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Cablegate: Turkmenistan: State and International Media Highlight a/S

VZCZCXRO0226
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #0983/01 2610930
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180930Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9382
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 000983

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID ECON KPAO OIIP RS TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: STATE AND INTERNATIONAL MEDIA HIGHLIGHT A/S
SULLIVAN'S VISIT, POSITIVE RELATIONS WITH UNITED STATES


1. (U) State media positively highlighted U.S. Assistant Secretary
of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Daniel Sullivan's
participation in the August 13 inauguration ceremony of the
Imamnazar border checkpoint on the Turkmen-Afghan border and his
August 14 meeting with Turkmenistan's President. Leading
international news agencies carried Assistant Secretary Sullivan's
speech from August 14 at the Ak Altyn Hotel in Ashgabat, in which he
stressed "openness, economic integration, and partnership" with
Turkmenistan.

STATE MEDIA HIGHLIGHT SULLIVAN'S MEETING WITH TURKMEN LEADER

2. (U) On August 11, state dailies "Neutral Turkmenistan" (Russian,
circ. 39,091) and "Turkmenistan" (Turkmen, circ. 28,091) gave
front-page treatment to an article announcing the Sullivan
delegation's arrival in Turkmenistan to participate in the opening
ceremony of the "Imannazar" border crossing checkpoint between
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. The article also noted that Sullivan
expected to meet Turkmenistan's president.

3. (U) On August 14, "Watan" TV news program (Turkmen) praised
President Berdimuhammedov's meeting with the U.S. delegation, headed
by Assistant Secretary Sullivan, noting that the sides discussed a
wide range of issues for cooperation, including partnership in the
oil and gas sector. The broadcast showed Sullivan's support for
President Berdimuhammedov's intention to diversify its gas and oil
export routes. It also praised educational exchange programs to the
United States. Sullivan's comments were broadcast and translated
accurately and carried in their entirety. The same day, the
pro-government website 'Turkmenistan.ru' posted a positive article
on the meeting, praising Berdimuhamedov and Sullivan's support for
diversifying the bilateral partnership. The article was similar to
the "Watan" TV news broadcast. The following day, state dailies
"Neutral Turkmenistan" (Russian, circ. 39,091) and "Turkmenistan"
(Turkmen, circ. 28,091) also published an article with similar
content from "Watan" news. In subsequent days, state weeklies
"Balkan" (Turkmen, circ. 25,630), "Watan" (Turkmen, circ. 26,091),
"Ahal Durmushy" (Turkmen, circ. 34.091) and "Esger" (Turkmen, circ.
58,591) reprinted the article from state dailies. The government
news website 'Turkmenistan-Golden Age' (Russian, English and
Turkmen) posted the dailies' article as well. The Russian news
agency 'ITAR-TASS' (Russian, English) also carried a favorable
article on Sullivan's meeting with Turkmenistan's President.

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA CARRY SULLIVAN'S REMARKS ON NEED FOR ECONOMIC
REFORMS IN TURKMENISTAN

4. (U) On August 14, news agencies Associated Press (AP) (English,
Russian) and Reuters (English, Russian) covered Sullivan's remarks
on transparency, rule-of-law, and transportation and communications
links in advancing the development of Turkmenistan and other
countries in the region. AP and Reuters tended to focus their
coverage on the energy trade issues. AP reported Sullivan's visit
came amid continued jockeying between the United States and Russian
for influence in Turkmenistan and an apparent diplomatic push by
Washington to seek backing for Trans-Caspian pipeline, which would
circumvent export routes controlled by Russia. Reuters reported
that the United States urged Turkmenistan to diversify its energy
export routes. Both news agencies accurately carried Sullivan's
statement that "Nations should never be left with only one option -
one market, one trading partner, one vital infrastructure link."
Sullivan's remarks, urging Turkmenistan to do more to fight
corruption and improve its investment climate received positive
coverage. (NOTE: The news agencies carried quotes from the full
text of Sullivan's August 14 remarks, which has been distributed to
international stringers and posted on the Embassy website. END
NOTE.)

MEDIA FAVORABLY CARRY SULLIVAN'S REMARKS FROM NEW BORDER CHECKPOINT
OPENING CEREMONY

5. (U) On August 10, the Russia-based news agency 'Interfax'
(Russian, English) reported on Sullivan's upcoming arival to attend
the Imamnazar border crossing checkpoint opening ceremony. The
report noted that Sullivan was expected to hold a meeting with
Turkmenistan's government officials on August 14. 'Interfax'
repeated the same report on August 12 and 'Central Asia General

ASHGABAT 00000983 002 OF 002


Newswire' reprinted the 'Interfax' report.

6. (U) "Watan" TV news August 14 broadcast of the Imamnazar
checkpoint's opening carried Sullivan's interview from the event.
Sullivan emphasized the occasion had significant implications for
Turkmenistan and the United States and noted that the United States
wants to help with regional integration. Similarily, state dailies
"Neutral Turkmenistan" (Russian, circ. 39,091) and "Turkmenistan"
(Turkmen, circ. 28,091) published an article on the opening,
favorably noting Assistant Secretary Sullivan's remarks at the
event. News of the event was also posted on government news website
'Turkmenistan-Golden Age' (Russian, English and Turkmen)

7. (SBU) COMMENT: State media praised Assistant Secretary
Sullivan's visit and took efforts to show President Berdimuhamedov's
support for improved Turkmen-American relations. Meanwhile,
international news agencies such as the 'Associated Press' and
'Reuters' characterized the event in the context of the United
States competing with Russia over influence for Turkmenistan's
energy resources. The extensive and favorable coverage by state
news media is an indication that the country's leadership continues
to support a positive image of Turkmenistan's improving foreign
relations, including with the United States.

HOAGLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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