09ASTANA83, KAZAKHSTAN: SPECIAL ENVOY CUMBER ENCOURAGES ASTANA TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA83 2009-01-15 10:33 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO7567
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW
RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHROV
RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0083/01 0151033
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151033Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4351
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1038
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHVV/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0437
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1143
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2125
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0611
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0526
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000083 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL/IRF, IO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KISL KDEM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  SPECIAL ENVOY CUMBER ENCOURAGES ASTANA TO 
TAKE A STRONGER ROLE IN THE OIC 
 
1.  (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2.  (SBU) SUMMARY:  In a January 9 meeting with U.S. Special Envoy 
to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Sada Cumber, 
State Secretary Kanat Saudabayev underlined Kazakhstan's commitment 
to promoting inter-confessional understanding and expressed hope 
that the tradition of strong relations between the United States and 
Kazakhstan will continue under the new Administration.  SE Cumber 
encouraged Kazakhstan to take a stronger role in the Muslim world 
and set an example as a moderate Muslim country.  In a separate 
meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev, Cumber 
proposed that Kazakhstan consider hosting the OIC's triennial summit 
of heads-of-state and take the lead in continuing Saudi Arabia's 
inter-faith dialogue initiative.  Yermekbayev agreed that a slow and 
steady push from the moderate countries could change the 
"conservative spirit" within the OIC.  END SUMMARY. 
 
INTER-CONFESSIONAL ACCORD IS A TOP PRIORITY 
 
3.  (SBU) In a January 9 meeting in Astana with U.S. Special Envoy 
to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Sada Cumber, 
State Secretary Kanat Saudabayev noted that one of President 
Nursultan Nazarbayev's "top priorities" is to promote 
inter-confessional accord, and argued that this "wise policy" has 
allowed Kazakhstan to be the "lucky exception" among post-Soviet 
states in avoiding religious conflicts.  He thanked the United 
States government for its support for Kazakhstan's international 
initiatives to promote inter-cultural and inter-confessional 
dialogue, including the Common World Forum and the Conference of 
World Religious Leaders.  Saudabayev explained that Kazakhstan's 
growing international role was the decisive factor in its decision 
to bid for the 2010 chairmanship of the Organization for Security 
and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the 2011 chairmanship of the 
OIC.  He said that he assigns "great weight" to SE Cumber's visit. 
As he put it, "It is obvious that the United States sees us as a 
partner." 
 
4.  (SBU) SE Cumber responded that Kazakhstan and the United States 
share a commitment to supporting personal freedom in the context of 
a multi-ethnic state.  Saudabayev assured Cumber that Kazakhstan has 
"no alternative" to such a policy.  Kazakhstan chose the path toward 
democracy and a market economy and has made "gradual, but 
irreversible" progress since independence.  In this time, Kazakhstan 
has never had "major disagreements" with the United States, noted 
Saudabayev, but there have been times when the two disagreed on the 
pace of Kazakhstan's reforms.  Perhaps not everybody in the United 
States government understands that Kazakhstan is moving as fast as 
"circumstances allow," he mused. 
 
5.  (SBU) SE Cumber favorably noted Kazakhstan's progress since 
independence and explained that the United States sometimes "pushes" 
Kazakhstan because it wants it to succeed.  He told Saudabayev that 
Kazakhstan has solidified its leadership in Central Asia and 
expressed the hope that it would do the same in the Muslim world. 
"Central Asia is at the core of cosmopolitan Islamic values," he 
stressed, and Kazakhstan's upcoming 2011 OIC chairmanship is a 
chance to promote moderate Islam and counter the effects of radical 
"narrow" Islam.  Instead of "investing in theocracy" like Saudi 
Arabia and Iran, Kazakhstan has chosen to invest in education and 
democratic development, stressed Cumber, and the Muslim world can 
learn from Kazakhstan's example. 
 
APPRECIATION FOR PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA'S PHONE CALL 
 
6.  (SBU) Saudabayev agreed with SE Cumber that "there is a lack of 
closeness and understanding" among Muslim nations and that 
organizations like the OIC and the League of Arab States do not 
command great respect even among their founders.  He praised 
President Bush for his "unprecedented" outreach to the Muslim world 
and advised the United States to "continue to highlight the examples 
of countries where democracy and Islam coexist."  He told Cumber 
that he was "proud" that President Nazarbayev was one of the first 
world leaders to speak by telephone with President-elect Obama and 
expressed the hope that the new Administration will "continue our 
tradition of good relations."  Cumber told Saudabayev that in his 
conversations with the Obama transition team, he named Kazakhstan as 
 
ASTANA 00000083  002 OF 002 
 
 
one of the four Muslim-majority countries President Obama s
hould 
consider visiting within the first 100 days of taking office. 
 
SECULAR COUNTRIES HAVE DIFFICULTLY BEING HEARD IN OIC 
 
7.  (SBU) In a separate meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Nurlan 
Yermekbayev underlined that the government of Kazakhstan greatly 
appreciated Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's attendance at the Common 
World Forum ministerial meeting in Astana in October 2008.  Sharing 
his thoughts on the OIC, he said the organization has the potential 
to represent the whole spectrum of Islamic diversity, but he 
lamented that "secular countries have a hard time being heard."  SE 
Cumber responded that moderate Muslim countries, like Kazakhstan, 
should take on a stronger role in the organization.  He contended 
that the initiative of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on inter-faith 
dialogue started off strong but has since lost steam.  Cumber 
proposed that Kazakhstan take the lead on continuing the effort, 
noting that the Vatican seemed quite open to the idea when he raised 
it during a recent visit. 
 
8.  (SBU) SE Cumber welcomed the fact that Kazakhstan will host the 
2011 OIC ministerial and encouraged Yermekbayev to think about 
hosting the triennial summit of OIC heads-of-state.  Noting that the 
summit occurs once every three years and that the hosts for the next 
two summits have already been determined, he said that Kazakhstan 
"would have plenty of time" to prepare.  Cumber suggested that 
Kazakhstan concentrate on two important issues:  how to bring the 
Muslim world together, and how to encourage the "silent moderates" 
within the OIC.  Yermekbayev welcomed Cumber's suggestions and said 
he would take them under serious consideration.  He said that a 
slow, but steady, push from the moderates could "change the 
conservative spirit" within the OIC. 
 
HOAGLAND

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