Wikileaks – War in Georgia

US embassy cables

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001336 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/07/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, RU, GG SUBJECT: SITREP 1: FIGHTING IN SOUTH OSSETIA ESCALATES Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 1. (C) Begin Summary: Intense fighting began in South Ossetia the evening of August 6 and continued into the daylight hours August 7. Intense fighting broke out west of Tskhinvali at approximiately 1800 in Avnevi and Nuli and continued until 2100, when explosions were noted northeast of Tskhinvali in Dmenisi and Sarabuki. By 0600 August 7, firefighting continued to the southwest in and around Erevneti. At 1600 local time, Deputy FM Grigory Vashadze called the Ambassador to report that a full-scale South Ossetian attack against a Georgian village was underway, resulting in the death of one Georgian peacekeeper and injuries to several others. There were reports of light arms fire, RPGs, and use of heavy artillery fire August 6-7, but the latter cannot be confirmed. Local Georgian authorities assisted by a JPFK escort evacuated approximately 40 children and women from Nuli after daybreak on August 7. Georgian authorities report that the South Ossetians are moving heavy military equipment from a base in J ava, located north of the conflict zone. OSCE observers indicated that Georgian forces along with GRAD artillery are on the move, either as part of a show of force or readiness, or both. 2. (C) Deputy Defense Minister Kutelia said that Georgian military troops are not massing in response to overnight’s events and are taking great pains to respond proportionately. Minister of Foreign Affairs Eka Tkeshelashvili said that a proposed meeting between the State Minister for Re-integration Yakobashvili and de facto Representative Chochiev did not take place, and opined that de facto South Ossetian President Kokoity had blocked the meeting. However, OSCE reported that late in the day August 7, Yakobashvili was in the Russian peacekeepers compound in Tskhinvali meeting with Russian Envoy Yuri Popov along with the OSCE representative. Ambassador urged the Foreign Minister and the Deputy Minister of Defense to remain calm, not overreact, and to de-escalate the situation. 3. (C) Comment. The fighting which began well before dusk on August 6 and which continued into the early daylight hours of August 7, is atypical, given that these events usually end by daybreak. From evidence available to us it appears the South Ossetians started today’s fighting. The Georgians are now reacting by calling up more forces and assessing their next move. It is unclear to the Georgians, and to us, what the Russian angle is and whether they are supporting the South Ossetians or actively trying to help control the situation. The Embassy is reviewing security procedures and will hold an EAC on August 8. End Summary and Comment. Official Response —————— 4. (C) In an August 7 meeting with the FM, the Ambassador urged the Georgians not to overreact to the situation and to restore calm to the region. The FM said that Kokoity blocked the proposed meeting between Yakobashvili and Chochiev and noted that the South Ossetians had instigated the August 6 attack. Ruslan Abashidze, Georgian Ministry for Reintegration, told Poloff that three Georgian peacekeepers had been injured in Wednesday evening’s firefights and had been evacuated to the Gori military medical facility, where President Saakashvili will visit them. When the fighting escalated later on August 7, Deputy FM Vashadze told the Ambassador that one Georgian peacekeeper had been killed and several wounded. Vashadze said that heavy Russian equipment was being moved south from Java – a military base north of the conflict zone , which Georgians have not seen — even in tense times — in the past. According to Abashidze, Ossetians are shelling Georgian villages, and the village of Dmenisi has sustained significant damage. 5. (C) Deputy Minister of Defense Batu Kutelia told Ambassador at mid-day August 7 that Georgian military troops are on higher alert, but will not be deploying in response to Wednesday’s events. According to the Embassy DATT, fourth brigade personnel were noticeably absent from training August 7, and those attending a UAV military training class had been called away as well. Kutelia said that the South Ossetians are targeting peacekeepers versus Ministry of Internal Affairs Troops. Embassy observers on the highway noted approximately 30 yellow city buses, the usual mode of transport for moving Ministry of Interior forces, carrying uniformed men heading north from Tbilisi. OSCE Military Observers ———————– 6. (C) OSCE Military observers told Poloff that Georgian TBILISI 00001336 002 OF 002 troops were on the move on the M-27 from east to west and west to east, in the direction of Gori. OSCE observers on the ground noted a column of 26 yellow city buses, carrying uniformed men, escorted by military vehicles moving to the north of Gori. There are numerous reports that the Georgians are moving military equipment and forces toward the north, but many cannot yet be confirmed. Initial impressions are that the Georgians are deploying troops to positions in Georgian territory to the south of the Zone of Conflict and were in a heightened state of readiness in order to show their resolve to respond to further attacks. TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001337 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/07/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, RU, GG SUBJECT: SITREP 1: FIGHTING IN SOUTH OSSETIA ESCALATES Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 1. (C) Begin Summary: Intense fighting began in South Ossetia the evening of August 6 and continued into the daylight hours August 7. Intense fighting broke out west of Tskhinvali at approximiately 1800 in Avnevi and Nuli and continued until 2100, when explosions were noted northeast of Tskhinvali in Dmenisi and Sarabuki. By 0600 August 7, firefighting continued to the southwest in and around Erevneti. At 1600 local time, Deputy FM Grigory Vashadze called the Ambassador to report that a full-scale South Ossetian attack against a Georgian village was underway, resulting in the death of one Georgian peacekeeper and injuries to several others. There were reports of light arms fire, RPGs, and use of heavy artillery fire August 6-7, but the latter cannot be confirmed. Local Georgian authorities assisted by a JPFK escort evacuated approximately 40 children and women from Nuli after daybreak on August 7. Georgian authorities report that the South Ossetians are moving heavy military equipment from a base in J ava, located north of the conflict zone. OSCE observers indicated that Georgian forces along with GRAD artillery are on the move, either as part of a show of force or readiness, or both. 2. (C) Deputy Defense Minister Kutelia said that Georgian military troops are not massing in response to overnight’s events and are taking great pains to respond proportionately. Minister of Foreign Affairs Eka Tkeshelashvili said that a proposed meeting between the State Minister for Re-integration Yakobashvili and de facto Representative Chochiev did not take place, and opined that de facto South Ossetian President Kokoity had blocked the meeting. However, OSCE reported that late in the day August 7, Yakobashvili was in the Russian peacekeepers compound in Tskhinvali meeting with Russian Envoy Yuri Popov along with the OSCE representative. Ambassador urged the Foreign Minister and the Deputy Minister of Defense to remain calm, not overreact, and to de-escalate the situation. 3. (C) Comment. The fighting which began well before dusk on August 6 and which continued into the early daylight hours of August 7, is atypical, given that these events usually end by daybreak. From evidence available to us it appears the South Ossetians started today’s fighting. The Georgians are now reacting by calling up more forces and assessing their next move. It is unclear to the Georgians, and to us, what the Russian angle is and whether they are supporting the South Ossetians or actively trying to help control the situation. The Embassy is reviewing security procedures and will hold an EAC on August 8. End Summary and Comment. Official Response —————— 4. (C) In an August 7 meeting with the FM, the Ambassador urged the Georgians not to overreact to the situation and to restore calm to the region. The FM said that Kokoity blocked the proposed meeting between Yakobashvili and Chochiev and noted that the South Ossetians had instigated the August 6 attack. Ruslan Abashidze, Georgian Ministry for Reintegration, told Poloff that three Georgian peacekeepers had been injured in Wednesday evening’s firefights and had been evacuated to the Gori military medical facility, where President Saakashvili will visit them. When the fighting escalated later on August 7, Deputy FM Vashadze told the Ambassador that one Georgian peacekeeper had been killed and several wounded. Vashadze said that heavy Russian equipment was being moved south from Java – a military base north of the conflict zone , which Georgians have not seen — even in tense times — in the past. According to Abashidze, Ossetians are shelling Georgian villages, and the village of Dmenisi has sustained significant damage. 5. (C) Deputy Minister of Defense Batu Kutelia told Ambassador at mid-day August 7 that Georgian military troops are on higher alert, but will not be deploying in response to Wednesday’s events. According to the Embassy DATT, fourth brigade personnel were noticeably absent from training August 7, and those attending a UAV military training class had been called away as well. Kutelia said that the South Ossetians are targeting peacekeepers versus Ministry of Internal Affairs Troops. Embassy observers on the highway noted approximately 30 yellow city buses, the usual mode of transport for moving Ministry of Interior forces, carrying uniformed men heading north from Tbilisi. OSCE Military Observers ———————– 6. (C) OSCE Military observers told Poloff that Georgian TBILISI 00001337 002 OF 002 troops were on the move on the M-27 from east to west and west to east, in the direction of Gori. OSCE observers on the ground noted a column of 26 yellow city buses, carrying uniformed men, escorted by military vehicles moving to the north of Gori. There are numerous reports that the Georgians are moving military equipment and forces toward the north, but many cannot yet be confirmed. Initial impressions are that the Georgians are deploying troops to positions in Georgian territory to the south of the Zone of Conflict and were in a heightened state of readiness in order to show their resolve to respond to further attacks. TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001341 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SOUTH OSSETIA SITREP 2: GEORGIA CLAIMS TO CONTROL MUCH OF SOUTH OSSETIA, FIGHTING CONTINUES REF: TBILISI 1337 Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (C) Summary: President Saakashvili in an August 8 conversation with the Ambassador, and Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili in a briefing to the diplomatic corps, claimed that Georgia now controlled most of South Ossetia, including Tskhinvali, although fighting was continuing near the northern town of Dzhava. They also reported that Russian aircraft had dropped bombs on several targets in Georgia, outside of the conflict zone, at two locations in the center of Gori and dropped ordnance on a radar installation near Gori and a police station in Kareli. There are uncofirmed Georgian claims that they downed a Russian aircraft; in a statement, the Russian MFA denied this. Fighting had continued throughout the night of August 7, resuming four hours after President Saakashvili unilaterally declared a cease-fire at 1900. In a second address August 8, he called on the international community to help repel this “open Russian aggression” and announced a general mobilization of reserves. Meanwhile, Russian statements have accused the Georgians of targeting Russian peacekeepers; the Georgians argue that the South Ossetians are firing on the Russian peacekeepers as a provocation. The Georgians have announced that a safe corridor and ceasefire will be established from 3 to 6 pm local time for all civilians interested in leaving Tskhinvali to do so. During the night of August 8, four short range ballistic missiles were fired from within Russia toward Tskhinvali. 2. (C) We understand that at this point the Georgians control 75 percent of Tskhinvali and 11 villages around it. Journalists report that Georgian forces are moving toward the Roki tunnel. That road has been cratered by Georgian aircraft to make it difficult. We are told fighting continues with Russian fighters north of Tskhinvali; it is not clear if they are regular army or North Caucasian irregulars. Saakashvili has said that Georgia had no intention of getting into this fight, but was provoked by the South Ossetians and had to respond to protect Georgian citizens and territory. Meanwhile, the Georgian National Security Council (NSC) has formally requested 1,000 of its combat troops in Iraq be returned to Georgia within 72 hours. End Summary. 3. (C) Comment: All the evidence available to the country team supports Saakashvili’s statement that this fight was not Georgia’s original intention. Key Georgian officials who would have had responsibility for an attack on South Ossetia have been on leave, and the Georgians only began mobilizing August 7 once the attack was well underway. As late as 2230 last night Georgian MOD and MFA officials were still hopeful that the unilateral cease-fire announced by President Saakashvili would hold. Only when the South Ossetians opened up with artillery on Georgian villages, did the offensive to take Tskhinvali begin. Post has eyes on the ground at the Ministry of Interior command post in Tbilisi and will continue to provide updates. The Embassy held an EAC and will hold another to reasses the situation by COB. We have issued a warden message and are looking at the situation very carefully. If the Georgians are right, and the fighting is mainly over, the real unknown is what the Russian role will be and whether there is potential for the conflict to expand. End comment. Current Situation —————– 4. (C) Saakashvili, who told the Ambassador that he was in Gori when a Russian bomb fell in the city center, confirmed that the Georgians had not decided to move ahead until the shelling intensified and the Russians were seen to be amassing forces on the northern side of the Roki Tunnel. He said that the Georgian military action had been successful, Tskhinvali was mainly under Georgian control and that reservists would be brought in to defend the city while armed forces were moved further north to continue the fighting. According to Saakashvili, the EU was sending in Carl Bildt and the Lithuanian Foreign Minister to Tbilisi. Although most in the Georgian government believed that the fighting had started as a ploy of de facto leader Kokoity, Saakashvili was now concerned that this might have been a Russian pretext and a further attack could be expected. The Foreign Minister briefed the diplomatic corps on the situation, noting that “all red lines had been crossed,” but expressing hope that negotiations could take place and noting that a full amnesty would be offered to anyone involved in the fighting. She called on the international community to put pressure on the Russian Government to take no action. TBILISI 00001341 002 OF 002 5. (C) The battle in South Ossetia took place throughout the night of August 7. During the night, four short range ballistic missiles were fired from within Russia toward Tskhinvali. On August 8, Russian aircraft flew into Georgian airspace in central Georgia and dropped ordnance on a radar installation near Gori and a police station in Kareli. Post understands that at this point the Georgians control 75 percent of Tskhinvali and 11 villages around it. Journalists report that Georgian forces are moving toward the Roki tunnel. That road has been cratered by Georgian aircraft to make it difficult to navigate with vehicles. We are told fighting continues with Russian fighters north of Tskhinvali. It is not clear if they are regular army or North Caucasian irregulars, as an MOIA spokesman said that approximately 1500 uniformed, unidentified forces with tanks and artillery entered South Ossetia via the Roki tunnel on August 8 at 0200. Reports indicate many casualties, but none are reliably accurate. State Minister of Conflict Settlement and Reintegration Temuri Yakobashvili said again on August 8 that Georgia will grant amnesty to all Ossetian fighters. Chronology of Events ——————– 6. (C) On August 7 at 1925 Yakobashvili returned from the conflict zone and the Ambassador that the South Ossetians continued to shoot at the Georgian villages despite the announcement of the cease-fire. Yakobashvili said that he waited with General Kulakhmetov, the Head of the Russian peacekeepers in Tskhinvali for some time for the South Ossetians to show up. Kulakhmetov tried to call Chochiev, and other South Ossetians to get them together with Yakobashvili, but they did not respond. Kulakhmetov said, he “does not control anything” and that the South Ossetians were “shooting at the Georgians behind my back.” Yakobashvili said that the Russians originally agreed to host a bilateral meeting with the Ossetians and the Georgians outside the JCC. Popov came to Georgia for this purpose and announced publicly it was his intention to do so. Then, the Russians flipped and said the meeting should be under the JCC. Yakobashvili said it was the JCC system that had caused the mess and it was time for real face to face talks. 