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Источник изображения: ИА "Авеста"

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id: 79704

date: 9/26/2006 11:19

refid: 06DUSHANBE1758

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination: 06DUSHANBE1758

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 001758

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, INL

PLEASE PASS TO DOJ

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, EAID, SNAR, AF, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIK BORDER POSTS STILL SUFFER FROM LAST YEAR'S FLOODING

AND LACK OF SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT

DUSHANBE 00001758  001.2 OF 002

1.  (SBU)  Embassy Officers visited four border posts in the

Moscovsky region bordering Afghanistan and saw how last year's

severe flooding destroyed the units' buildings, seriously

hindering the border guards' ability to protect the Tajik border

from illicit activity.   In addition to flood damage and years

of wear and tear, the departing Russian border troops stripped

the posts of critical equipment and supplies.  In the winter, as

in many rural areas of Tajikistan, electricity is scarce, only

available one to two hours per day.  Generators at the border

posts are nothing more than Soviet-style hunks of metal, too

inefficient to run given the price of fuel.  Minefields

installed by Russian troops remain active and pose a real threat

to unsuspecting visitors and civilians. EmbOffs, guided by

Colonel Kamolov, the State Border Protection Committee engineer

responsible for designing architectural plans for construction

of new buildings, surveyed the border posts.  Post will

recommend that outposts number 8 and 7 described below receive

priority consideration for renovation/reconstruction using

existing INL funding.  The rest should be funded using DoD

Counter-narcotics FY06 supplemental funding.

RIBHOZ, FISHFARM, #8

2.  (SBU)  In early 2005, floods from the Pyanj River ripped

through the outpost and split it into two, destroying training

facilities.  The water left a bed of rocks about 500 yards wide

in the middle of the post.  The post evacuated staff and moved

ammunition, but have since returned to the same location.

Border guards report that Afghans crossed the border and

periodically looted the facilities after the 2005 flood up until

July 2006.  Ribhoz currently has no functioning communications

system, however, through U.S. government funding, Post will be

installing Harris radio communications system at the outpost.

3.  (U)  The Pyanj is known to flood frequently and each year

the river's destruction takes its toll in property and lives.

The Asian Development Bank is working with the government on an

embankment reinforcement project in Moscovsky to prevent future

flooding, but work is not yet complete.

4.  (SBU)  The State Border Protection Committee intends to move

the post's location one to two kilometers further away from the

river.  Ribhoz is the name of border post number 8 in Moscovsky

District, so named because of the area's former abundance of

fish farms.  Fish farming used to be profitable, but the

supplies have since depleted and many large dried-out man-made

lakes remain.  It is in one of these lakes that the State Border

Protection Committee intends to relocate the border post site.

SAYOD, HUNTER, #7

5.  (SBU)  The effects of the Pyanj floods is most striking at

Sayod, number 7 of the Moscovsky posts.  Little remains of the

post, established at least twenty years ago.  Prior to the

flooding, Sayod had 12 buildings, now there are only four.  The

floods cause land erosion, which claimed 8 of the buildings,

including warehouses and offices.  Although the water flow has

been diverted, land continues to erode away and threatens what's

left of Sayod's property.  The State Border Protection Committee

wants to build a new post on nearby higher ground with a better

view of the Afghan border and safe from the Pyanj.

6.  (SBU)  Sayod has a minimal communications system comprised

of only Motorola radios.  The post's commander reported the

soldiers received Halal meals from U.S. assistance, but that

many fell ill after eating what they commonly believe to be

expired MREs.  He claimed a doctor lab-tested them and deemed

DUSHANBE 00001758  002.2 OF 002

them unacceptable to eat.  (Note:  The border guards do not have

a qualified lab technician to conduct tests and provided no

evidence supporting their finding.  Post is working to train and

set up a proper forensics lab in Tajikistan.)

JAIROLI, PORCUPINE, #6 AND MUHOJOROBAD, LAND OF REFUGEES, #5

7.  (SBU)  The Jairoli #6 post and Muhojorobad #5 post face

problems common to border posts throughout Tajikistan.  Each

post houses approximately 50 soldiers, but their dilapidated

buildings and poor facilities make living conditions difficult.

Jairoli is at least 25 years old and Muhojorobad's construction

dates to the 1940s or 1950s.  Both Jairoli and Muhojorobad could

benefit from a water well and water pump.  Tajikistan's rural

water supply system has deteriorated since the Soviet times.

Currently, Jairoli gets its water supply through a rudimentary

pipe and water wheel operating on a stream that runs through the

post's compound.

8. (SBU)   Both posts need significant renovation.  Areas of

importance include establishing bathroom and shower facilities,

constructing new roofs, renovating warehouses and repairing

crumbling internal walls.  Both posts currently have Motorola

radios and also utilize an old ineffective cable telephone line.

 Building officers' quarters would boost morale at the posts.

