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Cablegate: Ambassador Mann: A Welcome Figure in Turkmen State Media -

VZCZCXRO1640
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHNEH RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #1544 3331318
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281318Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1920
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 3102
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001544

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID ECON EPET KPAO OIIP RS TX
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MANN: A WELCOME FIGURE IN TURKMEN STATE MEDIA -
MEDIA REACION TO HIS RECENT VISIT

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

2. (U) SUMMARY: Turkmenistan's state media widely reported on U.S.
Coordinator for Eurasian Energy Diplomacy Steven Mann's November 20
meeting with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The same day,
media sources accurately carried Mann's remarks from Turkmenistan's
International Oil and Gas Conference (TIOGE) in which he emphasized
opening Turkmenistan's energy market for foreign investment and
partnership. END SUMMARY.

MEDIA HIGHLIGHT MANN'S MEETING WITH TURKMEN LEADER

3. (U) The November 20 "Watan" TV news program highlighted Mann's
meeting with President Berdimuhamedov, praising bilateral relations
with the United States. The news story reported that both sides
reaffirmed the mutually beneficial partnership between the two
countries. The story ended with an accurate translation of Mann's
remarks to state media, following the meeting. The same day "Owaz"
radio channel's evening news program (Turkmen, Russian, English)
carried a similar story on the meeting.

4. (U) The following day, stories appeared on the front pages of
state-run dailies "Neytralniy Turkmenistan" (Russian, circ. 44,991)
and "Turkmenistan" (Turkmen, circ. 33,391). Articles were also
posted on the government website "Turkmenistan Golden Age" (Turkmen,
Russian, English) and on the Russia-based, pro-government website
"Turkmenistan.ru" (Russian, English). In subsequent days, most of
the state weeklies reprinted a shorter version of the news story.

ACCURATE COVERAGE OF MANN'S APPEARANCE AT TIOGE

5. (U) In rare, "double coverage" of a foreign visitor, the
above-mentioned "Watan" TV news broadcast also included Mann's
interview with a Watan correspondent taped on the margins of TIOGE.
A "Reuters" November 20 news story accurately highlighted quotes
from Mann's conference remarks, focused on his urging Turkmenistan
to involve western companies and attract international partnership
in developing the country's energy resources.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Coverage of Steve Mann's visit naturally focused
on discussions and cooperation in the energy sector, a safe topic
for state media. As all coverage is directed or heavily influenced
by the president's office, the rare, double appearance of Mann on
the evening news program was an indication of official support for
cooperation with the United States in energy. It might also be a
sign of growing comfort with Ambassador Mann as an interlocutor,
which is no small accomplishment given the importance that Turkmen
attach to personal relationships. END COMMENT.

MILES

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