7. (C) OSCE observers on the ground in Tskhinvali told Poloff that Georgia’s attack on Tskhinvali began at 2335 on August 7 despite the cease-fire declared at 1900. The shelling intensified at 2345, with the Georgians possibly using large caliber mortars and GRAD artillery, with impacts every 15-20 seconds, and the South Ossetians returning fire. By observers’ calculations, by 0035 there were at least 100 hits on the city of Tskhinvali, some of them damaging the OSCE field office there. Currently, the OSCE has electricity, but part of the building has sustained damage and the internet is down. There was a lull in the activity between 0145 and 0415, when the situation began to re-intensify, and by 0615 loud explosions could be heard. The number of casualties are unknown as emergency services are unable to move freely on the ground due to firing. Most local residents are confined to cellars and basements waiting for calm to return. 8. (C) At approximately 0400 on August 8, the Georgian National Security Council asked the U.S. for the return of 1,000 of its troops from Iraq, 500 within the next 24 hours, and the remainder within 48 hours. A regularly scheduled rotator flight may return up to 250 troops to Georgia by this afternoon. (Note: USG agreement with the GOG provides for emergency return of 1,000 troops within 96 hours. End note.) Later, Saakashvili announced a general mobilization of all reserves. In a second address, he called Russia’s actions “open aggression” and called on the international community to help repel it. 9. (C) Conversely, the Russians have said they believe Georgian forces are targeting Russian peacekeepers. They have told the Georgians that in view of these attacks Georgia bears responsibility for anything that might follow. The Georgians have replied that they are avoiding any conflict with the peacekeepers as well as civilians. The Georgians believe the South Ossetians are targeting the Russians to provoke a bigger Georgian-Russian conflict. 10. (C) The South Ossetians are reportedly now accusing the Russians of betraying them. One plausible explanation for all this is that de facto leader Kokoity decided to roll the dice and stimulate a conflict with the Georgians in hopes of bringing in the Russians and thereby saving himself or enhancing his position. Reports that Kokoity has left Tskhinvali remain unconfirmed. TEFFT
UNCLAS USNATO 000274 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL, MARR, NATO, MOPS, GG, RU SUBJECT: NATO PRESS STATEMENT ON EVENTS IN SOUTH OSSETIA 1. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer released a statement on developments in South Ossetia early August 8. Text of the statement follows: “The NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, is seriously concerned about the events that are taking place in the Georgian region of South Ossetia and said that the Alliance is closely following the situation. The Secretary General calls on all sides for an immediate end of the armed clashes and direct talks between the parties.” End text of statement. 2. The SYG also approved contingency guidance for NATO staff to use when fielding calls from the press: — If asked: Is the NATO Secretary General in contact with the Georgian side? Yesterday the SecGen spoke to the Georgian President and both discussed the tensions in the area. They called on all parties to exert restraint and engage in direct talks between the parties. The SecGen will be in touch again with the Georgia President again today and they will call for all parties to end the violence. — If asked: Will the NAC visit to Georgia take place? The NAC had previously decided to visit Georgia in September. The dates have not been set. At the moment our focus is on the current situation. — If asked: Russian air strikes? Does NATO have information on the Russian incursion? We have heard these reports, but have no further or final information beyond that. We urge all sides to refrain from military action. WEINROD
UNCLAS USNATO 000275 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: MOPS, NATO, PREL, GG, RS SUBJECT: GEORGIAN NATO MISSION STATEMENT ON SITUATION IN SOUTH OSSETIA 1. (SBU) On August 8, the Georgian Mission to NATO distributed the following statement to Allies: Statement of the Government of Georgia regarding the situation in the South Ossetia region of Georgia Over the last several hours, separatist rebels in South Ossetia have undertaken a series of military attacks against unarmed civilians and peacekeeping forces in several villages near Tskhinvali. Their actions constitute an extreme escalation of an already dangerous situation. These latest attacks took place after President Mikheil Saakashvili announced a unilateral ceasefire by Georgia and appealed for peace talks. The separatist rebels, in defiance of this call, subsequently attacked several villages near Tskinvali. On August 7, at 22:30 local time, they attacked the village of Prisi, which was followed one hour later by an attack on the village of Tamarasheni. Civilians and peacekeepers came under massive shelling. The attacks resulted in several dead and wounded. According to available data, hundred of armed personnel and heavy military equipment have crossed from Russia to Georgia through the Roki tunnel. To protect peaceful civilian populations and to prevent further military attacks, the Government of Georgia has been forced to take adequate measures. Despite this most recent escalation, the Government of Georgia once again reiterates its readiness to immediately begin peace talks aimed at resolving the conflict in South Ossetia and calls on the separatist rebels to cease their military actions and come to the negotiation table. 08.08.2008 END TEXT 2. (SBU) The Georgian Mission attached additional information to the statement, including the text of a special address of the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. We have e-mail this additional information to EUR/RPM. WEINROD
S E C R E T USNATO 000276 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, NATO, MOPS, GG, RU SUBJECT: NATO STRUGGLES TO REACT TO SOUTH OSSETIA FIGHTING REF: USNATO 274 Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Bruce Weinrod for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) SUMMARY: As the crisis situation in Georgia unfolded on August 8, NATO Allies and the International Staff struggled with how to respond. While the possibility of an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) was briefly discussed, NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer does not support such a meeting at this time. De Hoop Scheffer did authorize the release of a statement calling on all sides to end violence. Unfortunately, the crisis also revealed the continuing divisions within the Alliance on how to address Georgia’s desire to join NATO’s Membership Action Plan, with Germany and Norway arguing that the upcoming NAC trip should be reconsidered. On the other hand, Poland–a strong supporter of NATO MAP–had argued that the crisis only reinforced the need for the NAC to travel to the region. END SUMMARY Emergency NAC Idea Floated, but Rejected —————————————- 2. (C) On August 8, the Czech Mission contacted Charge Weinrod, proposing that an emergency session of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) be convened to discuss the developing situation in Georgia. On a follow-up call, The Czech mission stated that it was very likely to pursue a special NAC meeting if Russian forces entered Georgian territory. Weinrod received a similar call from the Dutch Mission, except the Dutch had asked whether a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council might be appropriate. The Charge learned from Deputy Secretary General (D/SYG) Claudio Bisogniero, however, that Secretary General (SYG) Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who is traveling at the moment, opposed quickly convening an emergency session of the NAC, believing that such a meeting might only contribute to the escalation of tensions. (Note: NATO’s Political Committee had already been scheduled to have an instructed discussion of the situation in Georgia during its August 11 meeting. End note.) 3. (C) De Hoop Scheffer had also directed the release of a press statement in his name calling on all sides to end the violence (reftel). 4. (C) Senior NATO staff are speaking this afternoon with the Georgian Deputy PM and have been asked to meet with the Russian NATO Charge. Unfortunately, Allied Divisions Continue to Play Out ——————————————— ——- 5. (C) According to an American contact on the NATO International Staff (strictly protect), the German Mission had already used the unfolding crisis to argue that the upcoming NAC trip to Georgia (which had only just been reconfirmed late yesterday in a SYG-Saakashvili telcon for September 15-16) should be cancelled. Norway had argued that at the very least Allies should discuss whether the NAC should still travel to the region. On the other hand, Poland had argued that the crisis only provided an additional reason for the trip. (Note: The U.S. is reaching out to senior Americans on the IS, providing them with appropriate information as it becomes available to us.) 6. (S/NF) USNATO has received no questions about the status of Georgian forces in Iraq. Comment ——- 7. (C) Georgia, as a member of the Partnership for Peace, has a right to consult with NATO on any perceived direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or sovereignty. This right is guaranteed in Paragraph 8 of the Partnership for Peace: Framework Document. The Georgians have consulted with NATO on these topics before, most recently in the Senior Political Committee, and may do so during the current crisis. If they do seek such a meeting, we will urge them to do so only after they have had time to properly prepare for it. NATO DASG Simmons anticipated the Georgian Deputy PM would raise this issue this afternoon. They will need to be prepared to answer the questions of those who might suspect that Tbilisi is less than completely innocent in how this has played out. In the short run, USNATO will undoubtedly receive further inquiries regarding U.S. thinking on this matter. WEINROD
C O N F I D E N T I A L RIGA 000463 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/07/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, GG, RU, LG SUBJECT: TFGG01: LATVIA ON GEORGIA/SOUTH OSSETIA – BLAME RUSSIA Classified By: Charge d’Affairs a.i. Tamir Waser for Reasons 1.4 (b) an d (d) 1. (C) On the afternoon of August 8, Charge was summoned to the MFA to meet with State Secretary Normans Penke to discuss developments in Georgia/South Ossetia, where Penke expressed the GOL’s great concern about the escalating situation. While he initially described that he had held discussions earlier in the day with both the Russian and Georgian ambassadors to Latvia, urging both sides to take measures to de-escalate, he later made clear that he and the GOL lay the blame squarely at the feet of the Russians. He noted with amusement, though, that the Georgian ambassador, in describing the GOG’s own operations, used the term that Georgian forces were “occupying” South Ossetia, which Penke said was not a “favorable” choice of words. 2. (C) Penke said that the MFA is urging all parties to stand down forces and negotiate. He noted that the Georgian FM had complained to Latvian FM Riekstins in a phone call the morning of August 8 that she could not get a call through to Russian FM Lavrov, and has only been able to speak to DFM Karasin. Penke noted that in a subsequent call with the Finnish FM, the Finns had a call with Lavrov set up for later in the day. 3. (C) Penke stated a desire for a NATO statement on the crisis, but with the NATO Secretary General on vacation, he did not see much possibility for such a statement. He expressed his desire to have NATO at least meet in Brussels on the evening of August 8, to decide how best to put pressure on the Russians to calm events. Penke also mentioned engaging the OSCE, but he did not specify a role for the body. 4. (C) When asked about what he envisioned the French reaction would be in their EU Presidency role, Penke stated that it was hard to tell but that he was mildly optimistic, as he believed the current French government would be more forward-leaning than during the Chirac administration. 5. (C) Penke said that the MFA has no plans to remove staff from their embassy in Tbilisi, and that they had, in fact, ordered their ambassador to Georgia to return to post from his vacation. 6. (U) Penke expressed a desire to remain in close contact with the USG in coming days. 7. (C) Comment: The Latvians view the situation as essentially Russia’s fault, although they also feel that Tbilisi has been looking for a provocation to act. In the back of the Latvian’s mind is always their own relationship with Russia and they are anxious to ensure that the Russians don’t come out of this with a greater sense of entitlement to act in the former Soviet space. WASER
UNCLAS USNATO 000277 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: MOPS, PREL, NATO, GG, RS SUBJECT: RUSSIAN NATO AMBASSADOR DECRIES “TREACHEROUS” GEORGIAN USE OF FORCE REF: A. USNATO 274 B. USNATO 275 C. USNATO 276 1. (SBU) Late on the afternoon of August 8, the Russian Mission distributed a letter addressed to Deputy Secretary General Bisogniero on the unfolding crisis in Georgia. 2. (SBU) The text of the letter is as follows: Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to NATO Brussels, 8 August 2008 Dr. Mr. C. Bisogniero, We would like to draw your attention to grim and alarming realities of the situation in South Ossetia. On the night of August 7-8, just several hours after the agreement had been reached to hold talks to settle the new round of the South Ossetia conflict Georgian military units undertook a treacherous, massive attack on Tskhinvali. A use-of-force scenario was resorted to by the Georgian leadership, despite all the diplomatic efforts that had been undertaken in contacts among Moscow, Tbilisi, Tskhinvali, Washington and other concerned capitals. The fighting is going on, the number of civilian victims in South Ossetia is sharply rising. The Russian peacekeepers were also attacked by the Georgian forces, several were killed, three wounded. The credibility of the Georgian leadership as a responsible participant of the negotiation process and of the international intercourse corresponding to the principles of the United Nations Charter in general has been completely undermined as a result. The Russian Federation will continue its efforts directed at preventing any further bloodshed and at getting the situation in South Ossetia back into its peaceful course. We kindly ask you to make the substance of this note known to the NRC and partner countries. Sincerely yours, signed D. Rogozin H.E. Mr. Claudio BISOGNIERO Deputy NATO Secretary General North Atlantic Treaty Organization Brussels, Belgium WEINROD
C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001342 FOR U/S KENNEDY, EUR A/S FRIED AND DAS BRYZA, AND S/ES DAN SMITH FROM AMBASSADOR TEFFT E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2018 TAGS: ASEC, PREL, AEMR, CASC, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: AUGUST 8 EAC REPORT Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT. REASONS: 1.4 (B) AND (D). 1. (C) Embassy’s EAC met twice on August 8 to review the Embassy’s security posture and to consider EAP tripwires in response to continued violence in South Ossetia. At the end of the discussion, the EAC recommended the issuance of a warden notice and a travel warning with regard to travel in the separatist regions and within Georgia, but was divided over the question of authorized departure. 2. (C) Currently, no embassies in Tbilisi have taken action beyond the issuance of warden notices and travel warnings. The UK Ambassador confirmed to me the evening of August 8 that all the EU embassies, including the UK, French and German missions, are remaining in place and will assess the situation in South Ossetia again following the weekend. In fact, a large number of high-level European officials, including the French, Swedish and Lithuanian Foreign Ministers, are expected to arrive in Tbilisi on August 9, to take part in ongoing negotiations. 3. (C) The EAC agreed that although some tripwires had been crossed, others have not. If other tripwires are crossed, including an explosion or attack in Tbilisi or a cut-off of utilities or air traffic, we would need to immediately reassess our position on authorized departure. 4. (C) The situation in South Ossetia is dangerous; however, there is no indication or evidence that Tbilisi is under immediate threat. The situation is currently the subject of high-level discussions with the Russian Government and others that are directed toward a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement. If the situation persists and these negotiations are unsuccesful, we will need to consider requesting authorized departure for those who wish to leave. Although we cannot predict the outcome of these high-level negotiations, we would not want to be in a position to tell everyone to leave at the same time the situation is stabilizing. 5. (C) Meanwhile, we continue to review our security and possible drawdown procedures, making contact with neighboring posts that might be called upon to assist in an evacuation, reviewing our lists of essential personnel and ensuring that our motorpool is ready to move at short notice. We have also tested the embassy telephone tree to ensure that all personnel can be reached over the weekend if necessary. The EAC will reconvene the morning of Saturday, August 9, to assess the latest situation in South Ossetia and any potential effect upon the safety and security of the American community. TEFFT