Currently officers live and work in their offices.  With

officers' quarters they could bring their families to live with

them at post.  That way, they would be able to remain on site

longer throughout the year.

9.  (SBU)  State Border Protection Committee guides told EmbOffs

Jairoli and Muhojorobad also received Halal meals, but we did

not see any uniforms, boots, sleeping bags or other U.S.

assistance.

10.  (SBU)  COMMENT:  Post will reexamine and increase end-use

monitoring of border guard assistance and devise an improved

plan to directly provide INL assistance to the border posts

instead of routing it through the central government where

bureaucracy and corruption can delay essential assistance.

Post's Senior Law Enforcement Advisor has visited the site for

follow-on assessments and will bring direct assistance during

future site visits instead of relying on the State Border

Protection Committee which has responded slowly to needs.  In

addition, post will consider providing food assistance in the

forms of staples locally purchased instead of U.S. military

Halal meals which Tajik soldiers do not favor.

11.  (SBU)  The devastation caused by flooding at the posts on

the Afghan border shows the destructive potential of the river.

In addition, the country's inadequate water delivery system is

extremely evident at these border outposts.  Water issues have a

tremendous effect on the environment, health and economy.  Here

in Tajikistan, we also see the important role that water plays

in security issues.  The border posts need to be repaired or

relocated with potential flooding hazards in mind if Tajikistan

wants to continue to be successful in protecting its borders.

END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

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

id: 79834

date: 9/27/2006 10:22

refid: 06DUSHANBE1765

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

destination: 06DUSHANBE1718|06DUSHANBE1726|06DUSHANBE1765

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 001765

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ECIN, ECON, EFIN, ENRG, TBIO, TI

SUBJECT: CHINESE DRAGON STEPS GENTLY IN TAJIKISTAN

REF: DUSHANBE 1718; DUSHANBE 1726

DUSHANBE 00001765  001.2 OF 002

1.  SUMMARY:  Chinese Ambassador to Tajikistan Li Huilai laid

out the founding principles of friendship between Tajikistan and

China, including economic, security, and cultural relations, at

an academic conference hosted by the Tajik Center for Strategic

Research in Dushanbe on September 26.  Academics and

policymakers spent the day discussing the future potential of

China-Tajik relations.  Beyond the Shanghai Cooperation

Organization (SCO), China seeks to develop its status as a

bilateral partner in Tajikistan's overall development.  END

SUMMARY.

2.  Li's remarks followed a standard Chinese script.  He said

that the Tajik-Chinese relationship is based foremost on trust,

and noted the significance of the upcoming signing of a document

on cooperation and friendship.  China's goals, he asserted, are

to help the Tajik government "uphold its independence and

enhance social stability."  Li enumerated the economic and

security related agreements signed between the two countries

during the recent meeting in Dushanbe of the leaders of the

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (reftels).  Li emphasized that

China is not interested in domestic Tajik affairs or internal

politics.  He stated that each country has its own path of

development, and that China would respect the model that

Tajikistan has chosen for itself.

3.  Although trade between the two countries is very small, Li

noted that it is growing quickly.  Last year, trade equaled $157

million between the two countries, whereas this year trade

should break the $200 million threshold.  Umarov, a speaker from

the Tajik Center for Strategic Research, lamented that this

trade is basically one-sided, with Tajikistan importing consumer

products from China.  Umarov called on China to seek out Tajik

goods to import from the textiles, food, mining, and other

spheres.  He noted, however, that low-cost goods from China

allow Tajik consumers to purchase more goods than otherwise

available from Russia, Turkey, or elsewhere.  He also noted that

cheap transport costs from China make their goods more desirable

to Tajik consumers.  For example, cargo on a truck through the

Pamir mountains costs $90 per cubic meter, versus $260 per cubic

meter on a cargo plane.  Chinese assistance with Tajik road

improvement projects could make goods from China even more

attractive.

4.  China is also extending its friendship to Tajikistan in the

cultural and educational spheres.  According to Li, China gave

30 student scholarships to Tajik students to study in China this

year -- twice as many as last year.  In September, the first six

Chinese students came to Tajikistan to study.  China has opened

its training institutes to various Tajik specialists, and has

already trained 100 specialists in China.  The Tajik Department

of Health sent doctors to China to study medicine.  The Tajik

Minister of Education will soon travel to China to sign an

agreement on further strengthening cooperation in education.

5.  In the cultural realm, Li noted that China will send several

national artists and performers to Tajikistan for concerts.  On

September 27, the National Museum of Tajikistan will open an

exhibit on Chinese instruments.  The Chinese Embassy will

sponsor a Chinese movie week by the end of the year, and China

is working on a Chinese Cultural Center in Tajikistan.  In

addition, China would like to make 2007 the "Year of China" in

Tajikistan, and will seek to name 2008 the "Year of Tajikistan"

in China.

