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Cablegate: Turkmenistan Misses Polish National Day

VZCZCXRO0651
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #1248 3240520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200520Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9716
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 2989
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0807
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0681
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 1257
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0628
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 1904

UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001248

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/RUS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG UP PL RS TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN MISSES POLISH NATIONAL DAY


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

2. (U) Polish Ambassador Maciej Lang hosted a reception in
Ashgabat on November 19 in honor of Poland's National Day.
Standard practice for national day receptions in Ashgabat is
for both Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Meredov and
Speaker of the Parliament Nuberdiyeva to represent the
Government of Turkmenistan, and Meredov makes appropriate
comments.

3. (SBU) For Poland's national day reception, no
Turkmenistani official showed up, which old-timers said has
happened only once before at national days in the last two
years. Everyone understandingly clucked that President
Berdimuhamedov is running almost daily marathon cabinet
meetings. And besides that, obviously the host government is
totally consumed with preparations and swarming advance teams
for the CIS Heads of Government Summit on November 22. Well,
maybe.

4. (U) The following ambassadors were seated at the Polish
Ambassador's head table: United States, Russia, Germany,
OSCE, UAE, Georgia, Ukraine. The dinner conversation was
appropriately light, equally in Russian and in English, and
substantive on safe issues like Turkmenistan's exchange-rate
drama and the soon-to-open UN Center for Preventative
Diplomacy.

5. (U) Russian Ambassador Blatov excused himself as soon as
he politely could, saying he had to go make ready for Prime
Minister Zubkov's visit.

6. (SBU) Ukrainian Ambassador Mayko then turned to Polish
Ambassador Lang and asked ironically, "So tell us, Maciej,
how are Polish-Russian relations?" Answer? (Expletive
deleted!) Georgian Ambassador Petriashvili asked, "Hey
Maciej, can you sell your meat to Russia yet? We still can't
sell our wine." Response? (Expletive deleted!)

7. (SBU) After more rude banter, the consensus was that the
Resurgent Russian Bear is increasingly baring its fangs and
claws in its self-proclaimed "sphere of influence" -- and, in
doing so, is driving away all but the weakest or most
clueless. In the second category, European and FSU
consensus, whether accurately or not, places Turkmenistan.

8. (SBU) COMMENT: There is a European knee-jerk reaction in
Ashgabat that Russia is increasingly calling the shots behind
the scenes -- not in a take-control way, but quietly through
Turkmen sympathizers in small ways carefully calculated to
irritate the international community. We suspect, so far,
this is the easy descent into false coincidence and
conspiracy thinking, and would prefer to reserve judgment to
see if credible evidence emerges. END COMMENT.
HOAGLAND

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