S E C R E T USNATO 000278 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, NATO, MOPS, PINR, GG, RS SUBJECT: NATO/GEORGIA: SITUATION AT NATO HQ AS OF COB ON AUGUST 8 REF: A. USNATO 274 B. USNATO 275 C. USNATO 276 Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Bruce Weinrod for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (S) SUMMARY: On the afternoon and early evening of August 8: — The Russian Charge reported that Russian Ambassador Rogozin was returning to Brussels and would likely seek a meeting with Deputy Secretary General Bisogniero over the weekend. The Russian Charge also said that the NATO-Russia relationship would be called into questions by closer NATO-Georgia relations, including the upcoming visit of the North Atlantic Council to Tbilisi; — The issue of whether NATO AWACS assets should be forward deployed to Turkey was raised, but the likely recommendation will be that they be put on a shorter alert status instead; — The IS said that they were prepared to call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council over the weekend if they had to, but that it is not their intention to do so at the current time; — The Georgian Mission was discussing the possibility of 26 plus 1 meeting with members of the NATO International Staff, which was urging caution; — The Georgian Mission said that Tbilisi was hoping to involve the international community in the development of a new conflict resolution dynamic by changing the facts on the ground; and — The French Charge said Paris was cautious about the role NATO could or should play in the crisis. END SUMMARY Bisogniero Meets Russian Charge… ———————————- 2. (S/NF) According to a senior American (strictly protect) on the NATO International Staff (IS), Deputy Secretary General Bisogniero met with Russian Charge Ivan Soltanovskiy, who reportedly adopted a sorrowful rather than an angry tone. Soltanovskiy said that the Secretary General’s press statement was balanced, but asked what NATO meant by “following the situation.” Soltanoskiy claimed that Georgia was perpetrating ethnic cleansing and that Russia was only protecting Russian citizens. Soltanovskiy had asserted that Russia was not a party to the conflict and was only a mediator. Bisogniero had contradicted him on that point saying: “you are a party, that is what we meant (in the statement). You are using troops and bombers, too.” 3. (S/NF) Soltanovskiy reportedly told Bisogniero that Russian Ambassador Rogozin had decided to interrupt his summer vacation and return to Brussels. Soltanovskiy said that Rogozin would likely seek a meeting with Bisogniero this weekend. D/SYG said he awaited further Russian NATO Mission calls on the subject. (Note: The IS official said that it was likely Rogozin would ask for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). If that occurs, the IS would ask the NRC PrepCom to meet, perhaps as early as the afternoon of August 11, to prepare the meeting. The IS also intends to hold a NAC discussion before moving to any “at 27” Ambassadorial discussion within the NRC format. The IS said that if an NRC is held, they will recommend that Allies also offer a “26 plus 1” meeting to Georgia.) Who Makes a Threat Regarding NATO-Georgia Relations ——————————————— —— 4. (S/NF) According to the IS official, Soltanovskiy said that he assumed the North Atlantic Council’s scheduled trip to Georgia would now be cancelled. Bisogniero pushed back, noting that NATO had already made a decision to visit Tbilisi and that the focus of any NATO-Russia dialogue should be on the priority matters at hand, namely calming the situation down, and not on a travel schedule. Soltanovskiy warned that if NATO moved Georgia “forward” — including if NATO went ahead with the visit–the NATO-Russia relationship would be “called into question.” AWACS Deployment Raised ——————————- 5. (S/NF) The IS official reported that SACEUR’s Chief of Staff had raised the posibility of AWACS forward deployment to Izmir, Turkey. The official had said that the IS position was that this action might be perceived as being provocative. The IS intended to recommend that the AWACS “lead time” be shortened from its usual 48 hours instead. Should the AWACS deploy to Izmir, it would use a track it uses routinely over Turkey, per NATO Military Staff. Still, the D/SYG postponed any such step,pending further developments in the region. IS Prepared to Call Weekend NAC, but Prefers Not to Do So ——————————————— ———— 6. (S/NF) According to the IS official, the International Staff have put in place a mechanism to call a NAC meeting over the weekend if required. He made clear, however, that the IS would prefer not to do so unless absolutely necessary. He said that Latvia was the only Ally which had been pressuring the IS to call an emergency meeting of the NAC. Georgia Mission Provides Their Thoughts ————————————— 7. (C/NF) On August 8, Poloff met with Mikheil Darchiashvili, First Secretary at the Georgian Mission to NATO to discuss developments in South Ossetia. Darchiashvili said that Georgia was consulting with NATO International Staff and Allies on the idea of requesting an urgent meeting with NATO PermReps. He said that FM Eka Tkeshelashvili would travel to Brussels for such a meeting. Darchiashvili said Georgia would like do this quickly, because it fears Russia’s ability to use the NATO-Russia Council mechanism to seize the initiative by making the first presentation to NATO Allies about the events leading to the current fighting and the real situation on the ground. Darchiashvili shared that advice so far from NATO staff had been to steer the Georgians towards seeking consultations at a lower level and on a less expedited basis. (Note: According to the IS official cited above, the IS has counseled Georgia to clearly think through what it wanted out of such a meeting and then prepare accordingly.) He acknowledged that not all NATO Allies would listen to a Georgian presentation with a non-critical ear and that Georgia would have to be extremely well prepared for such a meeting. 8. (C/NF) In regard to the fighting, Darchiashvili said Georgia now holds 90 percent of South Ossetia. He had heard from Tbilisi that President Saakashvili was considering trying to involve the international community in a new conflict resolution process based on this new de facto situation on the ground. He said President Saakashvili was reaching out to world leaders to seek support for this approach. French Charge Urges Caution on NATO Role in the Crisis ——————————————— ——— 9. (C/NF) FR Charge Duchene contacted A/DCM 1730 L time to explain that Paris was concerned about NATO becoming too prominent a part of the dynamic on S.Ossetia and was also eager to keep the EU on the fringe of the conflict as well. She said that NATO,s earlier Friday public statement had been “enough of a NATO role for now.” She asked whether the U.S. supported reported calls by NATO Baltic delegations to hold a NAC at the soonest possible moment. A/DCM said that we were in contact with the D/SYG, who already had conveyed a SYG decision not to hold a near-term NAC, and that we were focused on efforts to get Russia to disengage from hostilities. Duchene said this approach dovetailed with Paris, emphasis as well. She said that Paris saw the OSCE and bilateral efforts as the lead channels to achieve this goal. She added that she had heard that Russian NATO AMB Rogozin was returning from vacation this weekend and predicted that he would want visible NATO-Russia meetings early in the week. Furthermore, she anticipated Georgian requests for 26 plus one meetings. A/DCM concurred that we could anticipate these calls and it was important that Georgian voices be heard as Moscow sought NATO hearings of its views. We agreed that both the NATO-Russia framework and the Partnership for Peace and EAPC frameworks offered Russia and Georgia, respectively, the opportunity to talk with NATO in times of heightened tensions. Duchene noted Rogozin,s proclivity for grandstanding in the media and agreed that NATO needed to manage the conduct of the meetings, public expectations for what they might produce in NATO follow-on steps, and related public diplomacy so as not to inadvertently contribute to any destabilization of the situation. WEINROD
UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000720 SENSITIVE SIPDIS PASS TO SECRETARY RICE AND NSC HADLEY E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: GG, PGOV, PREL, RS SUBJECT: GEORGIA CHALLENGES RUSSIA, SECURITY COUNCIL 1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The UN Security Council failed on August 8 to reach a consensus on a press statement in reaction to the developing conflict in South-Ossetia, Georgia. In a dramatic public session, the Georgian PermRep asked the Russian PermRep whether Russia was prepared to call off the bombers he said were about to pummel Georgian cities. He also pointedly asked the Security Council what it was prepared to do to stop the conflict. Russian PermRep Churkin claimed Georgia was the aggressor and Russia was only defending its citizens in South Ossetia. The Belgian Security Council Presidency announced plans to call for further closed consultations on August 9, in another attempt to reach consensus on a press statement. End Summary. 2. (SBU) The Security Council suspended its consultation on the South-Ossetia, Georgia conflict late in the day on August 8 after it failed to reach consensus on a press statement. Various versions of the draft press statement — expressing concern over the escalating violence and casualties, calling for immediate cessation of hostilities and resumption of negotiations — broke down over the course of the afternoon, primarily over U.S.-Russia differences over whether the statement should reaffirm Georgia’s territorial integrity, refer to more than two parties, or call for a ceasefire before or after a return to the status quo ante. 3. (SBU) Notwithstanding Ambassador Khalilzad’s harsh criticism of Russia to the press following the second public session, several Council members remained enthusiastic enough about the prospects of reaching consensus that a Saturday morning session, August 9, will be scheduled after Belgium circulates a further composite text this evening. 4. (SBU) The consultations were interspersed around a public session, which was requested by Georgia. It featured a dramatic exchange between the Russian and Georgian Permanent Representatives that culminated in the Georgian confronting the Russian, saying Russian bombers are in the air and are about to bomb Georgia, and asking, “will you stop?” Ambassador Khalilzad noted in his statement that the Georgian PermRep had committed in his statement to a ceasefire, whereas the Russian PermRep had been silent on that point. The Georgian PermRep also pointedly asked the Council what it was willing to do in the face of Russian aggression. 5. (SBU) Russian Ambassador Churkin deflected calls by several Council members to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, and instead focused his comments on accusing Georgia of engaging in “ethnic cleansing” in South Ossetia. He claimed that Georgia was targeting Russian peacekeepers and he said firmly that Russia would not allow actions against Russian nationals to go unpunished. Khalilzad
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001343 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/09/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SOUTH OSSETIA–SITREP 3: RUSSIAN BOMBS FALL THROUGHOUT GEORGIA REF: TBILISI 1341 Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (C) Begin Summary and Comment: Multiple bases, airports, and Georgia’s port of Poti were all bombed overnight by Russian aircraft, with bombing continuing in the daylight hours of August 9, with bombs hitting civilian targets in the Georgian city of Gori. Reports of casualties continue to come in, most still unreliable and unverifiable, but it is clear that casualty numbers are growing. There were reportedly dozens killed in Senaki and Poti. The government of Georgia has not declared a state of emergency, but is limiting news being aired on TV and has evacuated some key government buildings in Tbilisi. The bombing is causing widespread fear in the Georgian population. In South Ossetia, OSCE confirms that artillery fire continued into the morning hours near Tskhinvali. The MFA has released no new statements, and the Ministry of Reintegration has said the Abkhaz de-facto authorities have asked UNOMIG to immediately withdraw from Kodori. This sitrep covers events that have transpired overnight on August 8-9 in Georgia (reftel). End Summary and comment. 2. (C) President Saakashvili told the Ambassador in a late morning phone call that the Russians are out to take over Georgia and install a new regime. They will not stop at retaking South Ossetia, but will move on Tbilisi. He fears the Russians will never agree to a ceasefire. Saakashvili and the Georgian leadership now believe that this entire Russian military operation is all part of a grand design by Putin to take Georgia and change the regime. Saakashvili said that the Russian forces are now attacking Tskhinvali and the Georgian forces are resisting. We believe the Georgians are out of air defense supplies, which makes them vulnerable to Russian air attacks. He also believes the Russians will soon attack and try to seize the upper Kodori valley. Ominously, the Abkhaz formally asked UNOMIG this morning to withdraw their detachment in the Upper Kodori. 3. (C) OSCE observers report that beginning at 0600 on August 9 Georgian artillery began shelling Tskhinvali and becoming heavy after 0900 to the Southwest of the city. The JPFK commander reported that ten of his Russian peacekeepers were dead, and others were wounded. OSCE observers said that Georgian aircraft were bombing the city at 1100 on August 8. According to OSCE, there has been no visible presence of Georgian forces in the city since 1500 on August 8 when they withdrew. No accurate numbers of casualties are available and no international organizations such as Red Cross are present to assist with casualties. 4. (C) Poloff called the MFA and was told that there are no new statements since August 8, but confirmed that the Government has not/not called a state of emergency. The MFA website: http://www.mfa.gov.ge appears to have been hacked. 5. (C) Deputy Minister of Reintegration Ruslan Abashidze told Poloff that the situation in South Ossetia is the same as August 8, with shelling coming from Java, but he believes Georgian forces control the nearby villages. He said that Georgian forces are in control of Tskhinvali and are inside the city. Turning to the Abkhaz conflict he reported that the Abkhaz side has asked UNOMIG to withdraw immediately from Kodori (note: we have been unable to confirm request this with UNOMIG but such a move indicated intended hostilities). 6. (C) UNOMIG observers reported that all was quiet in the Zugdidi on the evening of August 8, aside from Abkhaz moving 9 T-55 (1960,s Soviet era) tanks toward the cease-fire line. 7. (C) Confirmed overnight (August 8-9) bombings include: — Vaziani, again. This former Soviet military base, which is usually home to 4th Brigade is being used as a mobilization site for reservists. It lies only a few kilometers east of Tbilisi. Buildings were reportedly hit this time. — Senaki military base in west Georgia. This base is home to the 2nd Brigade. Unconfirmed reports indicate 20 killed there. — The Port of Poti. Georgia’s deepest port outside of Ochamchire in Abkhazia. Several “flat racks” where ships are loaded and unloaded were bombed, as was the nearby Coast Guard station. Press reports indicate at least 15 people were killed. TBILISI 00001343 002 OF 002 — Kopinari Airport near Kutaisi. This joint civilian and military airport was also bombed. It is home to Su-25 fighters and AN-2 Colt resupply aircraft. — Marneuli Airbase, approximately 40 km south of Tbilisi, was bombed for the third time. — The city of Gori. Apparently, one attempt by Russian jets to bomb an artillery position near Gori missed. A bomb landed in town destroying some stores and abandoned buildings. No casualties were reported in this attack. Georgian radio later reported that Russian bombers attacked Gori early August 9, attempting to knock out the last bridge linking the road crossing Georgia from east to west as well as a communications tower. President Saakashvili reported that at mid-day August 9, Russian planes had begun bombing housing blocks in Gori, with hundreds of casualties, calling this “pure terror.” — Upper Kodori was also bombed. Details are sketchy. 8. (C) Additional unconfirmed reports include: — Sections of the railroad running from Poti toward Kutaisi may have been bombed. — Dozens of police in Mestia (north west Georgia) have mobilized and are moving toward the Russian border. — The Zugdidi road is open, and Georgian troops are moving north toward Kodori. 9. (C) On the economic front, the Government has been undertaking contingency planning in case of a prolonged conflict. During an August 8 meeting with the Ambassador, Prime Minister Gurgenidze talked about his efforts to calm investors during the current crisis. He noted that the economy had been remarkably calm. There had been no change in the currency and the stock exchange was working normally. Georgia had not touched its Eurobond money, and natural gas and electricity supplies were in good shape. The PM noted that the Georgians were considering contingencies, especially with regard to energy supplies, should the conflict continue. For example, one major power plant had already shifted over to natural gas from electricity and there are plans to import gas from Turkey. The Georgians are also planning to stop exports of electricity to Russia and have made arrangements to purchase “off-peak” energy from Azerbaijan. Although investors were nervous, the PM noted that there was no panic buying among the population. TEFFT

