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|08MOSCOW1822||2008-06-26 10:28||2011-08-30 01:44||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Moscow|
DE RUEHMO #1822 1781028
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261028Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8768
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 2494
C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 001822
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/26/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER AF PK RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA SUPPORTS STRONG MEASURES AGAINST PAKISTANI
Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Margaret Hawthorne for reason
s 1.4 (b/d).
¶1. (C) MFA Pakistan Desk Chief Andrey Starkov told us on June
25 that Russia continued to advocate the use of strong
measures against terrorists in Pakistan, and was concerned by
the new government's "weak" approach to securing the tribal
regions on the border with Afghanistan. Starkov did not
believe the Gilani government had a genuine plan to address
the problem, and complained that making "gentlemen's
agreements" with extremists ran counter to Pakistan's
security interests. He questioned Pakistan's reliance on the
Frontier Corps, saying that they were insufficient to face
Taliban and other insurgents that must be fought by the
¶2. (C) Starkov considered PM Gilani's reaction to the recent
U.S. airstrike that killed Pakistani troops overly "harsh,"
and commented that such incidents were inevitable if Pakistan
failed to take sufficient action against Taliban who used the
country as a safe haven to launch attacks in Afghanistan.
Starkov reiterated that whether in Pakistan or Afghanistan,
the GOR supported U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
¶3. (C) Starkov thought the future of Gilani's coalition
government was unpredictable - it faced internal problems and
had become too focused on the possibility of removing
President Musharraf. He said Army Chief of Staff General
Kayani was handling the current situation shrewdly by
"sitting on the fence" regarding Musharraf's future, and
predicted that Musharraf would "struggle to the end" to
retain his position. Starkov explained that the GOR
continued to support Musharraf, who remained Pakistan's best
hope for fighting extremists.
¶4. (C) Starkov said Russia-Pakistan bilateral contacts
remained limited. Their counter-terrorism working group was
expected to hold its fourth annual meeting by the end of
2008, while ministerial level consultations, which were last
held in Moscow in June 2006, might next take place in
Islamabad in 2009.