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Viewing cable 05DUSHANBE1702,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05DUSHANBE1702 2005-10-20 09:09 2011-02-03 00:12 SECRET Embassy Dushanbe
Appears in these articles:
http://www.novgaz.ru/data/2011/010/12.html
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T DUSHANBE 001702 

SIPDIS 

STATE FOR EUR/CACEN, SA, DRL, EB 
NSC FOR MERKEL 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/20/2015 TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KDEM RS TI

REF: A) DUSHANBE 1696 B) FBIS CEP2005101927067 C) DUSHANBE 1681 

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard E. Hoagland, Ambassador, EXEC, Embassy Dushanbe. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 

1. (S) SUMMARY: In a meeting with Tajikistan's Ambassador to the United States Zaripov (strictly protect throughout), Ambassador Hoagland and he both agreed that the U.S.-Tajikistan relationship is generally solid, with few sharp ups and downs. They discussed primarily the potential of U.S.-Russia cooperation to develop Tajikistan's hydropower and on-going problems for U.S. NGOs. The conversation stayed relatively general, perhaps because Zaripov had a Foreign Ministry minder with him, until a final pull-aside in Embassy Dushanbe's garden. Zaripov let loose with details about Moscow's paranoia about the United States and its intentions in Tajikistan. He counseled patience and "no sharp response to provocations." His bottom line was that Russia is increasingly playing hardball to limit U.S. influence in Tajikistan. END SUMMARY 

2. (SBU) While on home leave and consultations, Tajik Ambassador to Washington Homrahon Zaripov called on the Ambassador on October 19. Sirozh Rajabov, the Foreign Ministry's Deputy Chief of Administration for Europe and North America, accompanied him as note-taker. 

EVERYTHING'S MORE OR LESS FINE~ 

3. (C) The ambassadors agreed that in principle the bilateral relationship is on track and about 90 percent smooth. Zaripov noted that President Rahmonov is generally satisfied, especially because "he does not like sharp ups and downs in relationships." 

4. (C) Zaripov expressed pleasure that U.S-Russia (i.e., AES and RAO UES) cooperation appears possible to develop Tajikistan's hydropower potential. He recounted how he had been an early champion of this cooperation, and how he had worked hard in the United States to promote it, "even though it is dangerous to be involved in such big business." Ambassador Hoagland noted a successful collaboration between AES and RAO UES would have political value because it would concretely SIPDIS demonstrate U.S.-Russia cooperation for economic development in Central Asia. 

5. (C) The Ambassador briefed Zaripov in detail about the October 13 visit of Secretary of State Rice. Zaripov had little to say, but did express surprise about the Secretary's visit to the Central Mosque and Girls' Madrassa. He confirmed it had not been reported on Tajik State TV and said no one had mentioned it to him. 

6. (C) The Ambassador handed Zaripov a copy of the Tajik Government's recent diplomatic note requesting what, in our view, seems to be excessive information about all U.S. NGOs working in Tajikistan (ref A). Zaripov read it carefully, glanced at Rajabov, and noted it was the first he had heard of such a request and, thus, was unprepared to comment on it. He added that both sides should be patient and avoid "sharp decisions." The United States should understand that Tajikistan as an independent state is only 14 years old. "All of these kinds of questions are solvable with patience," he said. 

7. (C) In response to a question, Zaripov recounted President Rahmonov's September meeting in New York during UNGA with George Soros. Zaripov said that the meeting was positive in general but had its sharp moments. He recounted that Soros had asked Rahmonov if he has suspicions about the Open Society Institute in Tajikistan. Rahmonov had responded firmly that he was highly suspicious and watched it closely. So far, he had found no fault, but was prepared to shut down Soros immediately if any "irregularity" came to his attention. 

