The Atlantic Council of the United States
Twenty Years of Kazakhstan Independence
Session III: U.S.-Kazakhstan Relations
Former Chairman and CEO, Chevron
Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson
for Protracted Conflicts and
Former Kazakh Ambassador to the United States
Vice President of Jefferson Waterman International and
First Interim U.S. Chargé d’affaires for the Republic of Kazakhstan
Deputy Executive Director,
International Energy Agency
Special Envoy of the US Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy,
U.S. Department of State
Senior Research Fellow,
The Heritage Foundation
Location: Washington, D.C.
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Federal News Service
SEAN ROBERTS: (Welcome, everyone, to our final panel of the day, last but not least – we have quite a large and prestigious panel.
And we’re going to start first with a – some keynote words from Kenneth Derr, former chairman and CEO of Chevron and honorary consul of Kazakhstan in San Francisco. And, as we heard earlier today, he’s been involved in Kazakhstan even before it became an independent country, and he was instrumental in a lot of Chevron’s early work in the country. So with no further ado, I’ll –
KENNETH DERR: Well, thank you, Sean, for your introduction. I also want to congratulate Chuck Hagel and Ross Wilson and the council for having recently been ranked as one of the top think tanks by the University of Pennsylvania. And after attending the session this morning, I think I understand why you got that very high rating.
I think it’s important that we are here celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan. There’s certainly a lot to celebrate. And as one of those who was involved in Kazakhstan in those early years, it is a celebration to see what the country has – see what has occurred in the country over those past 20 years.
Under President Nazarbayev’s extraordinary leadership, Kazakhstan is now independent, secure and extremely prosperous. Its independence and security are clear in all of its dimensions of statehood. Its political development is evident in the multiparty parliamentary elections held two weeks ago. And finally, its prosperity can be measured in a number of ways: As mentioned this morning, GDP per capita of 11,000 compared to 5,000 in the year 2000, a GDP growth rate at 7 ½ percent, and I think a hundred – over $120 billion in direct foreign investment speaks for itself.
As recognized in a lot of the panels this morning, Kazakhstan’s achievements have not just been felt by its own people, but are manifested on a wider regional and global stage. As we’ve heard a lot about, it took early actions to show to the whole world the advantage of becoming a non-nuclear weapons state.
This panel this afternoon will try to pull together the past and future themes of the previous panels and consider the evolution and future of U.S.-Kazakhstan relations during a tumultuous period in world history. A few broad points can perhaps set the framework for the discussion.
First, I think we should recognize that the national achievement that we’ve all mentioned were by no means coincidence or certainly self-evident 20 years ago. They’re a function of farsighted leadership by the president and a highly capable team of government, industry and education. They’re also the result of President Nazarbayev’s ability to forge strong relations with countries throughout the world.
The second point is Kazakhstan’s use of the revenue from its natural resources. They’re blessed, as we’ve heard, with vast oil, gas, mineral and other resources. They could have experienced this so-called oil curse that has visited other countries, or it could’ve chosen to develop and reinvest these resources for the broader national good. Wisely, it made the second choice. And the consequence is a plan to diversify its economy to make it one of the most competitive in the world and to create – or already has created – a national fund, which is now over $40 billion, to help it weather future economic storms and provide for future generations.
The third point is partnership. Achieving results with partners is the theme of President Nazarbayev’s introductory message in the publication “Kazakhstan: 20 Years of Peace and Creation.” He recognized that Kazakhstan needed a participation to help his new country develop its vast oil and gas resources. And he also recognized that a strong U.S.-Kazakh relationship would be important to this new country.
In 1993, in Almaty, President Nazarbayev and I signed the documents forming Tengizchevroil, a partnership to develop the huge Tengiz oil field in Kazakhstan. This had been discussed and negotiations had gone on initially with the former Soviet Union. This oil field had been discovered, actually, in the 1980s by the Soviets. And as an aside, they weren’t too happy when they lost their biggest new oil field at the breakup of the Soviet Union and Kazakhstan got Tengiz. Perhaps that may indicate a little bit why their cooperation level in the early days was quite low.
This signing that – in 1993 took place after several long and difficult years of negotiations directly with the Kazakhs. The signing received a lot of worldwide publicity. Many questioned why Chevron was willing to commit large sums of capital investment to this new country. Many questioned why Kazakhstan needed to bring in outside partners to develop its natural resources.
The U.S. government was a strong supporter of this agreement. Both Presidents Bush 41 and Clinton personally supported and gave a lot of strength to the joint venture. General Scowcroft, as he indicated this morning, was also very helpful. I think it was clear the U.S. government recognized the importance of developing new oil supplies outside the Middle East, and the importance of increased oil production to the economic growth of Kazakhstan was clearly recognized by all.
In 1993, when Chevron became a partner, the production at Tengiz was 30,000 barrels per day. Transportation, logistics were difficult. The venture had very, very hard times in those first few years, operating in the red. But we all stuck with it. We developed shipping alternates, actually shipping a lot of the oil as far as Finland by rail car. I think we cornered the rail car market for the entire Eurasia-Western Europe. But that did allow us to expand production.
Finally, after many long years of negotiations, a Caspian pipeline was approved and built through Russia to the Black Sea coming onstream early 2000. This allowed production to expand. Today, production at Tengiz is over 650,000 barrels, an over 20-fold increase from the early days from 1993.
The pipeline will be expanded over the next few years to a million and a half – more than double its current capacity, which will allow further expansions of Tengiz, hopefully at some point in time, up to a million barrels a day, which – we used to quote when we signed the original deal that ultimately this field would produce a million barrels a day. I hope we are correct and I think we will be.
I think now Tengizchevroil stands out as one of the oil industry’s most successful public-private partnerships anywhere in the world. And to the credit of all parties involved, the joint venture follows basically the same contractual terms today that were laid out in 1993.
Fourth point is to recognize that it’s not just about resources, but about the wider economy and communities, and above all, as many people referred to this morning, the people of Kazakhstan. As part of the diversification program, just one small example: Chevron, after much pounding on the backs of its former chairmen, decided to build a petrochemical plant in Atyrau to manufacture polyethylene and metal-plastic bonded pipes. This plant now is a great success, 100 percent run by Kazakhstan employees.
Resources can be used to help develop communities. Tengizchevroil, for example, spend over $10 billion on Kazakhstani goods and service since 2005 and has invested over $650 million to benefit the inhabitants of the Atyrau province.
