09ASTANA253, KAZAKHSTAN SUGGESTS MULTILATERAL APPROACH ON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA253 2009-02-12 05:16 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO9782
OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHNP RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHTA #0253/01 0430516
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 120516Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4590
INFO RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 1169
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0566
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 0282
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1272
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 0743
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY 0659
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2477
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2149

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000253 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR P, SCA/CEN, EUR/RUS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR AF KG KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN SUGGESTS MULTILATERAL APPROACH ON 
MANAS, URGES BETTER U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS 
 
REF: A. BISHKEK 0123 
     B. PARIS 0213 
     C. ASTANA 0095 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland:  1.4 (B), (D) 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  The Ambassador called on Presidential 
Foreign Policy Adviser Khairat Sarybay February 11 to seek 
Kazakhstan's views on Kyrgyzstan's announced decision to 
close Manas Air Base and Russia's intentions in Central Asia 
and Afghanistan.  Noting that Russia is Kazakhstan's 
strategic ally and closest partner, Sarybay was generally 
restrained in his responses.  He suggested the United States 
-- and its coalition partners -- might consider offering a 
financial package to Kyrgyzstan to retain Manas.  He 
encouraged the United States to work to repair its 
relationship with Russia, implying that on this issue 
President Medvedev might be more flexible than Prime Minister 
Putin.  To help Kazakhstan maintain its foreign policy 
balance, Sarybay urged early visits by Secretary Clinton and 
President Obama.  END SUMMARY. 
 
KYRGYZSTAN'S DECISION TO CLOSE MANAS 
 
2.  (C) When asked for Kazakhstan's views and analysis of 
President Bakiyev's decision to close Manas Air Base, Sarybay 
initially responded it was Bakiyev's own decision, and 
Kazakhstan respects the decisions of sovereign and 
independent countries.  He added it probably was not an easy 
decision for Bakiyev, and the Kyrgyz "must understand the 
difficult situation in Afghanistan and the need for the 
international coalition to try to stabilize it."  Then 
Sarybay became more frank:  "(Bakiyev) was promised a huge 
amount of money.  We know the situation in Kyrgyzstan is 
dire, and in the end he 'accepted the proposal.'"  Sarybay 
elaborated on the situation in Kyrgyzstan:  no jobs, labor 
migrants returning in droves, no sources of credit, energy 
sector collapsing.  Sarybay hastened to add he has no proof 
Russia conditioned its promised assistance to Bakiyev, but 
said, in his personal view, it had to have been a quid pro 
quo. 
 
3.  (C) Sarybay then added, "I'm not sure this (base closure) 
is a final decision.  It depends on a lot a factors."  When 
invited to elaborate the factors, Sarybay declined and 
returned to his original formulation about the need to 
respect the sovereignty and independence of Kyrgyzstan.  Then 
he wavered again and said, "If the United States and other 
coalition partners could offer a strong financial package, it 
might help" (see reftels A and B). 
 
RUSSIA, CENTRAL ASIA, AFGHANISTAN 
 
4.  (C) Initially, Sarybay was not fully comfortable 
responding to a question about Russia's policies and plans in 
Central Asia and Afghanistan.  He reaffirmed Kazakhstan's 
special relationship with Russia, including strong political 
and commercial relations.  The Ambassador reiterated the 
United States understands and respects this relationship, 
asking only that Kazakhstan maintain its balance with other 
important relationships.  Sarybay replied, "That certainly is 
our fundamental goal.  You can help by pushing for early 
visits by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, 
because the image of a relationship is paramount in this 
region.  You can undo years of perceived neglect and 
disinterest with one 24-hour visit.  That should not be too 
much to ask." 
 
5.  (C) Sarybay noted President Nazarbayev has "warm 
relations" with both President Medvedev and Prime Minister 
Putin.  He suggested Russia's relations with Kazakhstan, 
Uzbekistan, and "even Turkmenistan" are balanced, whereas 
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are more subject to heavy pressure 
from Moscow because of their poverty. 
 
 
ASTANA 00000253  002 OF 002 
 
 
6.  (C) Broadening the conversation, Sarybay asked the 
Ambassador to note the debate in the Russian press about 
whether or not Moscow has the resources and authority to play 
the role of "Big Brother."  Becoming more candid, Sarybay 
said, "Putin will not change," whereas Medvedev told 
Nazarbayev he is ready to work with the United States -- if 
the United States takes the first step.  Sarybay said 
Nazarbayev sees this as a "golden chance" -- but reiterated 
the United States has to take the first step.  Sarybay said 
he thought the statements by all, including German Chancellor 
Merkel, at the Munich security conference were "balanced and &#
x000A;useful," noting that Kazakhstan generally welcomed Vice 
President Biden's comments. 
 
7.  (C) When asked for his views on Russia's interests in 
Afghanistan, Sarybay smiled, "You'd better ask (Kremlin 
Foreign Policy Adviser) Prihodko."  Then he added, "They have 
to be interested in the stability and security that would 
come from defeating extremism, and anti-narcotics, at the 
very least." 
 
RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES 
 
8.  (C) Sarybay urged the United States to listen to Russia 
closely and take its views seriously (see reftel C, President 
Nazarbayev's similar advice to CENTCOM CDR General Petraeus). 
 He confided that during Nazarbayev's most recent trip to 
Moscow for the Collective Security Treaty Organization 
Summit, Medvedev had told Nazarbayev, "I'm a representative 
of the new generation.  I wasn't poisoned by the past history 
of anti-Americanism during the Cold War.  I was really ready 
to work with Washington, but I was crossed by the Missile 
Defense and NATO issues."  (COMMENT:  Although Sarybay once 
again declined to elbaorate, it would appear that Medvedev 
could have meant he was crossed by hard-liners' views on 
these issues, since neither issue simply popped up after 
Medvedev's election.  END COMMENT.) 
 
9.  (C) The Ambassador asked if Sarybay thought Putin would 
allow a better relationship for Russia with the United 
States.  He responded, "Probably only on his own terms."  He 
expanded, "However, I personally find it interesting that 
even in the Kremlin no one's sure 'who's Putin and who's 
Medvedev,'" i.e., who's really in charge.  Sarybay added, 
"And some think Putin now regrets his decision to leave the 
Kremlin." 
 
KAZAKHSTAN AND THE UNITED STATES 
 
10.  (C) When asked if he had any bilateral issues to raise, 
Sarybay took time to go through his file of tabbed issue 
papers.  He closed it and said, "Nope, we're on an even keel. 
 Only once again I ask that you urge early Obama and Clinton 
visits." 
 
11.  (C) COMMENT:  If Washington eventually decides to offer 
to negotiate with Bishkek about Manas, we find intriguing the 
suggestion that any offer should be multilateral from the 
United States and its coalition partners (see reftel).  This 
kind of multilateral approach might possibly not be rejected 
out of hand -- or at least might stimulate debate in Moscow. 
END COMMENT. 
HOAGLAND

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