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Cable reference id: #08TASHKENT153
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Reference id aka Wikileaks id #139899  ? 
SubjectGulnora Karimova Appointed Deputy Minister Of Foreign Affairs For Cultural Issues
OriginEmbassy Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
Cable timeMon, 4 Feb 2008 13:32 UTC
ClassificationCONFIDENTIAL
Sourcehttp://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/02/08TASHKENT153.html
References08TASHKENT117, 08TASHKENT91
Referenced by10TASHKENT27
History
Extras? Comments, 1 media item
VZCZCXYZ0016 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHNT #0153/01 0351332 ZNY CCCCC ZZH R 041332Z FEB 08 FM AMEMBASSY TASHKENT TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9173 INFO RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 3706 RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA 9916 RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1227 RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 4320 RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 0181 RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0080 RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0198 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 3910 RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 2178 RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 0269 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0927 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0855 RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0356 RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1753 RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0984 RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0123 RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2304 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
Hide header C O N F I D E N T I A L TASHKENT 000153 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN AND DRL E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/04/2018 TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PINR [Intelligence], SCUL [Cultural Affairs], UZ [Uzbekistan] SUBJECT: GULNORA KARIMOVA APPOINTED DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FOR CULTURAL ISSUES REF: A. TASHKENT 91 B. 07 TASHKENT 323 C. TASHKENT 117 Classified By: POLOFF R. FITZMAURICE FOR REASONS 1.4 (B, D) ¶1. (C) On February 4, the independent Uzmetronom website reported that Gulnora Karimova, President Karimov's eldest daughter, was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Cultural Issues. The article also reported that on February 1, President Karimov signed decree PP-787, creating a new department in the Uzbek MFA to focus on "cultural and humanitarian issues," presumably to be headed by Karimova in her new position. Karimova's appointment was confirmed in an MFA diplomatic note received later on February 4. GULNORA'S APPOINTMENT CONFIRMED BY MFA -------------------------------------- ¶2. (C) Karimova's appointment was confirmed in a telephone conversation on February 4 by America's Desk Chief Ismat Fayzullaev, who commented that Karimova's appointment was a "good sign," noting Karimova's long-standing support for the arts in Uzbekistan through such organizations as Fund Forum.uz and the Bella Terra magazine. In her new position, Karimova will have a lead role in promoting Uzbek culture abroad. Fayzullaev denied that Karimova's position was newly created, adding that Karimova was more qualified than her predecessors and would make an excellent cultural ambassador for Uzbekistan. Speaking privately with Pol-econ Chief later in the day, Fayzullaev opined this was the beginning of Karimova's official elevation and that by next year she would be a Deputy Prime Minister. He also said (protect) that "no one" at MFA wants the job of working for her. The MFA appointment was confirmed by MFA diplomatic note on February ¶4. ¶3. (C) Karimova's appointment was also confirmed by Embassy agricultural assistant FSN, whose friend works in the MFA's accounting department and was ordered to prepare an office for Karimova at the MFA over the weekend. Karimova's appointment to a senior government positioned has been rumored in Tashkent for the past several weeks (ref A). FREE TO TRAVEL NOW TO THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE? --------------------------------------------- ------ ¶4. (C) In the February 4 article, Uzmetronom notes that Karimova's appointment "automatically entailed" the granting of "diplomatic immunity" to Karimova "outside of Uzbekistan." The state of New Jersey issued a warrant out for her arrest after she fled the United States with her children in 2001 following a messy divorce and custody battle from her first husband, an AmCit who has since been awarded custody of the children. As a result, Karimova is unable to travel to the United States or Europe without fear of arrest (ref B). Despite the warrant, though, there have been rumors that Karimova has traveled in recent years to France. GULNORA'S REPORTED INVOLVEMENT WITH SWITZERLAND-BASED ZEROMAX CORPORATION --------------------------------------------- -------- ¶5. (C) Embassy political FSN believed that Karimova's appointment is an attempt to provide her with diplomatic cover so that she may be able to travel freely once again to E Europe, and possibly even to the United States, to inspect her family's finances. Karimova is widely seen as controlling the Zeromax corporation, which is headquartered in Switzerland and controls a large stake in many of the key sectors of the Uzbek economy, including its gas, oil, and gold extraction industries. According to political FSN, Zeromax generates a significant percentage of the ruling family's annual income. In addition, the Karimov family reportedly holds large bank accounts in both Europe and the United States, though it relies on middlemen to carry out transactions as a result of Karimova's arrest warrant. Due to squabbles over business interests, Gulnora is reportedly estranged from her younger sister Lola, who was recently appointed to a position at United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris (ref C). Gulnora is also viewed as much closer to her father than Lola. SADLY, CURTAINS FOR GOOGOOSHA ----------------------------- ¶6. (C) The February 4 Uzmetronom article also reports that Karimova's appointment would sadly entail the closing of her www.googoosha.uz website, whose launch in 2007 coincided with the release of her musical compact disc under the "Googoosha" stage name. COMMENT ------- ¶7. (C) Whether Gulnora Karimova's appointment to Deputy Foreign Minister is preparation for succession or an attempt to provide her diplomatic cover to travel again to Europe and the United States, or both, is hard to tell. It is possible President Karimov himself has not quite decided. What is certain is that Gulnora's uncertain status greatly complicates Karimov's succession, and this appointment allows some flexibility as the local political situation plays out. On the one hand, Gulnora could become a Deputy Prime Minister, though with the number of enemies she has acquired through her rapacious business appetites, this might prove an ill-fated move. More probable, in our estimation, is an attempt to forge for Gulnora a positive international image and perhaps buy her the political protection she will need when and if the Karimovs decide to exit Uzbekistan's political state - and perhaps Uzbekistan itself. NORLAND

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