Here again, at TCO, it has been predominantly run and managed by Kazakhstan personnel. Seventy-six percent of the managers and supervisors are Kazakhs; 85 percent of the total employees are Kazakhs. And of particular note is the safety culture that has grown up with TCO, where workers and operators are delivering world-class performance, protecting the people and the environment of Kazakhstan. TCO has been one of the best safety records of any part of the Chevron family in recent years.
All these things that I’ve just outlined happened as a result of that first original partnership.
As I said at the beginning, we should all celebrate the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan. When the U.S. was the first country to recognize this new country less than two weeks after it declared independence, it forged a partnership that has remained strong for these 20 years and, I’m sure, will continue well into the future. When Chevron formed TCO with the government in 1993, it set the stage for economic growth in the country, growth that I’m sure will follow indefinitely.
There have been challenges – there will be challenges ahead. But I’m confident that Kazakhstan will meet them. In fact, President Nazarbayev recognized these challenges in his state of the nation address last week when he set forth an ambitious 10-point program for Kazakhstan’s development.
In closing, I had the good fortune last December 16th, your anniversary day of – the 20th anniversary day, to – acting as Kazakhstan’s honorary consul general in San Francisco – to go out to City Hall and fly the Kazakh flag. This is a tradition that the city of San Francisco has. On your – on your national day, the consul general can go out, raise the flag.
And as it – (inaudible) – as it was there next to the American flag and I took a look at it, I couldn’t help but feel proud of what had been accomplished between these two countries in the last 20 years, and a little bit of feeling that maybe I was just a small piece of this historic partnership. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. ROBERTS: Thank you very much. That’s a good way to begin this panel, which is focused on U.S.-Kazakhstan relations. And I hope we’ll get into the past, present and future of those relations.
And I couldn’t have a better panel to do that with. We have five people who were – who have been very much involved in U.S.-Kazakhstan relations over the years. And I’ll introduce them in the order that we’ll hear them speak.
First, Honorable Richard Morningstar, who is the special envoy for Eurasian energy at the U.S. Department of State, and is a former ambassador-at-large and special adviser to the president and the secretary of state on assistance for the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.
Secondly, we have the Honorable Bolat Nurgaliev, who has an illustrious diplomatic career that goes back to the Soviet foreign ministry and has extended into the foreign ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan. He has been an ambassador to the U.S. and ambassador to South Korea and Japan. And he’s also worked in the capacity as secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and presently works as the special representative of the OSCE chairperson in office for protracted conflicts.
Following Ambassador Nurgaliev, we will hear from the Honorable Jackson McDonald, vice president of Jefferson Waterman International and former U.S. ambassador to The Gambia and Guinea, and the first interim U.S. chargé d’affaires for the Republic of Kazakhstan. So he will help us learn more about those early days of U.S. presence, diplomatic presence in Kazakhstan.
And following that, we’ll hear from the Honorable Richard Jones, presently deputy executive director for the International Energy Agency and former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan in a slightly later period.
And finally, we will hear from Dr. Ariel Cohen. We’ll hear the analyst’s voice. Dr. Cohen is a senior research fellow at the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at The Heritage Foundation. And he has – he’s a very prolific writer and has written quite a bit about Eurasia, and in particular energy issues in Eurasia, and I’m sure we’ll hear much about that today.
So with that, if we could start with words from Ambassador Morningstar.
AMBASSADOR RICHARD MORNINGSTAR: Thank you very much. And Ambassador Idrissov, Minister Omarov (ph), Ambassador Nurgaliev, it’s good to see – good to see all of you. I have many fond memories of my visits to Kazakhstan and experiences with Kazakhstan. I will take the liberty of maybe telling you a couple of the more humorous ones.
When – I first came into the government in 1993, and I was at OPIC – the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. And the first trip that I took as part of the U.S. government was when I led a business delegation to Kazakhstan in September of 1993. And this was very exciting for me – you know, the very first trip. And we – it was long. We, I guess, must have gone through Frankfurt and then flew to Almaty, which, needless to say, is – has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I mean, I couldn’t believe the mountains coming out of the city and all of that.
But it was about – oh, God, I don’t know what it was U.S. time when we finally got there. But Bill Courtney, who was our ambassador then, picked me up. And I was really excited; I didn’t know many ambassadors at that time. So, you know, Bill picked us up at the airport. And he said, you’re not going to believe what we’re going to do tonight. And I said, what’s that? And he said, we’re going to the Miss Kazakhstan contest. (Laughter.) And – I swear. And Bill said that he was a judge. (Laughter.) And I said, can I be one too? (Laughter.)
In any event, we went to the Miss Kazakhstan contest. I won’t regale you with what went on there – (laughter) – but it was – but it was – but it was quite – it was quite an experience, my very first experience on a foreign trip for the U.S. government, very first thing.
Then the other thing that was also quite humorous, on that very same trip, I had my very first press conference that I ever did. And the first question that the reporter asked me was, quote/unquote, “Are you an American Indian?” (Laughter.) And I – and I said, OK, no, but why are you asking? Well, your name – (laughter) – you know, you must be Native American. But he said – he used the term “American Indian.”
Anyway, I also – I also remember – I also remember very fondly President Nazarbayev’s trip, I believe in – it was either in – maybe December of 1993. And there was a, quote – a state dinner at the State Department. And I remember when President Nazarbayev and his wife and – how many of his children? Two of them, maybe?
MR. : Daughter.
MR. MORNINGSTAR: Daughter – certainly his daughter. I do remember his daughter – got up to sing –
MR. : That’s adorable.
MR. MORNINGSTAR: – and sang. And some – many – probably a lot of you were there that time. I then got into the assistance area after that. And you know, on a serious note, I think probably the most important thing that I worked on during that time was working with Minister Shkolnik and coming up with the assistance package that would be – that was put together in connection with Kazakhstan basically releasing its highly enriched uranium and sending it out of the country, which was tremendously important and – given Kazakhstan’s history as a – with the nuclear test site. And so I was really – it was, I think, a – I think, a remarkable accomplishment.
Coming up to the present day, I think Kazakhstan is more important today than ever. And I say that because it’s one of the few non-OPEC countries that has the potential to substantially increase its oil production over the coming 10 years and longer. And that’s going to be tremendously important. And when we look at tightening oil supplies, issues coming up, you know, relating to, you know, sanctions and other things – that it’s going to be increasingly important for Kazakhstan to develop its production.
