Cablegate: Kazakhstan: New Afghanistan Assistance Agency?
DE RUEHTA #1856/01 2890209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160209Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6618
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 2038
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1409
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2108
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1055
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2540
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2843
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 1598
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 1466
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001856
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL, EUR/ACE, S/P
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID SOCI AF KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: NEW AFGHANISTAN ASSISTANCE AGENCY?
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1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.
2. (SBU) SUMMARY: On October 14, Talgat Kaliyev, head of the
Kazakhstani Ministry of Foreign Affairs' new policy planning staff,
told the DCM that with FM Saudabayev's endorsement, he is exploring
plans to establish a bureau within the Foreign Ministry to
coordinate Kazakhstan's planned $50 million in assistance to
Afghanistan. If successful, this Agency could eventually become
Kazakhstan's variant of the Agency for International Development,
primarily focused on South and Central Asia. Kaliyev asked for U.S.
government "recommendations, advice, and vision" on the concept, and
stated his plan to travel to Washington for consultations. END
3. (SBU) Talgat Kaliyev, head of the Foreign Ministry's new policy
planning staff, briefed the DCM on his plan to develop an agency to
coordinate government-wide assistance to Afghanistan on October 14.
In his new job for just three weeks, Kaliyev, echoing both President
Nazarbayev and FM Saudabayev, called Afghanistan one of the most
urgent issues. In the Kazakhstani government, many Ministries are
involved in this arena, but they lack coordination, he said.
Kaliyev stated his perception based on two years in Astana that "If
you want to do something, you must do it yourself with the shortest
chain of command. Otherwise, it takes a very long time."
Therefore, with the Foreign Minister's support, he is proposing the
creation of a unit within the Kazakhstani Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, with the working title "Kazakh-Afghan Bureau of
Assistance." This bureau would primarily focus on civilian aid in
fields such as education, health, agriculture, and construction, and
ensure "proper use" of Kazakhstan's $50 million commitment to
4. (SBU) To establish the agency in the near future, Kaliyev plans
to work with Kazakhstan's Ambassador-at-Large to the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization, Shakrat Nurushev. Once Nurushev returns
from his trip to Beijing, Kaliev hopes to send a proposal to the
Prime Minister's office with a draft decree that would establish the
bureau. At the same time, he proposes to recruit seven staffers
with regional experience, primarily from the Foreign Ministry. The
bureau's first task would be to collect information from every
Ministry and relevant Embassies. It would then share this
information with the United States and ask for feedback. Based on
these needs, it would seek information from companies. Finally, the
agency would direct assistance "without the bureaucracy. It will be
the American way of making business," he concluded proudly.
5. (SBU) Kaliyev said that once the proposal is completed, he hopes
it will be implemented by a decree of the prime minister. He
requested U.S. support for the proposal when it becomes official.
In order to establish relations and gain "recommendations, advice,
and vision" on the concept, Kaliyev plans to travel to Washington.
He promised to share a concept paper with the Embassy once he
develops one. In the long term, Kaliyev hopes that President Obama
might send a letter of appreciation for the agency. Kaliyev also
shared his aspiration that the agency could become in a few years
Kazakhstan's Agency for International Development focused primarily
on South and Central Asia.
6. (SBU) In response to questions about Kazakhstan's current plan
to bring to Kazakhstan thousands of Afghani undergraduate students,
Kaliyev stated that the program remains a priority. However, there
has been a delay in signing the agreement, which Kaliyev speculated
may have resulted from language questions. Still, Kaliev affirmed
the Ministry of Education's strong commitment, and the Minister's
plans to travel to Kabul, possibly in December.
7. (SBU) COMMENT: The policy planning function is a new one in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Kaliyev, formerly Political Counselor
in Washington when FM Saudabayev was ambassador, is looking for
concrete ways to advance initiatives of the president and foreign
minister, including a larger role for Kazakhstan in Afghanistan.
The bureau is not a fully formed idea, but Kaliyev may be attempting
to influence both domestic and international politics with this
ambitious proposal. Inside the government, this plan would give the
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Foreign Ministry significant power over diffuse assistance efforts.
At the same time, it would allow the Foreign Ministry to better
extend its reach internationally, by ensuring that Kazakhstan's
efforts are known throughout the world, and potentially earning it a
seat at the international donors' table. Kaliyev is reaching out in
the early planning stage, which could present us a useful
opportunity to participate in another phase of Kazakhstan's
development as a strategic partner. About a decade ago, U.S.
consultation and technical assistance helped to establish
Kazakhstan's now well-functioning Security Council, modeled on
Washington's National Security Council. END COMMENT.