6.  Tajik academics at the conference responded positively to

the Chinese Ambassador's comments and to China's involvement in

Tajikistan through the SCO.  Many speakers called for further

investment and cooperation beyond the stated projects, and see

China as an able partner to help Tajikistan develop its

struggling economy.

7.  COMMENT:  The push from China for increased "mutual

understanding" may provide very little to bridge the cultural

chasm between the two countries.  On the other hand, the

increased attractiveness of Chinese consumer goods, the

provision of quick and well-targeted assistance projects, and

expanded security cooperation will ensure that China plays an

increasingly important role in Tajikistan, both within the

DUSHANBE 00001765  002.2 OF 002

multilateral confines of the SCO and directly as a bilateral

partner.  END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

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

id: 79838

date: 9/27/2006 10:27

refid: 06DUSHANBE1766

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination: 06DUSHANBE1766

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 001766

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

SCA FOR FEIGENBAUM

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, OEXC, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN: KABIRI'S IRPT TAKES A "TIME OUT"

DUSHANBE 00001766  001.2 OF 003

1.  (SBU)  SUMMARY:  During an hour-long introductory call with

the Ambassador September 26, Islamic Renaissance Party of

Tajikistan (IRPT) leader Muhiddin Kabiri described his party's

reasoning for not participating in the upcoming presidential

elections.  Kabiri said the party would use the next three years

to increase party strength and "build trust from domestic

society and the international community" in preparation for the

2009 parliamentary elections - "the government will no longer be

able to play the Islamic fear card against us then."  Kabiri

made a plea for increased educational exchanges and help

improving the level of English among the party's young people -

"otherwise they go to Russia."  End Summary.

===============

Internal and External Factors Behind the "Time Out" Decision

===============

2.  (SBU)  Kabiri listed several domestic reasons for the

party's September 25 decision not to participate in the

presidential elections.  First, there is no proper legal basis

for the elections.  Perhaps more importantly, Rahmonov's forces

have created a political environment where society believes

there is no real alternative to him.  The "monopolist" press has

already been conducting a pro-Rahmonov campaign for two or three

years; it is impossible to conduct a campaign in a matter of

months.  "You could battle Rahmonov as a person, as a politician

- but not his administrative resources."  Kabiri described a

belief that exists both in Tajikistan and sometimes abroad that

the active political participation of an Islamic party is

ironically a threat to democratization - the ruling party argues

that should the IRPT gain power, it will set Tajikistan on the

same course as Afghanistan under the Taliban, or at least be

"bad for the investment environment."  The IRPT has found it

difficult to get out its message that it is not extremist, but

rather stands for fair government that reflects the common

"values of civilization and humanity" and not just Islamic

values.

3.  (SBU)  Kabiri also described challenges posed by the

external environment.  When the U.S. began its fight against the

Taliban in Afghanistan, the party took a difficult decision - to

support the U.S. battle against terrorism even against

"believing Muslims."  The party's support of the U.S. position

had cost it some of its electorate.  The war in Iraq compounded

this problem, as had Western reaction to the election of Hamas

in Palestine.  "Our people say that when an Islamic party was

democratically elected, it created a rift with the West, and

caused problems not just for the government, but for the people

of Palestine."  Kabiri's media statements that his party decided

not to participate in the election so as "not to create a

confrontational situation" grow in part from this perception.

4.  (SBU)  "There will not be a true contest," Kabiri predicted.

 When we participate in elections, he added, we want to

participate in a true competition.  To participate at this

juncture would "play with the feelings of the electorate."

==============

Election Conduct and Next Steps

==============

5.  (SBU)  Kabiri said his party would like to observe the

voting process, and would like to have one of its members

participate in the Election Commission (Note:  Parliament

Speaker and Dushanbe Mayor Ubaidulloyev had told Ambassador

earlier that day that only parties fielding a candidate would be

allowed to observe the elections at polling places.  The Mayor

is probably incorrect.  The Central Committee on Elections and

DUSHANBE 00001766  002.2 OF 003

Referenda already having approved IRPT representatives at

polling stations even prior to its decision not to field a

candidate. The CCER's Deputy Chairman Muhibulloh Dodojonov has

already told international organizations that the government has

changed the decree to permit all political parties to send in

observers regardless of whether or not they have fielded a

candidate.)  Kabiri said he doubted the presidential election

would be substantially better than the last parliamentary

elections.  Following the election, which Kabiri described as a

"Time Out" for his party, the IPRT will focus its efforts on

"building up trust in society" and "strengthening the party" for

participation in parliamentary elections three years hence.  He

said the environment then would be different - "they will no

longer be able to play the fear-of-Islamists card against us."

The IPRT would not be substantially changing its strategies or

tactics, "but every generation has its own view."

