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Cablegate: Boucher to Dzhaksybekov: Concrete Progress On

VZCZCXRO5590
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #3273/01 2610645
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180645Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY ALMATY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6963
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 2077
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0259
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0384

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ALMATY 003273

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/CEN (M. O'MARA)

PLEASE PASS USTR

NSC FOR MILLARD, MERKEL

E.O. 193056: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM ETRD MOPS AF KZ
SUBJECT: BOUCHER TO DZHAKSYBEKOV: CONCRETE PROGRESS ON
DEMOCRACY NEEDED BEFORE NAZARBAYEV VISIT


1. (SBU) Summary: In a September 8 meeting with Presidential
Administration head Dzhaksybekov, Assistant Secretary
Boucher outlined U.S. hopes for President Nazarbayev's
upcoming visit to Washington, pressing on the importance of
showing concrete progress on democratic reform. In the
context of the visit, the two also discussed Chairmanship of
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for
2009, which Dzhaksybekov said President Nazarbayev will not
raise with President Bush. Dzhaksybekov highlighted
Kazakhstan's efforts in the war on terrorism and requested a
statement of U.S. support during the visit for Kazakhstan's
early World Trade Organization accession. End summary.

2. (U) Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central
Asian Affairs Richard Boucher met on September 8 in Astana
with Presidential Administration head Adilbek Dzhaksybekov.
The Ambassador and Pol-Econ chief (notetaker) were also
present. From the Kazakhstani side, head of the MFA's
European Cooperation Department Yerkin Akinzhanov
participated.

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Nazarbayev Visit to Washington
------------------------------

3. (SBU) A/S Boucher informed Dzhaksybekov that his primary
reason for visiting Astana was to discuss issues related to
President Nazarbayev's upcoming visit to Washington. The
U.S. expected the visit to be very positive, reflecting the
strategic breadth and depth of bilateral cooperation.
Kazakhstan had made significant strides on economic and
energy issues, as well as on security and regional
development. The President would be looking forward to
hearing President Nazarbayev's views on the process of
building democratic institutions, Boucher added. Noting
that there had been much public discussion of Kazakhstan's
democratic reform plans, including by Deputy Foreign
Minister Aliyev at the recent session of the Democratization
Commission, Boucher asked what new developments Nazarbayev
would share with the President. A/S Boucher pointed out
that the U.S. press would likely be critical of Kazakhstan's
record on democracy, making it all the more important to be
able to point to concrete progress.

4. (SBU) Dzhaksybekov responded that the Kazakhstani
government is looking forward to President Nazarbayev's
visit to Washington, which is viewed as one of the biggest
events of the year. He noted that Kazakhstan considered its
ties to the U.S. a priority, along with its relationships
with Russia and China. Dzhaksybekov recalled that during
the recent G-8 summit in St. Petersburg Nazarbayev had
reiterated his commitment to economic and political
stability while developing democratic principles.
Kazakhstan strives to be a full-fledged member of the
international community, in the spirit of partners such as
the U.S., according to Dzhaksybekov. Although the
international community sometimes criticized developments in
Kazakhstan, such as recent amendments to the media law,
these measures enjoy public support. In the case of the
media law amendments, Dzhaksybekov said, the public demanded
that the government control the situation; the amendments in
question would ensure that no one could use the media to
settle scores, create instability, incite interethnic
hatred, or promote extremist views. On the other hand,
Dzhaksybekov claimed, media that want to criticize the
government "face no obstacles." He asked Boucher to inform
the President that public impressions of Kazakhstan as a
country without freedom of speech are not accurate; in fact,
papers such as Vremya and numerous independent radio
stations are often quite critical.

----------------
Political Reform
----------------

5. (SBU) Dzhaksybekov told A/S Boucher that Nazarbayev would
inform the President about the work underway on political
reform. The Democratization Commission, which would work
until the end of 2006, was looking at ways to strengthen the
role of parliament, establish representative bodies at the

ALMATY 00003273 002 OF 003


local level, ensure satisfactory conditions for political
parties, increase the ability of citizens to influence their
government, guarantee the independence of ministers, and
preserve the role of the president as the guarantor of
stability. After the Democratization Commission presents
its proposals, Nazarbayev would comment on them publicly.

6. (SBU) A/S Boucher told Dzhaksybekov that the U.S.
supports the vision of democratic reform that Kazakhstan has
outlined, and recognizes that each country must find its own
path. He noted that the areas that Dzhaksybekov had listed,
such as strengthening the role of parliament, local
representative bodies, and political parties, were important
aspects of building the democratic institutions that will
guarantee long-term stability. Boucher asked whether there
would be concrete progress to point to during the visit,
such as a new election law or the inclusion of the
opposition in the Democratization Commission. The more
serious and visible dialogue is taking place in Kazakhstan,
Boucher noted, the more confidence others will have that
progress is occurring. Dzhaksybekov did not respond to the
question directly.

---------------------
OSCE Chairmanship Bid
---------------------

7. (SBU) Dzhaksybekov told A/S Boucher that he had read the
U.S. nonpaper on Kazakhstan's bid to chair the OSCE in 2009.
"While I can't say I agree with your point of view," he
added, "not obtaining the chairmanship will have no impact
on the Kazakhstani economy or the internal situation."
Dzhaksybekov explained that Kazakhstan was seeking to chair
the OSCE for reasons of principle. U.S. support would
confirm the wisdom of Kazakhstan's policy course, be seen as
important moral support, and provide an example to other
countries such as Russia "where there is only a faade of
democracy" rather than real change from the inside as in
Kazakhstan.

8. (SBU) Kazakhstan faces many challenges such as
corruption, Dzhaksybekov conceded. Nevertheless there are a
growing number of people such as managers and journalists
who have an "independent mentality" and criticize the status
quo. "The next government" will therefore have to listen to
society, Dzhaksybekov concluded. Reiterating the work
underway on political reform, including judicial reform,
strengthening the independence of parliament, and expanded
direct elections, Dzhaksybekov explained that Nazarbayev's
policy was carefully calculated to allow Kazakhstanis to
live in a free but secure society, given the risks present
in the region. Under current circumstances it will "not be
fatal" if Kazakhstan does not receive the chairmanship in
2009, Dzhaksybekov said. Nazarbayev would not raise the
issue during his meetings in Washington. A/S Boucher agreed
that the topic did not need to be debated during the visit,
adding that the U.S. welcomes Kazakhstan's desire to play a
more active role in the OSCE.

----------------
War on Terrorism
----------------

9. (SBU) Kazakhstan supports the U.S. in Afghanistan and in
Iraq, Dzhaksybekov reminded A/S Boucher. The Kazakhstani
presence in Iraq was becoming increasingly difficult to
maintain due to internal pressure, he claimed. Dzhaksybekov
said that Nazarbayev's advisors have at times advised him to
sQ

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