S E C R E T STATE 085598 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/09/2038 TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 2 CLASSIFIED BY: RICHARD LYONS, SENIOR WATCH OFFICER, S/ES-O, REASON 1.4(D) FIGHTING CONTINUES; RUSSIA POISED TO TAKE TSKHINVALI ——————————————— ——- 1. (S) Embassy Tbilisi reports Georgian air defense supplies are depleted, making their forces vulnerable to Russian air attacks, and President Saakashvili likely will attempt the urgent procurement of additional man- portable air defense systems (MANPADs) from Azerbaijan or Ukraine. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi e-mail) 2. (U) Media report the Russian military said more army units arrived in South Ossetia with additional reinforcements, including “special units,” on the way. President Medvedev called the Russian presence a “peace operation.” (Reuters) 3. (U) A Russian general told the press Russian troops had pushed Georgian forces from the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. (Reuters) SAAKASHVILI SEES RUSSIAN THREAT TO GOVERNMENT ——————————————— 4. (SBU) President Saakashvili told Ambassador Tefft he believes the Russians seek to take over Georgia and install a new regime in Tbilisi. Georgia expects the Russians to launch an attack in the Upper Kodori valley soon. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi e-mail) BOMBINGS CAUSE “HUNDREDS” OF CASUALTIES IN GORI, POTI ——————————————— ——– 5. (S) Media report heavy Russian bombing in the town of Gori, with witnesses claiming at least one bomb struck an apartment building. President Saakashvili told the Ambassador there are hundreds of casualties. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi e-mail, Reuters) 6. (SBU) Local Georgian radio report at least six were killed and 25 wounded in the Russian bombing of the Georgian port city of Poti. Embassy Tbilisi reports the bombings have caused widespread fear in the Georgian population. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon and e-mail) NO DAMAGE IN TBILISI ——————– 7. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi reports no evidence of bombing or damage in the capital. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 8. (U) Minimize considered. RICE
C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001348 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/09/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SOUTH OSSETIA SITREP 4: GEORGIANS DECLARE MARTIAL LAW, CLOSE BATUMI AIRPORT Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 1. (C) Summary and Comment: MFA representatives told the diplomatic corps at an August 9 meeting that the President had signed a decree placing martial law into effect the same day. Alexander Nalbandov, MFA Global Affairs Division, requested the support of the diplomatic corps in convening an OSCE Permanent Council special PC at which a coordinated statement regarding Russian Federation aggressive military action would be coordinated. Deputy Foreign Minister Vashadze said that he would work with the embassy communities to get any overflight permission needed to evacuate their citizens. Vashadze said that the country is now facing full scale war, and that Russia will not stop. As a result of the “status of war,” the Central Election Commission adopted a decree postponing the Adjaran elections slated for October 4, because the Constitution prohibits it. Batumi airport authorities confirm that they closed the commercial airport the evening of August 9, due to reports of imminent attacks. End Summary. Russian Attacks Continue ———————— 2. (C) DFM Vashadze told the group that they should discount Russian media reports as propaganda. He said that the Russians had once again bombed Koni (Racha) and three times had been driven back when they tried to enter the Roki tunnel. As of 1800, bombing was occurring in Kodori. Three Russians ships had been noted not far from Ochamchire, one carrying troops and the other two war ships carrying missiles. He went on to say that elements from the Russian 58th Army and from an airborne regiment (Comment: Most likely personnel from the Pskov 76th Parachute Division) are on the ground in South Ossetia. He confirmed that eight Russian aircraft had been shot down by the Georgians and one Russian pilot is now a POW in their care. Civilian casualties continue to be a question mark, although at 1600 the Georgian Ministry of Health said that 55 persons are dead, among them 15 civilians and 40 military personnel. The Defense Attache Office has confirmed with airport authorities in Batumi that the Batumi airport closed the evening of August 9 due to reported imminent attacks. Georgian press shows the evacuation in progress. Evacuations ———— 3. (C) The British Ambassador told Varshadze that he had discussed with his staff the possibility of evacuating personnel in the upcoming days. Other Ambassadors too expressed their concern for the safety of their citizens in Georgia. (Embassy note: The German Ambassador told us that the Italians were close to breaking ranks with their EU colleagues and drawing down their embassy unilaterally. End note.) Vashadze said that he would personally work with embassies to ensure they get the needed aircraft clearances should evacuation be necessary. He said that although the roads to Gori are still open, there is no guarantee that the Russians won’t bomb the city again, thereby putting travelers at risk. OSCE Permanent Council ———————- 4. (C) MFA Director Nalbandov requested that member states send ministers or their deputies to attend a proposed meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council that is slated to occur on August 11 or August 12. The purpose of the meeting is to craft an OSCE statement addressing Russian military aggression. Nalbandov said that the strength of the wording of the statement is critical and Georgia needs OSCE member states’ support. Martial Law ———- 5. (C) The Georgian press announced that the President signed a decree putting martial law into effect, beginning today for the next 15 days. The particulars of the decree will be translated and provided to the diplomatic community on August 10. The exact particulars are not known, but the Georgian Press quoted the Justice Minister say saying that the decree, unlike during the State of Emergency in November 2007, will not mean any restriction on media. TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 085614 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/09/2038 TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 03 CLASSIFIED BY: DANA MURRAY, SENIOR WATCH OFFICER, S/ES-O, REASON 1.4(D) AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE OF EMBASSY TBILISI FAMILIES ——————— 1. (SBU) Georgian authorities will escort Embassy dependants by road to Yerevan August 10. Embassy Moscow informed the Russian MFA and demanded Russian aircraft avoid the convoy route. (Ops/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 2. (C) Embassy Tbilisi reports all carriers except Turkish and Georgian Airlines cancelled flights into Tbilisi International Airport. The Batumi airport near the Turkish border closed due to reports of imminent attacks. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon, Tbilisi 1348) 3. (SBU) Peace Corps reports all volunteers will travel to Armenia August 10. (TF/Peace Corps telcon) RUSSIAN ATTACKS CONTINUE ——————– 4. (C) Media report Russian Deputy FM Karasin said parties are “not in a state of war,” however, 15 Russian peacekeepers have been killed. Embassy Tbilisi reports eight Russian aircraft have been shot down and one Russian pilot captured. (TF/Georgia Embassy telcon, Tbilisi 1348) 5. (C) Three Russian ships carrying troops and missiles have been sighted in the Black Sea near Abkhazia. (Tbilisi 1348) 6. (C) Russians bombed Koni (Racha) again. Neither Georgian nor Russian officials can confirm media reports the Roki tunnel has been bombed. (Tbilisi 1348, Novaya Gazeta) GEORGIA DECLARES MARTIAL LAW FOR 15 DAYS —————— 7. (C) Embassy Tbilisi reports media restrictions are unlikely, although details are not available. (Tbilisi 1348) 8. (U) President Saakashvili offered an “immediate cease-fire,” and said Georgia is “willing to take the first steps provided there is a serious international process.” (Reuters) ALL GEORGIAN TROOPS IN IRAQ TO RETURN HOME ——————- 9. (U) The 2,000 troops plan to return once transportation is arranged. (Reuters) 10. (U) Minimize considered. RICE
S E C R E T USNATO 000279 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/09/2018 TAGS: PREL, NATO, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA REQUESTS FORMAL NATO CONSULTATIONS NEXT WEEK REF: A. USNATO 278 B. YATES/REID E-MAIL FWD’D TO DEPT Classified By: A/DCM W.S. REID III; REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 1.(SBU) On August 9, the U.S. Mission to NATO received a copy of a letter dated August 9 from Georgian Ambassador to NATO Revaz Beshidze to NATO Deputy Secretary General Claudio Bisogniero in which Georgia requests a “NAC plus Georgia Emergency Meeting at the earliest convenience, preferably in the week of 11 August, 2008.” 2. (C) Letter text follows: Dear Deputy Secretary General, I would like to draw your attention to the fact of serious deterioration of the situation in the Tskhinvali Region of Georgia. We are satisfied to note that NATO is closely following the developments in Georgia and by the Statement of the NATO Secretary General tries to contribute to the normalization of the situation. Nevertheless the fact of open military aggression against Georgia gives me indulgence to further recapitulate on the recent developments in this regard. On August 8, the Russian Federation undertook a direct and full-scale attack against Georgia, both inside Georgia’s territory of South Ossetia as well as outside the conflict zone (bold text in letter) resulting in hundred of civilian casualties among Georgia’s population (end bold text). Russian jets have violated Georgian airspace numerous times, bombing the cities of Kareli and Gori and dropping mines on the villages of Shavshvebi, Variani and Tsedisi. Russian aviation bombed Marneuli and Bolnisi military airbase as well dropped two bombs at Vaziani Military airport which is located in the immediate vicinity of Tbilisi. Russian jets also engaged in massive bombing for 20 minutes of the area between the villages of Ksuisi and Khelchua. Russian jet fighters have been circling over the cities of Tskhinvali and Gadauri for hours. It needs to be underlined that the majority of these inhabited areas lie outside Tskhinvali region. Russian military aircrafts have also destroyed Georgia’s Black Sea Port in Poti. City Gori is currently under the heavy air strikes from the Russian Federation. It is crystal clear that the Russian Federation openly is pursuing a deliberative strategy of aggression. By the actions it is undertaking today, the Russian Federation has grossly violated universally recognized norms and principles of international law. Moreover the Russian Federation’s open military aggression is posing a direct threat to Georgia’s territorial integrity, independence and security. In this regard, referring to the article 8 of the PfP Framework Document stipulating that “NATO will consult with any active participant of the Partnership if that Partner perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or security” and as part of ongoing consultations between NATO and Georgia within the ID and in the period of Intensive engaging let me kindly request your assistance in organizing NAC plus Georgia Emergency Meeting at the earliest convenience, preferably in the week of 11 August, 2008. We do believe that the Allies will give due assessment to the current situation and express their readiness to hold the NAC plus Georgia. Sincerely yours, Ambassador Revaz Beshidze Head of the Georgian Mission to NATO (End text)
FRENCH EDGY ABOUT NATO INVOLVEMENT ———————————- 3.(C/NF) French Charge Duchene (ref. A) contacted A/DCM at 1600L on August 9 to consult about the Georgian request. See said that Paris remains cautious about involving NATO too closely in the diplomatic efforts linked to resolving the ongoing conflict in South Ossetia and Georgia. She said that she had told Paris that it had to agree to the Georgia request per standing NATO-Partner commitments. She said that prior Allied deliberations on Georgia were necessary before speaking with Georgia and noted that the NATO Political Committee is set to meet the morning of August 11. She said that Paris is not confident it understands fully Moscow’s bottom line intentions and hopes Moscow does not perceive it can acquire any new territory or alter lines of separation beyond their pre-conflict status. She noted that Paris saw Russian attacks outside S. Ossetia and its immediate adjacent area as widening the conflict and had noted Abkhaz steps to perhaps widen the potential conflict area as well. This escalatory trend dismayed Paris, she reported. When asked U.S. intentions, A/DCM said that the U.S. supported a meeting with Georgia as soon as it could be arranged, per the Partnership for Peace framework, and that a prior Allied discussion was acceptable and seemed likely no later than Monday. A/DCM summarized that our bilateral efforts were focused strongly on achieving disengagement of the conflicting parties and a de-escalation of the conflict and we, too, were following with concern a Russian widening of violence beyond the S. Ossetian zone. ROGOZIN BACK, BUT AVOIDING CALLING NRC FOR NOW ——————————————— – 4. (U) Russian NATO Permrep Dmitry Rogozin returned to Brussels early on August 9 and held a press conference at the airport in which he announced he would not be calling a NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meeting immediately, preferring to consult bilaterally. 5.(S/NF) Nonetheless, he did meet today with SACEUR staff and acting USMILREP (ref. B), noting, inter alia, that Moscow greatly valued the NATO-Russia relationship and saying the Russian Federation was trying to act in ways that would insulate that link from consequences of the fighting. He repeated publicly stated Russian conditions for disengagement. WEINROD
UNCLAS STATE 085615 FOR AMBASSADOR FROM U/S FOR MANAGEMENT, PATRICK KENNEDY E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: AMGT, AEMR, CASC, KFLO, AFIN, ASEC, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01 AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE FROM TBLISI, GEORGIA TREASURY DEPT PASS IRS FOR THE AMBASSADOR FROM UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY REF: Tbilisi 001344 —————————————— EVACUATION AUTHORITY AND DEPARTMENT POLICY —————————————— 1. Effective the date of this telegram August 9,2008 I hereby approve authorized departure (AD)of eligible family members from Tbilisi to Yerevan. Eligible family members who are currently outside of Tbilisi and unable to safely return may proceed to the nearest contiguous country. Members of Households (MOHs) who are U.S. citizens are treated as private American citizens for evacuation purposes. Pursuant to the Department of State’s “no double standard” policy, private American citizens should be offered the same evacuation opportunities/assistance as members of the official American community, when appropriate and feasible.

