07ASTANA604, BOUCHER COVERS DEMOCRATIC REFORM, REGIONAL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ASTANA604 2007-03-07 05:17 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO7837
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHTA #0604/01 0660517
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 070517Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8683
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 0051
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 1299
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0301
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2183
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 1691

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000604 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SCA/FO (CHAYDEN), SCA/CEN (O'MARA) 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KZ ENRG KDEM
SUBJECT: BOUCHER COVERS DEMOCRATIC REFORM, REGIONAL 
DEVELOPMENT, ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH KAZAKHSTANI 
LEADERSHIP 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John Ordway; Reasons 1.5(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: In separate meetings on February 26-27 with 
Prime Minister Masimov, Foreign Minister Tazhin, and Senate 
Speaker Tokayev, Assistant Secretary for South and Central 
Asian Affairs Richard Boucher told the Kazakhstani leadership 
that the U.S. is eager to build upon the momentum created by 
the President Bush - Nazarbayev discussions in 2006. 
Assistant Secretary Boucher emphasized that the U.S. views 
Kazakhstan as a key partner, capable of playing a significant 
role in achieving regional stability.  He also stressed in 
his meetings that the U.S. hopes and expects that Kazakhstan 
will take concrete steps to achieve political reform in 2007. 
 Masimov, Tazhin, and Tokayev responded with similar 
affirmations of the importance of the U.S. - Kazakhstan 
relationship.  Tazhin and Tokayev told Boucher that the 
political reform process is already underway, with Tazhin 
also offering a detailed argument in support of Kazakhstan's 
bid to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in 
Europe (OSCE). All three leaders indicated that Kazakhstan 
wants to be a regional leader, although they offered no new 
ideas on Afghanistan.   Masimov and Tazhin appealed for U.S. 
involvement as Kazakhstan strives to diversify its economy. 
End Summary. 
 
Democratic Reform 
----------------- 
2. (C) Foreign Minister Tazhin told Assistant Secretary 
Boucher in their February 26 meeting that most of the 
political elite agree that progress on democratic reform is 
needed.  No significant rift in understanding of the 
situation exists, according to Tazhin.  Tazhin remarked that 
he personally hopes for "maximum liberalization." He also 
claimed that Kazakhstan's bid to chair the OSCE has 
strengthened the drive for reform.  Senate Speaker Tokayev 
reported in a separate meeting that the political reform 
process has already started and he hopes that among the first 
reforms will be an expansion of the Senate.  According to 
Tokayev, the Parliament seeks the power to approve 
ministerial appointments and greater budgetary control.  The 
Parliament will also push for increased powers to initiate 
legislation, a constitutional right that is limited in 
practice.   Prime Minister Masimov did not directly address 
possible reforms during his February 26 meeting with 
Assistant Secretary Boucher, but he did promise to become 
directly involved with the political party training issue. 
 
Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
3. (C) Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin offered a broad and 
lengthy defense of Kazakhstan's OSCE Chairmanship bid in his 
meeting with Assistant Secretary Boucher on February 26, 
calling it a test of the U.S. - Kazakhstan partnership. 
Since independence, he argued, Kazakhstan has taken a number 
of politically risky steps in order to draw closer to the 
U.S. - welcoming U.S. capital in the late 1990s, moving 
forward with the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, sending 
personnel to Iraq, and granting overflight rights for flights 
to Afghanistan.  Kazakhstan has shown  "it is a reliable 
partner and great friend of the U.S."  In its turn, the U.S. 
has responded by telling Kazakhstan it will not chair the 
OSCE in 2009.  This decision is not understood by 
Kazakhstan's political elite, noted Tazhin, and will be seen 
as "a slap in the face" with negative repercussions for the 
bilateral relationship. 
 
4.(C) Tazhin claimed that a Kazakhstani chairmanship would 
strengthen the OSCE because Kazakhstan does not wish to 
radicalize the organization.  The timing for a Kazakhstan 
chairmanship is also right.  No other international 
organization better integrates the West and former Soviet 
states, said Tazhin, but the relationship is becoming more 
complicated.  As a result, Kazakhstan could bring a new and 
useful perspective to the OSCE as chair.  If Kazakhstan's bid 
is rejected, however, it will lead to renewed debate as to 
the future and purpose of the OSCE, he warned. 
 
5. (C) Assistant Secretary Boucher welcomed Tazhin's views 
about the importance of the OSCE and Kazakhstan's desire that 
the organization remain balanced.  Boucher made clear that he 
personally, as well as others, made three or four attempts to 
come to agreement with Kazakhstan on their Chairmanship 
before the Ministerial.  Kazakhstan chose not to pursue these 
opportunities.  Boucher continued by saying that if 
Kazakhstan makes the right kind of announcements on reform 
 
ASTANA 00000604  002 OF 003 
 
 
and follows with clear steps to implement them, the United 
States could consider coming to an agreement on their 
Chairmanship later in 2007. 
 
 
Regional Integration and Afghanistan 
------------------------------------ 
 
6. (C) Assistant Secretary Boucher emphasized the U.S. belief 
that Kazakhstan should play a key role in achieving enhanced 
regional integration.  There is a "political pause" in 
Central Asia, Tazhin commented, with the future of the region 
"difficult to forecast."   Tazhin told Boucher that 
Kazakhstan thus understands that it can be an example for the 
region, even if it achieves political reform at a slow pace. 
Tazhin briefly outlined three issues that he considers key 
for further integration -  the creation of water and energy 
consortium, establishment of a common market, and progress in 
solving social problems endemic to the region.  If efforts at 
integration fail, Tazhin predicted, Central Asia will be 
"open for games not regional in nature and not good for the 
region." At a later dinner, Boucher and Tazhin engaged in a 
broad discussion of the dynamics of the region. 
 
