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07.04.201413:22
Источник изображения: ИА "Авеста"

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id: 71984

date: 7/20/2006 8:56

refid: 06DUSHANBE1362

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination:

header:

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UNCLAS DUSHANBE 001362

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, DRL, S/P

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, KDEM, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIKISTAN'S NEW MEDIA COALITION NOT ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT

1.  (SBU)  Three prominent media associations formed the new

Partnership for Democracy in June, a media coalition group

designed to address misunderstandings among journalistic bodies

and foster improved relations between mass media and the

government.  However, despite the group's good intentions, it

appears it is subject to considerable government influence.

2.  (SBU)  The three organizations in the coalition are the

National Association of Independent Mass Media in Tajikistan

(NANSMIT), the Tajik Association of Independent Electronic Media

(TAIEM), and the Media Alliance of Tajikistan (MAT).  The

Chairman of TAIEM, Muso Asozoda is also the Head of

Administration for the People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan,

President Rahmonov's political party.  Even NANSMIT, the

self-proclaimed darling of the international community, and MAT

are not truly independent organizations.  Embassy sources say

that even though these organizations may ideally want to reform

media conditions in the country, all three have connections

within the government and are soft on government criticism, when

they publish opposing views at all.

3.  (SBU)  According to press reports, the group's three-pronged

strategy includes each organization taking the lead on one of

three goals:  reform media legislation, establish a state body

to regulate relations between the media and government, and set

up a body to regulate journalistic ethics and relations within

the media community.  However, during EmbOffs' meeting July 18

with NANSMIT Chairman Nuriddin Karshiboev, he stressed strong

government cooperation more so than in public reports.  For

instance, he described the organization's first two goals as

reforming media legislation and introducing a new law on mass

media so that media groups can better cooperate with the

government, and establishing a new council to include the

government and mass media which would strengthen cooperation

between the two.  Nowhere in Partnership for Democracy's written

goals does it stress the need for a more free and independent

media or legislation reform for transparent government

regulations.  The group also plans to offer membership to  the

Tajik Union of Journalists, a well-known government-directed

body.

4.  (SBU)  COMMENT:  Although the organization is still in its

early stages and its true intentions cannot yet be judged, all

signs point to Partnership for Democracy as another pre-election

government ploy.  This coalition allows the government to more

closely and succinctly work with all mass media organizations in

the country and silence opposition voices.  It would be easier

for the government to hide behind a seemingly independent

organization to control media activities than directly pressure

the media with a heavy hand.  END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

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

id: 72295

date: 7/24/2006 8:48

refid: 06DUSHANBE1420

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 DUSHANBE 001420

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR P, E, SCA/CEN, EUR/RUS, DRL, S/P

E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/24/2016

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, PROP, ECON, EINV, ENRG, MARR, KDEM, IR,

AF, CH, RS, TI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S FAREWELL CALL ON PRESIDENT RAHMONOV

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, Exective Office,

Dept. of State.

REASON: 1.4 (d)

1.  (C) During the Ambassador's 90-minute one-on-one farewell

call with President Rahmonov July 19, the President spoke

without notes, because, we learned later, he had not expected a

working meeting.  President Foreign Policy Adviser Erkin

Rahmatulloyev told us, "Generally, ambassadors come to say a

protocol good-bye, shake hands, and wonder what gift they'll

get.  But, on the other hand, none of the others work like you

do.  Except maybe [Russian Ambassador Ramazan] Adbulatipov, but

he usually comes to give us orders."

2.  (C) The Ambassador

-- thanked the President for his productive partnership and

reviewed the key accomplishments of the last three years,

including major assistance for the Tajik Border Guards, the

Pyanzh Bridge under construction, a new U.S. Embassy completed

and occupied, and a major U.S. company involved in Tajikistan's

hydro-electric sector.

-- reviewed the investment climate and advocated for U.S.

businesses facing problems (Gerald Metals and Comsup);

-- advocated for a November presidential election that would

meet international standards, and suggested registering and

licensing new independent radio and television stations before

the election, including Asia-Plus TV;

-- explored the possibility of greater access by the U.S.

military to support the war against terrorism in Afghanistan; and

-- asked for Rahmonov's vision for Tajikistan five years from

now.

3.  (C) Rahmonov thanked the Ambassador for the work he has done

during his tenure, noting it has left an "indelible mark" on

Tajikistan, and, especially on the bilateral relationship.  He

said, "You know that anyone who matters reads and discusses

every word you publish." Rahmonov thanked President Bush for the

new attention and respect shown Tajikistan in the past three

years.

MILITARY COOPERATION

4.  (C) Regarding increased access by U.S. and coalition forces

to Tajik military facilities, Rahmonov said he would repeat what

he told Secretary of Defense Rumsfled on July 10:  "Tajikistan

will do whatever is in its power to support the war against

DUSHANBE 00001420  002 OF 005

extremism and terrorism.  But," he noted, "this is not 2001.  If

you had taken Kulob Airfield then, you would have it now.  Don't

ever forget that the success of Manas depends on our blanket

clearance for your use of our air space.  Today, we are in a

'spiderweb' of new international commitments and cannot make

unilateral decisions that violate those commitments."  (COMMENT:

 The means Russia has largely achieved control of it's sphere of

influence, unless we can think of creative ways out of this box.