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001349 C O R R E C T E D COPY — ADDED E.O., TAGS, AND CLASS BY E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 5: GEORGIANS NEARLY EXHAUSTED; PULL BACK FROM SOUTH OSSETIA REF: TBILISI 1348 CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (C) Begin Summary: FM Tkeshelashvili briefed the diplomatic corps August 10 that Georgia has suffered huge casualties. The FM described the situation as no longer about South Ossetia but rather was Russia aggression against an independent country. She said Russian planes have bombed hospitals in Gori and Sachkhere. The FM said approximately 4,000 Russian troops have been offloaded at the Ochamchire port in Abkhazia yesterday and approximately 3,000 Russian troops have massed at the Lars border crossing near Kazbegi, hours from Tbilisi. Despite clear signals from Georgian officials and military commanders that they have pulled back out of South Ossetia and are seeking a cease-fire, Russian ground forces are now fighting in Zugdidi — this is the first instance of Russian ground troops being used outside the conflict zone in Georgia proper. Multiple sources confirm that the Georgians have suffered terrible losses, have been pushed out of Tskhinvali following a massive Russian attack and have withdrawn from the conflict zone. It is currently mostly quiet in the ruined city of Tskhinvali, which is controlled by large formations of Russians who are massing north of Gori. Gori residents are fleeing. Negotiations were requested between the Russians and Georgians on opening a north-south corridor to evacuate civilians from the region. It is unclear if they will take place. The OSCE is appealing for stronger efforts to counter Russia’s moves. Post believes a humanitarian crisis is rapidly developing in the country, and an assistance meeting with donors and the Minister of Health will be held at 1500 August 10. 2. (C) Bombing continued overnight and into the morning of August 10. An aircraft factory in Tbilisi near the international airport, communications near Abkhazia, and the port of Poti were all bombed, although most targets were apparently missed. UNOMIG has confirmed that nearly 100 armored personnel carriers and troop transports headed to the Kodori valley from Sukhumi. There are unconfirmed reports of Russian naval forces in Abkhazia and off the coast near Poti. Georgia has recalled its entire contingent of 2,000 troops from Iraq; they will arrive in Tbilisi on U.S. military aircraft mid-day August 10 through mid-day August 11. The Lithuanian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers, as well as other representatives of the Friends, are in Tbilisi. French FM Kouchner and the Prime Minister of Estonia are scheduled to arrive tonight. The Tbilisi airport is now operating, following an earlier evacuation after three bombs landed nearby. The first convoy of embassy dependents and private citizens departed Tbilisi for Yerevan at 1325 local time. This sitrep covers events in the ongoing fighting between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia and Abkhazia since the evening of August 9 (reftel). End Summary. 3. (C) FM Tkeshelashvili briefed the diplomatic corps August 10 that Georgia has suffered huge casualties and Russia is now moving against Georgia proper; the fighting is no longer about South Ossetia. Despite clear signals from Georgian officials and military commanders that they have pulled out of South Ossetia and are seeking a cease-fire, Tkeshelashvili said that Russian ground forces are not responding. The Russians have expanded the fight to Zugdidi, on the Georgian side of the Abkhazia zone of conflict. This action represents another serious escalation — ground forces in a Georgian non-conflict city. The FM also reported that 4,000 Russian troops offloaded at the Ochamchire port in Abkhazia yesterday, and approximately 3,000 Russian troops have massed near the Lars border crossing near Kazbegi, which is just two hours from Tbilisi by car. 4. (C) The Georgians suffered terrible losses (estimated in the thousands) overnight and have been pushed out of Tskhinvali following a massive Russian attack of 6,000 Russian troops that came through the Roki tunnel on August 9. Georgian forces have completely withdrawn from the zone of conflict. OSCE suspects the Russian attack came on the heels/initiative of PM Putin following his arrival in Vladikavkaz yesterday. Large formations of Russians, with tanks and armored vehicles, now control Tskhinvali and are massing north of Gori. Some EU partners suspect that the Russians may push into Gori in order to split Georgia between east and west. The ruined city of Tskhinvali is currently quiet. Georgian military officials have privately expressed deep disappointment with the U.S. and the West for not providing more support against the Russian attack. 5. (C) The Georgians have repeatedly requested negotiations (through military and diplomatic channels) with the Russians on a cease-fire, and opening a north-south corridor to evacuate civilians from the ruined city. The talks were intended to involve Reintegration Minister Yakobishvili and the Russian Ambassador to Georgia and Russian special envoy Popov. Local OSCE staff are in support of these efforts and appealing for stronger international efforts to counter Russia’s aggression. DFM Vashadze said that he had called DFM Karasin early on August 10 to announce the pullback and request agreement to negotiate. FM Tkeshelashvili repeated that all subsequent Georgian attempts to offer disengagement with the Russians have been met with silence, including a request for an appropriate Russian leader to speak to Saakashvili. 6. (C) Post is preparing for an expected humanitarian disaster, as continued Russian attacks are inflicting terror on the population. FM Tkeshelashvili said Russian planes have bombed clearly marked hospitals in Gori and Sachkhere. In addition to the many casualties and unknowns regarding the population in/around Tskhinvali, nearly have of Gori’s residents are believed to have fled the city. A meeting with the donor community, the Minister of Health and embassy officials will take place the afternoon of August 10. Should a cease-fire hold, we anticipate ever larger numbers of refugees in Tbilisi and other major city centers in the coming days. Tbilisi’s main hospitals are already full of the injured. 7. (C) Separate from the FM’s briefing, post confirms that bombing continued overnight and into the morning of August 10. An aircraft factory in Tbilisi, next to the airport was bombed but missed. UNOMIG confirmed that a communications tower and bridge near Urta close to Abkhazia were also targeted and missed at approximately 0800. The port of Poti was bombed again, although all three bombs failed to explode. Georgian refugees from South Ossetia and Gori are beginning to come into Tbilisi; a first tranche of USG assistance was delivered by Counterpart — mainly bedding. 8. (C) UNOMIG confirmed this morning that 70 armored personnel carriers and 20 troop transport trucks were headed to the Kodori valley from Sukhumi at 0815. Ten of the trucks carried the Russian JPKF logo on the side. None of the remaining vehicles were similarly marked. 9. (C) Georgia has recalled its entire contingent of 2,000 troops from Iraq. Troops will arrive in Tbilisi on U.S. aircraft between mid-day August 10 and mid-day August 11. Post believes these troops will not be sent to the conflict zone, but instead will be used to defend Tbilisi. 10. (C) The Lithuanian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers, as well as other Friends, are in Tbilisi. French FM Kouchner and the Prime Minister of Estonia are scheduled to arrive tonight. The Ambassador is joining this EU/OSCE delegation as it meets with key Georgian officials August 10. The Tbilisi airport is now operating, following an earlier evacuation.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 085663 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2018 TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 05 Classified by Senior Watch Officer Shawn Crowley for reasons 1.4 (B and D). RUSSIANS OUTSIDE ZUGDIDI; AIRPORT STILL OPEN ——————————————– 1. (C) Contradicting earlier Georgian reports, Russian forces had not attacked Zugdidi, in Georgia proper, the Georgian Embassy tells the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Russian “peacekeepers” are staged outside the city. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi e-mail, TF/EUR e- mail) 2. (SBU) A bomb landed one kilometer from Tbilisi International Airport; renewed press reports of a larger attack against the airport appear unsubstantiated. Georgian Airways is the only commercial carrier still operating out of Tbilisi. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 3. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi is seeking to confirm reports a Georgian cruiser was sunk in the Black Sea. According to the media, the government of Ukraine reserved the right to bar Russian warships dispatched to the Georgian coast from returning to their base at Sevastopol. City officials told reporters residents would thwart any such Ukrainian attempt. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon, Interfax) 4. (U) Despite earlier denials, Russia’s General Staff confirmed the withdrawal of Georgian troops from South Ossetia. (Interfax) UNSC HOLDS EMERGENCY SESSION —————————- 5. (SBU) Russian PermRep Churkin criticized U/SYG Pascoe’s statement that Georgia was prepared to negotiate, according to USUN, and questioned the Secretariat’s objectivity. Churkin did not respond to U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad’s question about whether Moscow had adopted a policy of regime change in Georgia. The Georgian representative accused Russia of aiming to “destroy the Georgian state,” according to the media. (TF/USUN e-mail, AP, Interfax) EMBASSY DEPENDENTS CROSS INTO ARMENIA ————————————- 6. (SBU) A convoy of 82 family members from Embassy Tbilisi and 25 private Amcits safely entered Armenia. An additional Tbilisi-Yerevan convoy will depart August 11. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) GEORGIAN TROOPS RETURN FROM IRAQ ——————————– 7. (S) Post confirms the return of Georgian soldiers from Iraq is underway. TRANSCOM plans a total of eight flights August 10, and to finish the mission with eight additional flights August 11. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi STATE 00085663 002 OF 002 telcon, EUCOM sitrep) 8. (U) Minimize considered. RICE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000721 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL, PGOV, RU, GG, UNSC SUBJECT: TOUGH DAY FOR RUSSIA IN SECURITY COUNCIL 1.(SBU) Summary. All Security Council Members except for Russia called during an emergency session for an immediate ceasefire in response to the crisis in Georgia. Many Council Members said the Russian response to Georgia’s August 7 military action in South Ossetia was a disproportionate response to the Georgian operation in South Ossetia and pointed out that a Georgian withdrawal from South Ossetia is underway. The U.S. and U.K. challenged Russia to explain the motives for its actions. Ambassador Khalilzad asked Russian Ambassador Churkin directly if the Russian objective was “regime change” in Georgia. The Russian PermRep accused the UN Secretariat of bias in its reporting on the situtation, defended Russian military activities as a necessary response to Georgia’s “militaristic and adventurous” policies, and without directly answering Khalizad’s question, said Georgian President Mikhail Sakaashvilli was an obstacle to peace. End Summary. 2.(SBU) In an emergency public meeting of the UN Security Council on the crisis in Georgia on August 10, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe and Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Mulet briefed on the events on the ground in Georgia. Pascoe confirmed Georgia had withdrawn from South Ossetia, Georgian troops were no longer returning fire, and Georgia had opened a humanitarian corridor. He said UNHCR estimated there would be 20,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) needing humanitarian assistance; 5000 refugees had also crossed from South Ossetia into North Ossetia in the Russian Federation. ASYG Mulet confirmed that several Georgian villages had been bombed in Abkhazia, that virtually the entire population of the Upper Kodori Valley had fled the bombing, and that CIS peacekeepers had taken no action to stop the deployments of Abkhazian forces. He also said a Russian naval vessel had interdicted a ship in the Black Sea carrying humanitarian goods. PermRep Churkin accused USYG Pascoe and ASYG Mulet of bias in their reports. The U.K. said the Russians were in no place to be making such claims. 3. (SBU) Georgian PermRep Irakli Alasania called for immediate direct intervention of the Security Council. He said Russia’s President had refused to engage directly with Georgia’s President. He said that Georgian forces had withdrawn from South Ossetia, but that Russian forces had fired on Georgian forces, impeding their withdrawal. He recalled the Russian actions in Chechnya and said it was clear that the purpose of the “Russian style peace enforcement” was to “erase Georgia from the face of the earth.” 4.(SBU) Ambassador Khalilzad called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and return to the status quo ante of August 6. He challenged the “intransigent rejection of Russia to stop the violence”, despite Georgia’s pullout from South Ossetia and Georgia’s offer to return to the status quo ante of August 6. He cited Russian actions to impede Georgia’s withdrawal from South Ossetia as “unconscionable”, and questioned Russia’s motives for rejecting a ceasefire and its continuing to carry out attacks against civilian centers. Khalilzad condemned the violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and said he expected a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire to be introduced shortly. 5. (SBU) Russian PermRep Vitaly Churkin responded that Russia was acting in self defense, prompted by the August 7 Georgian military operation in South Ossetia. Churkin accused Georgia of “militaristic and adventurous” agression, citing a “30 times increase” in Georgia’s military budget and the presence of 127 U.S. military advisors in Tbilisi as proof. He accused Georgia of engaging in “ethnic cleansing” and suggested that Georgia was targeting South Ossetians who retained Russian citizenship in a genocidal campaign. Churkin defended Russian attacks on targets outside the conflict zone in Georgia by comparing it to NATO attacks on Belgrade and bridges in Serbia during the 1999 Kosovo conflict. In response to civilian casualties, he said the United States had accepted civilian casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Serbia. Churkin denied that Russia was unwilling to engage in dialogue on the conflict and said that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov had spoken to Secretary Rice six times since the conflict began and Presidents Bush and Medvedev had discussed the conflict while in China for the opening of the Olympics. 6. (SBU) In a dramatic follow-up exchange involving the U.S., Russian and Georgian PermReps, Ambassador Khalilzad recounted a telephone call that had just occurred between Secretary Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, in which Lavrov told the Secretary, “Saakashvili must go”. Khalilzad asked Churkin, “is Russia’s objective regime change, the overthrow of a democratically elected Georgia?” Churkin responded that “regime change” is an American expression, but said, “some USUN NEW Y 00000721 002 OF 002 democratic leaders are an obstacle to peace.” Khalilzad asked again, “is the goal to change the leadership of Georgia?”. Churkin replied that he had already given his response. 7. (SBU) U,K. Deputy Representative Karen Pierce questioned Russia’s political intentions in Georgia, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia, and said the Russian response to Georgia’s August 6 military operation in South Ossetia had gone well beyond a proportionate and rational response. She said she doubted Russian claims that its actions were for a humanitarian purpose, and she asked Russia why it would not withdraw. She also asked how Russia expected to resolve the conflict if Russian leaders would not talk to Georgian President Sakaashvilli. 8. (SBU) France called for the immediate cessation of hostilities, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and a return to the status quo ante. The U.K., Belgium, Italy, and voiced support for the French proposal. 9. (U) Costa Rica, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Panama all called for a ceasefire. Libya called for an immediate ceasefire and a return to the status quo ante. Vietnam also called for an immediate ceasefire and called for negotiations between Georgia and Russia based on their “mutual interests.” 10. (SBU) We are negotiating with France, U.K., Italy, Belgium and Croatia on the text of a draft resolution which we expect to circulate to the full Council as soon as Monday August 11. Khalilzad
