Search

 

Cablegate: Kazakhstan: Osce Head Takes Advantage Of

VZCZCXRO2424
RR RUEHIK
DE RUEHTA #0186/01 0431010
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121010Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7396
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 2446
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNOSC/OSCE POST COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1806
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1422
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2512
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 0666
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 2003
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 1851
RUEHAST/AMCONSUL ALMATY 2274

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ASTANA 000186

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: OSCE HEAD TAKES ADVANTAGE OF
"POSITIVE MISUNDERSTANDINGS"

ASTANA 00000186 001.3 OF 004


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

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Ambassador Alexandre Keltchewsky, Head of
the OSCE Center in Astana, told the Charge d'Affaires during
a luncheon on February 1 that the OSCE and Kazakhstan have
politely differed over words and perceptions, a tendency that
he called "positive misunderstandings." The dissonance has
allowed the OSCE to take the government at its word, and
raise issues it might not otherwise have been able to discuss
publicly. But, Kazakhstan sometimes uses the differences to
slip past the hard work on its third dimension shortcomings.
Keltchewsky cautioned that this was something member states
needed to watch and counter. Regarding the possibility of an
OSCE Summit in 2010, Keltchewsky recommended a "wait and see"
approach. "Kazakhstan has something to sell," he said. "We
should bargain to make sure we get the best possible price
for it." END SUMMARY.

KAZAKHSTAN'S STRONG PUSH FOR AN OSCE SUMMIT

3. (SBU) During a two-hour lunch at the residence of the
Deputy Chief of Mission, the Head of the Center for the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in
Astana, Ambassador Alexandre Keltchewsky, commented on
Kazakhstan's priorities as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in
2010. He said Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev's top
priority is to convene a Summit of OSCE members, possibly in
Vienna or Madrid. Keltchewsky said that Spain has been very
active in the OSCE and has expressed a willingness to host
the Summit. "Of course," he opined, "we have to be in favor
of a Summit. What else can we say? But it must have
substance and produce results." Keltchewsky was reluctant to
attach conditions to a Summit, but said that Kazakhstan must
meet certain "pre-requisites" to justify the participation of
heads of state. He added, "The question is where, and when,
to hold the Summit," noting that it could conceivably take
place in 2011, although he acknowledged that would "deeply
offend" the Kazakhstani government.

4. (SBU) Keltchewsky said that the idea of an informal
Ministerial was suggested by OSCE Secretary General Mark
Perren de Brishambo in Astana in October 2009. Keltchewsky
said that Saudabayev pressed hard for a firm commitment to a
Summit in 2010, and Brishambo proposed holding an informal
meeting with OSCE Foreign Ministers in the middle of 2010 as
a compromise. According to Keltchewsky, Saudabayev was
visibly unhappy with this arrangement, but agreed to it in
the end. "Getting a Summit is (Saudabayev's) only task,"
said Keltchewsky. "He is under orders from the top."
Keltchewsky said he was not opposed to a Summit in principle,
but recommended a "wait and see" approach. "Kazakhstan has
something to sell," he said. "We should not be victims here.
We should not allow Kazakhstan to play us. We should
bargain to make sure we get the best possible price for it."
He said that a "jubilee Summit" to mark the 35th anniversary
of the Helsinki Accords, the 20th anniversary of the Paris
Declaration, and the 65th anniversary of the end of World War
II was not sufficient justification to gather OSCE heads of
state.

5. (SBU) Keltchewsky admitted that previous gatherings --
such as the Istanbul Summit in 1999 -- have produced few
tangible results, but he attributed that to international
politics. "The states are playing a game," he said. "They
agree to misunderstand their agreements." He suggested that
a Summit in 2010 could be similar, in that member states
could speak positively about areas of common ground, while
avoiding areas of disagreement.


ASTANA 00000186 002.3 OF 004


EAST AND WEST STILL DIVIDED

6. (SBU) In describing the relationship between East and
West since the end of the Cold War, Keltchewsky said that in
his opinion "there has been no -- or very little -- progress
in the dialogue on security matters." Citing Russian
President Medvedev's proposed European security charter,
Keltchewsky said that Russia "completely misunderstands the
Western position on security issues." He said Medvedev's
proposal relies entirely on United Nations resolutions that
are not legally binding, and focuses exclusively on "hard
security" issues to prevent armed conflict, which Keltchewsky
said were not as relevant today.

LOST IN TRANSLATION

7. (SBU) According to Keltchewsky, the main priorities for
the OSCE now are economic cooperation, the Human Dimension,
and the rule of law -- not confict prevention. He insisted
that progress and reform in these areas could increase
confidence among member states, even more than military
cooperation. "These are the issues we should discuss at a
Summit," he said. He suggested that there is a persistent
cultural divide between East and West, and noted that the
Russian translation of "Human Dimension" ("gumanitarnoe
izmereniye") does not capture the true meaning of the term,
and can lead to misunderstanding on the issues. Rather than
an emphasis on the inalienable human rights of the
individual, for example, the Russian translation stresses the
rights of a group of individuals who have been granted
protection by the state. "That is totally different from the
Western concept," he insisted. When asked if Kazakhstan's
leadership understood the nuances, Keltchewsky said that
Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Zhigalov did, "but he can
only share 50% of it with the top. He has to swallow the
rest, because he knows they won't want to hear it."

