08ASTANA2576, KAZAKHSTAN: DINNER WITH STATE SECRETARY

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. #08ASTANA2576.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA2576 2008-12-31 05:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO7805
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHNP RUEHPW RUEHROV
RUEHSR
DE RUEHTA #2576/01 3660553
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 310553Z DEC 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4245
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 0993
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0392
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1098
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0564
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY 0467
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2447
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2115

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 002576 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB 
PLEASE PASS TO USTR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ECON MARR RS KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  DINNER WITH STATE SECRETARY 
SAUDABAYEV 
 
REF: A. ASTANA 2553 
     B. ASTANA 2570 
     C. ASTANA 2410 
     D. ASTANA 2551 
     E. ASTANA 2372 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland:  1.4 (A), (B), (D) 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  Kazakhstan's self-described Number Two and 
President Nazarbayev's confidante, State Secretary Kanat 
Saudabayev, told the Ambassador on December 29: 
 
-- Kazakhstan would give TRANSCOM a positive reply to the 
U.S. request to include Kazakhstan as an essential link in 
the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) to commercially 
supply and provision U.S. troops in Afghanistan;  in fact, he 
called the Ambassador on December 30 to report President 
Nazarbayev's "green light" for the NDN; 
 
-- Kazakhstan wants to accelerate its negotiations with the 
United States for WTO accession, but is facing increased 
skepticism within the government; 
 
-- he was unaware of the investigation against a Peace Corps 
Volunteer for allegedly violating national security, but 
would work to ensure an outcome to remove this irritant in 
the bilateral relationship; 
 
-- Nazarbayev's exiled former son-in-law remains a 
front-burner issue (however, he did not press for further 
U.S. involvement); 
 
-- he will travel to Washington for the February 5 National 
Prayer Breakfast and would like to meet the new Secretary of 
State, but conceded a slightly later visit might be more 
productive; 
 
-- Kazakhstan wants an early U.S. presidential visit; and 
 
-- recounted at length his humble origins and how he first 
caught President Nazarbayev's attention. 
 
Saudabayev is a curious character, likely somewhat 
self-serving (as most tend to be in similar circumstances), 
but we have little doubt he has President Nazarbayev's ear. 
His request for an early U.S. presidential visit to 
Kazakhstan (see para 8 below), even if brief, should not be 
dismissed out of hand because there could be significant 
dividends for U.S. national interests.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) On December 29, the Ambassador had a nearly 
three-hour one-on-one dinner in a private room of a popular 
Uzbek restaurant in Astana with President Nursultan 
Nazarbayev's reputed closest adviser, State Secretary Kanat 
Saudabayev.  Not unusual for senior Kazakhstani officials, 
Saudabayev drank abstemiously and only sipped at the 
occasional toasts.  Although Saudabayev's Chief of Staff 
Roman Vassilenko was to have joined the dinner, Saudabayev 
sent him away to "go mind the store."  Key bilateral issues 
are in paras 3-6 below. 
 
NORTHERN DISTRIBUTION NETWORK 
 
3.  (C) Having met only three days earlier with Secretary of 
the Security Council Kairbek Suleymenov to once again clarify 
the U.S. goal for a Northern Distribution Network (NDN) for 
Afghanistan (reftel A), the Ambassador emphasized the 
increasing urgency of Kazakhstan signing on to TRANSCOM's 
NDN.  Saudabayev responded, "We'll have a positive answer as 
soon as possible.  Thanks for answering our questions. 
Thanks for all the clarifications you made in recent weeks. 
The President trusts your word." 
 
ASTANA 00002576  002 OF 003 
 
 
 
WTO ACCESSION 
 
4.  (C) The Ambassador recounted he had met on December 24 
with Kazakhstan's WTO negotiator Zhana Aitzhanova and had 
pressed for accelerated bilateral negotiations with the 
United States for Kazakhstan's WTO accession (reftel B). 
Saudabayev responded, "We want to work fast on this for our 
own interests.  We understand you have your own interests. 
We hope for compromise on both sides.  Can we come together 
on this?  We need a quick positive outcome.  We are not 
playing you against Russia, but there are 'strong special 
interests' here against WTO.  We understand this is a 
question of our own sovereignty, but I emphasize there are 
strong special interests within our own government." 
 
PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER UNDER INVESTIGATION 
 
5.  (C) Saudabayev credibly responded he was unaware of the 
case of Peace Corps Volunteer Anthony Sharp who is currently 
under investigation for having trespassed at a restricted 
site and for having
 been apprehended with a bag allegedly 
containing industrial explosives (reftel C).  He asked, "Is 
this the KNB (Committe for National Security, the pro-Moscow 
ex-KGB intelligence service) or MVD (Ministry of Internal 
Affairs)?"  The Ambassador responded, "MVD is investigating, 
but we strongly suspect the KNB is at the root of this.  We 
consider the case, based on concrete evidence, a clear 
provocation and totally incompatible with our positive 
relationship.  We are outraged, but we want this to continue 
to be kept quiet, out of the media.  I insist to all American 
citizens in Kazakhstan that they must follow Kazakhstan's 
laws.  In this case, as soon as the investigation is 
concluded, no matter the outcome, we want you to deport Sharp 
-- get this off the bilateral agenda.  This is an irritant 
you do not want for the new U.S. administration."  Saudabayev 
picked up his cell phone, dialed a number, but received no 
answer.  He said, "We'll take care of this." 
 
