08ASTANA1671, KAZAKHSTAN – COMMON WORLD FORUM DRAFT COMMUNIQUE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA1671 2008-09-05 09:12 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO6054
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHGI RUEHJS RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHPW RUEHROV
DE RUEHTA #1671/01 2490912
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 050912Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3186
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001671 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/CEN AND IO/UNP 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL KISL KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN - COMMON WORLD FORUM DRAFT COMMUNIQUE 
NOW MUCH CLOSER TO USG VISION 
 
REF: A. STATE 91869 (NOTAL) 
     B. ASTANA 1573 (NOTAL) 
     C. STATE 90355 (NOTAL) 
 
ASTANA 00001671  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  The Ambassador participated in the Common 
World Forum senior officials meeting (SOM), which was held in 
Astana during August 28-29.  The majority of European 
countries were represented by their embassies in Kazakhstan 
and most of the Muslim countries by senior-level MFA 
officials from their capitals.  At the opening of the SOM, 
the Kazakhstanis circulated a new draft for the Forum's 
"Astana Declaration" that was much more in line with the 
USG's vision.  We worked during SOM discussions with the 
Europeans to delete or amend the remaining problematic 
points.  The resultant new text has two bracketed points -- 
one on the Alliance of Civilizations and a second on women's 
rights -- that must be agreed to by October 10, in advance of 
the October 17 Common World Forum ministerial.  We raised the 
question of broadening participation for the ministerial; the 
Kazakhstanis took this point under consideration.  End 
Summary. 
 
2. (SBU) The senior officials meeting (SOM) of the Common 
World Forum -- an initiative of President Nazarbayev aimed at 
promoting dialogue between the West and the Muslim world -- 
was held in Astana during August 28-29.  The Ambassador 
participated in sessions on the first day.  The SOM was 
attended by representatives from forty-five Western and 
Muslim countries, including Iran, as well as delegates from 
the Organization of Islamic States (OIC) and the Alliance of 
Civilizations (AOC).  Level of representation varied from 
country to country.  Brazil and the majority of the European 
countries were represented by their embassies in Kazakhstan. 
However, Turkey, Belgium, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Finland, 
Slovakia, and Hungary sent director-level MFA representatives 
from capitals.  (Note:  Cyprus and Finland do not maintain 
embassies in Kazakhstan.  End Note.)  Spain sent its 
ambassador-at-large for Alliance of Civilizations issues. 
Russia and most of the Muslim countries were represented by 
higher-level (i.e., director-general and above) MFA officials 
from capitals. 
 
3. (SBU) Both days of the SOM were devoted to discussing the 
so-called "Astana Declaration" -- the outcome document for 
the October 17 Common World Forum ministerial meeting.  At 
the beginning of the SOM, the Kazakhstanis circulated a new 
text for this communique, and the participants quickly 
decided to forgo the SOM program to try to finalize the 
language.  The new version was worded in more general terms 
than the one circulated before the SOM, and incorporated many 
of the points we had raised with the MFA previously (see ref 
B).  For example, the text no longer committed states to 
support the "defamation of religion" concept, to acknowledge 
governments as "democratic" regardless of their practices, or 
to provide preferential debt relief to Islamic countries. 
(Note: The OIC representative registered his objection to 
deleting the reference to debt relief, but agreed to proceed 
with the discussions.  End Note.)  The new draft nevertheless 
still contained several points unacceptable to the U.S. -- 
such as support for restrictions on the media, as well as 
support for an International Convention on Religious 
Tolerance.  We thus worked in concert with the Europeans (in 
particular, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary, and the Czech 
Republic) to successfully amend or delete these provisions. 
 
4. (SBU) The resultant text that came out of the SOM (which 
was forwarded to the Department by email) is much more in 
line with the USG's vision, as outlined in ref A.  While we 
succeeded in reaching agreement on most issues, two points 
remained bracketed at the end of the SOM: one regarding the 
Alliance of Civilizations and a second concerning women's 
rights.  The Alliance of Civilizations point was inserted by 
the Turkish representative and "call(s) upon members of the 
international community to participate in, and contribute to 
the Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations." Noting 
the USG position on the Alliance, we counter-proposed a text 
that would "endorse future meetings like this" and not single 
out particular initiatives, but the Spanish and Turkish 
delegations insisted on language specifically endorsing the 
AOC.  A possible compromise text reads that "(we the 
ministers) welcome the Second Forum of the Alliance of 
Civilizations," with no mention of support or participation. 
 
5. (SBU) Disagreement also remained on a point on women's 
rights to emancipation and development.  Iran's delegation 
asked to augment the text to say "development in accordance 
with national, cultural, and social norms."  Their suggestion 
was met with objections from many of the participants, 
 
ASTANA 00001671  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
including Poland, Macedonia, and Brazil.  Several of the 
European representatives and Qatar proposed alternative &#x000
A;formulations as a compromise.  Nevertheless, Iran refused to 
withdraw the point.  It was agreed to continue working on the 
communique text until October 10, the deadline proposed by 
the Kazakhstanis for finalizing it in advance of the October 
17 Common World Forum Ministerial. 
 
6. (SBU) We also raised the issue about broadening 
participation in the Common World Forum. Brazil, which had 
repeatedly raised the question of South American 
participation, and Russia, supported us.  The Kazakhstanis 
said they would take this under consideration. 
 
7. (SBU) Comment:  As the Kazakhstanis made clear to SCA 
Assistant Secretary Boucher during his September 2 visit to 
Astana, they very much want high-level USG attendance at the 
October 17 ministerial.  This should provide significant 
leverage in getting the Kazakhstanis to work with us on 
further changes that we want incorporated into the communique 
by October.  Post also recommends working with Ankara and 
Madrid directly to find an acceptable comprise on language 
concerning the Alliance of Civilizations.  Based on the 
atmospherics at the SOM, we do not believe that Muslim 
countries or the OIC will mount an attempt to reinsert 
problematic issues into the text between now and the 
ministerial.  End Comment. 
ORDWAY

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