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Cablegate: Central Asia/Turkmenistan: Uk Priorities In

VZCZCXRO4361
PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHLO #1924 2051638
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231638Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9272
INFO RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 0187
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1228
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 001924


SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DRL - KNOX THAMES AND NANCY HEWETT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/23/2018

TAGS: PHUM PREL IAEA PGOV ZK UK

SUBJECT: CENTRAL ASIA/TURKMENISTAN: UK PRIORITIES IN
CENTRAL ASIA REFLECTED IN POSITIVE TURKMEN VISIT

Classified By: Political Counselor Richard Mills, reasons 1.4 (b/d).

1. (C) The head of Turkmenistan's National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights in the Office of the President, Shirin Ahmedova, and the Turkmen Deputy Minister of Justice's early July visit to the UK was a result of HMG's long-term strategy to gradually increase engagement with Turkmenistan as it opens up to reform, according to FCO Central Asia Team Leader Niall Cullens. Cullens said the visit focused on penal and judicial reform and freedom of religion through meetings with the Foreign and Home Offices, as well as through visits to various prison facilities. HMG's overall objective for the visit was not to prescribe how the Turkmen judicial system should operate, but "to give the delegation an opportunity to learn from the UK's experiences." As a deliverable, HMG is investigating options for judicial training in Turkmenistan and has already sent an FCO officer to Ashgabat to explore options.

2. (C) Cullens said the Turkmen visit reflected HMG's priorities for Central Asia: promotion of human rights and democracy, energy sector security, counter-narcotics cooperation, and regional stability through counter-terrorism cooperation. He said HMG was particularly pleased that it had successfully influenced the EU's creation of a strategy for Central Asia, which largely reflects HMG priorities and was adopted during the German EU presidency in 2007.

Kazakhstan and the IAEA -----------------------

3. (C) Discussing other specific HMG assistance to the region, Cullens said the UK has repeatedly offered Kazakhstan assistance in its role as OECD chair, but has heard nothing in response. Cullens wondered if Kazakhstan's reluctance to put forward its IAEA candidacy was a result of feeling overwhelmed by OECD responsibilities or concern over upsetting other countries' bids.

Uzbekistan and Afghan Security ------------------------------

4. (C) As an aside, Cullens also said HMG does not support the Uzbeki call for a 6 plus 3 (neighboring countries plus the US, Russia, and NATO) contact group to deal with Afghan security. He said HMG will only support an initiative that involves the Government of Afghanistan. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX TUTTLE

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