And the projects – I think anybody who’s been involved in the energy area – many of you, obviously, here today – (chuckles) – know that the projects in Kazakhstan are tremendously complex, whether it be Tengiz or Karachaganak or Kashagan. And with all of the difficulties involved, it’s really important that these fields grow. And this also means that decisions have to be made as to how to deliver these volumes to the rest of the world, and the expansion of the CPC pipeline is critical to that.
And I think over the years that Kazakhstan has been an extremely good example as to how countries and companies can work together to develop energy resources. And Kazakhstan has a history of having an attractive – having an attractive investment climate. And all of this will obviously help the – bring economic benefit to Kazakh citizens.
Having said that, you know, there are always going to be ups and downs. And there were some ups and downs over the last couple of years. I think some of them have been – some of them have been resolved with respect to treatment of individuals working for companies; still problems with respect to work permits, different kinds of things that – but these are issues that have been and need to be – need to be dealt with.
I’ve – I’m encouraged from what I’ve heard in recent weeks, that the Karachaganak issues, which – in which there were some very legitimate issues that – you know, causing concern to both Kazakhstan and to the companies involved – that that’s been – that those issues have been resolved. And I think that’s a tremendously positive signal. As I understand it, progress is being made with respect to Kashagan, and hopefully, that will continue, because it’s in everybody’s interest that that happen.
So I think I’ll just leave it at that, and hopefully, there’ll be time for some discussion, questions. But overall, it’s been – hard to believe it’s 20 years. I mean, I can’t believe it’s 19 years since I went to the Miss Kazakhstan contest. (Laughter.) But it’s certainly something that’s permanently embedded in my mind. (Laughter.)
MR. ROBERTS: Thank you very much.
Now Ambassador Gringoly (ph).
AMBASSADOR BOLAT NURGALIEV: Thank you, Mr. Roberts.
I would like to use this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Atlantic Council, which, in cooperation with the embassy here in Washington, organized this very informative, useful, timely conference. And I believe the discussion – the panel discussions at the previous sessions proved that there are many people who really care about what happened in our relations and what is going to be with Kazakhstan in the years to come. And I’m delighted to see among the audience so many good friends with whom we can share good memories of the things we did for the benefit of the development of relations and which we legitimately can be proud of.
I have several general and specific remarks, borne out of what I heard from the previous speakers at the opening session and at the two sessions before lunch. I am very thankful for the positive assessments of Kazakhstan’s undeniable achievements in political, economic, social development. And we know that the – we – our country’s developing would have been different if it were not for the partnership with the United States of America.
Several speakers referred to the statecraft of President Nazarbayev, and this is truly so. I remember early ’90s when the then-capital, Almaty, was frequented by visitors, high-level delegations, including from the United States. President Nazarbayev was taking his time to lecture on the geopolitical position of the republic, the way it is seen from the perspective of Almaty, using the map and explaining different things, the – in terms of the challenges, the opportunities, from the security point of view, from the point of view of the development of energy resources, and so on. And that was with – (inaudible) – with Ambassador Sestanovich, with Secretary Christopher, with Secretary Perry and – just to mention these people.
A lot was said about the responsible behavior of Kazakhstan in dealing with the nuclear legacy of the former Soviet Union. And of course, as any other young state, Kazakhstan, in its diplomatic practice, was motivated by desire to secure its sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity. And we were after the security assurances from the major powers once we relinquished nuclear weapons. And of course, that decision was firmly there, and at the same time, for understandable reasons, President Nazarbayev was insisting in his discussions with the visitors from Washington that Kazakhstan needs security assurances and large-scale economic support, especially at the initial stage, because that will be laying the foundation for further development.
And I remember that during the October ’93 visit of Secretary Christopher, the expectations were that the signing by Kazakhstan of the – accession to the NPT will happen during this one-day visit. And President Nazarbayev was explaining that while we are going to do this, we still would like to see stronger indication, stronger signal from our American partners that while we get rid of the nuclear weapons, we will have our security assured, and that is how things were done.
Ambassador Courtney may remember that on a hot July afternoon in ’93 at the courtyard of Hotel Dostyk in downtown Almaty, we finished lunch and cleared the table, put away the plates and started, together with Deputy Foreign Minister Gizatov – (inaudible) – drafting the first lines of the Charter on Democratic Partnership. So that was the major document which was signed during the visit of President Nazarbayev to Washington on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1994. This was the romantic times, so many things were new for us. But we can be happy, proud that at least if we look back at the language of this Charter on Democratic Partnership, that the formulations are as relevant now and as important as they seemed to us that time.
We were having this discussion about quid pro quo, and sometimes in the discussions, there was the expansion of the carrots in the form of, say, invitation – visit – to visit Washington as the recognition of the responsible behavior vis-à-vis the nuclear weapons. And if carrots will not play the intended role, then it might be the time for the sticks. Fortunately, there was never the – (chuckles) – the chance, the necessity to use the sticks, because these 20 years of relations were harmonious. Of course, there were sometimes, problems, difficulties. But given the good will and trust which were developed as the result of our close partnership on – in dealing with the nuclear weapons legacy, we were quite effectively going through all the rough waters.
Bill Courtney, my friend, mentioned in his presentation that the construction in Astana is causing some disbalance in the budget allocation to other regions because of that. But I believe that it is maybe not – maybe not exactly the case, because the development of Astana is used as an incentive for other regional centers to modernize their infrastructure and to follow the example. And the long-term strategy of our government is to make other cities in Kazakhstan as modern and good-looking as is the capital.
And when the – since Ambassador Sestanovich mentioned my name when he was telling you his – well, his conversation with General Tom Franks about the mare milk – I don’t remember what I told him that time, but thinking – sitting over there, I came to the conclusion that most probably, General Franks was hosted by our military, and they being straightforward and insistent guys, just to impose that mare milk on him. (Laughter.) While we hosting Ambassador Sestanovich and his colleagues, we are more considerate and decided to spare him this experience, though I would say that those who tasted mare milk more than once will acknowledge that this is indeed rather tasty and – (inaudible). (Laughter.)
MR. ROBERTS: And Ambassador McDonald.
JACKSON MCDONALD: Yes – (coughs) – excuse me. Thank you very much. I’d like to thank Ross Wilson and the Atlantic Council for inviting me to participate in this excellent conference. It has been a real pleasure, after so many years, to renew acquaintances with so many friends and colleagues, both Kazakhstani and American.
