09ASTANA854, KAZAKHSTAN: MFA CALLS APRIL 28 SUMMIT OF CENTRAL ASIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA854 2009-05-18 04:31 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO6489
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK
RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0854/01 1380431
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180431Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5437
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1598
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0975
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1678
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0655
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 1160
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 1076
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY 1531

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000854 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB, OES/PCI (PHUDAK, NFITE) 
MOSCOW FOR ESTH (DKLEPP) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ENRG ECON SENV ZK KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  MFA CALLS APRIL 28 SUMMIT OF CENTRAL ASIAN 
LEADERS A SUCCESS 
 
ASTANA 00000854  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2. (SBU) SUMMARY.  Kazakhstan's MFA regards the April 28 Summit of 
the Presidents of the Founding States of the International Fund to 
Save the Aral Sea as "successful," despite disagreements over water 
management issues.  Kazakhstan hopes the summit will become an 
annual forum to make progress on regional issues.  Kazakhstan sided 
with Uzbekistan over the Kambarata project in Kyrgyzstan because it 
was "upset" that the recent Kyrgyzstan-Russia agreement on Kambarata 
excluded Kazakhstan and was concerned about its own situation.  If 
Afghanistan and Pakistan buy energy from Central Asia, such a 
project must also take into account the interests of all the 
involved Central Asian countries, the MFA told us.  The formation of 
blocks within Central Asia would obstruct the resolution of regional 
water and energy problems.  END SUMMARY. 
 
APRIL 28 SUMMIT "SUCCESSFUL" 
 
3. (SBU) MFA Central Asia Department head Gulmira Sultanali told the 
Regional Environmental Officer (REO) on May 14 that the Summit of 
the Presidents of the Founding States of the International Fund to 
Save the Aral Sea, which took place April 28 in Almaty, was 
"successful" because the presidents of the five Central Asian 
countries met, deliberated, and agreed to the idea of annual summits 
to continue discussions on regional issues.  Sultanali acknowledged 
that the Summit strayed from the topic of the Aral Sea, but 
maintained that in spite of disagreements, it was successful because 
each side had a chance to express its views and air its concerns. 
 
4. (SBU) Sultanali noted that the Interstate Commission for Water 
Coordination (ICWC), which was originally set up in 1992 to address 
the water management problem in Central Asia, ultimately drafted a 
cooperation agreement that all parties signed.  However, the 
agreement could not be implemented, and now ICWC works mostly at the 
technical-level on water flow and water level issues.  The ICWC can 
no longer resolve the regional water management problem in Central 
Asia, Sultanali said, because water is no longer a technical matter; 
rather, it has become a serious and complicated political issue that 
can be handled only at the highest political levels. 
 
5. (SBU) The dilemma, Sultanali said, is to find a mechanism that is 
suitable for all the countries.  Each side has both energy and water 
concerns, with the upstream countries of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan 
needing electricity and heat in the winter, and the downstream 
countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan needing water 
for irrigation in the summer.  Sultanali said that Kazakhstan is 
trying to bring the region together to find a consensus, and 
believes an annual summit is an appropriate forum to examine both 
water and energy together. 
 
KAZAKHSTAN'S VIEWS ON THE KAMBARATA PROJECT 
 
6. (SBU) Sultanali said that the recent agreement between Kyrgyzstan 
and Russia under which Russia would loan $2 billion to Kyrgyzstan 
for the Kambarata hydroelectric project "upset" Kazakhstan very 
much, because it excluded Kazakhstan entirely.  (NOTE:  Kazakhstan 
was a possible investor in Kambarata and had been in negotiations 
with Kyrgyzstan prior to the deal with Russia.  Such an investment 
would have given Kazakhstan a voice in determining downstream flows 
to Kazakhstan as well as giving it influence over Uzbekistan.  END 
NOTE.) 
 
7. (SBU) Sultanali said Kazakhstan finds itself consistently without 
sufficient water.  She nevertheless argued that each country has a 
sovereign right to use its own resources -- an apparent reference to 
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan's insistence that water is a national 
resource and not a trans-boundary resource subject to international 
conventions -- but at the same time, any decision on hydroelectric 
projects or water management must be mutually acceptable to all 
parties. 
 
 
ASTANA 00000854  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
8. (SBU) Sultanali maintained that each country is hard at work 
protecting its own interests regarding water.  She explained that on 
Kambarata, Kazakhstan had
decided to side with Uzbekistan at the 
April 28 Summit because Kazakhstan also was concerned about its own 
situation.  "At the very least," she said, "we need to listen to 
Uzbekistan's position."  She said the region needs outside experts 
to come in and help bring the countries together, and for Kazakhstan 
the United Nations is the most suitable organization to do this. 
 
9. (SBU) Sultanali appeared to be pessimistic about finding a 
solution to Central Asia's water resource management problem.  She 
stressed the need for a suitable "mechanism," but she was not clear 
what one would look like.  She saw annual summits as an appropriate 
starting point, and explained they would address a number of other 
regional problems in addition to water, such as drug trafficking and 
regional security. 
 
ENERGY COOPERATION WITH AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN 
 
10. (SBU) Sultanali was aware that Afghanistan and Pakistan are 
interested in buying energy from Central Asia, and noted that 
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are looking to develop their energy 
production potential because they have the water resources.  She 
said Kazakhstan's position is that all Central Asian countries using 
the region's water resources must take into account the interests of 
the other Central Asian countries and must secure their agreement in 
advance to use them for energy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. 
 
11. (SBU) Without a doubt, she said, the construction of the 
Kambarata project in Kyrgyzstan and the Rogun project in Tajikistan 
would affect Kazakhstan's interests.  Transmission lines will also 
have to be built to send electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan, 
and the Central Asian countries need to study closely the 
environmental impact of those lines.  She again argued that the 
United Nations is the preferred "neutral" outside party to do this. 
 
REGIONAL BLOCKS 
 
12. (SBU) Sultanali briefly touched on the notion that blocks might 
be forming within Central Asia after the April 28 Summit, with the 
upstream countries of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on one side and the 
downstream countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan on 
the other.  She hoped that Central Asia would not divide itself this 
way, because this would obstruct resolution of the water and energy 
problems. 
 
13. (SBU) COMMENT:  According a Central Asia-Caucasus Institute 
analyst, "Central Asian leaders seem to be caught in the classic 
prisoner's dilemma, when each is better off not cooperating while 
potentially rewarding cooperation is stalled because of lack of 
trust.... A viable water regime seems impossible with the current 
state of affairs...but the Central Asian states have no choice but 
to keep trying."  Sultanali was expressing the MFA's hope for such 
cooperation, seeing an annual summit of the region's five presidents 
as an appropriate start in that direction.  However, she was not 
optimistic about the outcome because it appears the Central Asian 
countries remain intent on separately pursuing their own interests. 
END COMMENT. 
 
MILAS

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