===============

Separating the IRPT from Extremists

===============

6.  (SBU)  Kabiri pointed out the difference between what he

called "extremist" groups such as the IMU, which use violence to

achieve political goals, and "radical" groups such at Hizb Ut

-Tahrir (HT), which do not.  "I'm not a supporter of HT," he

said, "but we shouldn't be imprisoning people for having radical

ideas if they're not acting on them with violence."  When you

put young people in jail for 8-10 years because of political

ideology, they're already "lost" and more disposed to become

extremists, even terrorists. The official position of the IRPT

is that HT's ideas are utopian and against the national interest

of an independent and sovereign Tajikistan.

==============

Request for More Exchanges

==============

7.  (SBU)  As in every official meeting the Ambassador has had

since her arrival, Kabiri asked for more educational exchange

opportunities for Tajik students, especially those from the

IRPT.  Many of his staff have been to the United States.  "They

always return with a greater appreciation for the U.S. because

of the respect they see for Muslims there."  He lamented that so

far no IRPT members had been selected for educational exchange

programs, "although I know the selection is fair and

transparent, and you cannot establish some kind of IRPT quota."

(Note: Vohidkhon Qisiddinov, Head of Administration for the IRPT

was selected for USAID's Community Connections exchange program

in the United States October 6-25.)   He thought perhaps the

level of English language was not sufficient to compete

successfully, "so many of our students go to Russia."  Kabiri

himself, who regularly travels abroad, including several visits

to lecture at Columbia University, has again been invited for a

three week trip this fall to the United States.  "It's tough for

a political leader to be away for such a long time, and it's

also a political question - some of our members think I already

spend too much time in the West."

8.  (SBU)  Comment:  While sharing the view of other opposition

parties who have opted out of the election (septel) that there

will not be a level playing field for candidates, Kabiri clearly

believes that the political dynamic in the country will evolve

over time to permit more electoral freedom.  Although Rahmonov's

People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan will hold onto power,

the tools it has used to do so thus far (fear of instability,

assertions that an Islamic party would send Tajikistan back to

the dark ages) will be increasingly less effective as time goes

by and the devastating civil war recedes from the political

DUSHANBE 00001766  003.2 OF 003

consciousness.

9.  (SBU)  We are struck by the constant request for more

educational exchanges in the United States - including from some

less expected sources such as the leader of the Islamic party

and Parliament Speaker, largely believed to be in Moscow's

pocket.  It is clear to us that the emerging political

generation, no longer overwhelmed by memories of the dark days

of the 1990s, is looking for a touchstone - if not in the United

States, they'll find it in Russia or Iran.  To truly promote

democratic political development in the only country in Central

Asia to have a legal Islamic party, we need to dramatically

increase our exchanges, and find new ways to boost the level of

English language throughout the country - Peace Corps could play

a positive role in this regard.   End Comment.

JACOBSON

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

id: 79939

date: 9/28/2006 2:53

refid: 06DUSHANBE1773

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination:

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----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 001773

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, TI

SUBJECT: SIX WEEKS OUT: NO STRONG CANDIDATE WILL CHALLENGE RAHMONOV

REF: Dushanbe 1766

1.  (U)  Tajikistan's opposition political party congresses have

taken a stance not to participate in the election.   Short of

boycotting the election, the Islamic Renaissance Party of

Tajikistan (IRPT), the Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan

(SDPT) and the Democratic Party of Tajikistan (DPT) each decided

not to nominate a candidate to run against President Rahmonov in

the November election.   In addition the parties will not throw

their support behind any candidate.

2.  (U)  The SDPT and the DPT declared the election "irrelevant"

and spoke out against the unconstitutional nature of Rahmonov's

presidency.  They will not consider the results of the November

election legitimate.  The parties as a whole are refusing to

participate in the election, but will allow members to vote for

whomever they choose.  The DPT and SDPT, spearheaded by the

country's preeminent constitutional lawyer Rahmatullo Zoyirov

who helped draft the constitution, do not recognize the 2003

constitutional referendum that permitted Rahmonov to run for two

additional seven-year terms.  Both parties publicly stated that

they foresee the election will not be free or fair.

3.  (U)  The IRPT congress on similar lines voted unanimously

not to nominate a candidate, not to publicly support any

candidate and also not to boycott the election.  In addition,

the party rationalized that it needs to work on its image.  It

does not want the people to view it as an opposition party that

is a destabilizing force, a reputation stemming from the Civil

War that ended nearly ten years ago.  The Ambassador met with

IPRT Chairman Muhiddin Kabiri September 26 to discuss this

decision further. (reftel).

4.  (U)  The IRPT's Chief of Information, Saifullozoda remarked

the decision was "in the spirit of the late Nuri."  Saifullozoda

suggested that just as a decision to remain silent is inherent

in free speech, the IRPT's decision to not to field a candidate

is consistent with the practice of democracy.

