Author Topic: WikiLeaks Cable:KAZAKHSTAN: CENTCOM CDR PETRAEUS MEETS PRESIDENT NAZARVAYEV  (Read 4154 times)

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Cable reference id: #09ASTANA95
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Reference id aka Wikileaks id #187794 ?
SubjectKazakhstan: Centcom Cdr Petraeus Meets President Nazarvayev, January 14
OriginEmbassy Astana (Kazakhstan)
Cable timeTue, 20 Jan 2009 05:56 UTC
ClassificationSECRET
Sourcehttp://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/01/09ASTANA95.html
Referenced by09ASTANA253
History
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Hide headerS E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000095 SIPDIS STATE FOR P, SCA/CEN, EUR/RUS, NEA/IR E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/19/2029 TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs],
PREL [External Political Relations], AF [Afghanistan], IR [Iran], RS [Russia; Wrangel Islands], KZ [Kazakhstan]

 SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: CENTCOM CDR PETRAEUS MEETS PRESIDENT NAZARVAYEV, JANUARY 14

Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland: 1.4 (B), (D)

 ¶1. (S) SUMMARY: President Nazarbayev told CENTCOM Commander General Petraeus: -- the situation in Afghanistan greatly worries him; the Taliban should never be allowed to become a coalition partner in the Afghan government; -- Iran cannot be allowed to become a nuclear state, but the United States needs to talk directly with Tehran, and he is willing to be helpful; -- Kazakhstan will never again be "colonized," but has excellent relations with Russia and China -- the West has underestimated the depth of Russia's wounded pride, but he is willing to be helpful if the Obama administration has "a wise response" to Russia. END SUMMARY.

 ¶2. (SBU) U.S. Central Command Commander General David Petraeus met with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev on January 14 for twice the scheduled time, 70 minutes. The U.S. side included Major General Robert Allardice (CENTCOM J5), POLAD Michael Gfoeller, and the Ambassador (note taker). Security Council Secretary Kaibek Suleymenov, Presidential Foreign Policy Adviser Khairat Sarybay, and Magzhan Ilyassov of the presidential administration accompanied President Nazarbayev. AFGHANISTAN

 ¶3. (S) General Petraeus thanked President Nazarbayev for the recent formal ratification of the long-existing over-flight and divert agreements, as well as for Kazakhstan's willingness to participate in the Northern Distribution Network for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He briefed the president on Iraq and Afghanistan. Nazarbayev responded, "Afghanistan greatly worries us. I am often in touch with (Afghanistan President Hamid) Karzai. He says the situation is good and the economy is growing; but I know he controls only 30% of his territory, and if the Afghan economy is growing, it's based on drugs. We are already providing humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, but we need better security in Afghanistan if we are to do more. The United States and Kazakhstan have a common interest in strengthening Afghanistan." Nazarbayev said he knows Karzai wants to involve the Taliban in his government and commented, "That would be greatly dangerous." General Petraeus explained that Karzai's position is more nuanced: the goal would be to break up the Taliban and reconcile some, "but we have no illusion that Mullah Omar could ever join the government." Nazarbayev replied, "If there's a chance to break up the Taliban, that's fine; but the Taliban leadership will never change its position."

 ¶4. (S) Nazarbayev told General Petraeus, "You're aware of Afghan history; no foreign country ever succeeded in invasion. Afghans have to govern themselves." Calling the situation in Afghanistan "very complicated," Nazarbayev said he knows some the potential candidates to succeed Karzai, but none of them could unify and lead Afghanistan. "Karzai is weak, but it's better to keep him on." Nazarbayev added he's heard Karzai claim the Taliban are trained in Pakistan and said he accepts that as credible. Nazarbayev added Central Asia needs a common policy on Afghanistan, "but that hasn't happened." He alluded to Uzbekistan's support for the ethnic Uzbek leader Dostum.

