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Cablegate: Kazakhstan: Transcript of S/Srap Holbrooke's February 21

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000260

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, S/SRAP, EUR/CARC, EUR/RUS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR KPAO GG UZ KG AF KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: TRANSCRIPT OF S/SRAP HOLBROOKE'S FEBRUARY 21
MEDIA AVAILABILITY IN ASTANA

ASTANA 00000260 001.3 OF 002


1. Following his meeting with State Secretary-Foreign Minister
Kanat Saudabayev, Special Representative for Afghanistan and
Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke met briefly with the media.
Transcript follows.

2. BEGIN TRANSCRIPT:

Ambassador Holbrooke: We've just completed some excellent meetings
here with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan as
part of a trip to the Central Asian republics. We talked to all of
the countries that have a concern in the situation in Afghanistan
and Pakistan. That's why we're here today. Kazakhstan is a very
important country in its own right in the region and it's also
directly affected by events in Afghanistan, so it's natural that I
would come here today to consult with the Kazakhstani government.

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"Washington Times": Sir, did you talk about the question of Russia
setting up defense agreements with Abkhazia?

Ambassador Holbrooke: No.

"Washington Times": May I broach that subject now?

Ambassador Holbrooke: The subject of Abkhazia and Georgia never
came up. I'm not here to talk about those issues. I'm here to talk
about Afghanistan. I'm going from here to Georgia to review the
Georgian battalion which is going to Afghanistan, but once again my
trip has nothing to do with Georgian-Russian relations, it's about
Georgia's extraordinarily important contribution to the
international effort in Afghanistan.

"Reuters": Is the United States planning to open a military base in
Uzbekistan to support its operations in Afghanistan?

Ambassador Holbrooke: Uzbekistan does provide us valuable
opportunities to transit material to Afghanistan, and that's
important. But a military base? No. We have an important transit
center in Kyrgyzstan - the Manas Transit Center - where many of the
troops coming in and out of Afghanistan stop, and that's a very
valuable part of our effort. We're very grateful to Kyrgyzstan for
its support in that regard.

"Washington Times": Sir, you mentioned several times the importance
of Kazakhstan in the region. Can you emphasize a little on that,
and why?

Ambassador Holbrooke: First of all, Kazakhstan is the largest,
wealthiest, and most successful country in the region. It has
directed a multi-directional foreign policy with great skill, under
the leadership of President Nazarbayev. It took decisive and
historic actions 18 years ago, in regard to nuclear weapons for
which the world should be eternally grateful. Kazakhstan, because
of its location and its history, is poised between several of the
greatest powers in the world and has managed to work well with all
of them. Anyone who knows this region should admire the foreign
policy conducted by President Nazarbayev.

Secondly, the resources available to Kazakhstan, which are only
beginning to be tapped, are going to be of immense importance to the
world and give Kazakhstan an opportunity to emerge as a developed
nation within a few years, if they manage their resources right.
Many countries that have had natural resources, particularly oil,
have been affected by what is called the "oil curse." The Kazakh
government is very aware of this and has spent a great deal of time
studying it and working on ways to prevent it from happening. I,
myself, have been involved in some of those efforts when I was a
private citizen. I've been here many times. I think this is my
seventh trip here -- sixth or seventh trip -- and not just to
Astana; some were to Almaty.

Thank you very much.

END TRANSCRIPT.

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HOAGLAND

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