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 085678 E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2018 TAGS: NATO, PARM, KCFE, RU, GG SUBJECT: ACTION REQUEST: U.S. PROPOSAL FOR STRONG NAC STATEMENT CONDEMINING RUSSIAN ACTIONS IN GEORGIA Text classified by Jennifer Laurendeau, Coordinator, Georgia Task Force. Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) Summary and Action Request. As early as possible on Monday, August 11, posts in all NATO capitals should brief host governments at appropriately senior levels to urge support for a strong NAC statement condemning Russian actions in Georgia. In the political committee USNATO should indicate our desire for a formal NATO statement and outline key elements, and work with the NATO International Staff and key allies to promote the following elements for a North Atlantic Council (NAC) statement to be issued Tuesday, August 12, following the G-7 statement on this topic. Posts should indicate that the U.S. believes the NAC-and not merely the Secretary General-should agree Tuesday to a firm Alliance statement addressing the current situation in Georgia and condemning Russia’s role. We believe it is important that the NAC itself issue such a statement, not merely the Secretary General. Posts may indicate that we expect the U.S. to be represented at the August 12 NAC meeting by Ambassador Kurt Volker. Points follow at para. 2. End Summary and Action Request. 2. (SBU) Begin points: – As we all know, Russian actions in Georgia have gone beyond any reasonable steps to ensure the safety of civilians and peacekeepers, and escalated to open hostilities with Georgia. – The U.S. believes it is important for Tuesday’s NAC discussion of events in Georgia to result in a firm NATO message condemning Russian actions. – We believe the key points for such a message are that: – We regret the loss of life, civilian casualties, and damage to civilian structures that has resulted from this re-emergence of armed conflict on European soil. – The aggressive Russian military action we have witnessed during the past several days is out of proportion with events in South Ossetia. We condemn Russia’s ongoing military action and call for an immediate cease-fire. We note that Georgian military forces ceased fire and withdrew from South Ossetia on Sunday. Thus ongoing Russian military action is unjustifiable. – Russian actions are inconsistent with its peacekeeping role under the 1994 Moscow Agreement peacekeeping mandate and with the principles of cooperative security and peaceful resolution of conflicts that are reflected in the NATO-Russia founding act, the Rome NATO-Russia Council Summit statement, and the OSCE Charter for European Security. – Russia must now be considered a party to the conflict and is acting outside of international law. – We reaffirm our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. – We underscore that our governments will work together to ensure that Georgia has all the assistance it needs to meet immediate humanitarian needs and, over the longer term, to rebuild its country and repair the damage done by this assault. – We demand an end to hostilities and the full, immediate withdrawal of all Russian military personnel from Georgian territory. – We demand an end to military actions in and around Abkhazia. – We urge immediate negotiations to put in place a lasting ceasefire and to renew efforts to achieve a political solution to the conflict that respects Georgia’s territorial integrity. – We request the Secretary General to remain in direct contact with Russian and Georgian authorities. 3. (SBU) Department thanks Posts for their quick action. RICE

C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIJING 003080 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2028 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MOPS, MARR, RS, GG, CH, UNSC SUBJECT: CHINESE POSITION ON THE CONFLICT IN SOUTH OSSETIA REF: USUN NEW YORK 720 AND 721 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Aubrey Carlson. Reasons 1. 4 (b/d). 1. (C) Chinese MFA International Organizations and Conferences Department UN Affairs Division Deputy Director Sun Xiaobo told PolOff August 11 that China is concerned about the military conflict in South Ossetia and appeals to both parties to show restraint and start negotiations. He said China had expressed this position during August 8-10 open and closed meetings of the UN Security Council (reftels). Asked about Russia’s military action and response to Georgia’s offer of a cease-fire, Sun said that it is important for both parties to de-escalate the violence and reach a settlement. Sun’s comments mirrored those of MFA Spokesperson Qin Gang, who said in a statement posted on the MFA website on August 10 that “China calls upon relevant parties to keep restraint and cease fire immediately. We sincerely hope relevant parties resolve their disputes peacefully through dialogue, so as to safeguard regional peace and stability.” RANDT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001355 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SOUTH OSSETIA, SITREP 6 Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (C) Summary and Comment: French FM Kouchner and Finnish FM Stubbs met with President Saakashvili August 11 in Tbilisi to discuss a cease-fire package, with the goal of presenting it to Russian officials in Moscow later the same day. Swedish FM Carl Bildt and EUR DAS Bryza are both expected to arrive in Tbilisi August 11. MOD officials who briefed the diplomatic corps on August 11 on myriad locations which were bombed during the last 24 hours. They relayed that President Saakashvili last evening had announced that Georgia had agreed to sign a non-use of force agreement. UNOMIG observers report that regular Russian army units are now on the ground in Zugdidi and have surrounded the police station, demanding that Georgian police give up their weapons. The Armenian Ambassador has urged Georgian officials to widely publicize that the Russian Air sorties striking inside Georgia have not emanated from Russian air bases in Armenia. August 10 visits revealed that two Tbilisi hospitals are seeing about 400 casualties each, their patients a combination of special forces, regular units and civilians. Gosselin Caucasus and Central Asia, a shipping company, announced that all port operations are canceled in Georgia. IDPs who have been displaced from Gori have shown up at U.S. Embassy housing in Didi Dighomi asking for assistance and waiting on the porches asking for entry. Tbilisi police succeeded in getting the IDP’s to depart and are now guarding the properties. The Embassy’s second convoy of Embassy dependents and more than 100 private Amcits departed Tbilisi for Yerevan at 1330 local time. 2. (C) Comment: It is increasingly difficult to get an accurate analysis of the military situation because of the fog of war and the fact that the Georgian command and control system has broken down. Senior government officials sometimes give us different reports of military action. End Summary and Comment. Russian Regular in Zugdidi ————————— 3. (C) On August 11 Georgian Ministry of Defense officials briefed the diplomatic community at the Marriott Hotel. They chose the hotel as the venue as they were concerned for the safety of those attending. Spokesmen announced that on August 10 President Saakashvili had agreed to Russian demands to sign a non-use of force agreement against South Ossetia. Georgian forces have withdrawn from the Conflict Zone to Gori. It appears that there currently are no Russian forces in the city, but the Deputy CHOD (and press reports) indicate that Russian forces have come across the line from South Ossetia. MOD Spokesmen said that Russian Regular army units have arrived in Zugdidi, surrounded the police station, and are demanding that Georgian police hand over all weapons. Minister for Reintegration Yakobashvili reported the same to the Ambassador. UNOMIG observers confirmed that they saw first hand two companies of Russian Regular ground forces in Zugdidi which had joined Russian PKF troops. Unconfirmed reports suggest that a battalion of Russian reinforcements may be en route or already at Urta. UNOMIG representatives told Poloff that the Russian sources had brushed aside their observers. Latest Targets ————– 4. (C) MOD spokesmen relayed that the following locations/targets had been struck in the last 24 hour period and said 30-50 Russian aircraft had violated Georgian airspace: – Batumi – Khelvachauri – Senaki runway–now totally destroyed – Kodori (although Georgians still control this) – Shiraki airdrome (Kakheti region) – Special Forces at Vashli Gvari – Stepantsminda – Areas which border Azerbaijan and Armenia – Tbilisi Civilian Radio Tower and localizer (the backup is now operative) – Georgian Air Operations Center (Makhata Mountain) which records civil flights for the Tbilisi International Airport. (Embassy Note: The system is still partially operative, which means that flights can still arrive at the airport, but may limit the number of flights able to arrive at one time. Many in the Embassy community and Tbilisi clearly heard this explosion at approximately 0440 Tbilisi time. End note.) Armenia: RF Jets Not from Armenian Bases —————————————- TBILISI 00001355 002 OF 002 5. (C) The Armenian Ambassador to Georgia asked the MoD to distribute widely the fact that Russian Aircraft that have been striking inside Georgia are not flying out of Russian bases in Armenia. He also asked about the 21st provision in the Georgian Constitution which prohibits the Georgians from transiting Azeri/Armenian border with military hardware/equipment had been amended in light of the current situation. MoD spokesmen said that no amendments or decrees to this affect have been made. OSCE Update ———– 6. (C) OSCE military representative Steve Young told us that he was on the ground August 10 in the Zone of Conflict. He reports that the majority of Georgian forces are south of Megrakisi and Variani but there are still pockets in Avnevi which are operating against the “Road of Life” which has served at the link between South Ossetia and Russia. The Road of Life is west of Tskhinvali. Young also told us that Gori and villages north of Gori have been partially evacuated. Casualties ———- 7. (C) Post Medical Officer visited Republican Hospital and Gudushauri Medical Centers in Tbilisi on August 10. Both reported receiving about 400 casualties each with only one death reported at Gudushauri. The vast majority of the wounded re regular, spcial forces, and internal ministry troops/personnel, although approximately 40 reservists were seen at Gudushauri. Most wounds are extremity injuries with a significant number of amputations as a result. Both hospitals reported having enough medical supplies on hand, although Republican Hospital reported needing extra beds earlier in the day, but by the afternoon had managed to find some. Both emergency rooms seemed to be flowing well and not chaotic. Scores of people were waiting outside Republican Hospital. The Director of the Gudusharuri hospital reported that the military hospital was operational. The Minister of Health on the same date briefed that the death toll has reached 92, and the number of heavily wounded is growing. Ordinary Citizens Request Help —————————— 8. (C) On August 10 at 1830, six Georgian citizens led by Shalva Niniadze, no party affiliation, from Tbilisi gathered outside the embassy asking U.S. assistance to help protect the independence of Georgia, and military assistance to protect private citizens against Russian aggression. Port Blockade ————- 9. (C) John Braeckeveldt, Coordinator, Gosselin Caucasus and Central Asia, notified all Embassies on August 11 that currently all the port operations are canceled in Georgia which makes it very difficult to ship out and import. (Comment: If the port stays closed for an extended period, this could affect Embassy operations. End Comment.) TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 YEREVAN 000639 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2018 TAGS: PREL, MOPS, ENRG, EAIR, ELTN, ECON, EAGR, EWWT, PBTS, GG, RU, AM SUBJECT: ARMENIA: FUEL, FOOD SHORTAGES PREDICTED DUE TO GEORGIA-RUSSIA CONFLICT; MFA ASKS OUR HELP Classified By: CDA Joseph Pennington, reasons 1.4 (b,d) 1. (C) AN URGENT CALL FOR HELP: Deputy Foreign Minister Gharibjanian — acting on behalf of the vacationing foreign minister — urgently called in Charge d’Affaires first thing the morning of August 11 to solicit assitance in freeing cargo shipments which he said Georgian authorities were holding up. He said that some 30 railroad cars of grain, diesel fuel, and kerosene (jet fuel), were being held up by Georgian officials at the Georgian-Armenian border crossing point of Sadakhlo-Bagratashen, and an unspecified volume of cargo was likewise being held up at or near the port of Poti. The implication was that Georgian authorities were at least considering commandeering these kinds of critical staple goods for Georgian national needs during the crisis. Gharabjanian asked for U.S. help in persuading Georgian authorities to allow Armenian-bound shipments to pass freely onward to Armenia. 2. (C) FUEL AND FOOD SHORTAGES FEARED: Armenian authorities are quite concerned about meeting their own critical food and fuel needs in the event of a protracted crisis in Georgia, given that a majority of Armenia’s food and fuel consumption is imported via Georgia. Gharibjanian noted that Armenia could face serious shortages, especially in diesel fuel, jet fuel, natural gas, grain, and sugar. He noted that natural gas imports via the Russia-Georgia-Armenia natural gas pipeline have already been interrupted (see paragraph 4), and Armenia is functioning off of its stored natural gas reserves. (NOTE: Post has learned from prior natural gas supply scares that Armenia’s reserve storage capacity contains sufficient gas to supply Armenia’s normal consumption for anywhere from three to six weeks, depending on season. Post is checking with local experts to obtain updated estimates, based on how close to capacity the Armenian reserves were when the current crisis started and current consumption estimates. END NOTE) 3. (C) JET FUEL ALREADY SHORT: CDA spoke on Saturday, August 9, with Mikhail Baghdassarov, the Armenian oligarch who owns the national airline and also holds a monopoly on Armenia’s jet fuel imports. Baghdassarov said that five days previously, his jet fuel suppliers in Poti and Batumi abruptly announced a more than threefold price increase. Baghdassarov had delayed jet fuel purchases since, while trying to negotiate a more favorable price. Thus, Armenia’s aviation fuel stocks were already low before the current crisis. Baghdassarov estimated that as of the August 9 conversation, Armenia had approximately six days worth of jet fuel on hand in the country. Post is following up to seek more detailed and updated information on jet fuel availability and price. Armenia’s civil aviation director, Artyom Movsesian, was slightly more sanguine about jet fuel availability, but declined to estimate the amount of fuel stocks on hand and also asked USG help in persuading Georgian officials to let jet fuel shipments through. He hypothesized that if fuel supplies become short, the GOAM may start blocking flights/passengers diverted from Georgia, since the recent uptick in Georgia transit passengers had become a big part of current fuel demand. Movsesian was reached on vacation, and may be less up to date about the true state of jet fuel stocks than Baghdasarov. 4. (C) ENERGY DILEMMA: Post obtained an update on the implications of the natural gas shortage on Armenia’s energy situation. Our expert said that in fact the Russia-Georgia-Armenia gas pipeline has not be shut off altogether, but the volume of gas being shipped has been cut in half, from roughly 6 million cubic meters of gas per day to about 3 mln c.m. It was not immediately clear whether the reduced volume is a result of Russia shipping less, or of Georgia taking up a greater share upstream from Armenia. In response to this supply reduction, Armenia will shut down one of its two natural gas-fired power generation units at the Hrazdan Thermal Power Plant, and will cut off deliveries of electricity exports south to Iran. (NOTE: Under Armenia’s seasonal power swap arrangement with Iran, Armenia exports power south in the summer, and receives electricity from Iran in winter, when Armenian consumption is high and hydropower generation is low. Every watt that Armenia fails to export YEREVAN 00000639 002 OF 002 south in the summer is another watt that Iran will not send back north come winter, so Armenia will quickly start piling up an energy deficit for the wintertime. With rising natural gas prices and December 31 expiration of Armenia’s concessionary gas contract with Russia’s GasProm, an energy price/availability crisis this coming winter was already a serious concern. END NOTE) The Iran-Armenian natural gas pipeline remains incomplete, and its completion date continues to slip. The official estimate now is that it should be completely by April/May 2009, but our very well-informed local energy analyst believes this to be extremely optimistic. The more southerly portion of the pipeline could be operational by the end of 2008, but would be capable of delivering up to 1 million c.m./day only as far north as the southern Armenian town of Kajaran for local consumption in the southern Syunik region of Armenia. This would ease Armenia’s shortages somewhat, but far from eliminate the need for Russian gas via Georgia. PENNINGTON
