06ASTANA42, KAZAKHSTAN: ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER MEETS WITH TRANSPORT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ASTANA42 2006-05-10 16:07 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO0124
RR RUEHAST RUEHDBU
DE RUEHAST #0042/01 1301607
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101607Z MAY 06
FM USOFFICE ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0125
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY 0117
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 0021
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0031
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0021
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 0017
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 0017
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ASTANA 0127

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000042 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
SCA/CEN - O'MARA, MUDGE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ETRD ECON EAIR KZ AF TI UZ KG TX ZK
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER MEETS WITH TRANSPORT 
MINISTER MAMIN 
 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  During a May 5 meeting with Assistant 
Secretary Boucher and Elisabeth Millard of the NSC, Minister of 
 
SIPDIS 
Transport and Communications Mamin discussed the new $26 billion 
Transportation Strategy, ambitious plans for Air Astana, and 
ideas for infrastructure projects aimed to spur Kazakhstan's 
economic integration in the region.  End summary. 
 
 
 
2. (SBU) One month ago, Mamin began, the Kazakhstani government 
adopted a new 2006-2015 Transport Strategy.  The Strategy 
focuses on new transport infrastructure and has a $26 billion 
price tag.  Of this, 70% is planned to be realized through 
private investment.  The port of Aktau needs to be upgraded, 
said Mamin.  There is a firm intention to link the ports of 
Aktau and Baku by putting railcars on barges.  Another priority 
is building a new highway to link central Kazakhstan with the 
country's west.  Such a road will cut the distance by 1,000 km 
relative to the existing route.  There are also plans to 
establish a second railway link with China.  China, Mamin 
remarked, is currently shifting to its west both population and 
capital.  By 2010 there will be more than 300 million people in 
China's resource-rich northwest region. 
 
 
 
3. (SBU) Cooperation with neighboring countries of Central Asia 
is an important issue, Mamin noted.  They are all, he remarked, 
at different stages of economic development.  The Kazakhstani 
government is holding consultations with its Central Asian 
counterparts.  The latest round, focusing on the transportation 
needs of Afghanistan, took place in Kazakhstan on March 29. 
Kazakhstan is also exploring various transportation routes 
within three multilateral frameworks: TRACECA, the Organization 
for Economic Cooperation (OEC), and the Eurasian Economic 
Community (EurAsEC).  Mamin remarked that collaboration in the 
OEC framework is not particularly effective due to 
"discrepancies in the region."  On some programs, he added, 
there is a lack of understanding on the part of Uzbekistan. 
(Note:  TRACECA, the Europe-Caucasus-Central Asia Transport 
Corridor Program, encompasses 13 countries of Eastern Europe, 
the Caucasus, and Central Asia, including Afghanistan, and seeks 
the development of transportation links between Europe and Asia. 
 OEC consists of the five Central Asian countries plus Iran, 
Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan.  EurAsEc is made up of 
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, and 
Belarus.  End note.) 
 
4. (SBU) Mamin mentioned visit that day to Astana of 
Tajikistan's President Rahmonov.  The discussions, he said, 
included establishing the 
Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan- Pakistan road 
corridor.  Kyrgyzstan is in the process of reconstructing 807 km 
of roads, and Tajikistan is also conducting selective repairs. 
The road from Tajikistan to Afghanistan is in satisfactory 
condition, Mamin noted, but the link between Pakistan and 
Afghanistan is worse.  Noting that the total distance from 
Almaty to Karachi is 3500 km, Mamin observed that if 
Afghanistan, with U.S. help, establishes a viable road link, 
Kazakhstan will have good access to Pakistan.  The Assistant 
Secretary noted the tremendous size of India's market and the 
 
SIPDIS 
possibility of linking Pakistan with India.  He also mentioned 
the importance for Kazakhstan of establishing transportation 
links in multiple directions, both to expand its economic 
possibilities and strengthen its economic independence. 
 
5. (SBU) Mamin went on to discuss aviation issues.  Kazakhstan 
links its hopes of air market development to Air Astana, "a new 
company that is quite dynamic," he said.  Kazakhstan wants to 
have 35-40 aircraft by 2015.  Next month Mamin plans to hold 
discussions with Boeing and Airbus.  Kazakhstan is establishing 
three air hubs, he said: Almaty, Astana, and Atyrau ("the oil 
capital").  There is regional competition from Tashkent, which 
thanks to government policies enjoys new planes and developed 
airports.  But, Mamin said, Kazakhstan is now taking over. 
International carriers are switching from Tashkent to Almaty as 
well as Astana.  Kazakhstan is also actively reconstructing its 
ground infrastructure, at the rate of two to three runways per 
year, as well as terminals.  Starting next year, there is also a 
plan to ban flights on all Soviet-era aircraft and switch to 
western planes. 
 
6. (SBU) Mamin said that the Kazakhstani government is not 
currently interested in signing Open Skies Agreements. 
 
ASTANA 0000
0042  002 OF 002 
 
 
Kazakhstan, he explained, has bilateral relationships and is 
focusing on developing its domestic carrier, Air Astana, which 
operates under British management.  Still, he added, we impose 
essentially no limitations.  Responding to the Assistant 
Secretary's question on the possibility of starting flights to 
 
SIPDIS 
Kabul, Mamin replied that for economic reasons Air Astana 
currently has no such plans.  There is now a Kabul-Almaty weekly 
charter flight operated by Kam Air on a Boeing 737.  That 
flight, however, has only a 26% occupancy, making the route less 
than economically feasible. 
 
 
 
7. (U) This message has been cleared by A/S Boucher. 
TRACY

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