US embassy cable - 06BAKU217

NEW MINISTER OF EMERGENCY SITUATIONS OUTLINES AMBITIOUS AGENDA; LOOKS FOR ROLE IN PIPELINE SECURITY AND COUNTER-TERRORISM

Identifier: 06BAKU217
Wikileaks: View 06BAKU217 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baku
Created: 2006-02-14 13:39:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PGOV MARR EPET PTER PINR KFLU AJ
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO6538
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKB #0217/01 0451339
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141339Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9599
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1469
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0395
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAKU 000217 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/14/2016 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, EPET, PTER, PINR, KFLU, AJ 
SUBJECT: NEW MINISTER OF EMERGENCY SITUATIONS OUTLINES 
AMBITIOUS AGENDA; LOOKS FOR ROLE IN PIPELINE SECURITY AND 
COUNTER-TERRORISM 
 
REF: A. 05 BAKU 1922 
 
     B. BAKU 184 
     C. BAKU 208 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Reno L. Harnish III per 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  During a February 10 meeting with the 
Ambassador, newly appointed Minister of Emergency Situations 
Kamaleddin Heydarov outlined broad functions for his new 
ministry, ranging from civil defense to pipeline security and 
some counterterrorism functions.  Heydarov said the new 
ministry would take over plans for a GOAJ crisis management 
center, required under Azerbaijan's NATO IPAP, and welcomed 
U.S. advice and assistance on this and a range of civil 
defense issues.  Ambassador urged Heydarov to take an 
immediate role in coordinating the GOAJ's response to avian 
influenza, a situation Heydarov agreed requires a strong GOAJ 
response.  With this far-reaching mandate, Heydarov likely 
will emerge from this cabinet reshuffle a much stronger 
player.  The new ministry also could play an important role 
in strengthening inter-ministerial cooperation.  End summary. 
 
2.  (SBU) Ambassador, accompanied by DATT and Pol/Econ 
Counselor, paid a call on newly appointed Minister of 
Emergency Situations Kamaleddin Heydarov on February 10. 
Heydarov -- whose ministry was created by Presidential decree 
in December 2005 (refs a and b) -- outlined a broad range of 
functions for the new ministry, telling the Ambassador that 
he would be responsible for the prevention and management of 
both man-made and natural disasters.  To that end, his 
ministry will take over the MOD's civil defense department, 
the fire safety department of the Ministry of Internal 
Affairs, the state water service, and a department that 
handles the destruction of radioactive materials.  The State 
Committee on Material Resources and State Mining Committee 
also will be abolished and their functions assumed by the new 
Ministry of Emergency Situations.  With the State Committee 
on Material Resources under its wing, the new ministry will 
be responsible for stockpiling emergency provisions of food, 
water and energy resources.  Previously, the GOAJ had handled 
many of these functions through the State Committee on 
Emergency Matters (headed by Deputy Prime Minister Abid 
Sharifov), which had been responsible for coordinating an 
inter-ministerial response to disasters.  According to 
Heydarov, this committee will continue to exist but its 
composition -- including leadership -- will change.  Heydarov 
indicated that he likely would take over as chair. 
 
PIPELINE SECURITY AND DEFENSE RESPONSIBILITIES 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
3.  (C) In response to a question from the Ambassador, 
Heydarov said the new ministry also will take on 
responsibility for pipeline security, a function currently 
shared by the Presidential Security Services, Maritime Border 
Guards and the Navy.  (This responsibility is not explicitly 
spelled out in the two decrees creating the ministry.) 
Noting that he had been in his position just a few days, 
Heydarov said he was still working on the details of how the 
new ministry would handle this function but predicted that 
the ministry also would take on some counterterrorism 
responsibilities.  Heydarov added that the GOAJ would model 
the new ministry on similar ministries in unspecified "other" 
nations.  (Most local analysts believe the GOAJ is modeling 
the new ministry on the Russian Ministry of Emergency 
Situations.)  Heydarov assured the Ambassador that however 
the GOAJ reworked pipeline security responsibilities, it 
would reflect the concerns and interests of both the GOAJ and 
the energy industry. 
 
