07MOSCOW4185, SCO: NO PLANS TO EXPAND, BUT GETTING INVOLVED IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW4185 2007-08-27 14:01 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO1093
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #4185/01 2391401
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271401Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3267
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 004185 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/27/2017 
TAGS: EAID ENRG EPET PINR PREL
SUBJECT: SCO:  NO PLANS TO EXPAND, BUT GETTING INVOLVED IN 
REGION 
 
REF: A. (A) MOSCOW 3996 
     B. (B) MOSCOW 4141 
 
MOSCOW 00004185  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells.  Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  Leonid Moisev, President Putin's envoy to 
the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), confirmed that 
the organization has no plans to expand any time soon and 
maintained that the SCO would remain an economic club, rather 
than a military alliance.  Experts agreed, telling us that 
taking in potential new members such as Iran and India would 
destabilize the organization, further strain relations among 
the current member states, and damage relations with the 
West.  Russia's aid to Kyrgyzstan reflects some of the strain 
in the organization, as it is intended to counteract Chinese 
and Kazakh influence in the country, rather than compete with 
funds from the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Russia also 
would like to help Afghanistan secure its borders but does 
not want a secure Afghanistan to become a rival transshipment 
point for Central Asian electricity and gas.  END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
The Official Line:  Iran Will Not Join SCO 
------------------------------------------ 
 
2.  (SBU) Leonid Moisev, who serves as President Putin's 
Special Representative to the SCO, National Coordinator for 
SCO Affairs, and Ambassador at-large, stated in an 
off-the-record August 23 briefing at the MFA that, contrary 
to news and other reports, the SCO will not expand any time 
soon.  "The SCO must consolidate the nucleus of the 
organization first.  New members would mean new problems. 
Perhaps when the organization is stronger it can absorb new 
members," he argued.  Moisev went on, saying much goodwill 
has been built up as the members agreed on issues such as 
procedures for meetings, and the organization does not wish 
to jeopardize that.  He argued expanding the SCO would be a 
"setback." 
 
----------------------------------- 
SCO To Remain Economic Organization 
----------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) Moisev stated that the defense ministries of SCO 
member states almost never cooperate because the organization 
"will never become a military organization."  He said it was 
a relief that the Peace Mission 2007 anti-terrorist exercises 
took place at all because of the numerous technical and 
logistical hurdles, such as the negotiation of SOFAs, that 
needed to be cleared.  He stated the SCO wants to conduct 
regular exercises, but not every year and not on the scale of 
Peace Mission 2007 (ref A). 
 
----------------- 
The Experts Agree 
----------------- 
 
4.  (C) Victor Litovkin, Assistant Editor of the online 
journal "Independent Military Overview," told us much the 
same in an August 17 meeting.  He said perhaps Turkmenistan 
and Mongolia could join the SCO without causing many 
problems, but observer states Iran, Pakistan, and India 
should not expect to join any time soon.  China opposes 
allowing India to join, and the U.S. and NATO would be upset 
if Iran joined, he opined.  If the SCO took in Pakistan and 
not India, he added, the Indians would object.  Litovkin, 
however, predicted that if Ukraine joined NATO, then Russia 
would push for Iran to join the SCO. 
 
5.  (C) Ivan Safranchuk, Director of the World Security 
Institute, told us on August 22 (ref A) that the SCO would 
not accept new members because Russia and China do not want 
to risk diluting their dominance of the organization.  China, 
he said, is already frustrated by its inability to control 
the SCO agenda, and new members would only make matters worse 
for them.  He also argued that the SCO member states do not 
want Iran to join because the organization "does not wish to 
accept responsibility for Iran's actions."  He also cautioned 
that allowing Iran to join would undermine the legitimacy of 
the SCO. 
 
6.  (C) Andrey Grozin, Head of the Central Asia and 
Kazakhstan Department of the CIS Institute, told us on August 
21 (ref B) the SCO is already "struggling to find its 
purpose."  Adding more members at this time would only make 
the situation murkier and render the SCO ineffective. 
 
-------------------------- 
Russia's Aid To Kyrgyzstan 
-------------------------- 
 
MOSCOW 00004185  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
 
7.  (C) Safranchuk told us on August 22 that he believes 
Putin's announcement of 2 billion USD in aid for Kyrgyzstan 
is intended to counteract Kazakh and Chinese influence in the 
country.  According to Safranchuk, Russia is concerned about 
China's and Kazakhstan's growing influence in the region and 
wants to regain its traditional dominance.  Safranchuk 
predicted the money would be invested in hydroelectric power 
and mining because these are the most developed parts of the 
Kyrgyz economy.  Grozin agreed, adding that this investment &#x0
00A;was not being made in response to the Millennium Challenge 
Corporation's recent investment in Kyrgyzstan. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
A Secure Afghanistan, But Not Too Secure 
---------------------------------------- 
 
8.  (C) Grozin told us that the SCO's plan to convene a 
conference on Afghanistan would not result in much action 
because the security situation would deter member states from 
engaging at this time.  In addition, Safranchuk noted the 
tension inherit in Russian efforts to promote stability and 
enhance counter-narcotics programs.  "Too much" stability 
might tempt Central Asian states to start selling electricity 
and perhaps even gas to India and Pakistan via a stable 
Afghanistan, he argued, thus depriving Russia of the leverage 
it enjoys as Central Asia's main market.  Safranchuk added 
that any money pledged by the SCO would probably go to 
securing Afghanistan's borders and developing industry and 
education. 
Burns

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