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Cablegate: Is Russia Cracking Open the Door On Osce Training

VZCZCXRO2120
RR RUEHAST RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL
RUEHSR
DE RUEHVEN #0011/01 0191810
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191810Z JAN 10
FM USMISSION USOSCE
TO RUCNOSC/ORG FOR SECURITY CO OP IN EUR COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6816

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USOSCE 000011

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL OSCE RS AF
SUBJECT: IS RUSSIA CRACKING OPEN THE DOOR ON OSCE TRAINING
IN AFGHANISTAN?

1. Summary: We could have an opportunity to advance
cooperation with Russia through the OSCE in Central Asia and
potentially open a crack in Russian opposition to OSCE
training inside Afghanistan. In an unusually warm and
persistent manner, Russian ambassador Anvar Azimov has
requested a U.S. proposal for joint U.S.-Russian training on
countering transnational threats to be conducted somewhere in
Central Asia, hinting that this might lead to similar
training in Kabul. Mission sees this as a potential
opportunity to advance US policy goals on "anchoring"
Afghanistan in Central Asia and promoting greater regional
cooperation through the OSCE on Afghanistan. Action Request:
Mission requests guidance on response to the Russian
request. End Summary.

2. The political dialogue at the OSCE on European Security
("the Corfu Process") could potentially open new areas of
cooperation with Russia as part of the "reset." In December,
the U.S. and Russia co-sponsored a highly-symbolic
Ministerial decision on transnational threats, summarizing
much of the Corfu Process discussions on this
cross-dimensional topic and calling for enhanced efforts to
address these threats, particularly through greater
cooperation with OSCE Partner states (including Afghanistan).
As a USOSCE initiative, the two delegations in Vienna began
discussing shortly afterwards projects that the two countries
could promote to implement this decision, with joint training
in Central Asia under the auspices of the OSCE as a potential
next step.

3. The Russian ambassador raised the issue again with the
Charge on January 13 and asked for a written proposal for
joint training in Central Asia, with his preference being for
the OSCE Academy in Bishkek and for the OSCE Border
Management Staff College in Dushanbe as a second option.
Going further, he asserted that he might be able to use this
first step to convince Moscow to change its long-standing
opposition to OSCE training inside Afghanistan, with joint
training in Kabul as a second step. Asked if he had run the
joint training idea past Moscow, Azimov said he had done so
informally, but more details are needed. The Charge
mentioned that she had also raised the possibility informally
in Washington (note: primarily S/SRAP and EUR/RPM). Options
for joint training could include counternarcotics, border
monitoring, counterterrorism, and travel document security.

4. On January 18, on the margins of the Security Committee
meeting, a member of the Russian delegation followed up with
a specific proposal for counternarcotics training, suggesting
the Dushanbe site. Finally, at the opening Corfu Process
discussion January 19, Azimov announced to the
delegations--without consulting us and with little context
--that &it is no secret8 that the United States and Russia
are jointly preparing a project to implement the co-sponsored
ministerial decision.

5. Considerable &spade work8 will be necessary to identify
the right type of project for such joint training. Post
intends to work with the OSCE Secretariat to review ongoing
training activities and proposed initiatives to identify
opportunities for this training. In individual discussions
with the OSCE Mission Heads from Central Asian in Vienna last
week, we pressed them on the need to actively seek out ways
to involve Afghanistan in their efforts, particularly with
respect to border management, counterterrorism and
counternarcotics. Poloffs also met with the Center for
Conflict Prevention Borders Unit last week to review their
existing and planned activities related to Afghanistan.

6. In another positive move towards greater OSCE involvement
in Afghanistan, the Kazakhstani CiO informed us January 19
that they have identified an individual in their Embassy in
Kabul who will serve as a focal point for OSCE activities
with the Afghan authorities.

7. Comment: An old-school Soviet, Azimov usually opposes
any idea put forth by the U.S., so his unusual warmth and
insistence on receiving a formal proposal with more details
suggests that this is not his personal initiative.
Additionally, we and Canada both noted a change in normally
tough Russian language on OSCE work in Afghanistan during
Azimov's response to Kazakhstani FM Saudabayev at the
inaugural PC January 14 where many participating States
emphasized the need to provide greater technical assistance
to Afghanistan. Whereas in the past Azimov has never missed
an opportunity to repeat Russian objections to OSCE training
inside Afghanistan, this time, after mentioning training at
Domodedovo, he went on to say "but we are open to other

USOSCE 00000011 002 OF 002


possibilities."

8. Comment continued: We may be reading too much into this
overture, but the Mission believes we should respond
positively to this potential opening, while keeping in mind
comments from OSCE Secretariat staff and OSCE mission heads
in Central Asia, who have told us that training is often
hindered by Afghan disorganization and Central Asian
governments, reluctance to involve Afghans in activities
within their countries. Although we suspect the Russians
would like to do joint counternarcotics training and perhaps
also promote their interest in holding another visible, but
not very productive, counternarcotics conference in Vienna
this year, we have the opportunity to drive this in a
direction that we believe would be most beneficial for the
region and our long-term policy objectives.

9. Action Request: Azimov is expecting a response, at least
informally, on whether to expect this idea of joint training
to be made concrete. Mission requests guidance from
Washington on how to proceed.
FULLER

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