 END COMMENT.)

5.  (C) Rahmonov said he is extremely grateful for U.S. military

assistance, notably for the National Guard, and especially for

the Tajik Border Guards - "They're young and need all the help

they can get.  Even so, I intend to decrease the number of

Russian advisers.  If they were truly helping, that would be

fine.  But I'll tell you frankly I don't like what they are

doing."

6.  (C) Musing about the U.S. presence in the region, Rahmonov

said, "You lost Karshi Khanabad in Uzbekistan.  I simply do not

understand your internal bureaucracy.  If Karimov was annoyed

with you and your presence was imperiled, why didn't you just

offer him a few major 'economic projects'?"  (COMMENT: This

unscripted advice offers insight into how business is done in

this part of the world:  you can buy your way out of any

problems.  END COMMENT.)

RUSSIA

7.  (C)  Rahmonov lamented, "Every single thing we do without

permission irritates Russia."  He said he's especially

exasperated by the continuing anti-Tajikistan Russian-media

propaganda campaign that seems to be geared to portraying

Tajikistan as a feckless narco-state harboring terrorists.  He

added that Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are also involved in this

disinformation campaign about Tajikistan.  (COMMENT:  This is

the first we've heard Rahmonov complain about Kazakhstan on this

issue.  He may have in mind the web site  that

posts Russian disinformation and is reportedly Kazakhstan-based.

 END COMMENT.)

8.  (C)  Rahmonov said the frequent meetings between Russian

President Putin and the other CIS presidents are coming to seem

like the old Soviet Politburo.  He said, "I remind them at every

meeting the Politburo is gone.  It's a new world."  He repeated

heatedly, "It's a new world," then added, "but complicated.

Putin thinks he's the new General Secretary.  That's why we need

reliable partners like the United States, but we don't have oil

and gas.  To reduce Moscow's power over us, we need strong

economic and social development.  That's why we need your help.

If we become stronger, we become more independent.  We do not

want to be a 'toy' in anyone's hands.  You tell us your views

very clearly, but you don't force or threaten us.  And for that

I am grateful.

9.  (C)  About the new U.S. Embassy, Rahmonov said, "You are the

first to build a substantial, new embassy.  Never underestimate

DUSHANBE 00001420  003 OF 005

the importance of symbols.  It means a lot to us.  Russia simply

took a 'dolgostroi' [an abandoned Soviet construction project]

and finished it, but it's already falling apart.

FOREIGN POLICY

10.  (C)  The President reaffirmed, at length, his "open-door"

foreign policy and his desire for multiple strong partners.  "We

will not let Russia and China intimidate us."  He expressed

gratitude for Washington's "objective and accurate

understanding" of and growing respect for Tajikistan.

11.  (C)  In an aside, Rahmonov said he gets annoyed with

European officials who call on him and "don't even know what

country they're in but tell us we must be like them.  But we try

to take their views into consideration because we need multiple

European partners."

INTERNAL POLICY

12. "You can't force change," Rahmonov said, "but you can help

us achieve it."  He elaborated that he wants greatly accelerated

economic development, an end to roads and especially railrods

that only go north, solutions for social problems and further

poverty reduction, less corruption, less labor migration, and a

strong democratic civil society so that people feel they are

part of the government.  "But we must go slowly.  Foreign

governments and their NGOs don't understand they cannot

replicate their own experiences here.  It's essential to

understand the culture and respect the traditions of the people.

 The fundamental mistake of the USSR was it didn't respect the

traditions of its peoples.  Forcing change can lead to mistakes

and serious consequences."  He paused and then added, "But we do

respect your views and try to take them into consideration."  We

want to be a respected and exemplary country in a civilized

world.  The United States is essential in the region."

13.  Rahmonov declined to be drawn out on the November

presidential election.  "It's too early.  But if Rahmonov wins,"

he added using the third person, "Tajikistan's foreign policy

will not change in any dramatic way."

U.S. INVESTMENT AND WESTERN BUSINESS INTERESTS

14.  The Ambassador explained that international legal cases

involving TadAz, as a result of the upheaval there in the second

half of 2004, are still causing concern for Western investors,

and will continue to inhibit major investment until the cases

are resolved.  The Ambassador once again brought up the U.S.

company Gerald Metals, and elaborated on the U.S. political risk

re-insurer, Chubb, which had to pay out $125 million to Norsk

Hydro because of the TadAz mess.  The Ambassador said, "Whoever

was mucking around at TadAz has seriously harmed Tajikistan's

DUSHANBE 00001420  004 OF 005

interests, especially because political risk insurers for major

investment are a very small club, and the TadAz mess is globally

known."  The President nodded but had no reply.