RAKHAT ALIYEV 
 
6.  (C) Saudabayev asked if the Ambassador had passed to 
Washington, including to the FBI, the non-paper and records 
of court cases the Presidential Administration via the 
Foreign Ministry had provided on December 23 against 
Nazarbayev's exiled former son-in-law, Rakhat Aliyev.  The 
Ambassador assured Saudabayev he had indeed passed the text 
of the non-paper to Washington, including to the FBI (reftel 
D).  The Ambassador reiterated the U.S. position:  we have 
had no contact with Aliyev; we want to contact with him; we 
consider this strictly an internal Kazakhstani affair. 
Saudabayev did not press further. 
 
NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST 
 
7.  (C) Saudabayev told the Ambassador he intends to travel 
to Washington for the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5 
and asked if it would be possible to meet then with the new 
Secretary of State.  The Ambassador told him this might well 
be too early in the new administration, simply because of the 
initial logistics of organizing new personnel in the State 
Department, but said he would certainly make the 
recommendation.  The Ambassador urged Saudabayev to travel 
later for better access, and asked him to make a special 
effort on Capitol Hill because of Kazakhstan's frequently 
stated frustration with the annual human-rights certification 
and the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.  Saudabayev responded he has 
already, with Nazarbayev's blessing, planned an April trip to 
Washington. 
 
REQUEST FOR AN EARLY OBAMA VISIT 
 
 
ASTANA 00002576  003 OF 003 
 
 
8.  (C) Saudabayev added, "The President very much wants an 
Obama visit to Astana as soon as possible, even if only a 
brief stop-over to-from China.  He was totally delighted with 
Obama's post-election phone call.  This made a very deep and 
very positive impression.  I want to help keep this momentum 
alive.  We need this visit to keep us from being 'swallowed 
up' by our 'best friend' to the north.  We fully understand 
your new president will want to repair the U.S. relationship 
with Russia, but please don't sell us short just to please 
Moscow.  Keep the balance.  Let us play a positive role for 
you in this region.  This is what President Nazarbayev wants. 
 I assure you I am speaking for him personally."  (NOTE: 
After the U.S. presidential election, the Foreign Ministry 
also made a case for an early Obama visit to Kazakhstan 
(reftel E).  END NOTE.) 
 
PLUCKED FROM THE STICKS 
 
9.  (C) During the course of the evening's conversation, 
Saudabayev asserted he is Number Two in President 
Nazarbayev's inner circle, and Security Council Secretary 
Suleymenov is Number Three.  The Ambassador asked Saudabayev 
about his history, noting that he himself was a "little kid 
from the small-town Midwest."  Clearly pleased, Saudabayev 
recounted that he, too, was a "boy from the glubinka (the 
sticks)."  Somehow, despite his humble village origins, he 
had been plucked to study at an art institute in the 
then-Leningrad.  He recounted how he had been thrown in with 
arrogant Muscovites and Leningraders and that he would "never 
forget the insults."  He said he had endured endless 
practical jokes against him, because of his provincial 
Central Asian origin, and that he had frequently been called 
behind his back a "chornaya zhopa" (a strong, racist insult). 
 He said he initially had been miserable in Leningrad and 
frequently begged his father to let him return to the village 
and be "a simple boy."  But his father had always told him, 
"Never!  Study, study, study.  Beat them and make me proud. 
Be a Kazakh!"  At the end of the first-year exams, he came 
out at the top of his class -- the only Central Asian to do 
so.  Nazarbayev, "then a big man in the Soviet Communist 
Party," heard about his success and took a personal interest 
in him, treated him like a younger brother.  They have been 
intensely loyal to each other ever since.  When President 
Nazarbayev told him to go to the United States as 
Kazakhstan's ambassador, Saudabayev said he told the 
President, "I don't want to go.  Let me stay in (the 
then-capital) Almaty with you.  But the President told me I 
must obey him.  And so I went."  Saudabayev concluded, 
"Please listen to Nazarbayev.  He wants to trust you.  Return 
his trust, and you will not be disappointed." 
 
10.  (C) COMMENT:  Saudabayev is a curious character, both an 
international player and a throwback to an earlier age of 
confidante courtiers.  It could be that Nazarbayev especially 
trusts him because Saudabayev is never mentioned as a 
possible successor to Nazarbayev.  We have little doubt that 
many of Saudabayev's accounts are somewhat self-serving, but, 
at the same time, we believe that his whispers into 
Nazarbayev's ear carry some weight -- viz., his call to the 
Ambassador on December 30 that Nazarbayev had just approved 
Kazakhstan's participation in NDN.  We support his request 
for an early visit to Kazakhstan, even if brief, by President 
Obama, and generally concur with Saudabayev that it could pay 
important dividends for U.S. national interests.  END COMMENT. 
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: