Monthly Archives: March 2006

06ASTANA22, PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV CONVENES DEMOCRATIZATION COMMISSION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ASTANA22 2006-03-29 12:52 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO5613
RR RUEHAST RUEHDBU
DE RUEHAST #0022/01 0881252
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291252Z MAR 06
FM USOFFICE ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0080
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY 0074
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 0008
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 0008
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0009
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0005
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0009
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 0008
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0031
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ASTANA 0082

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000022 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (J. MUDGE), DRL/PHD (C. KUCHTA-HELBLING), AND 
DRL/CRA (E. RAMBORGER) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KDEM PHUM PGOV KZ ZK
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV CONVENES DEMOCRATIZATION COMMISSION 
 
REF: ALMATY 1095 
 
1. (U) SUMMARY: On March 24, President Nazarbayev chaired the 
first meeting of the Democratization Commission in Astana. All 
registered political parties were invited to send 
representatives, except the recently-registered opposition party 
True Ak Zhol. Most opposition representatives did not attend, 
however. Nazarbayev laid out priority issues for the Commission 
to address, including strengthening the legislative branch, 
tackling corruption, and creating greater government 
transparency. Based on press accounts, it appears that other 
participants were not given the opportunity to speak during the 
opening session. Nazarbayev appointed State Secretary Oralbay 
Abdykarimov as his deputy, to deal with day-to-day management of 
the Commission staff and to organize periodic meetings in Astana 
and the regions. END SUMMARY 
 
SCOPE AND COMPOSITION OF THE COMMISSION 
 
--------------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) On March 24, President Nazarbayev chaired the 
long-awaited first meeting of the Democratization Commission in 
Astana, formally known as the "State Commission on Drafting and 
Elaborating the Democratic Reform Program." The government 
invited representatives from registered opposition movement For 
A Just Kazakhstan (FJK) and from 11 of 12 currently registered 
political parties: the Agrarian Party, Ak Zhol, Asar, Aul, the 
Civic Party, the Communist Party of Kazakhstan (CPK), the 
Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan (CPPK), the Democratic 
Party of Kazakhstan (DPK), Otan, the Patriot Party, and 
Rukhaniyat. Commission staff reported that although True Ak Zhol 
was registered on March 21, the Commission was not able to 
prepare an invitation for the party in time. Of the invited 
opposition groups, only Ak Zhol's Baimenov participated; the 
Communist party and For a Just Kazakhstan declined. (Reftel 
reports their reasons, primarily unresolved questions about the 
Sarsenbaiuly murder and the structure and true purpose of the 
Commission.) Most parties sent their chairmen as 
representatives. Asar leader Dariga Nazarbayeva did not attend, 
however, sending another party leader in her place. Nazarbayev, 
the chairman of the Commission, appointed State Secretary 
Oralbay Abdykarimov as his deputy. Abdykarimov is to hold 
periodic meetings of the Commission, to organize its meetings in 
the regions, and to deal with routine issues of the Commission. 
Nazarbayev did not indicate how frequently he planned to 
participate in future meetings. 
 
3. (U) In his opening remarks, President Nazarbayev outlined his 
priorities for democratic development: strong basic political 
institutions; effective interaction among the branches of 
government; public accountability for government operations; a 
strong, independent Parliament; and a more active role for 
political parties. Nazarbayev acknowledged that the government 
should report to the people and that corruption within the 
government remains a problem. Nazarbayev said that the structure 
of executive power should be changed to provide for greater 
public accountability of government agencies and institutions. 
Implementation of e-government could become a tool to reduce 
corruption and increase transparency and access to services. 
Nazarbayev said that democratic reforms should move forward in 
spite of any internal threats or social conflicts. 
 
STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENT 
 
------------------------------------ 
 
4. (U) Reiterating themes he has raised over the past year, 
Nazarbayev asked the Commission to strengthen the role of 
Parliament and increase the independence and accountability of 
local governments. Parliament should participate in the 
formation of the cabinet, which is currently chosen by the 
President. Nazarbayev asked the Commission to consider 
increasing the number of parliamentarians in both chambers, a 
change that would require a constitutional amendment. He stated 
that the administration is preparing a draft law, "On Local 
Self-government," that is expected to be presented to the 
Parliament in the next few months. Nazarbayev also noted that 
preparations are underway for the election of district (raiyon) 
akims this year; currently, district akims are selected by the 
President or by the akim of the oblast, the intermediate 
administrative level of government. 
 