15.  The Ambassador noted that Dushanbe Mayor Mahmadsaid

Obaidulloyev is in the process of destroying the one and only

European-class restaurant in Dushanbe, La Grande Dame, that was

previously a favorite of Western diplomats, businessmen, and

potential investors.  He told Rahmonov, "This may seem minor to

you, but it is totally crazy.  Small things like this can have a

disproportionate impact on potential investors.  They'll see it

as an example of chaotic risk, because the restaurant's owner,

an Australian citizen, had all the proper permission for her

investment and the construction of her business." Rahmonov

scowled, turned red, and banged the arm of his chair with his

fist, which was what we hoped would be the impact on him.

(COMMENT:  Rahmonov has to walk a very fine line with the

Moscow-supported wildly corrupt mayor of Dushanbe, but it never

hurts to get Ramonov's dander up against Obaidulloyev.  END

COMMENT.)

HYDRO-POWER

16. (C)  Rahmonov advocated again that the United States take a

larger role in Tajikistan's hydro-energy sector.  He said, "We

are sincerely grateful for what you did to get AES here, but we

want more U.S. active investment and involvement."  He focused

on the proposed Dasht-i-Zhum dam and hydro-electric station on

the Pyanzh River between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.  "This is

as strategic for Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and the region as the

Pyanzh Bridge.  Like the bridge, it could be oxygen for the

region.  Maybe the United States can't fund the entire project,

but I would like you to use your moral and economic power to

take the lead in the international community to get this built.

It is essential."

COMMENT

17. (C) We believe Rahmonov believes in his vision for

Tajikistan that includes a strong, democratic civil society.

But what he means and what we mean by those words are not

necessarily yet fully congruent.  His constant emphasis on the

need to respect the culture and traditions of the country is not

wholly just a blow-you-off excuse for his vested-interest

go-slow approach on these issues.  Tajikistan is in a very tough

geographical and ideological neighborhood.  Internally, he still

has many political enemies, like Obaidulloyev.  And, certainly,

Rahmonov is a product of his place and time.  But he is a shrewd

and increasingly sophisticated player who sort of gets what we

say.  We need continually to nudge, but not try to shove, him in

the right direction.

18.  (C) COMMENT CONTINUED:  Rahmonov was pleasant,

complimentary, relaxed, and confident.  He sported a new light

gray summer suit from his personal tailor at Brioni who flies in

from Italy about every six months. We are pleased he allowed 90

minutes for the meeting, especially if he had been expecting

DUSHANBE 00001420  005 OF 005

only 10-15 minutes.  This is a busy time for him.  Besides the

normal flow of business, the election is looming, July 21-22 he

was in Moscow for the informal CIS "Summer Horse Race Summit,"

and July 25-27 Iran's President Amadinejad will be in Dushanbe.

Rahmonov told us he expects the Chinese Prime Minister for an

official visit September 15. END COMMENT.

19.  Kabul minimized considered.

HOAGLAND

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

id: 72468

date: 7/25/2006 11:08

refid: 06DUSHANBE1423

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

destination:

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 001423

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, INL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/25/2016

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ECON, MARR, KDEM, IR, RS, TI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S FAREWELL CALL ON TAJIK FM TALBAK NAZAROV

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy,

Dushanbe, State.

REASON: 1.4 (a), (c)

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy,

Dushanbe, State.

REASON: 1.4 (a), (c)

1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  In his July 17 official farewell call on

Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov, the Ambassador summed up

the progress in the U.S.-Tajik relationship over the past three

years,  including increased border assistance, a new U.S.

Embassy and U.S. involvement in hydropower and infrastructure

projects.  The Ambassador noted the business climate still

needed further and consistent reform to attract foreign

investors, and several high-level cases involving U.S. firms

must be resolved before more American investors would come.  The

Ambassador recommended that the Tajik authorities begin

registering and licensing independent television and radio

stations before the November presidential elections to

demonstrate a commitment to a freer media.  He suggested

increased military cooperation was still possible without

specifically establishing a U.S. base, through logistics

support, refueling and search and rescue operations.  Nazarov

indicated this was possible, "with the proper mechanism," which

would likely involve direct U.S.-Russian agreement.  Nazarov

agreed that the bilateral relationship was very strong.

Tajikistan was constantly balancing its foreign policy with

bigger countries and its neighbors, and partnership with the

United States played an important role in Tajikistan's

"open-door" foreign policy.  END SUMMARY.

IRAN

2.  (C)  Minus the usual MFA notetaker, Nazarov sat down and

chatted for almost 45 minutes about the state of the bilateral

relationship and regional issues.  Addressing first the

Ambassador's final question about Iranian President

Ahmadinejad's July 25-27 visit, Nazarov noted the meetings would

not be political. "We don't plan or desire that!" he stressed.