5.  (U)  Rahmonov officially accepted the People's Democratic

Party of Tajikistan's nomination to run for a new term September

23.  He was unanimously supported by the party's delegates.

The Communist Party of Tajikistan (CPT) also nominated Ismoil

Talbakov, a parliament member.

6.  (SBU)  COMMENT:  The SDPT, DPT and IRPT's decisions not to

run a candidate do not come as a surprise.  All three know that

no candidate they field could possibly beat Rahmonov.  In the

SDPT and DPT's case, taking a stance and not participating is

the loudest political message they could send and a more shrewd

move than attempting to field a candidate.  Although the IRPT

took a similar stance, it distanced itself slightly from the

SDPT and DPT, not wanting to be lumped in the category of

"opposition" political parties.  If the IRPT ran Kabiri, he and

IRPT members would have faced harassment from the government.

If the IRPT supported Rahmonov, it would create more tension and

possibly a public party split.

7.  (SBU)  The OSCE has said that it will send 100 short term

observers for the election with the caveat that if no credible

opposition candidates emerge, it would consider rescinding the

decision.  With the SDPT, DPT and IRPT out, no true opposition

candidate is eligible to run.  Narziev's Socialist Party of

Tajikistan, although considered opposition is not eligible to

run since the party is not officially registered.  We will see

if the OSCE considers the pocket party and pro-governmental

party candidates to be credible.  END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

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

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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 DUSHANBE 001803

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL:  9/29/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAID, EINV, TI

SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR A/S BOUCHER'S VISIT TO DUSHANBE

CLASSIFIED BY: Tracey Ann Jacobson, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy

Dushanbe, STATE.

REASON: 1.4 (d)

1.  (U)  Embassy Dushanbe welcomes Assistant Secretary Boucher

back to Tajikistan.  This visit will be a good opportunity for

you to build upon your May meetings in Dushanbe and give an

extra push for better conduct one month before the presidential

election.

2.  (C)  The U.S.-Tajikistan bilateral relationship remains

positive overall, but we have seen some troubling signs

particularly in the democratic development arena.  Your visit

exactly one month ahead of the November 6 presidential election

is prime time to highlight problems with a one-sided election,

the downward trend in treatment of non-governmental

organizations, and problems in the business environment.

Tajikistan remains a strong cooperative partner on issues of

border security and the war against terror and we hope to use

this success to leverage improvements in other areas.  (See

suggested talking points, paras 7, 10, 13, 15, 19.)

NOVEMBER 6 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

3.  (SBU)  The State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human

Rights and Labor recently granted the International Foundation

for Election Systems an additional $300,000.  Through the

efforts of this foundation, the Embassy, the Organization for

Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations

Tajikistan Office of Peacebuilding, the Central Commission for

Elections and Referenda has taken significant steps forward

changing election protocols to more closely approach

international standards, issuing uniform manuals and training

polling station workers.

4.  (C)  Despite small technical steps forward, the political

playing field is wildly unbalanced.  The "opposition" political

parties-- the Democratic Party of Tajikistan, the Social

Democratic Party of Tajikistan and the Islamic Renaissance Party

of Tajikistan-- are not fielding or supporting candidates for

the election.  The Democratic Party of Tajikistan and Social

Democratic Party of Tajikistan publicly criticize Rahmonov and

his government, calling his presidency illegal and

unconstitutional, and refuse to recognize the November 6

election.  The rest of the parties are pocket parties --

pro-governmental parties who put forth candidates for the effect

of pluralism -- or are too weak to have a serious impact.

Central Asia's only Islamic political party, the Islamic

Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, is in a vulnerable position

after the recent death of its leader, Said Abdullo Nuri.  A

government smear campaign over the years since the civil war has

led much of the public to believe that the Islamic Renaissance

Party of Tajikistan could become a violent force of instability.

 Knowing that the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan will

not win in the election and not wanting to further the

opposition stereotype, Muhiddin Kabiri, the present chairman,

has said that his party will take a hiatus to revamp its image

and build its base in preparation for parliamentary elections in

three years.

5.  (SBU)  The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human

Rights (ODIHR) plans on sending in long term observers and 100

short term observers for the election.  Its observation

mission's  report could be a map for future election

improvements.  We expect the parallel Commonwealth of

Independent States observer team will not provide as useful a

critique of the election process.  We must remember that in a

country like Tajikistan, democratic progress can be slow and the

international community needs to remain vigilant and engaged.

6.  (C)  Controversial laws have also been sidelined until after

the election.  History shows that leaders tend to tighten the

reigns after they consolidate power, and it is possible Rahmonov

may gain the confidence to adopt more authoritarian policies

after his expected landslide victory.

7.  (C) Suggested talking points:

--  As a popular leader, you have a real opportunity to conduct

a fair election-you don't need to falsify results.  We

appreciate you and other senior government leaders making public

DUSHANBE 00001803  002 OF 004

statements calling for a fair election.  This message needs to

be delivered to the local levels.

