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Cablegate: All in a Day's Work: Kazakhstani Foreign Minister In

VZCZCXRO6938
OO RUEHIK
DE RUEHTA #2090/01 3280927
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 240927Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6911
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 2189
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2259
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1558
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1193
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 1748
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 1603
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2598
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2896

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 002090

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/A, SRAP, EUR/RPM, DRL

TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON EAID OSCE AF KZ
SUBJECT: ALL IN A DAY'S WORK: KAZAKHSTANI FOREIGN MINISTER IN
KABUL TO ANNOUNCE AID PACKAGE, PITCH OSCE SUMMIT

ASTANA 00002090 001.2 OF 002


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

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: On November 22, State Secretary-Foreign Minister
Kanat Saudabayev traveled to Kabul to discuss bilateral cooperation
with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and unveil Kazakhstan's 2009-2011
assistance package. Saudabayev also met with Afghanistan's Foreign
Minister, Dr. Rangin Dadfar-Spanta, and the Special Envoy of the UN
Secretary-General to Afghanistan, Kai Eide. The Foreign Ministers
signed an intergovernmental education agreement for Kazakhstan to
train 1,000 Afghan specialists in five years. Kazakhstan's Chairman
of the Foreign Ministry's Committee for International Information,
Roman Vasilenko, told Charge November 23 that the short -- but
productive -- visit especially advanced the bilateral relationship
in the areas of commercial development and educational ties.
Vasilenko, who traveled with the State Secretary, said that both
President Karzai and Foreign Minister Spanta enthusiastically
supported Kazakhstan's proposal for an OSCE summit. With Afghan
leaders' endorsement of a 2010 OSCE summit and conclusion of an
education deal, which could add substance to the proposal, Post
expects MFA will increase its already concerted effort to secure a
summit. END SUMMARY.

THE OFFICIAL VERSION OF THE DAY IN KABUL

3. (U) According to the press, Foreign Minister Saudabayev
delivered President Nursultan Nazarbayev's congratulatory message on
his inauguration to Afghan President Hamed Karzai. Nazarbayev also
reportedly confirmed Kazakhstan's intention to strengthen bilateral
cooperation, and provide assistance with stabilization and
development. Saudabayev highlighted mutually-beneficial
opportunities to enhance economic and commercial relations through
increased Kazakhstani participation in natural reserve and
infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, and promotion of Kazakhstani
grain imports. Foreign Ministers Saudabayev and Spanta signed a $50
million intergovernmental education agreement -- reportedly
Nazarbayev's personal initiative -- under which Kazakhstan will
train medical workers, teachers, engineers, and specialists in law
enforcement, border security, and agriculture. During the meeting
with the UN Special Envoy, Saudabayev discussed cooperation to
stabilize Afghanistan and coordination on Afghanistan-related issues
during Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

EVEN THE AFGHAN EMBASSY IN ASTANA KEPT IN SUSPENSE

4. (SBU) In the days preceding the visit, Kazakhstan's Ministry of
Foreign Affairs was uncharacteristically tight-lipped. As of
November 20 -- the last full working day before the visit -- they
refused to disclose details of the aid package even to the Afghan
Embassy in Astana. (COMMENT: PolOff's interlocutor at the Afghan
Embassy, Second Secretary Siddiqullah Noori, noted his embassy's
occasional frustration about the exclusive coordination that occurs
directly between the Kazakhstani Embassy in Kabul and the MFA in
Astana, leaving the embassy in Astana "out of the loop." END
COMMENT.) Noori, who prior to his 2006 arrival in Astana worked at
the Foreign Ministry in Kabul with investors and NGOs, expressed
gratitude for Kazakhstan's previous assistance. While he welcomed
the student aid package, he asserted the difficulty of finding
opportunities for Kazakhstani-Afghan economic cooperation outside of
the extractive sectors -- particularly mining. A potential
logistical challenge to the education deal previously highlighted by
the MFA is flight arrangements for the students. According to
Noori, however, Kazakhstan has started weekly direct flights from
Almaty to Kabul, and flights from Kabul to Almaty "when there are
enough people to justify a flight."

SAUDABAYEV FOCUSED ON SUMMIT

5. (SBU) Following the visit, long-time Embassy contact and
Chairman of the Foreign Ministry's Committee for International
Information, Roman Vasilenko, told the Charge that Saudabayev
congratulated President Karzai on his new mandate and focused on

ASTANA 00002090 002.2 OF 002


bilateral issues during their opening meeting. He also achieved his
main goal -- an enthusiastic endorsement for Kazakhstan's bid to
hold an OSCE summit on Afghanistan during its 2010 Chairmanship of
the OSCE. However, Vasilenko offered no details on specific summit
issues of interest to the Afghans. In his brief meeting with
Foreign Minister Spanta, Vasilenko said Kazakhstan's Foreign
Minister again pressed -- and won enthusiastic support for -- a 2010
OSCE summit on Afghanistan. Otherwise, the meeting mainly focused
on the need for strengthened bilateral trade. (NOTE: According to
official statistics, Kazakhstan exported more than $617 million of
goods to Afghanistan in 2008, including large amounts of grain. END
NOTE.) Saudabayev lobbied for increased participation of
Kazakhstani firms in Afghanistan's market, particularly in the
natural resource and agricultural sectors.

PROVIDE FISHING RODS, NOT FISH

6. (SBU) In Saudabayev's final meeting with Special Envoy of the UN
Secretary-General to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, Vasilenko said
Saudabayev discussed ways to expand Kazakhstani participation in UN
projects. Saudabayev also again discussed the OSCE summit proposal.
In response, Eide, a former Norwegian Ambassador to the OSCE,
asserted that Kazakhstan should focus on Afghanistan's needs in
building its summit agenda. He told Saudabayev that it was
important to "provide fishing rods, not fish," by working with the
government of Afghanistan to determine its need as Kazakhstan
develops its 2010 summit proposals. Saudabayev fully concurred,
adding that "it is not possible for the family to be happy, unless
the head of household is pleased."

KAZAKHSTAN UPBEAT ABOUT PRODUCTIVE VISIT

7. (SBU) Vasilenko confirmed that the visit's centerpiece was the
education agreement, signed by Saudabayev and Spanta, which annually
will bring 200 university and graduate students to Kazakhstan over
the period 2010-2018. In total, Kazakhstan plans to educate more
than 1,000 students. Vasilenko asserted that sufficient
institutional memory remains from Kazakhstan's Soviet experience in
educating Afghan (and Vietnamese) students for the Ministry of
Education to successfully implement the program and resolve
logistical challenges, such as the issue of language training. He
said the Afghan government will identify and supply the students --
with a focus on technical fields, including engineering, agriculture
and medicine -- and Kazakhstan will pay their expenses. Vasilenko
said they did not discuss the issue of transportation. Vasilenko --
and the Afghan Embassy -- have promised to send a copy of the
education agreement.

8. (SBU) COMMENT: Vasilenko called the visit's atmosphere
"positive and productive throughout" and highlighted the strong
press interest in Kabul related to the education program. The
Foreign Ministry appears to hope that conclusion of its long-planned
Afghan education program will give its OSCE summit idea more
substance. Now that the State Secretary has won the endorsement of
Afghanistan's leaders for the idea, especially if focused in part on
Afghanistan, Post expects an even more determined MFA effort to
bring doubters around. END COMMENT.

SPRATLEN

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