Under agreements signed with former President Khatami, Iran took

the lead on several infrastructure projects in Tajikistan,

including the strategic Anzob Tunnel and Sangtuda-II hydropower

station.  Ahmadinejad is coming specifically for the official

opening of the tunnel.  Unfortunately, almost no progress has

been made on Sangtuda-II." It's unclear whose fault that is,"

said Nazarov. "Maybe ours? Maybe the Russians?" referring to the

neighboring RAO UES project Sangtuda-I.  "We had hoped these

projects would be finished before Khatami left office," remarked

Nazarov.

3. (C)  According to Nazarov, the Tajiks have "no special love"

for the current Iranian administration.  Many Tajiks,

particularly in the government, remember Iranian support for the

opposition forces and their role in starting the Tajik Civil War

in the early 1990s, and the resulting "catastrophic effects."

"Perhaps that (infrastructure support) is compensation for the

enormous damage," he mused.  He added, however, that Tajikistan

has to pay close attention to domestic public opinion, and a

good number of the Tajik intelligentsia have a warm and benign

view of Iran based on common cultural and linguistic links.

Nazarov characterized Iran's ideology-driven foreign policy as

"near sighted," but noted that Tajikistan must be careful "not

to quarrel" with Tehran.  (NOTE:  MFA  Americas department Head

Ismatulloh Nasreddinov pulled PolOff aside at a reception June

26 to emphasize that the Iranian visit was bilateral only, and

no international issue would be raised. "Tajikistan is on record

as opposing nuclear weapons," he said," but we cannot and will

not bring this up during the visit. That was a condition to

DUSHANBE 00001423  002 OF 003

having the visit."  Presumably, he meant an Iranian condition.

END NOTE.)

4.  (C)  Nazarov confirmed that Afghan President Hamid Karzai

will visit Dushanbe July 26, in part because he cancelled his

participation in the January Afghan-Tajik-Iranian trilateral

meeting in Tehran.  However, Nazarov noted that while Karzai's

visit was "compensation" for missing the January meeting, there

were no plans to sign any trilateral agreements, and no joint

statements would be made.  Nazarov also noted that Tajikistan

owes Afghanistan an official bilateral visit to Dushanbe but

this currently pending visit is not official.

THE DOOR MUST STAY OPEN

5.  (C)  President Rahmonov's "open door" foreign policy has

proven successful, Nazarov concurred, as Tajikistan has tried to

establish partnerships with the "leading countries" and its

neighbors.  "We don't want to feel the embrace of just one

country," he said. "We must continue to balance our interests."

He agreed with the Ambassador's assessment that only Tajikistan

and Kazakhstan have successfully forged fairly balanced working

relationships with the major powers, like Russia, the United

States and China, as well as with neighbors.  In response to a

question, Nazarov suggested Rahmonov would likely change key

cabinet members after the November presidential election.

U.S.-TAJIK RELATIONS: MATURE AND PRINCIPLED

6.  (C)  The United States and Tajikistan both want normal

cooperation and a strong partnership, suggested Nazarov, and

thus they resolve issues based on this principle.  He agreed

that the bilateral relationship was mature and they must find a

mechanism to maintain the balance.

7.  (C)  Regarding Secretary Rumsfeld's recent request, Nazarov

said, "Our arms were short.  We have commitments to the regional

organizations (especially the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,

Commonwealth Strategic Treaty Organization, and the Eurasian

Economic Community).  Could we allow ourselves to by ostracized

in those regional fora?"  He reminded the Ambassador that in

2001, Tajikistan was very interested in coalition troops

establishing a military presence at Kulyob airfield, but the

United States did not take up the offer.

RUSSIA

8.  (C)  He agreed that it was essential to find a way for the

Russians to be helpful to resolve problems in Afghanistan.  Thus

far, Russia has not been participating, but "looking at the

situation while on the black list."  If Russia felt like it had

more responsibility for regional security in Afghanistan,

Nazarov suggested, it might cooperate more.  However, for

further U.S. and coalition military use of Tajik facilities, a

"mechanism" must be found, primarily between the United States

and Russia.  Nazarov said he'd heard  nothing of rumors that the

Russians and Indians were negotiating an agreement over the use

of the Ayni Airbase.

THANKS

9.  (C)  In parting, the Foreign Minister complimented the

Ambassador on being a "working ambassador" who had done much to

solidify and strengthen the bilateral relationship by focusing

on the "big issues" and not getting caught up with minor

problems.   He said, "We respect you could tell us hard things,

but always with balance and objectivity and a focus on what's

truly important."

10.  (C)  COMMENT:  Nazarov, who has been foreign minister for

over 10 years, has several times asked to retire, but President

DUSHANBE 00001423  003 OF 003

Rahmonov has refused to let him.  After the November election,

he may press his case one more time.  If he is replaced, we hope

it is someone with his balance and vision.  Under his

leadership, the foreign ministry has emerged as perhaps the most

liberal, and balances, when it can, the old-guard impulses of

the ministry of security.