ASTANA 00000022  002 OF 003 
 
 
 
MANAGED CHANGE 
 
-------------- 
 
5. (U) Nazarbayev also returned to his often-expressed mantra 
that social reforms and the construction of a democratic society 
must take into account "our traditional values." Liberalization 
of the political system should be balanced with the efficiency 
of the government
. He reiterated concerns that economic 
development and prosperity should not be overrun by democratic 
changes. "The world has witnessed more than one incident when 
'recipes' were automatically planted in unprepared soil and 
yielded results contrary to those expected," warned Nazarbayev. 
He cited India, Brazil, and Argentina as examples of countries 
widely recognized as democratic, but where a substantial part of 
the population suffers from poverty. Other countries seen as far 
from democratic, such as China and the nations of Southeast 
Asia, had managed to achieve rapid economic growth and 
prosperity. "It is to the experience of these latter countries 
that we often refer," added Nazarbayev. 
 
6. (U) Based on press accounts, it appears that the other 
participants were not given the opportunity to speak during the 
opening session. Kazakhstani human rights defender Yevgeniy 
Zhovtis strongly criticized the format of the Commission in 
public comments on March 27. Zhovtis called for all political 
forces to be invited, including opposition parties, influential 
social organizations, and prominent public figures. Underscoring 
Nazarbayev's responsibility to work with all citizens, not just 
those who voted for him, Zhovtis called for true dialogue and a 
search for compromise. He rejected a majority voting approach. 
 
NEXT STEPS 
 
---------- 
 
7. (U) The President tasked his administration with preparing a 
work schedule for the Commission within a month. The Cabinet 
will provide the Commission's operating budget, which will be 
administered by the Ministry of Culture, Information and Sports. 
(Note: This ministry was split into two new ministries on March 
27: the Ministry of Culture and Information and the Ministry of 
Tourism and Sport. Although it has not been announced, the 
Ministry of Culture and Information is expected to assume 
budgetary responsibility for the Commission. End note.) 
 
8. (U) On March 28, Deputy Chair Oralbay Abdykarimov held a 
press briefing in Almaty to elaborate on plans for addressing 
the priority issues identified by Nazarbayev. Underscoring the 
importance of consistency in political reforms, he stated, 
"There should be no haste in making changes in the Constitution. 
The Commission should begin with changes in those laws that do 
not require amendments into the Constitution." According to 
Abdykarimov, he invited all members of the Commission to send 
proposals for prioritization of those political reforms that the 
President had outlined. Prioritization of reform was crucial to 
the Commission's success, Abykarimov noted, citing the 
experience of the previous Democracy Commission, which put 
together a program of political reforms with seven major 
directions, "but if we move in all (these) directions 
simultaneously we will bring the country to chaos." 
 
9. (U) In response to a question, Abdykarimov told the press 
that all political parties were invited to the first meeting of 
the Commission, except opposition party True Ak Zhol, which he 
said was not formally registered until the day before the 
meeting of the Commission. Abdykarimov stated that True Ak Zhol 
would be invited to join the Commission and send representatives 
to all future meetings. Abdykarimov also commented that though 
unregistered political movements cannot participate formally in 
the Commission, they are free to contribute their proposals on 
various issues related to political reforms. 
 
10. (SBU) COMMENT: Nazarbayev has laid out an ambitious agenda 
for the Democratization Commission. Engaging the opposition in 
the work of the Commission, particularly in the wake of the 
Sarsenbaiuly murder, is a must, and will be a challenge. 
Abdykarimov's promise to include True Ak Zhol in future meetings 
and his offer to accept contributions from unregistered 
political movements may provide an opening for small 
 
ASTANA 00000022  003 OF 003 
 
 
confidence-building steps that Post will encourage all parties 
to pursue. The key to the organization's success or failure will 
be whether organizers can convince participants that it is a 
forum where they can express their views and be heard publicly, 
not just a venue for Nazarbayev photo ops. END COMMENT. 
TRACY

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06ASTANA21, KAZAKHSTAN’S CHIEF WTO ACCESSION NEGOTIATOR SPEAKS ON

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To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
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If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06ASTANA21.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ASTANA21 2006-03-28 11:38 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO4043
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAST #0021/01 0871138
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281138Z MAR 06
FM USOFFICE ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0078
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY 0072
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ASTANA 0080

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000021 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS , SCA/CEN - MUDGE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON ETRD KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN'S CHIEF WTO ACCESSION NEGOTIATOR SPEAKS ON 
ACCESSION, ECONOMIC POLICIES 
 
 
ASTANA 00000021  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. (U) Summary:  In a February 2 meeting, Deputy Trade Minister 
and Kazakhstan's chief WTO accession negotiator Zhanar 
Aitzhanova briefed Ambassador Ordway on the status of economic 
reforms tied to accession and the Ministry's current views on 
economic policy.  End summary. 
 
