedova responded that if matters have been
addressed to her Ministry then "of course, we've passed them
along and are awaiting answers." She then listed several
programs and activities where the MOE is attempting to
cooperate with U.S. educational institutions, all without the
assistance of the Embassy.



8. (C) COMMENT: While cordial, the meeting was fruitless.
Mammedova appears to be, and wishes to remain, a bystander in
many of the ongoing complications of USG education programs
in Turkmenistan. She was poorly briefed on issues outside of
AUCA, and was unwilling to discuss areas of cooperation. As
has been the case often in the past, Bayramov clearly pushed
his agenda and the Minister parroted his advice. END COMMENT.

MILES