11. (C)  COMMENT CONTINUED:  We are intrigued by Nazarov's

musing that an enhanced U.S. and coalition military presence in

Tajikistan is not impossible if the right "mechanism" is found.

In our search for a positive partnership with Russia, this might

be worth exploring.  END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

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

id: 72469

date: 7/25/2006 11:09

refid: 06DUSHANBE1424

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

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RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1684

RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 9502

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 001424

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, INL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/25/2016

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ECON, EINV, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIK INDUSTRY MINISTER WANTS U.S. JOINT VENTURE TO FLY

SOLO

REF: HILLMEYER - HOAGLAND EMAIL 6 JULY 2006

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy,

Dushanbe, State.

REASON: 1.4 (a), (c)

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy,

Dushanbe, State.

REASON: 1.4 (a), (c)

1.  (SBU)  An antimony mining joint venture with New

Jersey-based COMSUP has been so successful, according to

Minister of Industry Zaid Saidov, the Tajik government would

prefer the U.S. firm own one hundred percent of the operation,

rather than 49%.  In a July 18 meeting with PolOff, Saidov

explained the Government of Tajikistan's recent proposal to sell

its shares in Anzobskigok, a mining enterprise was not an

attempt to pressure COMSUP, but instead a way for COMSUP to keep

control of the operation in the face of privatization.

2.  (SBU)  Should COMSUP elect not to purchase the controlling

interest in the joint venture, the shares would go up for

auction in January as part of the state privatization plan.

(NOTE: Under the official privatization plan, most state-owned

enterprises should be privatized in January 2007.  In addition

to Anzobskigok, the state-owned companies slated to privatize

include the electric utility Barqi Tojik, Tokjikgas, Tajik

Airlines, and Tajikistan's biggest producer, the aluminum

company TadAZ.  However, recent press reporting suggests TadAZ

has been taken off the block.  END NOTE.)

3.  (SBU)  Rather than sell the shares in Anzobskigok to an

untested foreign investor, the Ministry of Industry would prefer

to see COMSUP take ownership of the entire company.   Saidov

reported that a number of different companies already expressed

interest in Anzobskigok, including Kazakh and Chinese firms, for

more than double the $3 million it proposed to COMSUP.

Anzobskigok anticipates extracting up to 750,000 tons of ore to

produce 250,000 tons of antimony concentrate by the end of 2006.

4.  (SBU)  Said indicated the proposal reflected the Tajik

government's limitations on investing in its own enterprises.

If COMSUP were the sole owner, there would be no limitations on

what it put into Anzobskigok.  (NOTE: COMSUP has already

invested $4 million in the Tajik venture. END NOTE.)  "We want

to attract foreign investment," said Saidov.  "This is in both

of our interests."  The government would like to see an ore

production facility in Tajikistan, rather than shipping the

concentrate to Kyrgyzstan or China for processing, but cannot

afford to match any new investments. Currently, the antimony

concentrate exported for production contains gold and silver

that never end up profiting Tajikistan.

5.  (SBU)  COMSUP's contracts and documents establishing the

Anzobskigok joint venture are all legal, confirmed Saidov;

should COMSUP choose not to purchase majority shares, the

contract would still be honored.  When the joint venture was

established, foreign companies were required to have a Tajik

partner.  Now, under a new law on foreign investment, foreign

investors can own one hundred percent of their operations.

6.  (C)  COMMENT:  Saidov seemed to be operating under good

faith when he suggested the Tajik government was so pleased with

COMSUP, it would rather see them take full control of the

operation than have another investor take part.  If this

proposal truly is part of the privatization plan, it represents

a sensible first offer to a company that could lose much should

another investor take 51%.

DUSHANBE 00001424  002 OF 002

7.  (C)  COMMENT CONTINUED:  However, given the example of

Gerald Metals, where the Tajik government refused to honor

agreements signed under one director of a state company after he

was removed from his post, COMSUP is smart to be concerned about

the proposal.  It is also unclear whether there are really

foreign investors interested, or whether the Ministry of

Industry is trying to pressure COMUSP to take on more than they

want in Anzobskigok.  END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

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

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 001425

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, INL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/25/2016

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, KDEM, TI

SUBJECT: NDI NOT GETTING THE ANSWERS THEY WANT FROM TAJIK GOVERNMENT

REF: Dushanbe 804

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy,

Dushanbe, State.

REASON: 1.4 (a), (c)

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy,

Dushanbe, State.

REASON: 1.4 (a), (c)

1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  In meetings with Foreign Minister Talbak

Nazarov and Deputy Minister of Justice Sharipova, National

Democratic Institute (NDI) representatives pressed the Tajik

government to register the organization and issue a visa for an

American staff member to manage the Dushanbe office.  In both

meetings July 17, NDI Director Laura Jewett and NDI board member

(and retired Connecticut Congressman) Sam Gejdenson heard

elusive responses and received no clear indication that NDI was

welcome to operate in Tajikistan.  With NDI activities

effectively frozen since April and with no new assurances on

registration or a visa for American staff, Gejdenson and Jewett

are cobbling together a plan to keep the door open.  Even this

scaled back presence will require significant continued support

from the Embassy.  END SUMMARY.