4.  (SBU) Elaborating on the Ministry's new defense function, 
Heydarov said the GOAJ's civil defense troops are in 
extremely bad shape -- "zero" -- and need a great deal of 
help in both training and equipment.  For example, Heydarov 
continued, the GOAJ does not currently offer civil defense 
training in schools, nor does it have proper stocks of gas 
masks.  Commenting that the civil defense forces still are 
modeled on the  old, Soviet system, Heydarov asked for U.S. 
help in all areas of civil defense.  Heydarov would like to 
meet with appropriate counterparts from the United States, so 
he could apply lessons from the U.S. experience as he 
develops the new ministry.  Noting that the new ministry will 
be responsible even for flood prevention and response, 
 
BAKU 00000217  002 OF 002 
 
 
Heydarov said he would appreciate U.S. advice and expertise 
on dam building and river management. 
 
5.  (C) Heydarov said the new ministry also would be 
responsible for the creation of a crisis management center, a 
long-standing requirement under the GOAJ's NATO IPAP. 
Heydarov said he would welcome U.S. military support for the 
center.  In response to DATT's explanation that the 
Azerbaijani MOD must be involved in order for the U.S. 
military to support the project, Heydarov stated that this 
would not pose a problem, as the civil defense troops that 
are about to be subsumed within the new MES are currently 
part of Azerbaijan's MOD.  Moreover, Heydarov continued, he 
was given the rank of Colonel-General in the Civil Defense 
Forces when President Aliyev appointed him as minister, so he 
now has military rank.  DATT promised to meet with Heydarov's 
deputy Rafael Mirzoyev to discuss possible areas of 
cooperation.  (Mirzoyev currently serves as Deputy Head of 
the Customs Service and, according to Heydarov, will be named 
Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations later this week.) 
 
A ROLE IN MANAGING AVIAN INFLUENZA? 
---------------------------------- 
 
6.  (SBU) Briefing Heydarov on USG concerns over the global 
threat posed by avian influenza, the Ambassador noted that 
avian influenza is an emergency situation that requires 
strong interagency coordination.  With confirmation that the 
virus exists among fowl (ref c), Azerbaijan must take the 
situation seriously and marshal its interagency resources. 
The Ambassador suggested that the new ministry could play an 
important role in leading the GOAJ response.  Listening 
carefully to the Ambassador's concerns, Heydarov agreed that 
this was an emergency situation that required a strong GOAJ 
response.  His ministry, in coordination with the Ministries 
of Health and Agriculture, should play a key role in managing 
the problem.  Heydarov pledged that he would raise the issue 
with the Prime Minister later that evening.  (We subsequently 
heard that, over the weekend, Heydarov asked for a briefing 
on avian influenza from UNICEF, the agency that has been 
coordinating the UN response in Azerbaijan.) 
 
MINISTRY IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS 
------------------------------------ 
 
7.  (SBU) Throughout his conversation with the Ambassador, 
Heydarov made repeated reference to the fact that this is a 
brand-new ministry and he is still without staff, a 
headquarters or the resources necessary to take on his new 
mandate.  (According to President Aliyev's February 6 decree 
appointing Heydarov as minister, the Cabinet of Ministers is 
charged with coming up with the necessary legislative, 
administrative and financial arrangements to support the new 
ministry within one month.)   While Ambassador met with 
Heydarov in his offices at the Customs Service, Heydarov said 
he had already begun looking at properties to house the new 
ministry.  He had identified a suitable property that 
requires at least six months of renovations.  Until that 
building is ready, Heydarov expects to work out of civil 
defense headquarters. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8.  (C) Heydarov outlined a far-reaching and ambitious agenda 
for the new Ministry of Emergency Situations that parallels 
the mandate in the February 6 decree establishing the MES as 
the GOAJ's "central executive power body" on preventing and 
responding to crises.  Nevertheless, the jury among Baku's 
chattering classes is still out on whether Heydarov's new 
appointment represents a promotion or a demotion, as it 
separates him from the lucrative Customs Service.  If 
Heydarov's vision comes to fruition, his new apointment 
definitely will be a promotion, as his ministry will take 
over critical functions from more established power players 
such as the Ministry of Defense, the Presidential Security 
Service and possibly even the Ministry of National Security. 
Given his extraordinary influence within the GOAJ, Heydarov 
has a strong chance of pulling this off.  Moreover, creation 
of a strong MES could help the GOAJ improve its weak and 
ineffectual inter-agency coordination mechanisms. 
HARNISH 

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