09ASTANA610, KAZAKHSTAN: HUNGARIAN-LED BOMCA DELEGATION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA610 2009-04-09 05:04 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO3222
RR RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHNP RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHTA #0610/01 0990504
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 090504Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5125
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1470
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0848
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0535
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1551
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0947
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 1033
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000610 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, INL/AAE, AND ISN/ECC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR KNNP KCRM KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  HUNGARIAN-LED BOMCA DELEGATION 
EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT BORDER SECURITY 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Kevin Milas, 1.4 (b/d) 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  Ambassador met with a Border Management in 
Central Asia (BOMCA) delegation on April 6 to discuss efforts 
to implement European Integrated Border Management (IBM) in 
Kazakhstan.  According to the delegation's leader, General 
Istvan Samu, Deputy National Commander of the Hungarian 
Police, Kazakhstan has not been very receptive to sharing 
information and adopting advice on border management 
practices.  In contrast to BOMCA's experience, the Border 
Guard Service has been quite open to U.S. officials, perhaps 
due to U.S.'s much longer history of cooperation with the 
Kazakhstanis on border security. Samu has been making 
periodic visits to Kazakhstan to support BOMCA efforts over 
the last three years; however, his April 2-9 visit was his 
first opportunity to visit an actual, functioning border 
post. Samu told the Ambassador he was dismayed that many 
Kazakhstani border security officials believed that the 
implementation of a new electronic system has rendered 
Kazakhstan's borders secure.  Samu expressed concern that if 
a proposed Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and 
Belarus is finalized, more relaxed border controls could 
render an already vulnerable border more penetrable, posing a 
security threat to many European countries.  The Hungarian 
general stressed that Russian involvement is essential to 
getting things done in Kazakhstan, and close cooperation 
between the United States, the Russian Federation and 
Kazakhstan will make BOMCA's work easier.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) The Ambassador met with four members of a Border 
Management in Central Asia (BOMCA) delegation on April 6. 
BOMCA, which maintains an office in Astana, has worked in 
close coordination with the U.S. Embassy to help the 
government of Kazakhstan strengthen its border security.  In 
addition to providing training opportunities for Kazakhstani 
officials, BOMCA's institutional reform program has been 
encouraging the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and 
Tajikistan to adopt the principles and practices of European 
Integrated Border Management (IBM). 
 
KAZAKHSTANIS "NOT OPEN" WITH HUNGARIAN-LED DELEGATION 
 
3.  (C) Project leader General Istvan Samu, Deputy National 
Commander of the Hungarian Police, and his assistant, Colonel 
Janos Jenei, Head of the Secretariat of the General 
Directorate of the Hungarian Police, have been working on 
border management in Central Asia for the last three years. 
General Samu told the Ambassador that he began working on IBM 
development in Kyrgyzstan, which shares a common border with 
Kazakhstan, and quickly discovered it would be necessary to 
expand the program to Kazakhstan.  Despite having worked for 
several years in Kazakhstan, however, Samu told the 
Ambassador that, "Kazakhstan has been a relatively closed 
country for us.  This visit is the first time they have 
really opened up to us."  The current program is the 
beginning of BOMCA's effort to support the development of an 
IBM strategy in Kazakhstan, and will run from May 2009 
through May 2010.  (COMMENT:  Although U.S. officials have 
occasionally encountered difficulty in getting access to 
sensitive border sites, overall the Border Guard Service has 
been quite open to us in providing information on their 
training and equipment needs.  The difference in our and 
Samu's experiences may be a result of the fact that we have 
had a much longer history of cooperation with the 
Kazakhstanis on border security than Samu and BOMCA.  END 
COMMENT.) 
 
4.  (C) Samu told the Ambassador that despite having visited 
Kazakhstan a number of times over the last three years, his 
first visit to a border post in Kazakhstan took place on this 
trip.  During his first actual inspection, he was struck by 
the difference in what Kazakhstani officials claim they do 
and what they actually do.  While Samu said that the new 
 
ASTANA 00000610  002 OF 002 
 
 
electronic system Kazakhstan deployed in December 2008 to cut 
down on corruption is impressive, it is still under 
development.  (COMMENT:  In January, the Ambassador and 
visiting CBP Deputy Commissioner Charles Stallworth  attended 
a demonstration of the system for 40 members of Parliament. 
Kazakhstani Customs Control Committee officials admitted at 
the time that it had been installed at only five of 
Kazakhstan's 112 border crossing points.  END COMMENT.) 
 
5.  (C) Samu told the Ambassador, "The Kazakhstani Customs 
Control Committee seems to think they have solved their 
border problems in a very modern way, but I have some 
concerns."  First, he pointed out that the system only covers 
items that are declared, not items that are being smuggled in 
and not detected.  "I have asked Customs, what would you do 
if items have not been declared?, and they have no answer," 
Samu remarked.  Second, he noted that even if the electronic 
system works as designed, strengthening border control at 
established checkpoints will only encourage smugglers to 
cross Kazakhstan's porous green borders.  Customs and Border 
Guard officers should have the same level of training, he 
commented, but that is not the case. 
 
6.  (C) Samu said that the government of Hungary and BOMCA 
see this as a particularly troubling problem because 
Kazakhstan has announced its intention to enter into a 
Customs Union with Russia and Belarus, under which some 
border-crossing procedures may be eliminated.  In Samu's 
opinion, if more relaxed border controls along the 
trafficking route from Afghanistan through Tajikistan, 
Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan render an already vulnerable border 
even more easily penetrable, this would pose a serious 
security threat to many European countries.  In the EU, Samu 
stated, protection of the green Border is addressed with a 
variety of IBM techniques, including mobile units.  Samu said 
that in just the first three days of his team's visit, they 
had already uncovered significant border security 
vulnerabilities, including a reluctance to admit problems and 
consider mobile patrols.  "Since I do not see the shape and 
contour of Kazakhstan's strategy yet," Samu said, "when I 
meet with the Director of the Border Guards, I plan to ask 
'Do you have a comprehensive strategy?'"  (COMMENT:  Post's 
INL section has had discussions with, and even provided 
equipment to, the Kazakhstani Border Guard Service for mobile 
patrols.  However, given that the mobile patrols are still 
"under development," it appears the Border Guards did not 
discuss with Samu's delegation this aspect of their overall 
strategy.  END COMMENT.) 
 
7.  (C) Samu explained that the U.S. Embassy was the third 
embassy in Astana that his team had briefed on their 
activities.  Samu, who spoke in Russian throughout his 
meeting with the Ambassador, stated that he also planned to 
meet with the Russian Embassy.  "We cannot do anything here 
without the Russians," he acknowledged frankly, and told the 
Ambassador that more U.S. cooperation with the Russians would 
make BOMCA's work much easier. 
HOAGLAND

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