FOREIGN MINISTER SUGGESTS BIDING TIME

2. (C)  Foreign Minister Nazarov suggested that NDI wait to

attempt to register with the Ministry of Justice until after a

new law on public associations and non governmental

organizations was enacted, possibly at the end of the year.

Acknowledging that it is indeed illegal to function without

registration, he referred to the unofficial arrangement brokered

by the Embassy which allowed NDI to conduct its trainings of

political parties even while it remained unregistered.  Now,

however, it is impossible to return to the unofficial status

quo.  Nazarov confided that in government meetings on NDI, he

had been the lone voice advocating allowing the organization to

work in Tajikistan while its status remained unresolved.

3.  (C)  Gejdenson emphasized that NDI was a transparent

organization whose aim was to help Tajikistan create a "free and

open society," and quoted Jefferson, stating the price of

freedom was vigilance.  He explained that NDI wanted to bring "a

technical person" to lead the office through the registration

process, but that individual would need a visa.  Nazarov  made

no pledge the MFA would issue a visa, even when Jewett repeated

the request later.

4.  (C)  Nazarov noted the April incident, where Acting NDI

director Nurul Rakhembekov, a Kazakh national, was caught in a

sex scandal and quickly deported (reftel), was "very unpleasant"

for the Tajik government, particularly since it took place a

week before President Rahmonov's state visit to Kazakhstan.

(COMMENT:  Nazarov was most likely speaking from the Foreign

Ministry's perspective.  We are certain that the Ministry of

Security set up the episode.  END COMMENT.)

5.  (C)  Jewett reported the Ministry of Security had repeatedly

questioned NDI's local staff, and they were concerned about the

physical security of their employees.   Nazarov promised to

speak to the Minister of Security and assured the NDI

representatives that no harm would come to their local staff.

6.  (C)  Nazarov alluded to the events in Andijon and

Kyrgyzstan, saying "Tajikistan is still living through the

effects."  Gejdenson asked whether Russia tried to dictate its

terms to Tajikistan. "We balance our relations," replied the

foreign minister diplomatically.

NO FURTHER ADVICE FROM MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

7.  (C) Gejdenson opened the conversation with First Deputy

Minister Ghulchera Sharipova by stating, "I want to register NDI

DUSHANBE 00001425  002 OF 003

under the old law and then again under the new law. There is no

reason not to register this transparent organization.  Madeline

Albright will be calling the foreign minister to request a visa

for an American director to come and manage the office."  He

suggested the new NGO law would be restrictive and modeled on a

similar Russian law, and then stated, "It's not good for you if

NDI leaves this country."

8.  (C)  Sharipova carefully avoided giving any specific

explanation by stating, "You'll need to talk to my colleagues

about that.  I do not deal with registration issues. " (NOTE:

As First Deputy Minister, Sharipova can and has involved herself

in NGO issues and is well briefed on the registration problems.

END NOTE.)  She noted that NDI was refused registration because

it "presented its documents" incorrectly, and no new

registrations would be granted until after the new law was

passed.  When? "I cannot speak for parliament," she said.  When

pressed for more specific advice, she demurred. "I do not know

anything about this case."  She seemed surprised to hear Nazarov

had recommended that NDI wait until the end of the year to try

to reregister.  Taking another tack, she remarked, "(The

U.S.-funded NGO) ABA Ceeli had problems registering, but they

worked closely with the Ministry and resolved the issue."

NO FURTHER MEETINGS

9.  (C)  Despite repeated requests, the Embassy was unable to

arrange meetings with the Presidential Administration and the

Ministry of Security.  The Presidential Administration told an

Embassy staff member, "(Presidential Advisor Erkin)

Rakmatulloyev has spoken with the Ambassador on this issue and

there is nothing new to say."  Sharipova's colleague, Deputy

Minister of Justice Mengliev, would not consider a meeting until

permission came from the MFA, which more than 48 hours later had

failed to pass the diplomatic note to the Ministry of Justice.

10.  (C)  Since the departure of NDI Acting Director Nurul

Rakhembekov in April, NDI has ceased all training programs, even

with the president's ruling political party.  Several staff

members have quit, including the interpreter.  The lack of

registration makes it impossible for NDI to do something as

simple as issue a Letter of Invitation for technical trainers,

or register visitors, such as Jewett and Gejdenson, who had to

be registered as "tourists" visiting local staff.

FINDING A WAY FORWARD

11. (C)  The NDI delegation came to Dushanbe with plans to

obtain a work visa for an American staff member and move forward

on registration.  Jewett admitted, "We came up with nothing."

