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Cablegate: (U) Assistant Secretary Blake's September 23,

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TO RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE IMMEDIATE 1302
INFO ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 099704

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TAGS: PREL TI ZK AF
SUBJECT: (U) ASSISTANT SECRETARY BLAKE'S SEPTEMBER 23,
2009 CONVERSATION WITH TAJIK FOREIGN MINISTER HAMROKHOM
ZARIFI

1. (U) September 23, 2009; 10:30 a.m.; New York, USA.

2. (U) Participants:

U.S.
Assistant Secretary Blake
Matt Lowe, Special Assistant
Don Camp, UNGA Senior Area Adviser
Sarah Prescott (SCA Notetaker)

Tajikistan
Foreign Minister Hamrokhom Zarifi
Lukmon Isomatov, UN Permanent Representative

3. (SBU) SUMMARY. Assistant Secretary Blake met Foreign
Minister Zarifi for a 20-minute, bilateral meeting on the
margins of UNGA on September 23. A/S Blake thanked Foreign
Minister Zarifi for a good July visit to Dushanbe, thanked
Tajikistan for supporting U.S. efforts in Afghanistan,
encouraged the integration of Afghan border guards into Tajik
training, invited feedback on the U.S. draft Annual Bilateral
Commissions Work Plan, recommended the Government of
Tajikistan (GOTI) make public recent audits from the National
Bank, Barqi Tojik and Talco Aluminum Plant, requested
President Rahmon to accept Ambassador Ken Gross, credentials
and requested reinstatement of prison visits for returned
Tajik GTMO detainees. In response, Zarifi said he felt the
U.S.-Tajik bilateral relations were strong but Tajikistan
needed more technical and financial assistance from the U.S.
in order to meet our expectations on border security,
trafficking in persons and other standards. Zarifi
encouraged A/S Blake to think of Tajikistan when senior level
USG officials visit the region. END SUMMARY

----------------
Annual Bilateral Consultations (ABC)
----------------

4. (SBU) Foreign Minister Zarifi opened by noting Tajik-US
bilateral relations are very strong because we do not have
any difficult issues between our countries. Zarifi felt the
ABC Work Plan should focus on economics, democracy, regional
partnerships and Afghanistan - especially Afghanistan to
build stability in the region. Zarifi declared Tajikistan
was ready to accept an American delegation or he would be
happy to travel to the U.S. to begin the ABC Work Plan
discussions.

5. (SBU) A/S Blake thanked Zarifi for his initial thoughts on
the ABC concept and passed over a copy of our draft ABC Work
plan. Quickly glancing at the document, Zarifi said "CASA is
very important to Tajikistan and Pakistan." Zarifi said we
should expect their response by the first of October. A/S
Blake thanked Zarifi and emphasized the faster we can agree
to an agenda the faster we can get to work. A/S Blake
further suggested that we hold our first meeting in late
November or early December. Zarifi noted it would be best if
A/S Blake came to Dushanbe for the inaugural ABC meeting,
which Blake said he would be pleased to do.

-------------
Please build us a second bridge
-------------

6. (SBU) Preempting our usual negative response, Zarifi
pressed for a second U.S.-funded bridge to Afghanistan noting
that a second bridge could help increase the amount of
Northern Distribution Network (NDN) traffic through
Tajikistan. Zarifi requested the U.S. to urge Uzbekistan to
allow more NDN cargo transit across the Nizhny Pyanj Bridge
into Afghanistan. By allowing additional NDN routes from
Tajikistan, Tajikistan could increase fruit and vegetable
exports to Afghanistan. (Comment: Zarifi proudly noted that
Tajikistan has the best water and fruit juice in the world.)
Noting the Administration,s focus on food security, Blake
asked how Tajikistan had sufficient fruits and vegetables to
export to Afghanistan? Zarifi said that President Rahmon has
doubled the number of crops per year which gave farmers more
capacity to grow more food than cotton.

7. (SBU) On a related note, Zarifi pointed out that
additional investment from the U.S. would accelerate the TIFA
Agreement. A/S Blake noted that the TIFA would be a good
forum to discuss both regional and bilateral trade
opportunities since access to a larger integrated regional

STATE 00099704 002 OF 002

SUBJECT: (U) ASSISTANT SECRETARY BLAKE'S SEPTEMBER 23,
2009 CONVERSATION WITH TAJIK FOREIGN MINISTER HAMROKHOM
ZARI
market would be of interest to U.S. business. He added that
increased public transparency would also help, recommending
that the GOTI make public recent audits from the National
Bank, Barqi Tojik and Talco Aluminum Plant.

-------------
Regional Security and Cooperation
-------------

8. (SBU) Zarifi pointed out that Tajikistan had excellent
border guard training programs through the OSCE but more
investment was needed to improve this capacity. Zarifi noted
that narcotics continued to pour out of Afghanistan thru
Tajikistan and Tajikistan needed additional technical
assistance to combat narcotics flows. A/S Blake noted that
in conversations with Kazakhstan, as the new OSCE Chairman,
one of the U.S. suggestions was to focus the OSCE on border
security. Zarifi noted they were talking with Kazakhstan on
this issue.

-------------
Democracy and Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
-------------

9. (SBU) A/S Blake underscored the importance of having a
more detailed discussion on holding a free and fair election
in February. Zarifi replied that Tajikistan was working
closely with the OSCE and others in preparation for the
elections. A/S Blake noted that he would follow up with the
U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe to ensure Tajikistan had all of the
support they needed.

10. (SBU) Zarifi told A/S Blake that Tajikistan had improved
its record on preventing trafficking in persons. While
Tajikistan is working hard to address U.S. concerns,
Tajikistan could make more progress if they received
specialized expertise from the U.S. Zarifi noted that
without more technical support from the U.S., further Tajik
TIP progress would be difficult.

-------------
Other Issues
-------------

11. (SBU) In response to Zarifi,s plea for the U.S. senior
officials to visit Tajikistan when in Central Asia, A/S Blake
noted that through the TIFA, ABCs and other bilateral forums,
there would be opportunities for senior U.S. officials to
visit Tajikistan. On Ambassador Gross, credentials, Zarifi
said he had already met with the President and this would
happen soon after the President,s return from UNGA. On
visiting Tajik-GTMO detainees, A/S Blake noted that in 2008
Tajikistan had allowed the U.S. prison visits of the two
Tajik-GTMO detainees but in 2009 we were not given access.
He asked that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs speak with the
Ministry of Justice to remedy this. Zarifi assured Blake
that prison visits to former GTMO detainees would not be a
problem.
CLINTON

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