09ASTANA264, KAZAKHSTAN: MFA OFFICIAL SAYS FM TAZHIN WILL BE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA264 2009-02-13 09:41 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO1444
OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHNP RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHTA #0264/01 0440941
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 130941Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4607
INFO RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1182
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0579
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0291
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1285
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0756
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0672

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000264 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, IO, ISN, INR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2034 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ECON KNNP OSCE IAEA KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  MFA OFFICIAL SAYS FM TAZHIN WILL BE 
REPLACED IN THE COMING MONTHS 
 
REF: A. ASTANA-ALMATY O-I EMAIL FEBRUARY 11 (NOTAL) 
     B. ASTANA-ALMATY O-I EMAIL FEBRUARY 10 (NOTAL) 
     C. ASTANA 0090 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland, 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  Former MFA Americas Department Director 
Talgat Kaliyev told Pol-Econ Chief on February 12 that 
Foreign Minister Tazhin will be replaced in the coming 
months.  Kaliyev explained that he has been appointed to be 
Tazhin's advisor on OSCE issues.  He said that Kazakhstan 
intends to pursue a seat on the IAEA Board of Governors.  He 
reported that the government has drastically cut funding for 
government travel and furniture and vehicle purchases.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
TAZHIN OUT WITHIN SEVERAL MONTHS 
 
2. (C)  Former MFA Americas Department Director Talgat 
Kaliyev told Pol-Econ Chief on February 12 that Foreign 
Minister Tazhin will leave his current position in the coming 
months -- i.e., before Kazakhstan assumes the chairmanship of 
the OSCE.  He reminded Pol-Econ Chief that Tazhin has worked 
on domestic issues for much of his career and said that 
Tazhin's next government assignment would likely have a 
domestic focus.  (NOTE:  Tazhin has served two stints 
(1995-99 and 2002-06) as deputy head of the Presidential 
Administration, as well as two stints as secretary of the 
Security Council (1999-2001, 2006-07).  He also headed the 
National Security Committee (KNB) for six months in 2001. 
END NOTE.)  Kaliyev did not offer any hints about who will be 
named to succeed Tazhin. 
 
KALIYEV'S NEW ASSIGNMENT 
 
3. (C) Kaliyev provided more details about his own new 
assignment and, as he put it, the "intrigues" that led to it 
(see refs A and B).  According to Kaliyev, on February 10, 
Tazhin called him in to explain that he was out as MFA 
Americas Department head and would be sent to Vienna as 
minister-counselor to work primarily on OSCE issues, since 
Tazhin needed an experienced hand there with Kazakhstan's 
OSCE chairmanship looming on the horizon.  Kaliyey was not 
happy with the proposed new assignment, because he had 
already served as minister-counselor and DCM in Washington, 
and his son had just been admitted to a very prestigious 
"intellectual school" in Astana opened in January by 
President Nazarbayev (see ref C).  (COMMENT:  Alluding to the 
Rakhat Aliyev case, Pol-Econ Chief suggested to Kaliyev that 
the Vienna job might also involve some "very delicate 
issues."  Kaliyev responded that he had made it a point to 
stay away from such issues, and hence this was yet one more 
reason not to go to Vienna.  END COMMENT.) 
 
4. (C) However, the following day, February 11, Tazhin 
backtracked, and agreed to keep Kaliyev at the MFA in Astana, 
appointing him to be his advisor on OSCE issues.  Kaliyev 
immediately moved upstairs to an office near Tazhin's on the 
MFA's top floor.  Kaliyev explained to PolOff that he hoped 
to continue to have close contact with the U.S. government in 
his new role, explaining that the Embassy is welcome in 
particular to bring to his direct attention any issues 
touching on the OSCE, including Kazakhstani human rights 
cases.  His successor as MFA Americas Department head is 
Askar Tazhiyev, who up until now was an MFA 
ambassador-at-large covering OSCE issues, and who served with 
Kaliyev at the Kazakhstani Embassy in Washington, ultimately 
succeeding Kaliyev as minister-counselor and DCM when Kaliyev 
returned to Astana in 2007. 
 
KAZAKHSTAN WILL PURSUE IAEA BOG SEAT 
 
5. (C) Kaliyev informed Pol-Econ Chief that Kazakhstan 
intends to pursue a seat on the IAEA Board of Governors (BOG) 
at the next available opportunity.  (NOTE:  In 2008, we 
initially lobbied the Kazakhstanis to run against Syria for 
the open Middle East-South Asia (MESA) group seat on the IAEA 
BOG.  We later asked them to step back in favor of 
 
ASTANA 00000264  002 OF 002 
 
 
Afghanistan, after it became clear that many MESA group 
members did not recognize Kazakhstan as a member of their 
group.  END NOTE.)  He also said that Kazakhstan wants to 
become more involved in the IAEA's nuclear fuel bank 
initiative. 
 
GOVERNMENT BELT-TIGHTENING 
 
6. (C)  Pol-Econ Chief asked Kaliyev about the impact of 
budget cuts necessitated by the shortfall in government 
revenues.  Kaliyev reported that while the government remains 
commi
tted to maintaining spending on social programs, it has 
drastically reduced expenditures on the government 
bureaucracy, including funding for government travel and for 
furniture and vehicle purchases.  According to Kaliyev, for 
now, Prime Minister Masimov has to personally sign off on all 
government travel. 
 
7. (C) COMMENT:  Kaliyev played a critical role in our 
bilateral relationship as MFA Americas Department head.  He 
carried a lot of water for us in trying to get the 
Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) agreement ratified, and 
recently worked to negotiate a "deal" on the criminal case 
against Peace Corps Volunteer Anthony Sharp, whose trial is 
on-going.  It is not exactly clear to us whether Kaliyev has 
been promoted or demoted, and why, if he is staying in 
Astana, he was simply not allowed to retain his old job -- 
which probably would have been his preference.  This might 
mean that someone wanted him off the U.S. account, perhaps 
because of the perception he was getting too close to us. 
And, as far as we can tell, an MFA department head's 
follow-on overseas assignment should be as an ambassador, not 
as a minister-counselor.  Canadian Ambassador Margaret Skok 
recently passed along a rumor to the Ambassador that Kaliyev 
had, in fact, been considered by the MFA as a candidate to 
become Kazakhstan's new ambassador to Ottawa, but was 
rejected because of "a serious cocaine habit."  Frankly, we 
ourselves haven't seen any evidence of this.  However, 
Kaliyev did quietly approach us several weeks ago to ask that 
we try to steer contracts for U.S. military supplies to 
Afghanistan to his brother Almaz's company in Almaty, 
explaining that this would help both of them.  He had never 
previously made such a request to us that was unrelated to 
his official duties.  END COMMENT. 
 
HOAGLAND

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