7.(C) Senate Speaker Tokayev and Assistant Secretary Boucher 
discussed recent changes in Turkmenistan.  According to 
Tokayev, Kazakhstan considers Turkmenistan one of the most 
important countries in the region, with its significance only 
to increase.  It is no coincidence, he confided, that 
President Nazarbayev has traveled to Ashgabat twice in recent 
months.  Tokayev believes that the Turkmenistanis will be 
cautious, but that their intent is positive and change 
inevitable. He has already noticed changes, even in protocol. 
Tokayev also called on the U.S. to bring Turkmenistan and 
Azerbaijan together.  Other countries in the Caspian region, 
he noted ominously, might not wish to see such a linkage. 
Tokayev mentioned that Uzbekistan did not send any 
high-ranking figures to Niyazov's funeral, which he said is 
both an insult under Islamic tradition and a strategic 
mistake.  He also remarked that a number of Uzbek businessman 
based in Russia are pushing for reform in Uzbekistan while 
simultaneously attempting to advance their own interests.  To 
counterbalance Uzbekistan's influence in Tajikstan, Tokayev 
recommended that the U.S. build a hydro-electric station in 
Tajikistan. Assistant Secretary Boucher explained that the 
U.S will not build a hydro-electric station there, but is 
instead helping to establish the necessary conditions to 
ensure Tajikistan's long-term success. 
 
8. (C) In his comments on regional integration, Prime 
Minister Masimov focused on economic cooperation.  Kazakhstan 
is ready to cooperate regionally, Masimov told Boucher, but 
the countries of immediate focus are Azerbaijan and Georgia. 
Conditions are also good for cooperation with Tajikistan, but 
Uzbekistan will require time, according to Masimov.  He 
expressed doubts about Kyrgyzstan, explaining that there are 
few people to work with there and even fewer to trust. 
 
9. (C) The Kazakhstani leadership offered no new ideas or 
promises on Afghanistan.  Tazhin told Assistant Secretary 
Boucher that Kazakhstan is focused on two approaches to 
Afghanistan, the first humanitarian and the second providing 
capital for investment projects, particularly in northern 
Afghanistan (Note:  At a dinner for Assistant Secretary 
Boucher, Advisor to the Prime Minister Yerlan Sagadiyev, who 
has business investments in Afghanistan, expressed enthusiasm 
about investment in northern Afghanistan, in part because of 
the region's cultural, historical, and ethnic links with 
Kazakhstan. Conditions and mentalities in southern 
Afghanistan, by contrast, make investment nearly impossible, 
he remarked.)  Prime Minister Masimov commented that 
Kazakhstan "wants to participate in the resolution of 
Afghanistan," with a primary focus on investment. 
 
 
Economic Development and Energy 
------------------------------- 
 
10. (C) Prime Minister Masimov expressed his desire to expand 
and diversify Kazakhstan's economic relationship with the 
U.S.  Masimov told Assistant Secretary Boucher that 
Kazakhstan now has surplus electricity at times, but will 
have a deficit by 2009. As a result, Kazakhstan will need 
more power stations.  The Ambassador told Masimov that the 
U.S. is ready to help Kazakhstan to explore its options. 
 
ASTANA 00000604  003 OF 003 
 
 
Kazakhstan is interested, remarked Masimov, but the project 
is a long term one.   Masimov believes the best immediate 
option is to develop hydropower in Kyrgyzstan, but "we have 
been discussing this option for ten years." 
 
11. (C) On energy, Masimov reaffirmed his interest in 
trans-Caspian cooperation, particularly with Azerbaijan.  He 
called the Trans-Caspian and China pipelines most promising 
options.  Assistant Secretary Boucher asked Masimov who would 
benefit from delays in expanding the capacity of the Caspian 
Pipeline Consortium - the Russians?  You would have to ask 
them, Masimov said with a smile.  Masimov also Boucher that 
Kazakhstan would like to initially use tankers to transport 
oil and gas across the Caspian.  He is not concerned about 
problems of tanker capacity, he added, because Kazakhstan can 
build the tankers domestically.  Tokayev told Boucher that 
Kazakhstan is trying to persuade Turkmenistan to run its gas 
pipeline to China directly through Kazakhstan.  He believes, 
however, that China will want to involve Uzbekistan, as they 
claim that the pipeline will serve as an "instrument of peace 
and solidarity." 
 
12. (C) Foreign Minister Tazhin lamented the lack of progress 
on the Houston Initiative, six years after its launch.  Like 
Masimov, Tazhin called for U.S. assistance as Kazakhstan 
attempts to diversify its economy.  Kazakhstan is 
particularly interested in attracting small and medium sized 
enterprises from the U.S..  Tazhin also expressed his concern 
over Kazakhstan's continued inclusion on the Jackson-Vanik 
list.  For Kazakhstan the issue is one of great symbolic 
importance because Armenia, Kyrgystan, Georgia, and Ukraine 
have already been removed from the list.  Tazhin stated that 
removal of Kazakhstan from the Jackson-Vanik list would be 
greeted very positively and demonstrate the strength of the 
U.S. - Kazakhstan relationship. 
ORDWAY

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