US embassy cable - 08ASHGABAT115

TURKMENISTAN: FORMER FULBRIGHTER INVOLVED IN LEGISLATIVE REFORM

Identifier: 08ASHGABAT115
Wikileaks: View 08ASHGABAT115 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ashgabat
Created: 2008-01-23 08:34:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PGOV PREL EAID ECON ELAB TX
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO8633
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #0115/01 0230834
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230834Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0124
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 3283
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 1098
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0969
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 1538
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1377
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 2136
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0681
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 000115 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, EUR/ACE 
USAID/W FOR EE/AA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, EAID, ECON, ELAB, TX 
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN:  FORMER FULBRIGHTER INVOLVED IN 
LEGISLATIVE REFORM 
 
 
1.  (U)  Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2.  (SBU)  SUMMARY:  In a meeting with a law professor who is 
currently serving on an experts' working group in the 
national parliament, we learned about the process by which 
these groups are revising old or drafting new legislation as 
part of the larger legislative reform process in post-Niyazov 
Turkmenistan.  The members of this particular working group 
are highly educated and have had a great deal of 
international experience; they said they do not need much 
assistance from foreign experts.  The professor described 
some of the details of his work on a regional People's 
Council commission.  He will likely play a significant role 
in helping regional authorities develop their self-governing 
capacity.  END SUMMARY. 
 
MAN OF THE YEAR 
 
3.  (SBU)  On January 17, PolOff met with Professor Murad 
Haitov, a 2004 Fulbright Visiting Scholar and newly-elected 
representative to the Ashgabat City People's Council.  Named 
"Man of the Year" by a government association of trade unions 
for his work on state development, Haitov is a consultant to 
the government on legal reform.  He is a member of a national 
parliament experts' working group that has been revising the 
old Soviet labor law that has been in use since independence 
in 1991 and is also developing a new "labor market" 
(employment) law.  His working group provides research and 
recommendations on legislative reform to the parliament's 
Commission for Economic and Social Policy. 
 
4.  (U)   Haitov said that many talented academics in the 
higher-education system are involved with numerous working 
groups supporting legislative reform.  His own group has 11 
Turkmen academics from a variety of legal, social, and 
economic backgrounds, and it has also received input from the 
Institute for Democracy and Human Rights.  The only 
international assistance the working group sought as it 
conducted its work was from an International Labor 
Organization (ILO) representative to the CIS who works in 
Moscow.  This representative had earlier assisted the working 
group when it had been tasked to produce national reports for 
the ILO about Turkmenistan's labor environment and 
legislation. 
 
5.  (U)  Although in 2007 the parliament gave its commissions 
four years to reform Turkmenistan's laws, Haitov said his 
working group had not been given a timeline for completing 
their work on the new labor laws.  The revision of the 
Soviet-era labor law is done, he said, and should be approved 
by the parliament and be published in the next two to three 
months.  (NOTE:  Speaker of Parliament Akja Nurberdiyeva 
stated during a January 19 Cabinet of Ministers meeting the 
Labor Law will be approved shortly.  END NOTE.)  An original 
draft law on the labor market, the contents of which he was 
unwilling to explain in more than generalities, will probably 
take longer.  The next project his group will tackle will be 
a law on foreign economic relations.  He also expects to be 
involved in a law on investment climate. 
 
LOTS OF INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE 
 
6.  (U)  Asked why no international partners had been brought 
in to assist with the effort to overhaul Turkmenistan's labor 
laws, Haitov responded that the experts in his group are 
highly educated and internationally experienced.  Offering 
himself as an example, he said he had served as a legal 
consultant for eight years in Moscow before the break-up of 
the Soviet Union, as well as in Kyrgyzstan.  He had been a 
scholar-in-residence in Eastern Europe and the United States, 
as well as an arbitration judge, and has also worked closely 
 
ASHGABAT 00000115  002 OF 002 
 
 
with foreign organizations such as the German government's 
assistance group, GTZ, to develop arbitration courses at the 
Turkmen State University Law School.  His point was that the 
working-group experts know what they are doing. 
 
ELECTED OFFICIAL 
 
7.  (U)  Turning to his newly-acquired position as member of 
Ashgabat city's regional People's Council, Haitov expressed a 
bit of surprise that he had been elected in December. 
Shortly after his election, he had been placed on a 
legislative commission to assess the need to reform city 
regulations regarding law and order.  It is one of five 
city-level commissions formed by the regional People's 
Council organizing committee that is assessing the operations 
and developmental needs of the capital, including 
legislation, education, health, municipal utilities, business 
activity, and agriculture. 
 
8.  (U)  Haitov said these commissions are the first to be 
created in Turkmenistan, but since he has received numerous 
phone calls from local government officials in other cities, 
he predicted that other regional People's Councils would 
follow suit as they are encouraged to develop their capacity 
to manage their own resources in the future.  Haitov noted 
that he had previously conducted research and done other work 
on developing self-government capacity.  He has been involved 
with a UNDP project for the last three years that also works 
toward achieving this goal. 
 
9.  (SBU)  COMMENT:  Haitov was friendly and forthcoming in 
describing his work for the Mejlis and for the city. 
Although the government seems to be assessing that the 
international community has a valuable role to play in 
getting Turkmenistan's bureaucracy up to speed on the 
processes involved in fulfilling international obligations or 
providing comments on laws, at least Haitov believes 
Turkmenistan has the homegrown expertise it needs to draft 
the laws on its own.  The message seems to be that while it 
is willing to have someone explain the blueprints, it prefers 
to build the house on its own.  END COMMENT. 
HOAGLAND 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04