I guess Ross invited me to participate in order to – without getting too nostalgic, to talk about some of the things that transpired in the very, very early days of U.S.-Kazakhstani relations.
In late 1991, I was minding my own business as a political officer at the American Embassy in Moscow, comma, the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union unraveled under our feet.
I had already applied for – or, in the foreign service parlance, bid on – a new position of consul general in Alma-Ata, which we had planned to create in the days of the Soviet Union. But history overtook us, and so I raised my and volunteered to lead the small team to open the embassy in Alma-Ata, as it was still known at that time.
Secretary Baker, as Larry Napper mentioned this morning, indicated that he wanted six of these new embassies opened by January 30th, and the remainder opened by March 15th. So we were working on a very tight timeline.
So I had the honor of leading this team to Alma-Ata. We arrived exactly 20 years ago last night. We flew from Moscow to Alma-Ata via Aeroflot. Currencies were a little screwy in those days. The ticket cost Uncle Sam $3.17 each – (laughter) – for a five-hour flight. (Laughter.) I thought that was a pretty good investment of taxpayers’ money. (Laughter.)
MR. : Wow.
MR. MCDONALD: We arrived at night. We were picked up by Foreign Ministry protocol – it was dark; it was cold, which is normal in January – (chuckling) – and normal at night – and found our quarters at the Hotel Kazakhstan, this large tower of a hotel in downtown Alma-Ata.
Very tired, we all went to bed, very excited. We woke up the next morning and looked out the window and we saw what a magnificent place the city of Alma-Ata is, with this wall of mountains to the south, the Tien Shan Mountains. And as a flatlander from Florida, I said: This is my kind of place. What a great change!
And that very day we made our way down to the Foreign Ministry and presented a diplomatic note that was addressed, which is rare, from the departments of State of the United States of America to the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Normally it’s from the embassy to the Foreign Ministry. But this was the very first diplomatic note, and by that act 20 years ago today, the embassy existed.
Twenty years ago Friday, this coming Friday, we raised the flag over our first little embassy building and became the first diplomatic mission from any country present in the Republic of Kazakhstan. We were closely followed by Turkey, China, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea; there was a slight pause, and then Germany; and then a long pause, Great Britain, France, et cetera. But the United States established the first diplomatic mission in the newly independent Republic of Kazakhstan.
As I said, we raised the flag, and Ambassador Idrissov was present for that occasion. And we raised the flag thanks to two great American icons.
The first is Betsy Ross, who sewed the first flag, and so we were – we were, in effect, raising the flag that she had – she had crafted, but also another great American icon, Eddie Bauer.
You see, we had an embassy building. The city of Alma-Ata had installed a flagpole with a halyard. But the evening before, we realized that we had the flag, we had the flagpole, we had the halyard, but we had no way to attach the flag to the halyard. So we took a razor blade and cut off the snaps from my Eddie Bauer travel bag – (laughter) – and used that to raise the American flag.
Bill Courtney arrived a few days later, and in those early, early days we had a visit from a journalist from The Wall Street Journal, and Bill recounted that story, which wound up on Page 1 of The Wall Street Journal. And it was probably the best free publicity that Eddie Bauer ever got. (Laughter.)
As I said, Bill Courtney came out within a week or 10 days after we raised the flag. He became a – not only a colleague but a friend and a mentor, to this day.
He came out first – and this is – I’m saying this for a reason. He came out first as chargé, not as ambassador. And the reason for that was, we have this thing called the Constitution, which requires, you know, Senate confirmation of ambassadorial appointments, but with the agreement of Senate leadership, ambassadors going out, designated to go out to these various new republics, were allowed to go out to the field without confirmation, with the title of chargé d’affaires and came back in a number of months, once the whole cycle worked, and testified, had their hearings, and were confirmed and sworn in. That just shows you how fast-paced these openings were.
We had two distinct missions. One was to set up the American embassy – not an easy task when you’re that far away from home base, when logistical lines were very long and difficult, at least to begin with – they got better later – but finding property, finding office space, hiring local personnel, cars, drivers, oh – and oh, yes, we had to live somewhere. And after, frankly, nine months, my room at the Hotel Kazakhstan became a little confining, and we were able to find – by the time I left two and a half years later, we found adequate lodging for all of our diplomats.
We were pleased and a little bit surprised at the quality of Kazakhstani citizens who were available to work for us at the embassy. We found some great people, and I think some of those people are still working at the embassy today. That was really one of the best parts of the whole experience, was getting to know these local employees.
Our second mission was, at the same time, as if that wasn’t already a full-time job, to conduct some critical diplomacy at a crucial time in world history. As a successor state to the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan had to – played – a role to play in arms control, and working with Ambassador Nurgaliev and others, Kazakhstan – we were able to encourage Kazakhstan to adhere to the CFE Treaty, START treaty, the NPT.
Along those same lines, we had a number of codels, one of which was none other than Senators Nunn and Lugar. And they were just conceiving of the whole Nunn-Lugar program for denuclearization. And so in that regard, those of us who were privileged to work in Kazakhstan in those days were sort of present at the creation of that very, very successful program.
There were other things that went on in the security realm. Ambassador Morningstar has already mentioned the removal of unsecured radioactive materials under something called Operation Sapphire.
MR. MORNINGSTAR: That was – we weren’t even supposed to use that term back then.
MR. MCDONALD: Well, it’s – I have in a –
MR. MORNINGSTAR: (Chuckles.) Nineteen years later.
MR. MCDONALD: Nineteen years later, yeah.
Originally it was called Operation Peace Pipe, Bolat Nurgaliyev told me at lunch.
MR. MORNINGSTAR: (Chuckles.)
MR. MCDONALD: I’d forgotten that, yes.
And then there’s something else that hasn’t been mentioned today, and that is in December 1993, we received another codel – there were many – this one by the chair of the House Committee on Science, Technology and Space. And we went up to Baikonur , the cosmodrome, and met with the head of the Russian space agency, who a few weeks before – or a few months before had been the head of the Soviet space agency, and basically, I think, our congressional delegation wanted to check out Baikonur and to see whether we could continue cooperated – cooperation there. And so U.S.-Soviet space cooperation developed into U.S.-Russian space cooperation, which has become essential for the launching of the International Space Station and other missions. But all of that took place on Kazakhstan territory, and it took some interesting diplomacy and agreements among the three parties to make all of that work.
