Viewing cable 06RIGA577
Title: NAZERBAYEV'S VISIT TO LATVIA

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06RIGA5772006-07-21 08:44:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Riga
VZCZCXRO7247
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHRA #0577/01 2020844
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 210844Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3169
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY PRIORITY 0140
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0045
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RIGA 000577 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/21/2016 
TAGS: PREL ENRG ECON OSCE RU KZ LG
SUBJECT: NAZERBAYEV'S VISIT TO LATVIA 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Catherine Todd Bailey.  Reason: 1.4(D) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary: The visit to Latvia by Kazakh President 
Nazerbayev was mainly focused on building economic ties 
between the two countries.  The Kazakhs already have a heavy 
investment in a grain port in Latvia and would like to use 
the oil terminal at Ventspils to ship their oil.  The two 
countries would also like to work with China to create a land 
line to move Chinese goods to market.  Both of these ideas, 
though, require transit through Russia, which is far from 
assured.  Latvia committed to support Kazakhstan's bid to be 
OSCE CIO in 2009, but tied it to fulfillment of OSCE 
standards, potentially allowing them a way out.  The Latvians 
were very pleased that Nazerbayev visited the occupation 
museum as well.  End summary. 
 
¶2. (U) President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazerbayev, visited 
Latvia July 17 ) 18.  The joint declaration signed with 
Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga, can be found in 
English at 
www.president.lv/pk/content?cat id=603&art id=9806&lng=en. 
Pol/econ chief met with MFA A/S level official for Russia and 
the former Soviet States Vilmers Henins and the President's 
foreign policy advisor Janis Mazeiks on July 19 for a readout 
on the visit. 
 
¶3. (C) Economic ties were at the top of the agenda. 
Nazerbayev brought his ministers for transport, energy and 
economics along on the trip.  The post-visit press headlines 
focused on Kazakhstan's desire to buy the Latvian 
government's shares of Ventspils Nafta, the company that 
controls the oil terminal at the port of Ventspils, when it 
is privatized.  Kazakhstan would like to use the pipelines 
that end in Venstpils to move its oil to market and Latvia 
would welcome the return of this business lost when the 
Russians stopped oil shipments to Ventspils several years 
ago.  Unfortunately, Nazerbayev stated publicly that he 
expected Kazakh bidders would receive preferential treatment 
in the bidding, leaving Latvian economic minister Stokenbergs 
to quickly clarify that the government's shares would be sold 
to the highest bidder.  The two leaders also discussed a 
project to build rail links from China, through Kazakhstan, 
to Latvia to provide a route for Chinese goods to European 
and North American markets.  Both these proposed transit 
routes go through Russia, and it is not at all clear Moscow 
will approve these projects.  Mazeiks said that the Latvians 
will let Nazerbayev take the lead in talking to the Russians, 
given the much better state of his relations with Moscow. 
 
¶4. (U) The original plan for the state visit had included a 
visit to Ventspils, not only to see the oil terminal, but 
also to look at a joint Latvian-Kazakh enterprise grain 
terminal for shipping central and eastern European grain to 
market. However, disputes over port fees and supply chain 
problems have kept the terminal from operating anywhere near 
its capacity, so the trip was scrubbed from the schedule. 
Instead, Nazerbayev attended the laying of a cornerstone for 
a Kazakh-owned hotel to be built in Riga. 
 
¶5. (C) The main political development from the visit was 
agreement in principle by Latvia to support Kazakhstan for 
OSCE Chairman in Office in 2009.  The statement language on 
this is very carefully crafted, with Latvia agreeing to a 
Kazakh invitation to support the bid, but noting the CIO's 
"special responsibility for implementation of OSCE standards 
and principles."  Mazeiks termed it a "qualified yes" while 
Henins said that Vike-Freiberga was clear in a tete-a-tete 
with Nazerbayev that he needed to implement further reforms 
at home.  Both suggested that Latvia would be willing to drop 
their support if the human rights and democracy situation in 
Kazakhstan deteriorated. 
 
¶6. (U) The leaders also discussed educational exchanges. 
Nazerbayev was especially interested in getting Kazakh 
students to the Riga Business School, which was originally a 
USAID-funded project and operates in affiliation with 
SUNY-Buffalo. 
 
¶7. (C) The Latvians were especially pleased that Nazerbayev 
agreed to visit the Occupation Museum, which chronicles 
Latvia's struggles under Nazi and Soviet rule.  According to 
another source on President Vike-Freiberga's staff, 
Nazerbayev overruled his staff, who cautioned against 
upsetting Moscow, to visit the museum. 
 
¶8. (C) Comment:  The Latvians are genuinely pleased with the 
visit, which they feel really cemented economic ties between 
the two countries.  While a bit uncomfortable with his 
political record, they are swallowing that in hopes of 
getting the economic deals.  The key, though, will be the 
Russian reaction.  The Latvians hope Nazerbayev can carry the 
 
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water in Moscow to get the necessary transit rights. 
Bailey