-- We hope that all candidates will have greater access to the

media and equal exposure.

-- We are concerned about continuing harassment of journalists

leading up the election and a recent order from your government

asking internet service providers to shut down all websites

critical of the government.

A DOWNWARD TREND FOR EXCHANGE PROGRAMS AND THE NON GOVERNMENTAL

ORGANIZATION CLIMATE

8.  (C)  Although Tajikistan does have a vibrant civil society,

we remain concerned about an apparent trend against

foreign-sponsored non governmental organizations.  The most

recent victim is Mercy Corps where an expat had to leave

following a "poison pen" letter and pressure from the Ministry

of Justice.  The Mercy Corps problem falls into a pattern of

certain ministries pressuring or harassing U.S.-funded non

governmental organizations, including National Democratic

Institute, International Research and Exchanges Board, Internews

and the American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian

Law Initiative.

9.  (C)  We would like to increase U.S.- Tajik exchanges

exponentially.  Tajik government officials and religious and

civil society leaders regularly and eagerly call for

opportunities to send their young people to the United States.

However, we are disappointed that Embassy and U.S. non

governmental organization exchange programs have faced

obstacles.  The president has reportedly put a moratorium on all

official travel abroad leading up to election and the

International Research and Exchanges Board has recently been

informed they are not permitted to begin recruiting for Muskie

or U-GRAD educational exchange programs until after January

2007.

10.  (C) Suggested talking points:

-- The climate for international non governmental organizations

continues to concern us.  Non governmental organizations are

still harassed by certain ministries and refused registration.

-- The National Democratic Institute remains unregistered and

Internews has not been able to reregister.  We hope that you

will register them so that their employees can continue to carry

out good work for the people of Tajikistan.

-- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has told the International

Research and Exchange Board to delay recruitment until next

year.  We know the emphasis you place on education and ask you

to support our efforts to send students to the United States,

not postpone them.

BUSINESS CLIMATE: BUYER BEWARE

11.  (C)  Tajikistan officials regularly and publicly state they

want foreign investors to bring money to Tajikistan to develop

their energy, textiles, and other industries.  However, a recent

survey showed that 85% of Tajiks think corruption is the main

factor hindering economic growth, while Transparency

International ranks Tajikistan as one of the most corrupt

countries in the world.  Officials point to their transparent

laws on investment but the government regularly sidesteps these

rules at every level.  Tajiks pay bribes for jobs, education,

and services.  Foreign and domestic investors face the

uncertainty of a non-working judicial sector that cannot back up

contracts.  Our economic assistance programs and others

including the World Bank can help.  At a certain level the

Tajiks recognize this and have been cooperating.

12.  (SBU)  Your discussions on this issue will provide a

suitable opening to address the case of Gerald Metals whose

contract dispute with Tajik aluminum giant TadAZ remains bogged

down in legal proceedings.  A similar case against TadAZ by

Norsk Hydro led to the largest ever political risk insurance

settlement, making large investors more shy than ever about

investing in Tajikistan.  Failure to resolve the Gerald Metals

case would further deteriorate Tajikistan's investment

DUSHANBE 00001803  003 OF 004

reputation.

13.  (C) Suggested talking points:

-- The U.S.-funded Pyanj bridge project is evidence of our

support for economic development and regional integration.  The

bridge is set for completion in June 2007, and will help develop

commercial ties between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

--- Through a variety of assistance projects, including the

transmission line feasibility study, programs for small and

medium businesses, and banking sector projects, we are

supporting Tajik economic development.

--  However, Tajikistan needs to do better to rid itself of the

Soviet legacy of corruption.  In order to attract Western

investment, especially in Tajikistan's energy sector, the

government needs to increase transparency, introduce regulatory

reform and respect for rule-of-law and sanctity of contracts.

-- Gerald Metals:  What are the prospects for resolution?

BORDER SECURITY: A CORNERSTONE OF ASSISTANCE

 14.  (C)  Border security and counter-narcotics continue to be

cornerstones in our bilateral relationship.  The Tajiks

appreciate our assistance and are more than willing partners in

law enforcement and border security.  We regularly facilitate

training for Tajik military and uniformed personnel and

exchanges to the United States and the Marshall Center.   We

continue to renovate and equip outposts along the Afghan border.

 We have a Harris radio team that will help install a new

communications system, allowing the border guards to be more

effective.  This new communications system is the first of its

kind in the region and will link all security ministries

facilities and headquarters with state of the art

interconnectivity.

15.  (SBU) Suggested talking points:

-- Congratulation on your excellent drug interdiction rates.  We

will need to continue to support these efforts as the amount of

opium Afghanistan produces and exports increases.  Tajikistan

bears an important task in a dangerous neighborhood.