8. (C) About life in Washington, Zaripov said he found it easy to work with the State Department and the National Security Council. He praised EUR DAS Byrza's energy, intense involvement, and knowledge of the region. By contrast, Zaripov noted that it is still difficult for him to make much progress on Capitol Hill where he continues to run into pre-conceived notions about Tajikistan. Ambassador Hoagland commented that Embassy Dushanbe has worked hard to change Washington stereotypes about Tajikistan, but Capitol Hill seldom sees diplomatic reporting and relies more generally on media accounts and information from groups with special interests. Both Ambassadors agreed that it would be useful for CoDels and StaffDels to visit Tajikistan so that they could gain first-hand, accurate information. 

~EXCEPT RUSSIA IS AN EVER BIGGER PROBLEM 

9. (S) At the end of the meeting, the Ambassador and Zaripov had a one-on-one pull-aside in the Embassy garden apart from Rajabov. The Ambassador repeated that the latest Tajik diplomatic note requesting excessive information about U.S. NGOs in Tajikistan is ominous and disturbing. He is seeking guidance from Washington before responding. He asked for Zaripov's candid assessment. Zaripov counseled go-slow caution. He volunteered that President Rahmonov is subject to a drumbeat of anti-U.S. attacks from the Ministry of Security prodded by Moscow - not only from Russian mass media (ref B), but also from the Russian-dominated Tajik Ministry of Security. Zaripov said the message from Moscow, especially via the Ministry of Security, is that the United States wants to overthrow Rahmonov, kick the Russians out of their military base, and expand U.S. influence from Afghanistan into Tajikistan as a link to "U.S.-dominated Kyrgyzstan." The U.S. goal in this scenario is "a string of anti-Russia military bases from Baghram to Manas." 

10. (S) Zaripov continued the anti-U.S.-NGO drive - especially against National Democratic Institute, Freedom House, and InterNews - comes directly from Moscow. Rahmonov is trying to maintain an uneasy balance by not registering these three NGOs, but also by allowing them to continue to operate. Zaripov concluded that he sincerely hoped the timing of the new diplomatic note about U.S. NGOs - which he in fact did know about but did not want to discuss in front of Rajabov - was simply coincidental to Rahmonov's October 7-9 meetings in Moscow and St. Petersburg with Putin. 

11. (S) Zaripov elaborated on his earlier comment about the danger of being involved in "big business." He confirmed the AES report (ref C) that then-Tajik PermRep to the UN Rashid Alimov had tried strenuously to prevent the meeting in New York between Rahmonov and the AES CEO, arguing to Rahmonov that the U.S. Government is maneuvering AES to wreck Russian-Tajik hydropower cooperation and push Russia out of Tajikistan. Zaripov recounted that he had taken Rahmonov aside and had "a shouting match with him." He said, "I was willing to be fired, or even go to prison." But he convinced Rahmonov to hear out AES, and Rahmonov has now apparently accepted the idea of AES-RAO UES cooperation. (COMMENT: Although Zaripov's version may be somewhat self-serving, it rings true with many other disparate details we continue to pick up. Russia is playing hardball to limit the influence of the United States in Tajikistan. END COMMENT.) 

HOAGLAND NNNN	2005-10-20	TAJIKISTAN: AMBASSADOR ZARIPOV COUNSELS NO SHARP RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN PROVOCATIONS	

In a meeting with Tajikistan's Ambassador to the United States Zaripov (strictly protect throughout), Ambassador Hoagland and he both agreed that the U.S.-Tajikistan relationship is generally solid, with few sharp ups and downs. They discussed primarily the potential of U.S.-Russia cooperation to develop Tajikistan's hydropower and on-going problems for U.S. NGOs. The conversation stayed relatively general, perhaps because Zaripov had a Foreign Ministry minder with him, until a final pull-aside in Embassy Dushanbe's garden. Zaripov let loose with details about Moscow's paranoia about the United States and its intentions in Tajikistan. He counseled patience and "no sharp response to provocations." His bottom line was that Russia is increasingly playing hardball to limit U.S. influence in Tajikistan.