 
 
WTO Accession 
 
------------- 
 
 
 
2. (SBU) Kazakhstan has submitted its goods and services offer, 
said Aitzhanova.  "We did our best to take your comments into 
consideration," she noted, adding that "some issues still 
remain."  On telecommunications, Aitzhanova remarked, "we are 
still somewhat inflexible, since this is a domestic industry in 
need of protection."  She expressed optimism that "not too many 
problems" in regard to accession remain in the financial sector. 
 With respect to the issue of foreign banks' ability to open 
branches in Kazakhstan, she commented, "We want to support our 
banks.  But we have three dominant banks; interest rates are 
still quite high.  So, this sector needs to open up." 
 
 
 
3. (SBU) Aitzhanova added that Kazakhstanis have started work on 
technical issues, such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures 
(SPS), with help from the EU, and on customs issues under the 
umbrella of the Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework 
Agreement (TIFA).  WTO requirements dictate that any laws 
affecting trade must be available in English.  "We lack the 
capacity," Aitzhanova said, "to translate our laws from Russian 
or to perform economic analysis of our WTO commitments." 
 
 
 
4. (SBU) On labor issues, Aitzhanova said, "we are still very 
sensitive."  Kazakhstan is "unprotected," she noted, due to its 
geography - particularly its proximity to China - and the lack 
of sophisticated immigration or border controls.  She said that 
the idea of maintaining a quota system for unskilled labor only 
is under consideration.  However, the notion of establishing 
regulations, such as requiring companies to advertise in 
Kazakhstani newspapers before hiring foreign workers, is not 
being accepted. 
 
 
 
Economic Policy 
 
--------------- 
 
 
 
5. (SBU) Before WTO accession, Aitzhanova said, the key is 
developing policies; after accession, the focus will be on 
enforcement.  Aitzhanova characterized her new boss, the 
recently appointed Minister of Industry and Trade Vladimir 
Shkolnik, as an energetic, quick learner with a sense of humor, 
and remarked that he is not interfering with her work.  She 
noted that Shkolnik strongly supports the Industrial Innovative 
Development Strategy and sees Kazakhstan as an energy-producing 
state that should not be ashamed that energy represents 80% of 
its exports.  "The key," Aitzhanova commented, "is to use the 
[energy] revenues well to develop other sectors without 
overstretching our resources, financial and human." 
 
 
 
6. (SBU) Turning to agricultural subsidies, Aitzhanova said, "we 
should not reduce them but make them better."  She agreed with 
the Ambassador that developing the textile industry is a 
problematic idea.  Textiles, she noted, are a water-depleting 
sector with the resulting potential for sparking regional 
conflict. 
 
 
 
7. (SBU) Kazakhstan's trade surplus, Aitzhanova said, 
constitutes a quarter of its GDP.  "But," she stated, "until the 
end of 2004, we did not have a regulatory framework on trade. 
Focusing on trade is, for us, a necessity as well as a 
commitment to WTO accession."  On e-commerce, Aitzhanova added, 
Kazakhstan still lacks a regulatory framework. 
 
 
 
ASTANA 00000021  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
 
Clubs: TIFA and Eurasian European Community 
 
------------------------------------------- 
 
 
 
8. (SBU) Aitzhanova responded positively to the Ambassador's 
suggestion that Kazakhstan take a leadership role in TIFA. 
Kazakhstan, she said, can share its experience in sector reform, 
such as banking, and in clearing a path toward joining the WTO. 
"It is one thing when the U.S. comes to teach," Aitzhanova 
observed, "and another when Kazakhstan is succeeding in action." 
 Kazakhstan is considering focusing on financial system issues - 
not only banking and insurance but also exchange rate and 
currency management.  Aitzhanova added that Kazakhstanis are 
considering holding a regional conference on these topics in 
Almaty.  "This," she said, "is crucial for facilitating 
cross-border trade and investment."  The Eurasian Economic 
Community is also important to Kazakhstan, she concluded, 
because of Kazakhstan's "strategic" dependence on Russia in 
shipping its goods to other countries, particularly the EU. 
 
 
 
Comment 
 
------- 
 
 
 
9. (SBU) Comment:  Aitzhanova remains optimistic that Kazakhstan 
will be
 able to complete all WTO requirements in 2006.  However, 
the GOK's inflexibility on the telecommunications sector, among 
others, could make this deadline difficult to meet.  End comment. 
TRACY

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