A trip to Baikonur – you know, Kazakhstan gets cold in the winter, but I think the trip to Baikonur broke all the records. (Chuckling.) It’s the coldest place I’ve ever been in my life. Yes.
We also worked on economic liberalization, business facilitation for U.S. firms, and Bill Courtney was particularly intrepid in doing what I would call business exploration, because, frankly, Americans didn’t know how much or – and really what was available in Kazakhstan in terms of an industrial base and an energy base and minerals and such, and you made many, many trips to the hinterland, I remember, to manganese factories and tungsten places and such. And we also worked on political liberalization and democratization, with IFUS (ph) and IRI playing key roles.
To conclude, you know, what were the results of these first, in my case, two and a half years? And I think Bill stayed another year.
One, we had at the end of that period a fully functioning embassy that served as both a bilateral embassy and also a regional platform for other U.S. diplomatic activities, including USAID.
Two, we had handled 4,000 visitors, official visitors, from the United States, everyone from the vice president, secretary of state, secretary of defense, former President Carter, numerous codels, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That was a lot for a little embassy of a handful of people to handle.
Third, we went from essentially zero American companies to 67. And that goes from mom-and-pop operations all the way up to Chevron.
Four, as I mentioned earlier, we helped lay the basis for U.S.-Russian space cooperation using the facility at Baikonur.
And five – and I think this is the one I personally am most proud of, although I had a – only a small part to play in it – we moved from, if my memory serves me correctly, 1,024 nuclear warheads on Kazakhstan territory to zero.
MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.
AMBASSADOR RICHARD JONES: Wow. A lot of good stories. I’ll tell a few myself.
But before – I mean, Ken Derr mentioned partnerships, and I think that’s something that’s important, because a relationship between two countries is a series of partnerships, and you need – and in a relationship, you have to move forward or it dies. And I think what you need to build good, strong relations is to have a series of partnerships. And we heard from Dan Poneman about the leadership that President Nazarbayev showed, particularly in the nonproliferation area, the energy security area. And I certainly agree with everything that Dan said, but there are a lot of other areas where we had partnerships too. I mean, economic reform and development was a major partnership. Sean was involved with that. I worked on that while I was there. We had partnerships on strengthening human rights and democracy in Kazakhstan, particularly on religious freedom. I think we were quite successful there. And we had other partnerships in the nonproliferation area besides nuclear.
Nobody has heard – has said the word Stepnogorsk here today. Stepnogorsk was one of those cities that was never on a map during the Soviet period. We literally didn’t know it existed. In fact, as I – as the story was told to me, the Kazakhs – Kazakhstani government didn’t know it existed until the collapse of the Soviet Union – the people that were in charge – that were in charge afterwards.
And what was the purpose of Stepnogorsk? It was a bioweapons facility. They had successfully in the Soviet Union weaponized anthrax, and Stepnogorsk was the city that was built to produce anthrax for the Soviet military.
They had a factory, and I visited the factory, and I was told that the capacity of the factory was such that it could produce enough anthrax every six months to kill everybody on the planet. Now if that’s not a weapon of mass destruction, I don’t know what is.
And just like they didn’t want to have nuclear weapons, the Kazakhstani government didn’t want to have a bioweapons facility, either.
And this is – the reason I’m telling this story is because the weapons never existed, thank goodness. It was a new factory. But the important things about the proliferation is not only the removal of the weapons, the destruction of the weapons; it’s also the destruction of the infrastructure that’s used to build the weapons. In the nuclear area, probably as important as sending the weapons back to Russia was destroying the infrastructure, so that no future government could change the policy easily. And in the period that finished when I was the ambassador, we – I – we – I don’t know how many boreholes we destroyed, but I know we destroyed over a hundred test tunnels. A test tunnel is a big deal. It’s a tunnel that’s dug way back into the side of a mountain, where – so you can do underground testing. And it’s instrumented and all these things that you need for nuclear weapons tests. And they had a hundred of them, or over a hundred, in Kazakhstan, and we systematically began destroying them. In fact, the destruction had been going on already for quite a while before I became ambassador. But I had the honor of being there when we destroyed the last one. And so that was one of my enduring memories.
But what I remember is not so much the explosion. I couldn’t even feel the explosion; we were far enough away. And you just saw a little bit of puff of smoke come out the front of the – of the tunnel. And it wasn’t the CNN press coverage and, you know, being interviewed on something that was shown all over the world. And it wasn’t the grasshoppers – of which there were probably a trillion, I estimated. (Laughter.) I’m not joking. It’s just like Kansas. (Laughter.) It’s just like Kansas. But what I remember is the party we had afterwards.
And this was not a planned party. This was an impromptu thing. There were about 10 or 12 of us from the U.S. Embassy and the delegation there, the experts that had come for the destruction. We went out to a local restaurant – bar. And, you know, this is a very depressed town. They had lost – I don’t know – 80 percent of their population because of the discontinuation of the nuclear industry. And we started – we ate and we had some beer, vodka and so on. And there were some locals in the restaurant. And anyway, to make a long story short, after two or three hours, we were all dancing with each other and having a very, very nice time.
And I just – you know, it could have been a completely different atmosphere where, you know, the Americans were celebrating because, you know, we put the spike in the – in the remains of the Soviet nuclear program and the people whose livelihood depended on that program would maybe be there in the corner, you know, remorseful or something. But, no, we were all celebrating together. And why were we celebrating? Because we realized it was the end of the Cold War, in my opinion. That was it. It was over.
But that’s – you know, I think what I take from this is that people are what count, relationships among people. And you can have good leadership, but partnerships aren’t self-executing; they depend on the people that are involved with them. And we had a lot of good people. Many of them are in this room – or at least they were; some of them have left. But, you know, I just, you know, want to talk a little bit about the people, I mean, everything from the people that worked at the embassy – we had really good people at the embassy: our political assistant was a Ph.D. physicist; my gate guard was a colonel in the Red Army; our gardener was a Ph.D. biochemist. I mean, these were people that were well educated. My kids’ piano teacher was a concert pianist.
I learned that, you know, and I was – I was surprised, because I thought, you know, former Soviet Union; I’m not sure how I will be received. But the friendliness of the people; the openness of the people, in the government, outside of the government; and the level of education – and they were willing to work. And that was something that belied everything that I’d heard about the former Soviet Union. And it’s – you know, I’ve talked about the thing at – (inaudible) – Stepnogorsk. We were – we were actually paying the scientists – under the Nunn-Lugar program, we were paying the scientists that had built the factory to dismantle it.
