08ASTANA2147, KAZAKHSTAN: FM TAZHIN REAFFIRMS MADRID

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA2147 2008-10-30 11:02 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO9011
OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHTA #2147/01 3041102
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301102Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3690
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0744
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0144
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0854
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 0071
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0303
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0223
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2028
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1977
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2313
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 002147 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL, ISN, H 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ETRD KDEM KNNP IZ AF KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  FM TAZHIN REAFFIRMS MADRID 
COMMITMENTS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard Hoagland, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  During an October 29 meeting with the 
Ambassador, Foreign Minister Tazhin: 
 
-- reaffirmed Kazakhstan's commitment to fulfilling its 
Madrid commitments; 
 
-- made a case for building a more mature bilateral 
relationship by noting his government's desire to be released 
from the requirements of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and 
Human Rights Certification, and its desire to have President 
Bush visit before he leaves office; 
 
-- restated Kazakhstan's continued interest in playing a more 
active role in Afghanistan, including through its 2010 OSCE 
chairmanship; 
 
-- predicted no surprises at the October 30 Shanghai 
Cooperation Organization's prime ministerial meeting in 
Astana; 
 
-- explained Prime Minister's Karim Masimov had postponed his 
planned visit to Kabul because of the global financial 
crisis; 
 
-- expressed pleasure at President Bush's letter of thanks to 
President Nazarbayev for Kazakhstan's just concluded 
2003-2008 contribution of troops to the coalition forces in 
Iraq; and 
 
-- took note when the Ambassador urged that parliament ratify 
the Cooperative Threat Reduction Umbrella Agreement by 
December 13.  END SUMMARY. 
 
MADRID COMMITMENTS 
 
2.  (C) During their initial business meeting following the 
Ambassador's presentation of credentials, the Ambassador 
reminded Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin of Washington's 
high-level attention to Kazakhstan fulfilling its 
OSCE-related Madrid commitments before the end of this 
calendar year.  He suggested successful fulfillment would 
enhance President Nursultan Nazarbayev's status as a 
statesman and would help reduce international criticism of 
Kazakhstan often seen in the mass media.  Tazhin said he 
agreed "100%, even 200%," and noted the required legislation 
is moving forward.  He said the government had already 
prepared a draft mass-media law and would present it to 
parliament "in the nearest time."  This law, which Tazhin had 
already signed off on, will ease registration requirements 
for media outlets, decrease the grounds under which the 
government can shut them down, and "eliminate other 
bureaucratic idiocies."  Tazhin assured the Ambassador draft 
election and political party laws would go to parliament in 
November or December.  All three laws will represent steps 
forward on liberalization, though will not go as far as he 
personally would like, Tazhin admitted.  He noted he himself 
is an adherent of "serious liberalization and broadening of 
civil society," which he believes is a strong guarantee of 
stability and national security.  He said, "A government that 
is too tightly controlled will eventually collapse."  He 
added that the general view in the Kazakhstani leadership is 
that the pace of liberalization has to be calibrated to the 
realities (both objective facts and political mentality) of 
the country.  In response to a question about the role of 
OSCE'S ODIHR in reviewing the draft legislation, Tazhin 
replied there has been regular contact and consultation. 
 
3.  (C) COMMENT:  Tazhin is one of the leading voices in the 
 
ASTANA 00002147  002 OF 003 
 
 
government of Kazakhstan for democratic progress toward 
Western standards -- but he is not the only voice.  Among the 
competing voices are those of the old guard from the former 
Soviet system as well as those susceptible to the Kremlin's 
noise about the danger of "color revolutions."  We probably 
should not expect 100% fulfillment of our expectations about 
the Madrid commitments, but we do need to be able to say that 
Kazakhstan has made a good-faith effort and has moved 
forward.  END COMMENT. 
 
TAZHIN'S THREE TALKING POINTS 
 
4.  (C) The foreign minister raised three points:  his 
government's desire to be released from the Jackson-Vanik 
Amendment and Human Rights Certification, and its desire to 
welcome a visit by President Bush before he leaves office. 
 
5.  (C) JACKSON-VANIK AMENDMENT.  Tazhin reminded the 
Ambassador that during a meeting on the margins of UNGA, he 
had raised with Secretary of State Rice Kazakhstan's strong 
inte
rest in "graduating" from the provisions of the 
Jackson-Vanik Amendment.  The Kazakhstan Embassy in 
Washington has initiated discussions with Congress.  Tazhin 
recognized that this is not within the State Department's 
direct purview, but asked for assistance from State in making 
Kazakhstan's case with the Hill.  The Ambassador explained 
that concluding a bilateral WTO accession agreement would go 
a long way toward removing the barriers to lifting 
Jackson-Vanik.  He reminded Tazhin a window of opportunity 
exists now for progress in the WTO accession negotiations and 
urged Kazakhstan to take advantage of this opening. 
 