THE ENERGY OF THE SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION

16.  (C) At the September 15-16 Shanghai Cooperation

Organization meeting here in Dushanbe, China claims to have kept

the discussions well within what we consider positive

parameters, focusing on economic cooperation first and foremost,

although China and Tajikistan also completed their first joint

military exercises in the Tajik mountains.  China announced a

host of cultural and educational initiatives aimed at building

trust here.  Public comment -- and we have not heard otherwise

-- from Russia and Tajikistan underlines that countries in the

region will try to use the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

mainly for economic purposes.

17.  (C)  There has been rampant speculation about the make-up

and direction of the proposed "Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Energy Club", which may become an important mechanism, but would

only be one of many fora discussing regional energy issues.

With a cold winter of energy shortages approaching, Tajikistan

is laser-focused on negotiating with Uzbekistan on natural gas

imports to keep some electricity running in Tajikistan to heat

the countryside.  Tajikistan hopes the Shanghai Cooperation

Organization can help them leverage Uzbekistan on energy issues

in the future; the Uzbek side has shown no interest in helping

its neighbor, however.  In the long-term, Tajikistan may try to

develop its latent coal, oil, and natural gas resources.  Also,

the new United States Agency for International Development

Regional Energy Market Assistance Program (REMAP) is designed to

help the region form a functioning energy market.  In the

short-term, rationing and stockpiling for the winter has already

begun.

18.  (C)  Overall, Tajikistan has taken a healthy approach to

China.  We agree with the International Monetary Fund and others

that the $637 million Chinese loan for Tajik infrastructure

projects will bring positive economic development and increased

DUSHANBE 00001803  004 OF 004

trade and investment opportunities.  Partnering with China

reduces Tajikistan's reliance on Uzbekistan and Russia for its

overall needs, while also reducing our own leverage here.  China

possesses the advantage of tremendous resources combined with

rapid implementation.  With ink still wet on the investment loan

agreements, the Chinese have begun work on road and energy

projects.  By contrast, Tajiks increasingly view the U.S. as

slow-moving, and are frustrated with our lack of public

financial support for new energy projects.  The Minister of

Energy recently complained that U.S. company AES is behind

schedule in completing its feasibility study of a north-south

transmission line.  With hydropower, the Tajiks are looking to

whoever can construct dams fastest.  Russian giant RusAl has

staked its claim on Rogun but continues to drag its feet on

agreement of financial and technical terms with Tajikistan.  The

Tajiks will also bring up the Dhasti-Jhum dam project, which has

huge potential.  Rahmonov will likely ask for our assistance in

developing this project, perhaps funding a feasibility study.

19.  (C) Suggested talking points:

--  The U.S. supports Tajikistan's plans for development of its

extensive hydropower resources, and we will provide whatever

technical and coordination support we can.  U.S. company AES

remains interested in investing in the hydropower sector.

--  The U.S. appreciates Tajikistan's support for regional

energy development projects that will help its neighbor,

Afghanistan, such as the transmission lines to be constructed

next year.

--  We look forward to the upcoming regional energy conference

in Dushanbe at the end of October as a means to discuss future

energy cooperation.

JACOBSON

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

id: 81042

date: 10/7/2006 8:08

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classification: CONFIDENTIAL

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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 001840

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  10/7/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAID, EINV, ENRG, TI

SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER LOOKS SOUTH FOR OPPORTUNITY AND NERVOUSLY

AT GEORGIA

CLASSIFIED BY: TJACOBSON, AMBASSADOR, STATE, STATE.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (SBU)  SUMMARY:  In a 45-minute meeting with Assistant

Secretary Richard Boucher October 6,  Foreign Minister Talbak

SIPDIS

Nazarov remarked that the United States and Tajikistan have a

positive bilateral relationship because they have built an

atmosphere of trust.   He thanked Boucher for the U.S. security

and economic assistance but urged increased U.S. engagement in

Afghanistan, where the deteriorating situation poses a direct

threat to Tajikistan.  The short and long-term electricity

supply remains a top concern.  END SUMMARY.

AFGHANISTAN

2.  (C)  Nazarov expressed a fear that the "exacerbated"

situation in southern Afghanistan could move north, posing a

direct threat to Tajikistan's border and stability.  "The

illicit drug flow is more than enough already," he quipped.

Tajikistan did not want to seriously criticize the Afghan

government, but encouraged the United States to step up its

engagement.  Nazarov noted that recent announcement that NATO

will increase troop numbers was a good sign.  Afghanistan is a

big country that needs more forces, he advised.  Nazarov

applauded efforts to train Afghan police to help fight the

Taliban, but noted the Afghan border guards also needed

assistance.

3.  (C)  Boucher agreed that expanding government operations and

increasing the Afghan police and armed forces would lead to

greater stability, but Afghanistan also needed significant

infrastructure to achieve real peace.  The fundamental issue, he

said, was to strengthen government in Afghanistan's border areas.