C O N F I D E N T I A L BUDAPEST 000807 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR GEORGIA TASK FORCE AND EUR/CE-JAMIE LAMORE E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: KCFE, NATO, PARM, RU, GG, HU SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: U.S. PROPOSAL FOR STRONG NAC STATEMENT CONDEMNING RUSSIAN ACTIONS IN GEORGIA REF: SECSTATE 85678 Classified By: PolOff Ryan C. Leong, reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 1. (C) Ref talking points were delivered on August 11 to Vilmos Hamikus, Acting State Secretary for Political Affairs at the GoH Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hamikus agreed with the main principals of the talking points, namely the need for a cease fire and cessation of hostilities, however he also noted to Charge and PolOff that a strongly worded response from the EU was unlikely. Hamikus said it was important that any NATO and EU statements be as similar as possible, since Russia would be watching very carefully for gaps between the two for future exploitation. Hungary is in the process of formulating its position for the NAC meeting on August 12 and the EU GAERC meeting on August 13. The GAERC may be attended by GoH Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz. 2. (C) Hamikus said that Russia was “smart enough to go far enough,” implying that Russia was in the process of creating enough diplomatic and geographic maneuvering space to negotiate an advantageous position in Georgia. He stated that the Russians likely had an easy negotiating path ahead given the military gains made; the Georgians would unfortunately be in a weaker position and probably be forced to make concessions. Hamikus added that it could only boost Russia’s overall foreign and security policy that two potential NATO members (Georgia and Ukraine) could end up in this imbroglio, sidetracking their accession aspirations. 3. (C) Hamikus agreed that the Russian response is entirely out of proportion. Hungary would not object to tough language in either a NAC or GAERC statement. However, Hamikus expected objections to aggressive language against Russia would come from the typical quarters, namely Italy and Germany. He was thankful that the French are currently holding the reins of the EU Presidency as they are “braver” than other EU members. 4. (C) The GoH has not been contacted by diplomatic missions from Russia or Georgia thus far. Hungary has no official diplomatic representation in Georgia at present, as it was in the process of establishing a mission. Levine
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 085725 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2038 TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 6 CLASSIFIED BY: DANA MURRAY, SENIOR WATCH OFFICER, S/ES-O, REASON 1.4(D) EXPLOSIONS NEAR TBILISI; AIRPORT REMAINS OPEN ——————————————— 1. (SBU) Media report up to 50 Russian planes attacked Georgia overnight. Embassy Tbilisi confirms two explosions north of the city at a military base and radar installation. A separate unsuccessful attack targeted a BP oil pipeline. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon, Reuters) 2. (SBU) Tbilisi and Batumi airports remain open. EUR DAS Bryza will arrive in Tbilisi via commercial air at 0950 EDT. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon and e-mail) RUSSIANS ENTER RACHA, CLAIM GEORGIANS SHELL TSKHINVALI ——————————————— ——— 3. (S) The Georgian government has firm information that Russian forces are in the region of Racha, west of South Ossetia. Georgian forces have lost command and control capabilities country-wide. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon and e-mail) 4. (SBU) Russian state media report the shelling killed three Russian “peacekeepers” and wounded 18 others. The Georgian government characterizes the reports as provocations by Russia which is seeking a pretext to escalate operations, comments Embassy Tbilisi. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi e-mail, Interfax) 5. (SBU) Russia has not agreed to a Georgian proposal to establish a corridor to Tskhinvali to evacuate wounded civilians. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 6. (SBU) Embassy Moscow comments the Russian disinformation campaign continues, with reports of American or NATO soldiers or insignias being found among the dead in South Ossetia and reports of “genocide.” (TF/Embassy Moscow telcon) ESCALATION IN ABKHAZIA, POLICE ASKED TO TURN OVER WEAPONS ——————————————— ———– — 7. (SBU) Media report Russia massed more than 9,000 troops and 350 armored vehicles in Abkhazia. Embassy Tbilisi reports Georgian forces in Upper Kodori are resisting Russian advances despite heavy bombardment. In nearby Zugdidi, Russian commanders demanded local police turn over their weapons. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon, Reuters) KOUCHNER: SAAKASHVILI DETERMINED TO MAKE PEACE ——————————————— — STATE 00085725 002 OF 002 8. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi reports the French FM and Finnish FM Stubb met again with the Georgian president to finalize a cease-fire plan to take to Russia. The two plan to meet FM Lavrov August 11, notes Embassy Moscow. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon, TF/Embassy Moscow telcon, Reuters) 9. (U) Minimize considered. RICE
C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 001423 SIPDIS EUR/SE, EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, GG, TU SUBJECT: TFGG01: TURKEY’S REACTION TO GEORGIA/SOUTH OSSETIA CRISIS Classified By: CDA Doug Silliman, Reasons 1.4 (b,d) GOT Response ———— 1. (SBU) The MFA has established a crisis desk under the coordination of FM Babacan and U/S Ertugrul Apakan, and chaired by Deputy U/S Unal Cevikoz. According to MFA press statements issued on August 10 (para. 5), FM Babacan spoke twice with Georgian FM Tkesalasvili and once each with Russian FM Lavrov and Secretary Rice on Sunday, August 10. In his conversations, Babacan expressed concern that the clashes in South Ossetia could undermine the stability of the entire South Caucasus region, and underscored the importance of the preservation of Georgia’s territorial integrity and political unity. He said events on the ground “posed a serious threat to peace and stability in the South Caucasus and urged that the Georgian and Russian sides engage in direct talks to defuse the crisis. PM Erdogan reportedly spoke with Georgian President Saakashvili on Friday, August 8, and attempted to call Russian PM Putin on the same day without success. The Turkish press reported that Putin did not return his call. 2. (C) Charge called on Apakan August 9. Apakan said that Turkey wants to see the Georgia crisis solved through negotiations &on the basis of Georgia,s sovereignty,8 and that Turkey was undertaking contacts with both Russia and Georgia to encourage both sides to disengage and begin talks. If diplomatic efforts do not resolve the conflict within a few days, he suggested that the international community should take the dispute to the UN and “use international legitimacy against the Russians” to protect Georgian sovereignty. He preferred to see a strong U.S. – Russia dialogue to resolve the crisis. GOT Evacuation Plans, Direct Flights to Georgia Suspended ——————————————— ———— 3. (C) Charge met again with U/S Apakan on August 11 to get an update on the latest situation and to again press Turkey to support specific EUCOM requests (SEPTEL). Apakan confirmed to us that the Turkish Embassy in Tbilisi is making preparations to evacuate approximately 300-400 Turkish citizens eligible for evacuation overland through Azerbaijan. Apakan noted that, due to the deteriorating situation in Gori, the GOT is not planning to use the land routes to western Georgia, which would have permitted Turkish nationals to return directly to Turkey. He also confirmed press reports that Turkish Airlines has canceled its Istanbul-Tbilisi flights indefinitely due to the security situation. Turkish Airlines has also rerouted its Istanbul-Batumi flights, which will now take place between Istanbul and Trabzon, Turkey, with bus transportation connecting Trabzon with Batumi, Georgia. Apakan told CDA that Turkish airlines had been instructed to prepare for an increased flow of travlers on this route, but so far there had been no appreciable rise in border crossings. Border authorities have been instructed to show flexibility when examining incomplete travel documents. Press Reaction ————– 4. (U) Opinion makers in major Turkish media outlets generally blamed Georgian President Saakashvili’s for triggering the conflict by deciding to attack South Ossetia on August 7. Some speculated that Saakashvili was encouraged by the U.S., which subsequently abandoned Georgia. Others went as far as accusing the U.S. of using Georgia as an instrument for “cornering Russia” and trying to expand its influence in the Caucasus. Most highlighted the threat Russia’s military actions pose to regional stability, expressing concern that Azerbaijan may find itself the next target of Russian ambition and that Turkey may soon face Russia as a neighbor “either directly or indirectly.” Opposition-leaning papers also noted how the GOT leadership remained on “vacation mode” despite the crisis, with PM Erdogan continuing his vacation in the seaside resort of Bodrum, President Gul being seen on a yacht, and FM Babacan in Italy. 5. (U) The following are the unofficial English translations of the two MFA statements released on August 10 concerning the situation in Georgia and South Ossetia: Begin Text of MFA Statements: Statement 144 August 10, 2008 Foreign Minister Ali Babacan held a telephone conversation with Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili at 01:30 am local time on 10 August 2008. Mr. Babacan has also held a phone conversation with Russian FM Sergei Lavrov today at 14:30 local time. During the conversations, FM Babacan expressed his concern over the escalation of the conflict in the South Ossetian region of Georgia, and emphasized that the clashed which have already deteriorated the situation on the ground pose a serious threat to the peace and stability in the South Caucasus. Mr. Babacan expressed his regrets about the clashed which caused casualties among civilian population, and confirmed that Turkey is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the ongoing armed clashes. Foreign Minister Babacan reminded that Turkey has already called on the parties to cease hostilities, exercise restraint, and engage in direct talks in order to reach a lasting solution to the conflict. In this context, Mr. Babacan has underlined the importance of the preservation of territorial integrity and political unity of Georgia. During the telephone conversation with Russian FM Lavrov, Minister Babacan has also raised the issue of four Turkish journalists in South Ossetia, one of whom is wounded. Minister Lavrov has expressed his readiness to provide assistance in this matter. Minister Babacan has agreed to remain to be in close contact concerning the developments with both Ministers. Statement 145 August 10, 2008 Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has held a second telephone conversation with Georgian FM Eka Tkeshelashvili this afternoon. Minister Babacan has also held a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Armed clash in neighboring Georgia has a tendency to endanger stability in the Caucasus. Minister Babacan is in close contact with all the actors involved in the conflict and will continue to do so in the coming days. End Text of MFA Statements Visit Ankara’s Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey SILLIMAN
C O N F I D E N T I A L COPENHAGEN 000427 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, NATO, EUN, RU, GG, DA SUBJECT: TFGG01: DANES SUPPORT NAC STATEMENT ON GEORGIA REF: STATE 85678 Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Bill Mozdzierz, reasons 1.4b,d 1. (C) Echoing strong statements from Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and FM Per Stig Moeller over the weekend, MFA Head of Department for Eastern Europe Ruben Madsen and acting Head of Security Policy Soren Rinder indicated Danish support for a NAC statement on Russian actions in Georgia. PM Rasmussen condemned the Russian military action August 9 as “unjustified,” and an “unacceptable” violation of Georgian territory. 2. (C) Denmark regards Russian actions and motives in the conflict with deep suspicion, Madsen and Rinder suggested, but the Danish government remains concerned — as always — about maintaining unity within the Alliance and the EU. The Danes are prepared to press for a tough line with Moscow in the meetings ahead, including the August 12 NAC and a special GAERC meeting of EU foreign ministers the following day (which Per Stig Moeller will attend). 3. (C) The Secretary’s August 8 conversation with Moeller was helpful in comparing notes, Rinder observed, even though Moeller’s subsequent telephone exchange with the Abkhazian leader apparently did little to dissuade the Abkhazians from joining the conflict. MOZDZIERZ