And one of the things we had to do, we had to dismantle the culture vessels. And the final stage of a culture vessel for anthrax was a 20,000-liter stainless steel vessel, three stories high. And they had 10 of them in the factory, so they had 200,000 liters. And we were touring – I was touring the plant. And we’re walking on the floor, and the floor is breaking under us because it’s a linoleum floor and – (unlike new linoleum ?) – and it has been open to the elements for three years. And the heating and cooling – no heating. No heating. The cycle’s from being hot to being cold.
The floor had cracked like a mud flat cracks, into hexagonal patterns, and when you stepped on it, it cracked further. And we’re walking on the – and one of the scientists tells me, he says, “My poor floor.” He said, “This was a really – you have to understand, this was a special floor.” I said, “How so?” And he said, “No cracks. It was seamless. It was one piece, the entire floor.” And I mean, this was a room like – as big as this. And it was a – it was beautiful, because you can’t make cracks because you don’t want anyplace for the anthrax – if there’s a spill or anything, for the anthrax to get in the cracks. So you have to have a completely seamless floor. I go, “Uh-huh.” And he said, “It was just like the floor at Chernobyl.” So – go figure.
But when I left, one of the other scientists came up to me and gave me a flask, like a whiskey flask – a little bigger, maybe a liter size. And I looked at it and I – you know, “What’s this?” He says, “Anthrax culture vessel.” And I look at it, and my eyes bug out, and he looks at me and he goes, “Never used.” (Laughs, laughter.) And I still have that in a proud display in my home.
I could go on and talk about a lot of people. I could talk about Minister Shkolnik, for example, who was overseeing the BN-350 project, which got started on my watch – or actually, probably started beforehand, but we certainly moved it quite forward. One of the things I want to say about that is that it wasn’t just that we were packaging “ivory” grade plutonium in spent fuel from the BN-350 reactor – breeder-reactor – but the canisters that we were packaging it in were made by a former weapons factory in (Al Maadi ?). And I mean, think about it: They were making canisters. What did they make before they made canisters? Shkval torpedoes.
MR. : Torpedoes, yes.
MR. BLAKE: So, you know, we – there were so many levels how all this – these projects interconnect. And, you know, what amazed me was how these are people that a few years before were considered our enemies and we – and we were – they were working to build weapons to, you know, fight us, as our manufacturers do. And in a very short period, they had not only become our friends, but our partners in a whole new undertaking.
And that is something that I always bear in mind whenever somebody tells me such-and-such country is our enemy, or these people are this or these people are that. I think to myself: Uh-huh, and I know a lot of people who are our former enemies that are now our good friends. And it happened after World War II; it happened after the Cold War; and it can happen after the war in Afghanistan, after the war in Iraq, and the war on terror, in my view.
So – but what happens in the future? We’ve been reminiscing a lot about the past, but what happens in the future? How do you sustain this relationship moving forward? What are things that we can do to keep this alive? We can – obviously, we’ll continue to work on nonproliferation, but it won’t quite have the same urgency that it’s had in the past. Maybe it will, if we cooperate working to prevent Iran from getting weapons of mass destruction.
There are some things in the economic area: Kazakhstan has made great strides. I heard today the figure – what? – $11,000 for the GNP per capita. That’s getting up into the range of the OECD. I heard last night somebody mention that Kazakhstan might think about joining the OECD. It’s already prominent – has played a prominent role in the OSCE on the democracy front, so why not Kazakhstan joining OECD? And if it joins OECD, it could join my agency, the IEA, International Energy Agency.
So those are the kinds of projects that we might want to think about, moving forward. Kazakhstan is working with Russia on – the former Soviet Union, on economic cooperation. It’s working with China on the Shanghai cooperation. Maybe there are things that we can work with in those areas to help – use Kazakhstan to help promote reform in those countries.
And anyway, those are – those are just some thoughts. But I think we do need to discuss a little bit before we close what should we really work on in the future. Somebody mentioned space. Space is a, certainly, very good area for cooperation. I was – I had the privilege of being the ambassador when we launched the first team of people to the space station from Baikonur. So there’s a lot of history, but there’s also a great opportunity in the future.
Thank you, Sean.
MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.
And finally, Dr. Cohen.
ARIEL COHEN: Thank you very much. And thank you to the Atlantic Council, Ambassador Wilson, for inviting me.
I think the panel did a terrific job of covering the achievements of the last 20 years. And indeed, 20 – a 20-year mark, in the life of a person, is somewhere between maybe one-third to one-fourth, on average, of a lifetime. In the life of a country, normally, 20 years is not that much. But 20 years – the first 20 years are formative. Think about the American Republic in the first 20 years, how much was achieved: the declaration of – from Declaration of Independence to the war, victory in the war. And laying base for our country, any country that we count the years of independence, we find out the first 20 years are very important. And in the case of Kazakhstan, we covered already the arms control, the disarmament, the building of independence and, of course, energy and economic development.
Today, Kazakhstan is producing about 1.5 million barrels a day, with plans to go to as much as 3 million by 2019. That puts Kazakhstan among prime producers in the Caspian and Central Eurasian Basin as an alternative – a smaller alternative, but a serious alternative producer, region – to the Gulf. And I don’t need to tell this crowd how unstable the Gulf currently is.
I was asked specifically to talk about oil and gas, and the energy geopolitics. And suffice to say that in addition to all the oil that Kazakhstan produces, it produces a lot of gas. The majority of this gas is currently (reinjected ?), but Kazakhstan now is independent in terms of its own gas consumption. That wasn’t the case in the past.
In terms of pipelines, Chevron did a breakthrough job by building CPC, and we heard about that today from Mr. Kerr (sic) and from others. CPC is going to grow from the current figures of – what? – 700,000 barrels a day, to close to 1.5 (million). And most of that oil is going to be Kazakh oil. Some of it was going to be Russian oil. But what’s important for Kazakhstan is to capture the added value of the high quality of Kazakh oil. A lot of Kazakh crude, especially from Tengiz, is light sweet crude, with sulfur content about one-half of a percent; whereas some of the Ural brands, the Russian brands, are more sulfur intensive, more sour.
