Cablegate: Turkey's Afghanistan Summit Emphasizes Regional

DE RUEHAK #0154/01 0292009
P 292009Z JAN 10



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 09 ANKARA 1661

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In an effort to showcase the role of
Afghanistan's neighbors in advance of the January 28 London
Conference on Afghanistan, Turkey's President Gul hosted a
Summit on Afghanistan and its contiguous neighbors on January
26, 2010. Participants included Afghan President Karzai,
Pakistan President Zardari, Iranian First Vice President
Rahimi, UK Foreign Secretary Miliband, and Chinese Foreign
Minister Yang, as well foreign ministers from Tajikistan and
Kyrgyzstan. Observers included Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Borodavkin and senior representatives from the
United States, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany, NATO, the
EU, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and
UNAMA. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan did not attend, while
Turkey agreed to exclude India at the request of Pakistan, in
part because the genesis for the conference was a
Turkey-Pakistan-Afghanistan Trilateral Summit in 2009.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY CONTINUED: The conference demonstrated both
the region's interest in supporting Afghanistan and the
regional tensions that contribute to instability in
Afghanistan. We and Turkey succeeded in avoiding the
creation of new regional structures that could exclude some
countries from what needs to be a broad regional effort to
reduce tensions and stabilize Afghanistan. Every delegation
emphasized that regional cooperation was necessary to
stabilize Afghanistan. Deputy Special Representative for
Afghanistan and Pakistan Paul Jones, who led the U.S.
delegation, offered principles for expanded regional
cooperation, emphasizing that all of Afghanistan's neighbors
have a legitimate and important role to play in stabilizing
Afghanistan and that all countries' actions should reinforce
and respect Afghanistan's sovereignty. Jones joined other
delegations' calls for greater transparency and flexible
cooperation on issues such as counter terrorism, trade,
energy, and counternarcotics. He emphasized that no country
should use its position in Afghanistan against others. Jones
also held several bilateral meetings with heads of other
delegations (septel). More broadly, the conference offered
Turkey another opportunity to take a leading role in regional
efforts to support Afghanistan, and ended with the
presentation of a joint statement indentifying future areas
for regional cooperation, mainly in the areas of culture and
training. END SUMMARY.

3. (U) Originally planned for February or March 2010, this
summit on "Friendship and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia"
was rescheduled to precede the London Conference on January
28. The idea for the Summit emerged from Turkey's trilateral
meetings with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Turkey's President
Abdullah Gul opened the summit, emphasizing the cultural,
religious, and historic ties between Afghanistan, its
neighbors, and countries in the region. He stressed that
extremism could not be overcome by military power alone and
said the basic tenet of the region's Afghanistan policy
should be winning
the hearts and minds of the people. President Gul stressed
the need for regional assistance to Afghanistan in the areas
of energy, trade and private sector development, and in
countering extremism, drug trade, organized crime, and human
trafficking. He called on all attending to support President
Karzai's agenda, as outlined in his November 2009 inaugural
address. Finally, Gul emphasized that Turkey did not intend
to create an exclusive format for regional cooperation, but
wanted to complement existing mechanisms.

4. (U) Afghan President Hamid Karzai emphasized that
cultural connections among Afghanistan's neighbors would help
build and sustain cooperation. While noting the important
contributions the international community is making to Afghan
stability, he said regional cooperation is most important for
stabilizing Afghanistan. Karzai noted that economic
infrastructure in the region is lacking and highlighted the
importance of transit links and the need for increased
cooperation in trade, energy, investment, and environmental
protection, to integrate Afghanistan into the region.

5. (U) Pakistani President Zardari's remarks focused on
Pakistan's struggle against terrorism and the need for
increased dialogue among neighbors. Zardari was pessimistic
that extremists would be easily defeated, opining that the
problem would not be solved in his generation, but said he
was committed to leading Pakistan to a better future.