 IRAN

 ¶5. (S) Nazarbayev judged that Iran is a problem in the region, and General Petraeus fully agreed. Nazarbayev said, "I have good contacts among the leadership in Iran. I've tried to explain to them that Kazakhstan was once nuclear but ASTANA 00000095 002 OF 003 fully gave up that status. I tell them it would be to their benefit to be non-nuclear. That would draw new assistance and investment." General Petraeus said he again fully agreed with the president, but noted Iran's policy is determined by the Revolutional Guard al-Quds Force commander, not by President Ahmedinejad or the Foreign Ministry. Nazarbayev noted he had once talked to Ahmedinejad for two and a half hours about such issues, "but in the end I realized I had just wasted my time." He said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameni told him that even if Iran compromises on the nuclear issue, the United States would always find another reason to criticize "because they hate us -- all the United States wants is to conquer the entire region and steal the oil." General Petraeus interjected, "We could have bought all the oil in the region for 100 years for what we've spent in Iraq!" Nazarbayev, looking a bit amused, said, "I know. I'm just telling you what he said." Without specifying his interlocutor, Nazarbayev said he'd asked if Tehran is willing to talk to the United States, "and they said yes. I conveyed this to President-elect Obama during our (post-U.S. election) phone call." General Petraeus commented the United States had had three rounds of talks with Iran about Iraq but had gotten nowhere. Nazarbayev said, "I have no illusion U.S. negotiations with Iran would be easy or fast, but we cannot let Iran have nuclear weapons. I want to be helpful with Iran."

¶6. (S) Nazarbayev added he has discussed Iran's nuclear ambitions with Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin: "I emphasize to them a nuclear Iran is in no one's interests." General Petraeus responded that it's important to get Russia to be helpful with Iran: "They seem conflicted. Sometimes they help; sometimes they send weapons." Nazarbayev said, "I told Obama that he has a good chance to have good relations with Mevedev. That's important for us, too, since Russia and Kazakhstan are neighbors."

RUSSIA

 ¶7. (S) General Petraeus told President Nazarbayev Kazakhstan's special relationship with Russia is not a problem for the United States. "It's not a zero-sum game for us. You can have good relations with Russia and China as well as with us." Nazarbayev said he fully agreed, adding, "I tell Russia and China we have our own resources. We are Kazakhs. We were colonized for over 500 years, first by the Golden Horde, then by the western Chinese, then by Russia. We've been independent for only 17 years, and we do not want to be colonized again. We will never be 'under' Russia or China. We have enough resources and a reasonably educated population to make our own choices. We want stability, development, and cooperation. We all have to have Russia 'inside the tent.' I'd like the United States and the European Union to help with this."

 ¶8. (S) Nazarbayev said the West had made real mistakes after the collapse of the Soviet Union by not treating Yeltsin with respect. He said Yeltsin had once gone to the NATO-Russia Council where he had been "teased." Nazarbayev explained Russia has great, but now injured, pride. It was once a great empire, and Russian soldiers had played a large role in winning the Great Patriotic War (WW II), but the West seems to refuse to understand this. For Russia, maintained Nazarbayev, "face" is everything. Nazarbayev said he had frequently told President Medvedev that being an energy superpower is not enough; it's essential to develop international leadership with a spirit of cooperation. Nazarbayev said Medvedev was "almost there," but then the "Georgia mistake happened." Nazarbayev concluded, "If the new U.S. administration has a wise response to Russia, I'd be glad to help" with the relationship.

¶9. (S) NOTE: While waiting for Nazarbayev to enter the meeting room, General Petraeus ask Foreign Policy Adviser Sarybay why Kazakhstan had moved its capital from Almaty to ASTANA 00000095 003 OF 003 Astana. Sarybay answered, "There are probably 20 different reasons people give. In fact, in the first few years of independence, several maps appeared that made our northern border unclear, and so the President 'planted the flag.'" This is the first time we are aware that a senior official has confirmed Nazarbayev moved his capital to prevent Russian nationalists from annexing the northern third of Kazakhstan, which hotheads, including some in the Duma at that time, claimed was historically part of Russia. END NOTE.


 ¶10. (S) COMMENT: Nazarbayev looked as fit as ever and was very well-briefed, discussing details of the U.S.-Kazakhstan military relationship without notes. He was not shy that he sees himself as an international statesman. We know he was genuinely pleased with President-elect Obama's telephone call, and we judge his offers to be helpful for the United States with Iran and Russia are genuine. END COMMENT.

 ¶11. (U) General Petraeus has cleared this cable. HOAGLAND

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« Last Edit: October 27, 2013, 02:09:32 AM by mayya »