Gejdenson and Jewett were reluctant to give up, however, finding

inspiration in their remaining local staff's commitment to the

program despite fear of harassment from Tajik authorities.  They

also spoke with beneficiaries of NDI training, including

officials of President Rahmonov's own party, whose appreciation

for NDI's work, Gejdenson believes, was genuine.

12. (C)  Gejdenson and Jewett considered seriously whether this

was enough to keep NDI's doors open in Tajikistan.  Gejdenson

ruled out total closure of the office, uncertain they would

manage to get back in after the elections and after the adoption

of the new NGO law.  More seriously, he was afraid of setting a

precedent by letting a host government squeeze out NDI.

Gejdenson and Jewett did, however, seriously consider the

possibility of formally and publicly suspending NDI activities.

The Ambassador explained the potential benefits of such a move,

which would give NDI the upper hand in determining its own fate

and obtain some benefit from what is already a de facto

suspension.  Hours before leaving Dushanbe, Gejdenson and Jewett

still were not sure how far down this path they would go.

13.  (C) In the meantime, NDI plans to continue to seek a visa

for an American citizen director.  Gejdenson is confident he can

get former Secretary Albright to write a letter to FM Nazarov

requesting a visa, and equally confident he can find "an

DUSHANBE 00001425  003 OF 003

American of some heft"such as former congressman Tom Andrews to

volunteer to come to Dushanbe as a temporary director until

after the Tajik elections, adoption of the new NGO law, and

eventual registration of NDI.  NDI is well aware of the problem

of sending an American to work here on a Tajik tourist visa and

will seek proper status for him.  The Embassy advised NDI that

absent full registration, a work visa is highly unlikely.

However, if the visa would be forthcoming, the interim American

director would focus on pursuing NDI's registration and

implementing a scaled-down program of activities, avoiding

activities that might trigger backlash from government

authorities before the elections.  Gejdenson admitted that the

purpose of such activities would be to keep the door open until

a full NDI program could resume.

14. (C)  COMMENT:  The case of NDI makes the Tajiks very

uncomfortable, and the government has found it easier to refuse

to discuss the issue than to give a clear "no."  Gejdenson and

Jewett appear understandably frustrated by the vague responses,

yet eager to persevere.   They are clearly still sorting out

their options, including suspending or scaling back activities.

Despite previous pledges to the Ambassador, nothing suggests the

Tajik government will actually issue a visa for an American

office director to manage the office.  Without registration and

strong management, NDI will continue to have a presence in

Tajikistan in name only.  END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

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

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 001434

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/27/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ECON, ENRG, TI, AF, IR

SUBJECT: IRANIAN AND AFHGAN PRESIDENTS' VISIT TO DUSHANBE BRINGS NO

SURPRISES, JUST PERSIAN BROTHERLY LOVE

REF: A)  DUSHANBE 1420  B)  STATE 19436

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Hoagland, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy,

Dushanbe, State.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  Iranian President Ahmadinejad's July 25-26

visit to Dushanbe confirmed the close linguistic and cultural

ties between Tajikistan and Iran; the multiple agreements signed

further strengthened the bonds forged during Tajik President

Rahmonov's January visit to Tehran.  When Afghan President Hamid

Karzai joined the party July 26, the three leaders reaffirmed

their common cultural ties and agreed to meet annually as a part

of an Intergovernmental Coordination Council.  Aside from paying

enthusiastic lip service to the construction of a hydropower

mega-project at Dhosti-jhum on the Afghan-Tajik border, the

visit produced little more than autographed agreements that may

or may not be implemented.  Tajik counterparts, understanding

the optics of welcoming an official Iranian delegation while

nuclear issues and support for Hezbollah go unresolved, tried to

downplay the political aspects of the meeting and highlighted

the economic points.  END SUMMARY.

IRAN

2.  (SBU)  Ahmadinejad arrived from Turkmenistan July 25 to an

immediate meeting with President Rahmonov and top advisors.  In

addition to a joint declaration on the development of bilateral

relations, Tajik television reported that during the bilateral

meetings, the Tajiks and Iranians signed five agreements

relating to cooperation in:

--Justice;

--Labor and social protection;

--Tourism 2006-2009;

--Establishment of free economic and trade zones;

--Preferred tariffs on imports and exports.

3.  (C)  Ahmadinejad also attended the inaugural ceremony for

the Anzob tunnel, a $40 million project financed by the Iranians

linking northern and southern Tajikistan.   (NOTE:  Despite the

ribbon cutting, the tunnel still requires several months more

work before it is open to the public. The project is rumored to

be rife with embezzlement and corruption on both the Tajik and

Iranian sides. END NOTE.)

4.  (U)  Ahmadinejad made only brief remarks to the press the

first day of the visit, saving his comments and vitriol for the

press conference that followed the tri-lateral meeting.  After a

well-publicized telephone conversation with Russian President

Putin during his sojourn in Dushanbe, Ahmadinejad told the press

only that they discussed "international issues," including the

situation in Lebanon.

