Kyrgyzstan: Curves of foreign policy
09/04-2012 13:38, Bishkek – 24.kg news agency , by Irina PAVLOVA
The beginning of 2012 can be characterized by increasing external activity around Kyrgyzstan. Legitimacy of current authorities and some political stability in this small Central Asian country gave some boost to official Bishkek for revival of negotiations with outside world.
For Kyrgyzstan it is heavy duty to be multi-vector state. Any relations building should be realized regarding at established system of relations in CIS. Even Russia, cheated by former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev, is looking at our country with caution.
Month later after visiting Turkey where Almazbek Atambayev agreed with Turkey on $49.2M debt relief he went to Moscow. Possibly, he was trying to enhance a success achieved in Turkey. So he reminded Moscow about $15.5M debt for Kant military base rent. However he made it wrong. He should discuss it with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in private, not to announce it before journalists.
Later Russians revamped him. They specified that the debt was for other rent objects – Naval Forces weapon test base, seismic station and communication center. However, on March 1 Defense Ministry of Russia informed Kyrgyz side on payment of the necessary sum.
Such misunderstandings continued to happen. When President returned home he accused Moscow in interference to internal affairs of Kyrgyzstan. According Almazbek Atambayev, “Russian and Kazakh special services were working actively” during the elections of 2011-2012. Also he said that “they were financing some forces and acting in their own benefit”.
Kremlin reaction was harsh: they recommended Atambayev to concentrate on “poverty reduction, not on seeking enemies among friends and allies”. “The responsibility for heavy social situation will lie on the country’s leaders personally”. In addition, Russian side recommended to define “what foreign military objects are situated on Kyrgyz territory before lodging”.
Cold. Warm. Hot.
On this background some experts have started to speak about worsening of Kyrgyz-Russian relations. However, other analysts assured that Kyrgyz President’s announcements were aimed at internal audience. New Constitution has come into force recently and many things were not exactly recorded in it. Therefore Atambayev is trying to gain stronger positions.
German expert in Central Asia Baete Eshment assuned that the reason for worsening relations with Russia can be personal interests of President Almazbek Atambayev in Turkey. It is said that his family has big business in Turkey. It is fair to say that Atambayev called Russia main strategic partner during his speech in Turkish parliament.
Expert are united in one: all foreign “strikes” of Kyrgyzstan are driven by aim to fulfill the state treasury. “Government must report to Parliament but there in no anything to report,” consider Andrew Grozin, an expert of CIS Countries Institute. “Bishkek has one driving motive of foreign policy – money,” agreed Eshment.
Analysts admit that Kremlin contributed in tensions between two countries. Official Moscow insist on revision of an agreement concluded with Kurmanbek Bakiev in 2008. The agreement is about hydroelectric stations building and exchange of strategic enterprise Dastan shares on part of Kyrgyz debt to Kyrgyz Republic.
Though, foreign police is not the place for emotions and Russia aimed and pragmatic approach. On March 20 in framework of official visit in Moscow Almazbek Atambayev met with Vladimir Putin on the occasion of 20th anniversary establishment of diplomatic relationships between two countries.
“We did the right thing developing relationships and helping each other. I know your position on closing not only with Russia but also with Customs Union, Common Economic Zone,” announced Putin’s press service.
In a week, Russian delegation under Energy Minister Sergei Shamtko arrived in Bishkek on March 27. The delegation included Inter RAO EES, RusHydro and Gazprom representatives.
Later Atambayev commented this visit: “I and Vladimir Putin discussed it: agreements must be either fulfilled or cancelled. We are going to be more pragmatic from now on. Of course, Russia is our strategic ally and we are preserving some projects for them. But the time has come. The regional market is big and energy working cost is low. But we can’t realize them immediately, we need working positions and we can’t wait anymore. We discussed it with Vladimir Putin and I’m happy that he will assist,” explained President.
Trip to Baku
“We are ready to guarantee not only Russia but any other investor that now all issues are being solved transparently. From now on there won’t be scandals with mobile communication companies and any other companies,” said Almazbek Atambayev to journalists.
This idea was practically realized lately. Atambaev was invited by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to visit his country’s capital Baku. 6 agreements were signed during the visit. “Azerbaijan has something we should learn,” stressed Kyrgyz President. He also specified that issue on oil refinery in the South of Kyrgyzstan will be discussed during Ilham Aliyev’s return visit. “This issue resolve is the way of Kyrgyz financial independence,” noted Atambayev.
After the USSR fall oil production was completely stopped. The main exporter is Russia. Such situation makes Kyrgyzstan vulnerable and dependable from an exporter. Azerbaijan as an alternative exporter was discussed for a long time but high transportation cost made this variant unpractical.
It is planned that the latter problem will be solved with construction of SOCAR (Azerbaijani state-owned company) oil refinery in Kyrgyzstan. The country may cover supply fuel want and diversify energy import. For Azerbaijan, this is an opportunity to obtain a new outlet.
It is anniversary…
In framework of 20th anniversary of Kyrgyz-Russian relations, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov was invited by Kyrgyz party and arrived in Bishkek on April 4. Local authorities assured him that Kremlin has “a loyal friend and ally who is ready for multi-vector cooperation”. In his turn Sergei Lavrov noted that Russian party is ready to cooperation “on basis of mutual interests and rigorous fulfillment of achieved agreements”.
On April 5 press conference at state residence Ala Archa Sergei Lavrov stressed that Russian military base in Kant is not a favor, it is a necessity in order to achieve security in the region.
“Speaking that we are against Manas Transit Center present is incorrect. We respect President Almazbek Atambayev decision not to prolong agreement on the Center after 2014. Today, me and President agree that our countries will follow CSTO Countries’ Leaders’ Council on Order of Military Bases Settlement on the Member States Territory concluded in 2011,” said Russian Foreign Minister.
Meanwhile, in the middle of March Pentagon Head Leon Panetta visited Kyrgyzstan on the way. “Arrival in Kyrgyzstan gave me an opportunity of meet with Kyrgyz leaders. My goal is to strengthen relationships between our countries and pay gratitude for Manas Transit Center support,” pointed the US Defense Secretary in his report on visiting Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and United Arab Emirates. The information was published on Pentagon web-site.
Panetta noted that Kyrgyzstan and its Central Asian neighbors are “key link in logistic system of import to Afghanistan which proved its importance during the last months”.
Also the Defense Council Secretary of Kyrgyzstan Busurmankul Tabaldiev announced to the Americal colleague that after 2014 the Bishkek airport Manas should become a commercial object. Experts assume that the word “commercial” may become the most important. Washington is bidding at commercial offer and Bishkek woudn’t disagree with it.
However on the meeting with the US Secretary of State Assitant on Central Asia Robert Blake who arrived in Bishkek in early April President Almazbek Atambayev announced once again that after two more years a civic commercial center should be in Manas airport without any military component.
Uniquely, US officials’ visits to Kyrgyzstan will intensify by the end of 2014 and their political and diplomatic pressure will increase too. Can Kyrgyz authorities handle save their positions, collocating with CSTO allies? We will find out soon – after another round of Kyrgyz-American negotiations.
17/06-2013 / Society
23/04-2013 / Business
17/07-2012 / Business
26/06-2012 / Politics
30/05-2012 / Politics
30/05-2012 / Society
24/04-2012 / Politics
10/04-2012 / Politics
14/02-2012 / Politics
09/02-2012 / Politics
Dear visitors of the NA Â“24.kgÂ” website!
The administration of the website decided to hold up the service of adding comments. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and hope for your understanding.