So a creation of an oil bank in Novorossiysk, that Transneft was – is cooperating, but not as fast as maybe Chevron and the Kazakhstan ownership would like, is indeed a challenge. In terms of other pipelines: the pipeline(s) that go north, the historic legacy pipeline to Samara in Russia, and then the new pipeline to China that also can be expanded. And what is really interesting is the trans-Caspian route that is – currently is serviced by tankers to Baku, and then through Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, to the global markets.
As Kashagan 2 will come to being, doubling the production of oil in Kazakhstan, the question is whether 500,000 barrels a day in the trans-Caspian route, projected, is going to be sufficient. Or, as some of us, including General Scowcroft, suggested, maybe it’s time to consider yet again a trans-Caspian pipeline.
Maybe also, if there is enough gas, there is a way to bring this gas to the future southern corridor pipeline, be it Nabucco or some other project; but having another pipeline, not just to Russia and to China but also to the European markets. As the famous saying in this town goes: Happiness is multiple pipelines.
Now, Kazakhstan boasts not just tremendous hydrocarbon reserves, but also uranium. In fact, Kazakhstan is already the largest uranium producer in the world, with 17,000 tons of uranium ore per year production. The United States has been a little bit slow in jumping into this game of uranium production. In 2006, Kazakhstan signed three 50-50 joint ventures – agreements with Russia, for the total number of $10 billion. Kazatomprom has a strategic agreement with China, with the Guangdong Nuclear Group holding. And other countries have been working in Kazakhstan, including Japan, France and South Korea.
Now, the United States, of course, recognizing that in the post-Fukushima world, safety is important, nevertheless will recognize that low-emission electricity production will be important as well. It is not just an oil and gas market that is going to grow; it’s the electricity market. And nuclear will remain an important component of the electricity market in the future.
There are some problems in development of the energy sector in Kazakhstan and of the economy. Yes, terrific achievements – $11,000 a year GDP per capital; twice as much as Turkmenistan; six times more than Uzbekistan. However, consistently, Transparency International and other corruption watchers brought up the issue of insufficient safeguards for corporate investment in terms of corruption. For American companies, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is real. And our Kazakhstani friends and partners need to understand that it is in the interests of our friendship and our partnership that the level playing field will be in place in Kazakhstan.
Moving forward, the United States is also clearly interested in Kazakhstan’s stability and independence. And stability comes from transparent and accountable ways the energy and raw materials income is allocated and spent. So in terms of audits, in terms of accountability, I do believe that the current political changes in the parliament – having a multiparty parliament; having a more free media – hopefully, will lead to more accountability. Although I must say, thinking comparatively, in many, many countries that have a fast natural resources boom, these growth pains – or as Lenin would say, infantile disorder – of occasional bouts of corruption are not unknown. So this is something the leadership of Kazakhstan can and should pay attention to.
And again, the level playing field not just in oil and gas – I mean, we know that the Chinese companies won time after time the available oil and gas bids. However, it’s also understandable, when you examine the prices they pay, that the Chinese companies are driven not just by market considerations. There is energy policy laid down by the Politburo since ’99 prioritizing oil and gas, and therefore they’re willing to pay the premium our market-oriented companies are not willing to pay. And we see it not just in Kazakhstan, we see it in Africa and other places where the Chinese companies are paying premium for reserves in the ground. And in terms of this building the energy transportation balance between China, Russia and the West, I think U.S. leadership and commitment is necessary.
And I’m going to wrap up with the following. We did a terrific job under Bush I, Clinton, and to a certain degree Bush II administrations, committing ourselves to Central Eurasia. Then it sort of was overtaken by events in Afghanistan, where all the focus of the administration became the supply line to Afghanistan. And in the wartime, I totally understand it. However, you cannot just build a relationship on dismantling the Soviet legacy.
You know, in the Soviet Union, they spent all their time bashing the old czarist regime and its horrible legacy. But the legacy of the Soviet Union now after 20 years is coming to the end and we need to lay the foundations for the next 20 years, the next 40 years. And the government of Kazakhstan, thinking strategically, understands that as well. And we can be great partners in that.
What I am referring to: For example, in the continuum of energy economies from Venezuela to Norway, Kazakhstan wants to be closer to Norway, not to the failing PDVSA of Venezuela. We can help Kazakhstan – with accounting, with investment knowledge, et cetera, although after 2008 and ‘9, I don’t know if I should say anything about our investment knowledge. We cannot and should not neglect this relationship. It deserves daily attention at the highest levels of the administration. We cannot take Kazakhstan for granted, especially taking into account its geopolitical location between Russia and China, and, I would add, the influence of transnational Islamist politics.
And finally, we cannot think about Kazakhstan and Central Eurasia only in terms of either a supply line to Afghanistan or oil and gas. We have to think about it multidimensionally in terms of the whole breadth of economy, human development and, yes, geopolitics. Only then we can have and build the next 20 years as successful (at least ?) 20 years have been so far.
Thank you very much.
MR. ROBERTS: All right, if we can have a round of applause for the panel. (Applause.)
We have a little extra time. I realize it’s been a long day. But I think that this very prestigious panel deserves some more prodding, some questions from the audience. And I would suggest, per Ambassador Jones’ suggestion, that we focus somewhat on the future of U.S.-Kazakhstan relations, and after Dr. Cohen’s last remarks.
Q: Josh Kucera, a freelance journalist. I’m interested in the future of U.S.-Kazakhstan relations. In particular after the recent elections, when the government of Kazakhstan — after the OSCE gave a pretty negative review to these elections, the government of Kazakhstan kind of sought to delegitimize the OSCE’s report. It said, well, there’s all these other monitoring groups that found other things – you know, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the CIS and other groups that don’t have quite the reputation that the OSCE has. And it seems that the government has been working pretty hard, and that it’s been succeeding, this effort to kind of delegitimize the OSCE, a group that they just chaired, you know, a year ago.
So my question is, you know, how do you see this affecting the U.S.-Kazakhstan relationship in terms of political reforms, both, you know, in terms of the U.S.’s willingness to press Kazakhstan on that, given that now Kazakhstan looks more willing to press back, and on Kazakhstan’s willingness to, you know, go along with U.S. suggestions?
Anybody, I’d be interested in your thoughts, including Sean.
MR. ROBERTS: I mean, I think that’s a good question I can maybe pose more generally to the panel as well. I was asked as part of this conference to put together a policy brief on 20 years of U.S.-Kazakhstan relations, and one of the points I made was that one of the things that has prevented this relationship from really blossoming is tension on both sides over the issue of political reform and democratization.