6. (U) Iran's First Vice President Mohammed Reza Rahimi
repeatedly voiced his support for regional meetings aimed at
reaching agreements to facilitate sustainable social and
political stability in Afghanistan. He noted that Iran has
allocated a large percentage of its budget for assistance

ANKARA 00000154 002 OF 003

along its border with Afghanistan in the areas of roads,
water, electricity, border markets. The three main areas of
development Iran focuses on in Afghanistan are:
infrastructure, training/technical services, and goods and
commodities. Tehran also encourages Iranian companies to
invest in Afghanistan. While he opined that foreign forces
in Afghanistan and civilian casualties have exacerbated
Afghanistan's problems and
called for a timetable for withdrawal of foreign forces, his
comments were generally even-keeled and constructive. He
emphasized that the only sustainable solution for Afghan
stability is regional cooperation.

7. (SBU) Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made a
proactive, forward-leaning statement. Yang called for all
countries to support and aid the Afghan government in
reconstruction and economic development. He highlighted the
themes of sovereignty, territorial integrity,
non-interference, and the importance of regional cooperation.
He noted that China has canceled all of Afghanistan's debts
since 2002, has trained over 500 government officials, built
hospitals and power and irrigation projects, turned
concessionary loans into grant assistance, and has plans for
more projects and training. Yang listed four aspects China
feels are important with regard to work with Afghanistan: 1)
Neighbors should use their specific advantages, links and
influence to support Afghanistan; 2) Afghanistan should be
integrated into the international community and respected as
an independent country; 3) Aid and assistance should be more
focused and coordinated to avoid overlapping and wasting
resources; 4) We should all be open with our assistance and
promote interaction between countries, and respect the
leading role of the UN to organize efforts. (COMMENT:
Yang's statement reflected many of the priorities the United
States has emphasized with the Chinese in recent months and
evidences an evolution in Chinese thinking on Afghanistan
over the past year.)

8. (U) Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrohon Zarifi said
Tajikistan suffers from the instability originating in
Afghanistan, and said supporting improved border security a
priority. Zarifi said he believes the most important
solution is putting strength in the hands of the Afghan
people and supporting their self-empowerment. He highlighted
the importance of transit and energy cooperation,
particularly regional cooperation on highway and railroad
infrastructure, as well as possible development of natural
gas pipelines and power plants.

9. (U) Saudi Arabia's State Minister Nizar Madani pledged
continuing support for Afghanistan and expressed his belief
that an inclusive political solution bringing together all
Afghan people is essential. UAE State Minister Anwar
Garagash called for further involvement of Muslim countries
in Afghanistan.

10. (U) Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Borodavkin
spoke mainly on counternarcotics, and Russia's successes in
working with Afghanistan on countering drug trafficking. He
reminded the audience that extremism is funded by the drug
trade. He said Russia feels all the Afghan-related
cooperative mechanisms and summits are important and should
not be seen as competitive, but as complementary to benefit
Afghanistan. He also noted that Russia will increase
training of Afghan officials and is prepared to provide
additional material assistance.

11. (U) OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
appreciated the summit as a chance for countries to come
together for peace and security, and said the OIC supports
regional cooperation and coordination. He announced the OIC
will soon organize a scholars/religious leaders conference in
Kabul on the topic of radical interpretations of Islam and
promoting tolerance, to contribute to national
reconciliation, which the OIC supports.

12. (U) While observers, including the United States, did
not play a role in shaping the final summit statement, it
reinforced many of the principles that Deputy SRAP Jones
articulated. Specifically, the statement outlined a "shared
vision" of regional peace and stability and the importance of
coordinated action and regional cooperation in trade and
transit, transport and energy. It also outlined "principles
of cooperation" including supporting the Afghan government
and the Afghan national process of reconciliation and
reintegration. The statement also lists agreements to:
establish a "minds platform" to bring together academics,
media and think tanks, to be hosted in Turkey in 2010;
developing regional capacity-building programs; natural
disaster response simulation activities; job creation and
infrastructure building projects; presenting joint cultural

ANKARA 00000154 003 OF 003

exhibitions; and suggests annual meetings of Afghanistan's
neighbors "as appropriate."

13. (U) D/SRAP Paul Jones cleared this cable.

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