5.  (C)  Ahmadinejad's arrival did not include the usual

high-level diplomats reserved for a visiting head of state.  The

German, French and British Embassies sent lower-ranking

diplomats to his airport reception in place of their

Ambassadors, although Tajik protocol introduced all diplomats on

the tarmac as "Ambassador."

6.  (C)  According to the British DCM and French Ambassador, a

week prior to Ahmadinejad's visit, the German, French and

British Embassies in Dushanbe received instructions to deliver a

joint demarche to FM Nazarov concerning Iran's nuclear program.

Nazarov acknowledged that Iran has a right to develop nuclear

energy, but agreed that Iran should refrain from any military

nuclear program and should cooperate with the appropriate

international bodies.  Nazarov promised to pass the European

message to President Rahmonov, a commitment he apparently kept

as evidenced by press accounts which noted that Rahmonov and

exchanged views on Iran's nuclear program and Rahmonov urged

DUSHANBE 00001434  002 OF 003

Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA.

7.  (C)  COMMENT:  Interestingly, when the subject came up in

Ambassador Hoagland's farewell call on Rahmonov (Ref A) prior to

the EU demarche, the president indicated he did not intend to

raise such a contentious issue and would keep the upcoming

bilateral with  strictly focused on cultural, commercial and

assistance matters.  The EU demarche, perhaps with some credit

due to our own message on the P5+1 incentive package (Ref B)

delivered just prior to Ahmadinejad's visit, appears to have

nudged Rahmonov to overcome his instinct to avoid politicized

issues during the visit.  END COMMENT.

ENTER AFGHANISTAN

8.  (C)  Afghan President Hamid Karzai joined the duo July 26 to

attend the first trilateral summit of the three countries.

(NOTE: The summit was meant to take place in Tehran in January,

but Karzai, after consultation with the United States, backed

out, citing "domestic issues." END NOTE.)  The three leaders

signed several memoranda in Dushanbe on economic cooperation and

combating drug trafficking and terrorism. They also signed a

charter to establish the Intergovernmental Coordination Council.

 Press quoted Rahmonov as saying the council would be set up

within two months and hold its first meeting in Kabul.  The

council will meet once a year "to tackle existing problems."

9.  (SBU)  According to some press reporting, it appeared as if

the three leaders spent all of July 26 together.  In fact, there

was very little Ahmadinejad and Karzai overlap.  Karzai arrived

in Dushanbe at 16:20 hours, and Ahmadinejad departed by mid- to

late evening.

MEET THE PRESS

10.  (C)  Rahmonov, Karzai and Ahmadinejad addressed 136

journalists after their meeting to announce the new agreements

and jointly call for fighting in the Middle East to stop

immediately.  One press article reported that Ahmadinejad

responded to questions about Iran's support for Hezbollah, by

stating, "The United States has spread this slander in order to

conceal its shortcoming."

(NOTE:   Foreign Minister Nazarov pulled aside the Ambassador

July 26 while diplomats were waiting for Karzai's arrival.  He

emphasized that the Tajiks had stressed to Ahmadinejad that he

should not say anything against the United States during his

press conferences.  Nazarov expressed relief Ahmadinejad had

honored their request during his first (July 25) media

opportunity, but Nazarov said he couldn't guarantee that

Ahmadinejad still wouldn't respond to "provocations" by

journalists, which he clearly did on July 26.  According to a

BBC eyewitness, Ahmadinejad honored the Tajik request but

lingered at the press table after Rahmonov and Karzai had left.

He then reportedly said, "Ok now I will tell you what I really

think," and let loose on the United States.  END NOTE.)

11. (U)  During the July 26 press conference, the leaders also

announced support for construction of Dhosti-jhum, a proposed

4000 MW hydropower project on the Pyanj River between

Afghanistan and Tajikistan that the Tajiks continue to press

with investors and donors.

12.  (SBU) The leaders spoke in Farsi, which posed a difficulty

for many international journalists used to covering Tajik events

in Russian.  The MFA refused to offer any Russian-language

interpretation, telling journalists to hire their own since it

was not the responsibility of the MFA.  The MFA also refused

admittance to a U.S. Embassy staff member who is also an

accredited journalist.

13. (C)  COMMENT:  Despite the enormous protocol and press, the

summit appears to have been little more than an opportunity to

DUSHANBE 00001434  003 OF 003

feel good about the Persian language world, without holding any

of the three states to real commitments.  The Tajiks are still

waiting for delivery of some of the promises made during the

bilateral meetings in January, particularly the construction of

Sangtuda-II hydropower station.  This time around, it appears as

if expectations were lower.

14.  (C)  COMMENT CONTINUED:  Tajikistan continues to join

organizations and sign memoranda which keep it in good standing

with its neighbors and allies.  Tajikistan needs economic

assistance, trade and investment too much to alienate Iran.

Rahmonov's foreign policy door remains open to other countries

and the Tajiks continue to balance all the competing interests.

Rahmonov does not at all trust Tehran politically and

ideologically, but he wants Iranian investment.  END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

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

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