4.  (SBU)  Nazarov noted that bilateral relations between

Dushanbe and Kabul were good, and getting stronger, as the two

countries signed more agreements and increase operational

cooperation, particularly on drugs.   The U.S.- funded bridge at

Nizhniy Pyanj, slated to open Summer 2007, will provide further

opportunities for cooperation, and trade.

ENERGY

5.  (SBU)  Because Tajikistan has no gas or oil, Nazarov noted

that securing electricity for the winter was a top priority.  He

lamented the inadequate transmission network that cut off

northern Tajikistan from the south.  Tajikistan had recently

reached an agreement with Kyrgyzstan to purchase electricity,

but because transmission lines go through Uzbekistan, Tashkent

scuttled the deal, and then suggested the Tajiks purchase Uzbek

electricity, and three times the cost.  The Chinese project to

build South-North high voltage transmission lines through the

Varzob Gorge will eliminate this problem by connecting directly

to Kyrgyzstan's network, but those lines will not be ready for

at two years.

6.  (C)  Nazarov hinted that Uzbekistan had also played a role

in the changing relations between the Tajik government and

RusAl's Oleg Deripaska over the Rogun hydropower station.  "I

don't want to blame the Uzbeks, but when Deripaska came back

from Tashkent, he came a different person" and no longer

accepted the long-standing design for a 335 meter earth-and-rock

dam.  The recently published Lahmayer technical study on Rogun

had not entirely settled the issue of height and of a cement

versus earth dam.  The World Bank will be weighing in with an

independent assessment.

7.  (SBU)  Nazarov said the upcoming Central Asia and South Asia

Electricity Trade conference in Dushanbe October 26-28, would

provide another opportunity for regional countries to work out

trade agreements for electricity, particularly for Afghanistan.

He noted that Tajikistan had a good record of exporting to those

places in Afghanistan that had transmission lines. "Even in the

winter, when we don't have enough electricity, we still export

to Afghanistan."

INVESTMENT CLIMATE AND CORRUPTION

DUSHANBE 00001840  002 OF 002

8.  (C)  Boucher observed that the investment climate and

widespread corruption meant Tajikistan remained a risk for

investors.  He noted that the unresolved case of Gerald Metals

with the state aluminum plant "TadAZ" stood out as an example of

what could happen in Tajikistan, and urged the Tajik government

to help resolve the case soon.  Nazarov called the former TadAZ

director a criminal, and remarked that the director was being

also prosecuted in London.  Nazarov reported that Tajikistan

signed the anti-corruption convention in New York during the UN

general Assembly meetings in September.  New domestic

legislation also addresses corruption.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

9.  (C)  In response to Boucher's question about the November 6

presidential election, Nazarov laughed and said, "I only know

what I read."  He said he was surprised the Islamic Renaissance

Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) has declined to put up a candidate,

but reported that a friend of his in the party has said they did

not want to "waste their time."  The Islamists would save their

efforts and strength for the future.  Nazarov noted that some

parties worked quietly to build their base, while others

quarreled among themselves.

10.  (SBU)  Nazarov reported that President Rahmonov had given

firm instructions that all candidates should have access to

state media services, and ministers and local officials were not

to interfere in the election process.  Observers from any

country would be allowed on November 6.

11.  (SBU)  Boucher asked whether there were any plans to

investigate or punish cases where fraud did occur.  "I honestly

don't know," said the foreign minister.  "You can ask the

president."  Boucher states that the election was a chance to

get the procedures and processes right.

12.  (SBU)  Boucher also asked about registration and licensing

of media outlets and radio stations, including U.S.-funded

community radio stations through the non-governmental

organization Internews.  Nazarov switched to the subject of BBC,

and reported he had personally spoken with the head of the state

agency on radio, and it seemed likely the BBC would be licensed

soon.

GEORGIA AND RUSSIA

13.  (C)  Mentioning with concern the situation between Russia

and Georgia, Nazarov observed, "Whenever a big country and a

small country come into conflict, the small country suffers

first."  Boucher said his message during upcoming consultations

in Moscow was that U.S. and Russian goals and interests in the

region are the same.   Competition only harmed countries in the

region, including Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

14.  (SBU)  COMMENT:  Nazarov was relaxed and open, but

non-committal on the elections, preferring to pass that to the

President himself.  END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

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

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RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0203

----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 001841

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  10/7/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAID., EINV, ENRG, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIK PRESIDENT TELLS BOUCHER ELECTION SHOULD MEET

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

CLASSIFIED BY: TJACOBSON, AMBASSADOR, STATE, STATE.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  In a two-hour meeting with Assistant

Secretary Richard Boucher October 6, Tajikistan's President

SIPDIS

Emomali Rahmonov stressed the positive bilateral relationship

with the United States.  Stating he wanted to deepen contacts at

every level, Rahmonov thanked the United States particu

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