09ASTANA89, KAZAKHSTAN: OIC SPECIAL ENVOY CUMBER DISCUSSES DEMOCRACY,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA89 2009-01-16 10:20 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO8793
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 #0089/01 0161020
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161020Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4357
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1040
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHVV/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0439
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1145
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2127
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0613
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0528
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000089 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DLR/IRF, IO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM SOCI KDEM KISL KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  OIC SPECIAL ENVOY CUMBER DISCUSSES DEMOCRACY, 
GAZA CONFLICT WITH ASTANA-BASED DIPLOMATS 
 
REF: ASTANA 0083 
 
1.  (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2.  (SBU) SUMMARY: During a January 9 dinner with U.S. Special Envoy 
to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Sada Cumber, 
ambassadors and other diplomats from several OIC-member countries 
and India freely exchanged views on the pros and cons of the 
democracy, the current conflict in Gaza, and the need to separate 
religion from politics.  END SUMMARY. 
 
"WHAT GOOD IS A DEMOCRACY?" 
 
3.  (SBU) On January 9, the Ambassador hosted a dinner with 
Astana-based diplomats in honor of U.S. Special Envoy to the 
Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Sada Cumber.  The guests 
were Azerbaijani Ambassador Lyatif Gandilov, Egyptian Ambassador 
Abdallah Alarnosy, Iraqi Charge d'Affaires Khaldun Aljama, Indian 
Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar, and Afghan Embassy Second Secretary Mir 
Hagjoo.  (NOTE:  All of the invitees, with exception of Sajjanhar, 
represent OIC member countries.  END NOTE.) 
 
4.  (SBU) The dinner, which started on courteous and genteel terms, 
became animated and somewhat emotional as time progressed.  The 
conversation began with a general discussion of the pros and cons of 
democracy.  India's Sajjanhar noted that democracy does not appear 
overnight, arguing that "the seeds of India's democracy were sown 
forty years ago."  Egypt's Alarnosy asked "What good is a democracy 
when you have poverty and no security?"  Sajjanhar countered that 
democratic rule is an effective tool against poverty in that it 
allows people to voice their grievances through the political 
process, but he conceded that "sometimes the people's expectations 
grow faster than their income."  Cumber contended that lack of 
political accountability is the greatest obstacle to development 
facing the Muslim world.  He pointed out that despite controlling 82 
percent of the world's resource wealth, Muslim countries account for 
only 8 percent of the world's economic output.  The Ambassador 
summed up the general sentiment that "democracy is, or should be, 
for the people." 
 
GAZA CONFLICT A HOT TOPIC 
 
5.  (SBU) Egypt's Alarnosy suddenly shifted gears and declared that 
the United States "has a double standard on democracy."  "How can 
you talk about democracy with things like Guantanamo and Gaza?" he 
charged.  Cumber countered that the Muslim world and the United 
States agree on the need to resolve the conflict in Gaza.  India's 
Sajjanhar agreed, but added that "the vast collateral damage in Gaza 
only raises the prestige and popularity of Hamas."  "This is your 
democracy!" declared Egypt's Alarnosy emotionally, and added, "The 
United States has no standing as a moral broker." 
 
6.  (SBU) Azerbaijan's Gandilov pointed out that there are 
similarities between the situation in Gaza and Azerbaijan's 
long-standing dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.  Armenia, 
he claimed, has ignored the UN Security Council resolutions 
demanding it withdraw from the Azerbaijani territory it has 
occupied, and the OSCE Minsk group charged with mediating the 
conflict "has been useless."  The root of this 14-year-old conflict, 
stressed Gandilov, is the contradiction between the principle of 
self-determination and the principle of territorial integrity.  "Our 
problem needs a global approach, with an objective broker." Why 
blame the United States, asked Gandilov, for issues that could be 
resolved with a stronger involvement from the UN? 
 
7.  (SBU) The Ambassador noted that to resolve such long-standing 
conflicts, a country's strategic interests must take a back seat to 
the interests of the people.  Egypt's Alarnosy contended that "the 
world does not want to solve Gaza's problem."  Cumber proposed that 
perhaps Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton could "pick up 
where Bill Clinton left off" in the Israeli peace process.  "That 
will be wholly dependent on Israel," declared Alarnosy, noting with 
chagrin that until the conflict is resolved, the refugees from Gaza 
will continue "flowing our way."  What the world needs is "democracy 
on the international level and a complete reorganization of the 
global economy," he asserted.  He conceded Cumber's point, however, 
 
ASTANA 00000089  002 OF 002 
 
 
that the Muslim world has to take on more responsibility and "pull 
itself up." &#
x000A; 
RELIGION HAS NO PLACE IN POLITICS 
 
8.  (SBU) Azerbaijan's Gandilov noted that the Gaza conflict, like 
many others, is complicated by the "question of God."  "Religion has 
no place in politics," he argued, "because God is one for all, but 
different for each."  He proposed that world leaders abandon 
"purposeless" summits -- "Leaders hug, but wars continue!" -- and 
concentrate instead on finding a common language.  Gandilov's 
comments were greeted with emphatic agreement from all.  The 
Ambassador concluded the dinner by thanking the participants for 
their honesty and candor, noting that world politics needs more of 
such open exchanges of views. 
 
9. (U) Special Envoy Cumber did not/not clear this cable. 
 
HOAGLAND

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