I guess maybe framing this question in a kind of broader sense, how much do you think – I’m asking the panelists – how much do you think this issue will continue to perhaps prevent U.S.-Kazakh relations from blossoming, or how much it may have prospect for making those relations even better into the next 20 years?
MR. MORNINGSTAR: Maybe – maybe I’ll make a comment, and then unfortunately I have a – this was supposedly going to end at 3:30, and I’ve got a 4:00 meeting, so I’m going to have to leave.
Let me say a couple of things. One is that, yeah, I think that problems in the human rights area will have an effect overall on a relationship with any country. But I also think that we need to maybe do a better job in how we frame the issues when we’re – when we’re raising these issues with various countries. Countries don’t like to be preached at, whoever it is. And I think that the issues need to be framed in terms of what’s in their interest, and that all that any – whether it’s Kazakhstan or anybody else, all that they have to do is look at other places in the world and see what’s happened over the last few years and how to – how do you avoid that, and what steps can be taken to create a more open society that can avoid those kinds of situations. And I think that’s how we have to frame the issues.
Some people have – you know, for years people have said to me, why do you even deal with some of these countries? You know, I mean, is it just that all we care about is energy and so we don’t – you know, we don’t care about these issues? I don’t think that’s – I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think that by engaging – and we do have to engage on these issues – that incrementally things are going to be better than they would be otherwise, and that nobody’s ever convinced me that by pulling out, for example, in the energy area, that countries are going to be better off from the standpoint of human rights and democracy.
So, anyway, in a general way that’s how I see it. And having said that, I’m going to say so long, folks. (Laughter.)
MR. : I would like to echo what Ambassador Morningstar just said, not just specifically in relation to Kazakhstan, but to a number of partners around the world. I spent the majority of my diplomatic career as a field hand and have a pretty good idea what works and what doesn’t work in this area, as opposed to being a policy wonk in Foggy Bottom.
I think that the United States needs to remain true to its values, of course. We have to realize that we are not perfect, and we should not demand perfection from our partners.
What we should do is encourage our partners to come to the realization that it’s in their own self-interest to improve political liberties, democratization, human rights, et cetera. And it’s only when they internalize that, you can achieve change. And instead of perfection and immediate change, I think we should strive for a positive trend line and have the patience and the perseverance to pursue that in a quiet – a quiet way, without putting ourselves in the position of somebody who’s trying to give lessons to another sovereign country.
MR. ROBERTS: Any other comments?
MR. : I think I’d just repeat the same thing, actually.
MR. ROBERTS: (Off mic.)
Q: (Off mic) – Institute. A question on how the Kazakhs and the United States might work together as the United States and NATO withdraws from Afghanistan. Kazakhstan has some unique attributes, particularly since now most all – I believe – according to Josh (sp) over here, a hundred percent of the Americans’ supplies to our forces in Afghanistan now flow through Kazakhstan, so they might see a reverse flow. But more broadly, what about some kind of – working to develop some kind of regional architecture, working with NATO, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, et cetera, but with a more distant U.S. presence?
MR. : Richard, I hope that the administration recognizes that preparing for the landscape after Afghanistan, the planning and the implementation have to start way before 2014. And I very much hope that we won’t witness Afghanistan taken over by the Taliban. However, we have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
In that respect, we need to work bilaterally with all the countries of Central Asia and multilaterally to the extent we can. There is no Central Asian security force per se that is receptive to work with the United States. So probably the emphasis is bilateral, and to the extent we can work multilaterally, we should. And keep in mind that there are already the telltale signs that not everything is, as they say, hunky-dory, with the three terrorist attacks in Kazakhstan that we witnessed in 2011, with people on the ground, including in the government, saying that radical interpretations of Islam spilled over into violence. People in Kazakhstan are saying that.
And people are saying that the process of filtering of some extremists from places like Pakistan and Afghanistan into Kazakhstan, as well as, by the way, from northern Caucasus of Russia, that causes an increase in extremism in the area where extremism didn’t exist before. We should take it into account. People who are responsible for security of oilfields and energy infrastructure, pipelines, should also take it into account, not necessarily in a punitive and solely police-oriented way, but also in terms of education, soft power and prevention. And if it involves working with the muftiat, with the religious councils, they have to work with the religious councils.
But I think, as I said, the planning for the post-Afghanistan environment for us need to have started yesterday and continue full-speed, not skimpering (sic) on budgets, despite the hard budget environment that we’re in.
MR. WILSON: I think we’re about out of time. I want first to thank our distinguished panel, our ambassadors, Dr. Cohen and the honorary consul of Kazakhstan for this closing session that’s, I think, helped to illuminate a little bit through the – some of the recollections of people who were involved in particular in the historical events in the early days of U.S.-Kazakh relations, the human side and kind of how some of these developments actually worked as a practical matter from the point of view of people working them on the ground.
First, please join me in thanking our panelists. (Applause.)
Our goal in organizing this event was to convey a greater appreciation of the progress that Kazakhstan has made in its 20-year independent history and of some of the tough choices and issues that the country faces looking ahead for its leaders and for its citizens. We’ve had some good discussion of the – of high policy both past and in the future. We’ve had discussion of some of the tough choices and difficult decisions Kazakhstan will have to make and, as I noted a moment ago, the human face of all of this. I hope it’s been useful, and I hope that you agree with that.
Before we end, I want to thank a number of others. First, again to thank Ambassador Idrissov, who has had to step away to another meeting, and the Embassy of Kazakhstan, as well as Chevron for their generosity in helping to make this event possible. Second, I want to thank our own staff: Eurasia Center assistant director and my right hand, Anna Borshchevskaya; project officer Christina – Christine Canada (ph), who did a ton of the actual work to make this event happen; Eurasia Center interns Elise Barnes (sp) and Thomas Lyles (sp); and on the Atlantic Council staff, among many others, Christine Mahler, Rosanna Broadbent and Taleen Ananian.
Each of you should have received, in the packets that you got upon registering – if you didn’t, pick one up – three issue papers that look at key issues in Kazakhstan and in U.S.-Kazakhstan relations by Dr. Sean Roberts, the moderator of this last session, Katherine Hardin, as well as by former Australian ambassador to Kazakhstan Douglas Townsend, who unfortunately couldn’t be here due to a change in his work schedule. I’m very grateful for them – to them for their work here.
Finally, thanks to all of our speakers, our moderators, and especially to a lively and interesting audience. You had good questions.
With that, I think we are finished. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)