08ASTANA2365, KAZAKHSTAN: SENATE CHAIRMAN OFFERS TO CONSULT WITH THE

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
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. #08ASTANA2365.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA2365 2008-11-26 12:26 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO0318
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW
RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHROV
RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #2365/01 3311226
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261226Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3989
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0870
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0277
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0979
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2083
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2415
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0437
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0352
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 002365 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ECON SOCI KDEM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN: SENATE CHAIRMAN OFFERS TO CONSULT WITH THE 
AMBASSADOR ON MADRID-COMMITMENT LEGISLATION 
 
1.  (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2.  (SBU) SUMMARY: On November 26, Ambassador Hoagland met with 
Senate Chairman Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev.  Tokayev told the Ambassador 
that the Senate's priorities are to pass a package of "Madrid" 
amendments now making their way through the Mazhelis (lower house of 
Parliament) and to assist the government in mitigating the impact of 
the economic downturn.  He said his goal is to improve ties between 
the Kazakhstani Senate and the U.S. Congress and asked for our 
assistance in setting up meetings for his trip to the United States 
sometime next year.  Regarding the recently passed religion law, 
Tokayev lamented that "the OSCE and Europe" criticized the law 
without realizing that it is far more liberal than similar laws in 
the region, and even in Europe.  He contended that the legislation 
was guided by public pressure from the Muslim and Orthodox 
communities to fight against sects.  Tokayev promised to get the 
Cooperative Threat Reduction legislation ratified quickly.  In 
response to the Ambassador's question on elections, Tokayev said 
early elections were unlikely but "no one can be 100 percent sure." 
END SUMMARY. 
 
TOP PRIORITIES:  MADRID, THE ECONOMY, IMPROVED TIES WITH THE UNITED 
STATES 
 
3.  (SBU) On November 26, the Ambassador met with Senate Chairman 
Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev to discuss the Senate's broad legislative 
goals.  Tokayev congratulated the Ambassador on the "successful 
beginning" of his tenure in Kazakhstan, especially based on his 
interviews in the Kazakhstani press, which he said he followed 
closely.  He noted that he has been following the U.S. election and 
is eagerly anticipating the naming of the new Secretary of State. 
 
4.  (SBU)  Tokayev said his number-one focus is on the draft laws on 
the media, elections, and political parties that are making their 
way through the Mazhelis (the lower house of Parliament).  He 
expressed hope that this meeting was the beginning of a "close and 
personal" relationship with the Ambassador that would allow for 
"close consultation on all pieces of legislation."  "Please do not 
hesitate to voice your concerns," he underlined, stressing that he 
would appreciate hearing our view on all OSCE-related legislation. 
The Ambassador thanked Tokayev and suggested that the government 
should allow civil society to review the laws in the Mazhelis' 
Public Chamber.  Tokayev agreed with the suggestion, but he noted 
that this package of laws is a "big step forward" and added that he 
doesn't expect to hear many concerns from civil society.  (COMMENT: 
Some civil society leaders are already expressing concern.  END 
COMMENT.) 
 
5.  (SBU) The Senate's second top priority, according to Tokayev, is 
the economy.  "These are tough times," he noted, reminding the 
Ambassador that Parliament had to renegotiate Kazakhstan's budget to 
adjust for falling oil prices.  The Senate is determined to give the 
government necessary "freedom of movement," stressed Tokayev, "much 
like the Congress in the United States." 
 
6.  (SBU) Looking more long-term, Tokayev said his goal is to 
strengthen inter-Parliamentary ties between Kazakhstan and the 
United States.  He shared his plans to organize several trips for 
Kazakhstani Senators to the United States "to explain Kazakhstan." 
He also expressed hope that more Congressional delegations would 
come to Kazakhstan.  Tokayev told the Ambassador he plans to visit 
the United States next year and asked for our help scheduling 
appropriate meetings.   The Ambassador asked him to keep us updated 
on his travel plans so we can fully assist him. 
 
RELIGION LAW "LIBERAL" COMPARED TO OTHERS 
 
7.  (SBU) Tokayev brought up Kazakhstan's religion legislation, 
which the Parliament passed on November 26 (septel).  He lamented 
that "many in Europe and the OSCE" are criticizing Kazakhstan 
without fully understanding the legislation.  The law is "much more 
liberal" than similar legislation in Russia and Kyrgyzstan, he 
maintained, and many of the new provisions are more liberal than 
even those found in some European religion laws.  Tokayev told the 
Ambassador that he plans to attend OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly 
session in February in part to publicize Kazakhstan's Path to Europe 
program, and to "assuage the concerns and confusion" about the 
 
ASTANA 00002365  002 OF 002 


 
religion legislation. 
 
8.  (SBU) The Ambassador noted that civil society and OSCE's Office 
of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights were concerned about how 
the new law would treat small, "non-traditional" faiths.  Tokayev 
countered by saying the government "is under pressure from public 
opinion to counter the influence of sects."  (NOTE: While Tokayev is 
correct that most people want the government to do something about 
"sects," civil society leaders maintain that this view is fueled 
largely by the broad media campaign that paints many non-traditional 
faiths as "dangerous sects."  END NOTE.)  He maintained that "there 
are those" in the Russian Orthodox establishment who believe that 
only Islam and Russian Orthodoxy should be allowed in Kazakhstan and 
even oppose Catholicism and Judaism.  He confided to the Ambassador 
that, in his view, the government should "provide more liberties for 
non-traditional faiths," but repeated that the legislation is more 
liberal than those in other countries.  Kazakhstan's legislation 
requires only 50 members to register as a religious organization, he 
underlined, while Spain requires 1,000 and Kyrgyzstan is considering 
imposing a minimum of 200.  In answer to the Ambassador's question 
on whether the President might send the law to the Constitutional 
Court before signing, Tokayev said it would be a "good idea" but he 
did not know whether there were any plans to do so and made no 
commitments. 
 
CTR WILL MOVE THROUGH THE SENATE QUICKLY 
 
9.  (SBU) Tokayev said the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) 
Amendment was still undergoing intergovernmental review and had not 
yet arrived at the Parliament.  He promised to expedite it once it 
passes the Mazhelis and comes to the Senate.  The Ambassador 
encouraged final ratification before the 15th anniversary of the CTR 
on December 13. 
 
"NO REASON" FOR EARLY ELECTIONS 
 
10.  (SBU) The Ambassador asked Tokayev about persistent rumors that 
the President will call early elections after the new political 
party and election laws are passed.  Tokayev denied the possibility, 
saying the President "sees no reason" to have them before 2012, but 
added the caveat that "no one can be 100 percent sure, of course." 
 
 
HOAGLAND

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: