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Cablegate: Kyrgyzstan: Ambassador and Fm Discuss Icg Visa

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BISHKEK 000091

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/01/2020
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR MARR KG
SUBJECT: KYRGYZSTAN: AMBASSADOR AND FM DISCUSS ICG VISA
REFUSAL, MANAS TRANIST CENTER, AND "BISHKEK INITIATIVE"

REF: BISHKEK 86

Classified By: Ambassador Tatiana C. Gfoeller, for Reasons 1.4 (b) and
(d).

1. (C) Summary: In a cordial meeting, Ambassador Gfoeller
and Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbayev discussed the
denial of a visa extension to the International Crisis
Group's Central Asia Project Director Paul Quinn-Judge by the
MFA. The Ambassador expressed concern at the decision and
noted that ICG was a respected international research
organization. Sarbayev said that he was unaware of the case,
but promised to be helpful on this issue. The Ambassador
reviewed the status of the Transit Center agreement
commitments, noting the positive progress made over the last
six months. Sarbayev expressed satisfaction at the progress,
noting that the information was timely since he would soon
have to brief Parliament on the Transit Center. Sarbayev
talked about the Istanbul and London conferences on
Afghanistan, calling both "positive." He highlighted his
efforts to garner support for President Bakiyev's "Bishkek
Initiative," which he said several countries had expressed
interest in. Sarbayev strongly hinted that the Russians had
been telling the Kyrgyz at the conferences not to trust the
Americans, who would soon "cut and run from Afghanistan as
they did from Vietnam." However, he assured the Ambassador
that he did not believe this. The Ambassador also raised the
Quinn-Judge visa issue with the Head of the Presidential
Secretariat, Oksana Malevanaya, who said that the problem had
arisen because of Quinn-Judge's use of a shady Chinese
company as a visa intermediary. She promised that he would
have no difficulties if he applies directly. End Summary.

2. (C) On February 2 Ambassador Gfoeller met with Kyrgyz
Foreign Minister Sarbayev to review a variety of bilateral
issues, including the Transit Center agreement commitments
and the upcoming Annual Bilateral Consultations. A relaxed
and friendly Sarbayev officially agreed to hold the ABCs on
April 8-9 in Washington, adding that he looked forward to the
discussions, including on Human Rights. Sarbayev told the
Ambassador that Maxim Bakiyev, head of the Central Agency for
Development, Investment and Innovation, would lead a Kyrgyz
government delegation to Brussels for official meetings with
the European Union in February. In January, Bakiyev led a
government delegation to China (reftel).

ICG Visa Refusal
----------------

3. (C) The Ambassador raised the visa case of Paul
Quinn-Judge, International Crisis Group's (ICG) Central Asia
Project Director based in Bishkek. On January 31, the Kyrgyz
Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed Quinn-Judge that his
one-year visa extension had been denied based on unspecified
information from the National Security Service and that he
had to leave Kyrgyzstan by February 8. The Ambassador
expressed concern about this decision and emphasized that ICG
was a reputable research organization with a high-profile
Board of Directors. The Ambassador noted that refusing
Quinn-Judge a visa would not help Kyrgyzstan's efforts to
promote a positive international image. The Foreign Minister
was unaware of the case, but said that he would look into the
issue immediately and would help. The Minister's assistants
subsequently telephoned the Embassy looking for more details
on Quinn-Judge's visa case.

4. (C) In two separate conversations, the Ambassador also
discussed the issue with Head of the Presidential Secretariat
Oksana Malevanaya. In the first, Malevanaya, a personal
acquaintance of Quinn-Judge, said that she liked and
respected Quinn-Judge and would do all she could to reverse
the decision. In the second, (reported septel) Malevanaya

BISHKEK 00000091 002 OF 003


reported the results of her inquiries. She said that the
National Security Service had quashed Quinn-Judge's visa, not
because they have a problem with him, but because they have a
problem with the Chinese firm "Antay" that he used to handle
his visa application. If Quinn-Judge reapplies for the visa
himself, without using Antay, Malevanaya promised, his visa
will be approved.

TRANSIT CENTER COMMITMENTS
--------------------------

5. (C) The Ambassador and Foreign Minister also reviewed the
status of the commitments outlined in the Transit Center
agreement, highlighting the progress on finalizing a joint
agreement on the EDF and boosting U.S. assistance and
cooperation on counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics. The
Ambassador noted that the final terms for establishing joint
manning of entry control points at the Transit Center at
Manas International Airport were in the final stages of
discussion and that an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing
Agreement would enable the U.S. to provide support for the
Kyrgyz Internal Forces that have been selected to provide
security at Manas. The Ambassador also updated Sarbayev on
the parking ramp project and the air traffic control system.
Sarbayev agreed to meet with Brigadier General Joseph Lanni,
Commander of the Air Force Security Assistance Center, on
February 8 during his visit to Bishkek.

6. (C) Sarbayev thanked the Ambassador for the information on
the projects connected to the Transit Center. He noted that
much progress has been made on fulfilling the commitments and
called the update "useful" as he will soon need to brief
Parliament on the status of the Transit Center agreement.

BISHKEK INITIATIVE & AFGHANISTAN CONFERENCES
--------------------------------------------

7. (C) Sarbayev briefed the Ambassador on his participation
at the conferences on Afghanistan in Istanbul and London. He
said that at both conferences he discussed with many
different government representatives, including from the
U.S., President Bakiyev's "Bishkek Initiative." Calling the
concept "flexible," he provided the Ambassador with the
latest version of the "Bishkek Initiative" concept paper. He
called both conferences successful, noting that the Turkey
conference was more regionally focused than London. Sarbayev
highlighted that the "Bishkek Initiative" was not intended to
replace other efforts or conferences on Afghanistan, but
rather provide a forum for experts to discuss important
international and regional issues.

8. (C) Sarbayev said that many of the elements of the
"Bishkek Initiative" had been included in the final Istanbul
conference statement. One proposal from the Turkey summit
was to create a "Minds Center," which Sarbayev wanted to be
based in Bishkek, for experts to come together and discuss
key regional issues, including the particular social,
political, religious, and ethnic elements of Afghan society.
At the London conference, Sarbayev said that Lithuania, the
2012 OSCE Chair, supported the "Bishkek Initiative" and that
representatives from the Lithuanian government planned to
visit Bishkek to review and discuss ideas for cooperation.
He also said that Kazakhstan, the current OSCE Chair, was
interested in using some elements of the "Bishkek Initiative."

9. (C) Following the London conference, Sarbayev said that he
was pleased to hear that the U.S. would gradually "transfer"
control of Afghanistan to the Afghan government rather than
completely withdrawing and leaving the country without clear
direction. He noted that there were "skeptics" at both
conferences - he strongly implied the Russians - who kept
warning the Kyrgyz not to trust the Americans on Afghanistan,

BISHKEK 00000091 003 OF 003

"where soon enough they will cut and run, just like they did
in Vietnam." However, he emphasized that he personally did
not believe this, but rather felt the Karzai government will
be ready and able to take control after a smooth hand-over
from the Americans. He called the creation of a
"Re-Integration Fund," initially funded with $500 million, an
important moment and felt that discussions with all parties
in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, could be fruitful for
a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Sarbayev said that he
looked forward to discussing the "Bishkek Initiative" and
other regional and Central Asian issues at the upcoming
U.S.-Kyrgyzstan Annual Bilateral ConsultationCKw_)`QETAQf

COMMENT
-------

10. (C) The "Bishkek Initiative" continues to live on despite
the numerous other international fora, conferences, and
initiatives on Afghanistan. The "Bishkek Initiative" will
indeed need to be "flexible" if Sarbayev is going to save
this President Bakiyev supported initiative from other
countries' poaching of ideas and concepts. Kyrgyzstan is
truly interested in earning international respect, especially
since it is the only country in Central Asia to host a
U.S.-operated military Transit Center. It is noteworthy that
in this very cordial meeting Sarbayev did not raise Kyrgyz
interests in the Northern Distribution Network (as he usually
does) or even hint at the upcoming Transit Center renewal
deadline.
GFOELLER

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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