6.  (C) HUMAN RIGHTS CERTIFICATION.  Tazhin said he had 
raised with the Secretary Kazakhstan's concerns about the 
annual human rights certification required under the Foreign 
Operations Appropriations Act -- specifically, that 
Kazakhstan believes this is not the way to treat a strategic 
partner.  The Secretary had promised to get back to him on 
the issue.  The Ambassador responded that the State 
Department as a rule has always opposed such legislative 
provisions and has done so in Kazakhstan's case.  He passed 
Tazhin a non-paper with the Department's view drawn from the 
talking points prepared for Secretary Rice's October 5 visit 
to Astana, and suggested that the Kazakhstani Embassy in 
Washington work to make its case with Congress and with 
non-governmental organizations. 
 
7.  (C) DESIRE FOR PRESIDENT BUSH TO VISIT.  Tazhin expressed 
Kazakhstan's strong interest in hosting a visit by President 
Bush before the end of his term.   He admitted this might not 
be realistic, but reminded the Ambassador that in August he 
had heard rumors about the possibility of a "technical 
layover" for President Bush in Kazakhstan in conjunction with 
his trip to the Beijing Olympics.  A presidential visit, 
Tazhin stressed, would be very important politically and 
strategically.   He suggested that it could be done in 
conjunction with a trip to another country in the region, 
such as Afghanistan or India.  Tazhin said he understands 
that a new U.S. president would be unlikely to visit 
Kazakhstan during his first year in office.  He noted that 
Chinese President Hu Jintao visits every two years, and that 
there are frequent visits by the Russian leadership.  The 
Ambassador promised to relay to Washington the request for a 
presidential visit. 
 
8.  (C) COMMENT:  We fully agree with the value of a U.S. 
presidential visit to Kazakhstan, even in the final days of 
this Administration.  Should President Bush make a farewell 
visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, we strongly recommend he 
make a short stop in Astana.  END COMMENT. 
 
ASTANA 00002147  003 OF 003 
 
 
 
OTHER BUSINESS 
 
9.  (C) SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION.  The Ambassador 
noted Astana would be hosting a meeting of Shanghai 
Cooperation Organization (SCO) prime ministers on October 30 
and inquired about the expected outcomes.  Tazhin said that 
there would be nothing of great significance and no important 
decisions would be taken, especially since the issues for 
this meeting had been affirmed at the recent Bishkek 
ministerial.  Further, the organization's general direction 
had been set by the SCO Summit in Dushanbe.  He stressed to 
the Ambassador that despite Western concerns, the SCO is 
principally an economic organization -- though of course 
there are political aspects too.  Tazhin expected that on the 
margins of the SCO meeting, Kazakhstan and China would sign 
agreements on water issues connected to trans-boundary 
rivers. 
 
10.  (C) AFGHANISTAN.  Tazhin explained that Kazakhstan 
continues to be interested in playing a more active role in 
Afghanistan, including through its 2010 OSCE chairmanship. 
The Ambassador said that the United States welcomes 
additional assistance from all our partners, and asked why 
Prime Minister Masimov had canceled his planned late-October 
visit to Kabul.  Tazhin replied that Nazarbayev had told 
Masimov that he had to stay in Kazakhstan to deal with the 
government's response to the global financial crisis. 
Masimov also had to postpone a planned trip to Malaysia.  In 
any event, the Foreign Ministry had sent Masimov 
recommendations for his 2009 travel which included a trip to 
Afghanistan. 
 
11.  (C) IRAQ.  The Ambassador handed Tazhin President Bush's 
letter to President Nazarbayev thanking him for Kazakhstan's 
troop contribution in Iraq.  Clearly pleased, Tazhin promised 
to deliver it personally to Nazarbayev the next morning, 
October 30.  He remarked that despite negative reporting in 
the mass media, significant progress had been made in Iraq, 
and the situation is much better than it had been a year or 
two ago. 
 
12.  (C) CTR AGREEMENT.  Tazhin expressed satisfaction that 
President Nazarbayev had finally signed a decree on extending 
the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) umbrella agreement, as 
a result of which the agreement will be sent to parliament 
for ratification.  He explained that he had pressed for this 
action for some time, and that the hold up had resulted from 
the fact that there was nothing in the original 1992 CTR 
agreement about a biological threat-reduction program.  When 
such a program was established later and put under the 
agreement, nobody raised concerns within the Kazakhstani 
government.  However, this year, the Kazakhstanis finally saw 
that this was a problem for them.  The Ambassador noted that 
DOD/OSD CTR advisor Andy Weber had had productive October 
21-25 meetings in Astana with senior-level officials.  He 
said that the U.S. government strongly urged Kazakhstan to 
ratify the agreement by December 13, the 15th anniversary of 
the CTR program in Kazakhstan, and likewise urged expeditious 
movement on other pressing counter-proliferation issues. 
HOAGLAND

Wikileaks

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