Search

 

Cablegate: Turkmenistan: International Experts Discuss

VZCZCXRO1868
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #0130/01 0260634
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260634Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0139
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 3293
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1109
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0979
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1548
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0040
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2145
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0684

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ASHGABAT 000130

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, INL
DUSHANBE FOR DEA
MOSCOW FOR DEA
ISLAMABAD FOR DEA
ANKARA FOR DEA
AID/W FOR EE/EA (BOB WALLIN)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR IR TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS DISCUSS
COUNTERING NARCOTICS

REF: A. 07 ASHGABAT 1041
B. ASHGABAT 0122
C. 07 ASHGABAT 1352
D. 07 ASHGABAT 1344

1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Over dinner on January 9, United Nations
Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Antonio
Maria Costa told Ashgabat-based law enforcement donor
community members that his meeting with President
Berdimuhamedov on January 9 had gone well and that the
president had seemed genuinely concerned about Turkmenistan's
narcotics problem. Berdimuhamedov had welcomed UNODC's
project proposals and had agreed to establish a State
Counternarcotics Agency. Donors agreed that high-level
interest in combatting narcotics trafficking is increasing,
but also concurred that a number of problems remain,
including a lack of reliable statistics and reluctance among
some officials to acknowledge the seriousness of
Turkmenistan's drug problem. END SUMMARY.

ANTONIO MARIA COSTA MEETS WITH BERDIMUHAMEDOV

3. (SBU) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa visited Turkmenistan
January 9-10 with Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Chief of UNODC's Europe
and West/Central Asia Operations. UNODC's Turkmenistan
office reported that in a January 9 meeting with President
Berdimuhamedov, Costa and Lemahieu laid out a number of
project ideas that the president welcomed "in principle," and
the two sides agreed to work out the details.

ELABORATION OF UNODC'S PROPOSALS

4. (SBU) Key UNODC proposals included the Caspian Sea
Initiative, assistance and guidance for the establishment of
a drug control agency in Turkmenistan, and the Turkmenistan
Border Initiative. The Caspian Sea Initiative aims to share
intelligence and analysis of narcotics trafficking in the
Caspian Sea region between a Coordination Analysis Unit in
UNODC's Ashgabat office with analysts in Tehran, Tashkent,
Moscow, Kabul, and Islamabad (Ref. A). Costa urged the
president to establish a State Counternarcotics Agency and
reported later that Berdimuhamedov did not blink at the
suggestion the Agency would cost $15 million to fund. (NOTE:
As reported Ref. B, the president signed a decree
establishing a new State Agency for Combating Narcotics on
January 18, and allocated $14.8 million to fund it. END
NOTE.) Through the Turkmenistan Border Initiative, UNODC
will work toward increasing the border control agencies'
enforcement capacities along Turkmenistan's borders with Iran
and Afghanistan.

MORE INSIGHT FROM THE DONORS' DINNER

5. (SBU) Costa told a group of representatives from donor
countries and international organizations on January 10 that
Berdimuhamedov is completely focused on and committed to
fighting drugs. Turkish DCM Tolga Orkun noted Turkey is
seeking to assist Turkmenistan's counternarcotics efforts by
providing training (Ref. C). Costa replied that Turkmenistan
is "demanding training," and said he does not see a desire by
Turkmenistan to hide its need for such training. UN Resident
Coordinator Richard Young said Berdimuhamedov asked for
assistance on law enforcement methodologies.

ASHGABAT 00000130 002 OF 003

COMBATTING AFGHAN OPIATES

6. (SBU) Costa noted the fact that Afghan officers are not
allowed to talk with their counterparts across the border is
a major impediment to Turkmen-Afghan coordination. According
to Costa, dialogue takes place only at the highest levels,
and only once a year. Lemahieu urged the OSCE to consider
coordinating donor funding, and requested that donors take
advantage of UNODC's donors' database on a more consistent
basis to coordinate technical assistance.

7. (SBU) Lemahieu noted that Afghanistan's drugs are now
reaching East Africa. To combat the traffic of Afghan
opiates, UNODC unveiled a "Rainbow Strategy" at the Paris
Pact meeting in December 2007. The strategy is based on five
goals and measures: increase the number of opium-free
provinces in Afghanistan, strengthen cross-border
counternarcotics cooperation among Afghanistan's neighbors,
secure Central Asia's borders through intelligence
cooperation and border management, reduce smuggling of
precursor chemicals into Afghanistan, and improve security
around the Caspian Sea.

HIGH-LEVEL PARTICIPATION INCREASES IN UNODC EXPERT ROUNDTABLES

8. (SBU) Putting in a plug for UNODC's Expert Roundtables,
Lemahieu said that participation is increasing both because
of the expert level of substantive conversations and because
CENTCOM can pay for high-level participants to attend when
the Paris Pact organization cannot. He said it is a good
sign that both Iran and Turkmenistan -- two countries central
to narcotics trafficking -- are sending high-level
participants to the meetings. In the future, UNODC aims to
increase the roundtables' effectiveness by switching from a
focus on "targets" (goals) to "action plans," (concrete
activities).

EU-TACIS RECOMMENDS A PREVENTATIVE STRATEGY

9. (SBU) EU-Tacis Advisor Michael Wilson stated that the
economics of narcotics production is simple and lucrative:
although the price is not increasing, crop yields are
growing. Wilson recommended that donors use a preventative
strategy to tackle the narcotics problem, adding that
although prevention is more expensive, it is an investment in
a country's development.

POSSIBLE STOCKPILING OF DRUGS TO CONTROL PRICES

10. (SBU) Costa said that he does not agree with the
strategy of giving farmers price subsidies for "good" (i.e.,
food and cotton) crops. According to Costa, the World Bank
wants to implement a wheat quality improvement project which
would include components such as building silos and improving
seed quality. Costa mused that somewhere, some people are
stockpiling drug crop yields in order to control prices. It
is unlikely that farmers are stockpiling, because they can't
afford to sit on their crops -- they need the cash flow and
therefore sell immediately. For that reason, experts suspect
that the stockpilers are probably traders. The Taliban is
also likely involved in stockpiling, perhaps indirectly
through sympathetic warlords.

INCREASED DRUG PURITY DANGEROUS TO ABUSERS


ASHGABAT 00000130 003 OF 003


11. (SBU) Lemahieu remarked that drug prices remain stable
worldwide, but purity has significantly increased, putting
users at huge risk and resulting in a huge increase in
overdoses. Purity of drugs sold in Europe has risen on
average from 24 percent to 78 percent.

12. (SBU) COMMENT: Narcotics continues to be an area where
the Government of Turkmenistan is willing to collaborate with
neighbors and donors. Overall, this group felt positive
about the direction in which Turkmenistan's counternarcotics
effort is headed, but other issues remain, including the lack
of reliable statistics and the government's reluctance to
explicitly admit the existence of serious problems. END
COMMENT.
HOAGLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC