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Cablegate: Turkmenistan: Caricc Officials Urge Dea Presence

VZCZCXRO7251
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #0389/01 0881125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281125Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0511
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3559
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 1377
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1244
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 1813
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0046
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0761
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DOJ WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 000389

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, INL
DUSHANBE AND MOSCOW ALSO FOR DEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SNAR UNAUS RS KZ TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: CARICC OFFICIALS URGE DEA PRESENCE
IN ALMATY TO FACILITATE COOPERATION

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

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: March 26 meetings with Turkmenistani
counter-narcotics officials went very well, the Acting
Director of the newly established (counter-narcotics) Central
Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC),
Mukhtarbek Madybayev, and the UNODC's Senior Coordinator on
establishing CARICC, Tofik Murshudlu, told the Charge during
a March 27 briefing. Turkmenistan's officials said all the
right things about wanting to cooperate on counter-narcotics
operations within the CARICC framework, and have already
appointed a liaison to the Center. While member states have
been reluctant to share their most sensitive
counter-narcotics intelligence, there has nonetheless been a
steady flow of more general information, and Madybayev
suggested that getting access to sensitive information may
just be a matter of confidence building. Outlining what
CARICC has accomplished since its opening on November 1,
2007, the two made clear their determination to strengthen
the fight against narcotics trafficking in the region -- and
beyond. Noting the strong U.S. support for CARICC, they
suggested that it would be helpful to post a second DEA agent
to the region in order to relieve some of the pressure on the
overstretched agent already based in Dushanbe. Almaty --
fast becoming a Central Asian hub and the home of CARICC --
would be a perfect base. END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) Madybayev and Murshudlu visited Turkmenistan March
26-27 to discuss CARICC-related cooperation issues with
Turkmenistan's senior counter-narcotics officials. During
their visit, they met separately with Embassy personnel
during a March 27 UNODC-hosted lunch and a March 27 meeting
with the Charge. The two told the Charge that even though
only six of the Center's seven full member-countries have
signed the CARICC agreement (the five Central Asian countries
and Azerbaijan have signed, Russia has not), the Center has
been up and running in a pilot phase since November 1, 2007.
(NOTE: Madybayev said Russians attending the UNODC's March
10-14 meeting in Vienna told him that Russia's President
Putin will sign the CARICC agreement before leaving office on
May 1. END NOTE.) Matabayev, a Kyrgyzstani, has been
serving as Acting Director since that time, but the Center's
first full Director, a Kazakhstani, will begin work April 1.

4. (SBU) While in Turkmenistan, Madybayev and Murshudlu met
with Minister of Internal Affairs Orazgeldi Amanmuradov and
State Counter-narcotics Service Chairman Murat Yslamov. They
told the Charge that both officials said all the right things
about wanting to work closely within the CARICC framework
with law enforcement officials from other countries in the
region to combat narcotics trafficking and the flow of
precursors.

5. (U) To date, all member countries have sent liaison
officers to serve in the Center. CARICC has established
contacts with Interpol and Europol. Interpol has given
CARICC full access to its databases. Once Interpol
establishes its planned liaison office in CARICC, it will
also have access to CARICC's databases. CARICC has also been
in touch with drug authorities in other key countries,
including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India, and China to
establish working relationships beyond the Central Asia
region. Murshudlu said CARICC has already started to collect
counter-narcotics information from member countries.
However, he acknowledged, most countries will be reluctant to
share their most sensitive intelligence until they have more
confidence that the Center will properly protect the
information.

6. (U) CARICC has carried out several joint activities,

ASHGABAT 00000389 002 OF 002


including a controlled delivery. (NOTE: When asked about
the controlled delivery during lunch, Murshudlu acknowledged
that the delivery had been more of a training exercise to
identify coordination and information weaknesses than a
full-fledged interdiction. END NOTE.) Over the coming
months and years, the Center also hopes to carry out training
for Center personnel and focus points in member countries on
intelligence analysis and coordination of international
operations.

7. (SBU) In response to a question, Madybayev acknowledged
how difficult it is when leaders protect other officials
involved in narcotics trafficking. However, he added, in
cases where CARICC cannot get countries' leaders to act
against officials, the organization can circulate trafficking
information to appropriate law-enforcement agencies in other
countries so that those officials can block trafficking
activities.

8. (SBU) Madybayev noted that U.S. support for combatting
narcotics trafficking is well known. He asked that the
Embassy give full diplomatic support to CARICC. Madybayev
noted the difficulties with having only one DEA officer cover
the entire region. He urged that the United States consider
posting a second DEA agent in Almaty, which is becoming a
regional hub and is CARICC's home. Noting that the building
that houses CARICC still has four empty floors, he suggested
that a new DEA agent could be based there to facilitate
coordination.

9. (SBU) COMMENT: Under Murshudlu's apparently energetic
mentorship, Madybayev and CARICC appear to have made
substantial strides in a relatively short time. We are
pleased by Turkmenistan's apparent support for CARICC, which
is consistent both with its new focus on combatting narcotics
and with its efforts to increase regional contacts. We
suspect, based on Turkmenistan's reluctance to share
narcotics seizure and use information, that Turkmenistan may
be one of the countries that is dragging its feet on sharing
intelligence, the fact that it is participating in the
Center's activities at all is a big step forward from where
it was little more than a year ago. END COMMENT.
HOAGLAND

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