"POSITIVE MISUNDERSTANDINGS" OPEN A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

8. (SBU) Turning to Kazakhstan, Keltchewsky said that the
country is still best characterized as a newly independent
state, not as an emerging democracy in a state of transition.
"Kazakhstan is the result of the collapse of the Soviet
Union, not an independence movement," he stated.
Nevertheless, he said that the OSCE Center has had some
success in Kazakhstan and has benefitted from a series of
"positive misunderstandings" that have enabled the Center to
work in areas, such as the Human Dimension, that the
government might otherwise not have allowed. For example, he
told the Charge that a government-supported institute, the
Institute of Parliaments, approached the Center asking for
advice and support for a conference on the OSCE. Keltchewsky
understood that the institute simply wanted to promote
Kazakhstan's role as Chairman-in-Office, but he agreed to
provide support nevertheless, and was able to shift the
agenda to focus on the Human Dimension, and invite several
leaders from civil society.

PRESIDENT FOR LIFE

9. (SBU) Commenting on the general state of democracy in
Kazakhstan, Keltchewsky said that the situation is "even
worse" now than it was one year ago. He called President
Nazarbayev a "good khoziyan" (boss, or master), gave
Nazarbayev credit for his adroit handling of the large ethnic
minority populations in Kazakhstan, and complimented
Nazarbayev's proposed National Unity Doctrine. He also
suggested that Nazarbayev does not have 100% control over all
of the factions vying for power in Kazakhstan, noting that
the National Security Committee (KNB) and Ministry of

ASTANA 00000186 003.3 OF 004


Internal Affairs enjoy some degree of autonomy. Q(GQp Kazakhstan now that they
are
Chairman-in-Office," he insisted.
GREENQ-Q~U~WQreens are good camouflage," not a legitimate opposition
party. He speculated that the Green PaQQA0e
also claimed that the "St. Petersburg mafia -- including
(Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin -- is much more
liberal than the other mafias in Russia," because of their
exposure to the West, and their degrees in modern economics
and law. (NOTE: Keltchewsky is a French career diplomat
whose family emigrated from St. Petersburg; he served as
France's Consul General in St. Petersburg from 1998-2002.
END NOTE).

DEMOCRACY AND ETHNICITY

12. (SBU) Keltchewsky told the Charge that he believes there
is greater potential for political reform among the ethnic
Russian population of Kazakhstan than among the ethnic Kazakh
population. He pointed out, for example, that most of the
leaders of Kazakhstan's civil society organizations are
ethnic Russians. The Charge politely disagreed, noting that
there are many outstanding think tank and NGO representatives
of every ethnicity in Kazakhstan. Further, there is no ethnic
Russian political movement, or community leader, and that it
is likely that ethnic Russians with initiative, ambition, and
skills gravitated to civil society because most of the
leadership positions in government have been occupied by
ethnic Kazakhs.

13. (SBU) Talk then turned to the 2009 census, the results
of which were released on February 10. According to the
census, 63% of Kazakhstan's 16.2 million are ethnic Kazakhs,
an increase of 26% since the 1999 census. (NOTE: According
to the census, ethnic Russians comprise 23% of the
population, Uzbeks 3%, Ukrainians 2%, Uigurs 1.4%, Tatars
1.2%, Germans 1.1%, and other ethnic groups 4.5%. END NOTE).
Keltchewsky said the percentage of ethnic Kazakhs was "a
political figure," suggesting the data were manipulated for
political purposes. He also said that if the figures are
correct, then nearly half of the ethnic German population has
left Kazakhstan, "likely the most active and talented half."

THE OSCE AND AFGHANISTAN

13. (SBU) When asked what the OSCE could realistically
accomplish in Afghanistan, Keltchewsky admitted that the

ASTANA 00000186 004.3 OF 004


organization did not have an ambitous agenda. "Kazakhstan is
interested in Afghanistan," he said, "only because the United
States is interested." He noted that Kazakhstan has
announced a program of bilateral economic and educational
assistance, and suggested that Kazakhstan could contribute to
efforts to stem drug trafficking, but opined that Kazakhstan
"is in no position to contribute to the stabilization of the
country."

14. (SBU) COMMENT: A conversation with Ambassador
Keltchewsky is never predictable, prosaic, or short. He has
a fascinating personal history, and valuable experience, in
the region, but his comments frequently reflect his own
personal, somewhat elitist views than those of the
organization he represents. His vision is understandably
formed by his vantage point, a fact that is worth keeping in
mind as Kazakhstan and the OSCE member states continue to
shape the ambitous agenda the Chairman-in-Office has set for
2010. END COMMENT.
SPRATLEN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>