07MOSCOW4420, RUSSIA WANTS A STABLE PAKISTAN BUT AVOIDS DIRECT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW4420 2007-09-10 02:49 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2217
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #4420/01 2530249
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 100249Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3679
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 2317
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1122

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 004420 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL IN PK RS XD
SUBJECT: RUSSIA WANTS A STABLE PAKISTAN BUT AVOIDS DIRECT 
BACKING OF MUSHARRAF 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice D. Wells for reasons 1.4 (b/d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Russia seeks a stable Pakistan, preferably 
under the leadership of President Musharraf, but is reluctant 
to weigh in on the country's volatile political situation. 
The MFA told us that the GOR considers Musharraf capable of 
maintaining government control of the nation's nuclear 
weapons -- the top Russian priority in Pakistan -- and does 
not want him replaced by a less competent leader.  Russia 
would like Musharraf to take stronger action against 
terrorist training camps but understands that he is hampered 
by domestic politics.  Diplomats and analysts tell us that 
although Russian-Pakistani relations are slowly improving, 
the relationship remains constrained by Russia's strong ties 
with India and Russian inability to move past Pakistan's 
anti-Soviet role during the Cold War.  End summary. 
 
Russia Favors the Predictable Musharraf 
--------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Russia's primary concern is that the Pakistani 
government maintains control of its nuclear weapons, 
according to Andrey Starkov, the MFA's Head of Department for 
Pakistan.  The GOR would like to see Musharraf eliminate the 
terrorist training camps in Pakistan's tribal regions but 
understands that the he is hamstrung by political realities. 
The Pakistani President is viewed by the GOR as a 
"predictable and pragmatic" leader who deals effectively with 
these issues, considering the country's turbulent domestic 
situation.  Starkov stressed that Russia would be concerned 
if he were replaced by a less capable leader, but, "unlike 
the U.S.," his government is not prepared to intervene or 
take a public position on the upcoming Pakistani elections. 
 
Little Russian Activity or Influence in Pakistan 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
3. (C) Starkov explained that Russia is not particularly 
active in Pakistan.  The most dynamic elements of the 
bilateral relationship are the Regional Stability Working 
Group that annually brings together interagency 
representatives to discuss South Asian issues and the 
Anti-Terrorism Working Group that fosters cooperation and 
intelligence sharing.  Starkov noted that real 
counter-terrorism cooperation is limited to the GOR 
periodically providing information on Chechen and Central 
Asian extremists believed to be in Pakistan. 
 
Few Results from the Relationship 
--------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) Pakistani DCM Syed Sail Abbas commented that Russia is 
slowly improving its relationship with Pakistan, but there 
does not appear to be any urgency on the part of the GOR nor 
is there an apparent goal other than for Russia to expand its 
diplomatic role in Asia.  The working groups meet annually, 
as do the foreign ministers, but there are no concrete 
results.  The DCM confirmed that the GOR does not comment on 
Pakistani internal matters and has not weighed in on the 
possibility of Musharraf sharing power with former PM Bhutto 
or other aspects of the upcoming Pakistani elections. 
 
Soviet Thinking and India Impact Russian Policy 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
5. (C) Experts see both the Soviet experience in Afghanistan 
and Russia's current relationship with India as affecting the 
GOR's dealings with Pakistan.  Yevgeniy Satanovskiy of the 
Institute of Middle East Studies asserted that Pakistan's 
active support of anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan still 
colors Russian thinking about Pakistan.  That said, the GOR 
has adopted a "realistic" approach and prefers that a 
military strongman like Musharraf maintain stability in a 
country rife with tribal warfare and engaged in a battle 
against terrorists and extremists.  Satanovskiy understands 
that some Russian policy makers fear that without a military 
leader like Musharraf, Pakistan could face an Islamic 
revolution and become another Iran, but with an already 
developed nuclear arsenal. 
 
6. (C) Both Satanovskiy and Yakolevich Belokrinitsky of the 
Oriental Studies Institute agreed that the GOR would not risk 
damaging its relationship with India by way of Pakistan. 
India remains Russia's "traditional" ally in the region. 
Gennady Chufrin of the Institute of World Economy and 
International Relations told us that improving economic ties 
with India is the GOR's key interest in South Asia (septel), 
which has led Russia to steer clear of embroiling itself in 
contentious issues that could land Russia between India and 
Pakistan.  Pakistani DCM Abbas cited as an example Pakistan's 
 
MOSCOW 00004420  002 OF 002 
 
 
efforts to purchase Russian military equipment for 
counter-terrorism purposes.  The GOR responded simply that it 
would "consider" the request. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
7. (C) Although MFA officials did not speculate about the 
politic
al prospects of either of Pakistan's former Prime 
Ministers, they clearly signaled their preference for the 
status quo, while conceding it may not be sustainable. 
Burns

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