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001356 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SOUTH OSSETIA SITREP 7 Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) Summary and Comment: Local press announced that President Saakashvili has signed a cease-fire agreement in the presence of the French and Finnish Foreign Ministers; this will be taken by the French and Finnish FM’s to Moscow for consideration by the Russian Government. UNOMIG observers report that IDPs are now moving down from the Kodori valley, although CIS Peacekeeping forces are stopping some humanitarian assistance vehicles in the same area. The Ambassador conducted a townhall meeting with all embassy staff August 11 about the current situation. On the same day, the second tranche of family members departed to Yerevan via a caravan at 1430 as part of the authorized departures. USAID personnel are visiting area hospitals to determine assistance needs and are coordinating with other donor organizations. USAID has $250,000 new emergency spending authority to support the procurement of these needs. The current toll of wounded continues to rise, with the latest numbers hovering around 1500. End Summary and Comment. Town Hall ——— 2. (C) Ambassador held a town hall meeting which nearly all mission personnel attended. He explained the current situation on the ground as he knew it, the authorized departures which were approved yesterday and took questions from the locally engaged staff. One of the issues which surfaced at the meeting was the problems local staff are having with banks. Some of them cannot access their funds and yesterday credit cards use was frozen. The GoG has warned Georgians not to use on-line banking as some sites have been hacked. Most of the difficulties appear to be associated with those who have banking overdraft protections. If they are currently overdrawn despite pre-designated standing order amounts to be deducted, their entire balance is being frozen or applied towards the outstanding amount. Management is looking into options to help the affected locally engaged staff, who number 47 people. Assistance and Casualties ————————- 3. (C) On August 11 Tbilisi area hospitals, Republican and Gudushauri, were accepting civilian and military casualties. Over 1500 casualties have been transferred to Tbilisi since the conflict began. Additional casualties are being treated in Gori. The number of initial IDPs estimated from the conflict is 3000. With ongoing departures from the conflict zone and mass departures from Gori and other cities and towns on the conflict fronts, IDP numbers could climb into the tens of thousands. Post received an initial request for emergency supplies for hospitals and IDPs from the Ministries of Health and Refugees on August 9. The list was distributed to UN agencies, EUCOM, Doctors without Borders, World Vision, Save the Children, Oxfam, Counterpart International, and International Relief and Development. Several of these organizations had limited amounts of these supplies pre-positioned in country. Transfer of these supplies to local hospitals and IDP collection centers began on August 10. Medical, bedding, and shelter supplies currently in country are insufficient to meet the projected needs. 4. (C) USAID has $250,000 new emergency spending authority to support the procurement of these needs. Several international NGOS have offered additional contributions. The World Food Program can cover 16,000 rations for 10 days. UNHCR said they have a stored quantity of blankets and kitchen assets, with funds for mattresses for up to 3,000 people. EUCOM has asked how it can assist in providing air transport, additional medical supplies and food. Funding does not appear to be an issue at this point. Coordination among donors, international organizations, and local institutions is somewhat disorganized but a coordination framework has been established. Communication has been hampered by overuse of mobile networks. 5. (C) Key potential problems in meeting needs includes: the security situation (as long as there is no observed cease fire, distribution will be limited); international transportation (in light of the Russian blockade); and internal distribution (airport infrastructure has been damaged, and internal travel is made more difficult by damaged roads.) 6. (C) UNOMIG observers told Poloff that over 1,000 IDPs are coming down from the Upper Kodori valley near the village of Chuberia on August 11 at 1330. A relief convoy of 20 empty buses and two mini-buses with food are headed in the same direction. CISPKF stopped the convoy near Urta, allowing TBILISI 00001356 002 OF 002 only two minibuses with food to continue. Gori —- 7. (C) OSCE observers told Poloff that Georgian forces are out of the Zone of Conflict. Observers reported seeing anti-aircraft positions east and west of Gori and the situation on the ground in Gori hasn’t changed much since August 10. The same observer said he saw tanks west of Dighomi, which are being transported by rail. Georgian press is showing the visit of French FM Koucher Finnish FM Stubb to Gori and buildings which have been destroyed. Georgian FLEX Students ———————- 8. (C) There are 27 Georgian FLEX students (Future Leaders Exchange Students, the Department’s one year high-school exchange program) who are booked to depart on an August 12 on a Lufthansa flight to the U.S. via Munich. American councils will try to book them through Baku, and send them on the night train to Baku on August 11. The Yerevan flights for this date are full (or not enough seats to accommodate the group). The remaining Abkhaz FLEX student traveled to the U.S. on his Russian passport via Kyiv on August 5. TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 001426 SIPDIS EUR/SE, EUR/RPM E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: PREL, NATO, KCFE, PARM, GG, RU, TU SUBJECT: TURKEY: NAC STATEMENT ON GEORGIA DEMARCHE DELIVERED REF: A. STATE 85678 B. ANKARA 1423 Classified By: CDA Douglas Silliman, Reasons 1.4 (b, d) 1. (C) We delivered Ref A demarche to MFA acting Deputy Director General for NATO Affairs Gulhan Ulutekin on August 11. Ulutekin took note of reftel points and promised to relay them to the office coordinating the GOT response to the Georgia crisis, which also has responsibility for providing a GOT position for the NAC meeting tomorrow. Ulutekin said that while the MFA has not yet issued instructions to its NATO mission, she expected Turkey’s position to be in line with the GOT policy position articulated in the MFA press statements issued on August 10 (Ref B). Ulutekin highlighted Turkey’s call on all parties to exercise restraint, for an immediate cessation in hostilities and a diplomatic solution to end the crisis that respects the territorial integrity and political unity of Georgia. 2. (C) Comment: The Turks do not seem to be in a mood to confront the Russians directly and will likely be reluctant to support a robust NAC statement condemning Russian actions in Georgia. Visit Ankara’s Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey SILLIMAN
C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000452 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, NATO, EUN, RU, GG, NO SUBJECT: NORWAY ON NAC STATEMENT ON GEORGIA REF: STATE 85678 Classified By: Charge de Affairs Kevin M Johnson for reasons 1.4 b and d 1. (C) Noting statements from Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and FM Jonas Gahr Stoere over the weekend, MFA North American Coordinator Morten Aaslund expressed support for a NAC statement on Russian actions in Georgia but was noncommittal on language. In comments to the press on August 9 and 10th Stoltenberg urged both parties to show restraint and supported the OSCE efforts to resolve the conflict. In his comments on August 10 Stoere said the fighting was a threat to Georgian territorial integrity and stability in the region. 2. (C) Charge spoke with Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen and Deputy Defense Minister Espen Barth Eide urging adoption of a NAC statement. DFM Johansen said that the GON’s stance seemed similar but was also non-committal on what language the GON would support. Johansen promised to discuss the U.S. points with his staff and would advise us of any major differences from the U.S. proposed points. Johansen stated that he was in principle in agreement with the importance of a NAC statement. Barth Eide was also non-committal on the wording but expressed agreement in principle with the importance of a NAC statement. JOHNSON
C O N F I D E N T I A L BERLIN 001095 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: NATO, PARM, KCFE, RU, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GERMANY CITES FRENCH-LED “PROGRESS” AUGUST 11, CAUTIOUS ON NAC STATEMENT REF: STATE 85678 Classified By: Acting DCM Jeffrey Rathke for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Acting DCM delivered reftel points August 11 to Chancellor Merkel’s Deputy National Security Advisor Rolf Nikel and to Foreign Office acting Political Director Emily Haber. We also discussed Georgia with Office Directors for NATO and Caucasus affairs. Chancellor Will Go to Sochi August 15 ————————————- 2. (C) Asked whether Merkel still planned to visit Sochi August 15 in light of Russia’s disproportionate response to events in South Ossetia, Nikel confirmed that the visit is still on. 3. (C) Nikel said Germany had received readouts from French Foreign Minister Kouchner’s visit to Tbilisi, and was aware of President Sarkozy’s planned August 12 visit to Moscow. Nikel said Kouchner had made progress in getting from Georgian President Saakashvili a Non-Use of Force pledge, and he would take this “in his pocket” to Moscow. Added to the Georgian unilateral cease-fire, this might present a basis for movement in Moscow, Nikel said. There were indications that Russia might be ready to talk, according to Nikel, including an alleged public statement by Medvedev August 11 that Russia had achieved most of its military objectives. Nikel said the Russians also had affirmed that they were not pursuing a “regime change” policy in Georgia but was not able immediately to cite the source of the information. Germans Cautious on NAC Statement ——————————— 4. (C) Nikel objected to the word “condemn” in U.S. key points for a NAC statement. He said that “naming and shaming” the Russians would undercut Sarkozy’s and Kouchner’s efforts at a time when France believed progress was possible. Acting Political Director Haber did not offer an opinion on the points in a conversation that was interrupted on the German side by a call involving Minister Steinmeier. Later in the day the MFA NATO Office Director Schlageck said the MFA was coming around on the idea of a NAC statement. He said he shared the U.S. analysis of the situation but did not believe the direct language proposed in the U.S. draft would complement other international efforts. The MFA was waiting for the results of an August 11 Quad meeting in Brussels, and would prepare instructions based on that conversation. FM Steinmeier’s August 10 Conversation with Lavrov ——————————————— —– 5. (C) Haber confirmed that FM Steinmeier spoke on the evening of August 10 with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. She said Steinmeier emphasized that Russia “had crossed a Rubicon” and needed to reciprocate the Georgian cease-fire immediately and withdraw any troops that had crossed from South Ossetia or Abkhazia into other parts of Georgia. Lavrov reportedly rejected Steinmeier’s demand, saying that Georgian forces were still fighting (as of evening August 10) in four areas of South Ossetia. TIMKEN JR

C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000657 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: PREL, XG, GG, LH SUBJECT: TFGG01: LITHUANIA SUPPORTS NAC LANGUAGE ON GEORGIA REF: STATE 85678 Classified By: CDA Damian R. Leader for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Post shared reftel language August 11 with MFA Director of Transatlantic Cooperation and Security Policy Vytautas Leskevicius, who predicted that Lithuania will agree to the statement language at the August 12 NAC. 2. (C) Leskevicius told us that FM Vaitiekunas, having just returned from Tbilisi, will travel to Brussels August 12 for the NAC, and for an August 13 GAERC meeting on Georgia. Leskevicius said Lithuania and other EU member states are seeking, pre-GAERC, to get EU consensus to invite Georgian FM Tkeshelashvili so that she can brief the EU foreign ministers personally about the situation in Georgia. If EU consensus is not achieved, Leskevicius said a Friends of Georgia meeting (including FM Tkeshelashvili) will tentatively be arranged for the afternoon of August 12. He noted that U.S. and Canadian representation will also be invited to the proposed Friends of Georgia meeting. 3. (C) On the humanitarian issue in Georgia, Leskevicius said he has heard that there are as many as 70,000 residents from South Ossetia now displaced and told Post that Lithuania will start to send medical supplies to the region August 11. He noted that there are approximately 200 Lithuanian citizens living in Georgia but he suspects most have left the country already. 4. (U) The Presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland issued a joint declaration August 10 calling on their respective governments to question several Russia-related issues in EU and NAC settings, including continuation of the visa facilitation program and negotiation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. The declaration also stated that they “regret that not granting MAP to Georgia was seen as a green light for aggression.” Likewise, the Chairmen of the Parliaments of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania issued a similar statement also on August 10. LEADER
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 001064 SIPDIS STATE PASS EUR/RPM, GEORGIA TASK FORCE E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: PREL, NATO, MOPS, RU, GG, CA SUBJECT: CANADA SUPPORTS STRONG NAC STATEMENT CONDEMNING RUSSIAN ACTIONS IN GEORGIA REF: STATE 85678 Classified By: DCM Terry Breese, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) Summary: The Canadian government agrees that the NATO North Atlantic Council (NAC) must move quickly to issue a strong statement condemning Russian actions in Georgia, and to call for an immediate cease-fire. Canadian officials are concerned that “process issues” and other distractions could get in the way of immediate action at the NAC, which in turn would slow the response to the growing humanitarian crisis in Georgia. Canadian officials appreciate close bilateral coordination on the matter, and note that U.S. and Canadian policy and public affairs approaches to the crisis are in sync. End summary. 2. (C) Responding to reftel demarche, on August 11 Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) Deputy Director for Defence and Security Relations Anne Burgess said that Canada agrees with the U.S. that on August 12 the NATO North Atlantic Council (NAC) should issue a strong statement condemning Russian actions in Georgia. Canada is also looking at the possibility of coordinating a G-7 statement with the final NAC language, she added. Burgess emphasized the importance Canada places on the need for Russia to respect Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, noting that there is “no divergence” with the U.S. on that point or any of the other principal themes in reftel. 3. (C) Burgess emphasized that Canada wants all parties to focus on putting a cease-fire into place, and that this should occur before the NAC embarks on other discussions relating to the crisis. We cannot allow ourselves or our allies to be distracted from this immediate priority, she added. Only with a ceasefire in place, she said, will NATO and others be able to begin to properly address the “important and growing” humanitarian crisis in Georgia. 4. (C) Turning to the August 12 meeting of the NAC, Burgess observed that on the weekend Canada had become “slightly concerned” that some European NATO members might press to delay the NAC statement until after the European Union General Affairs Council has issued its own statement based on the findings of French Foreign Minister Kouchner’s trip to Georgia. 5. (C) Burgess expressed Canada’s appreciation for the close coordination on the crisis — Secretary Rice and Minister Emerson discussed it on August 10 — and the prompt sharing of related U.S. public statements. She described Canadian public statements as “tracking closely” with those issued by senior U.S. officials. Canadian Public Statement ————————- 6. (U) Quote: August 10, 2008 (9:15 p.m. EDT) Minister Emerson Issues Statement on Continuing Hostilities in Georgia The Honourable David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today released a statement on the continuing hostilities in Georgia. “I am very concerned about the expansion of hostilities well beyond the region of South Ossetia. Rather than acting as a neutral peacekeeper, Russia has escalated the hostilities through its attacks on Georgian towns and cities outside the conflict zone. Canada calls on Russia to respect Georgia’s borders and to desist from any further encroachment on Qborders and to desist from any further encroachment on Georgia’s territorial integrity. Minister Emerson also joined international calls for an immediate ceasefire and expressed hope that Georgia’s ceasefire offer would be accepted without delay by Russia. In addition, he noted that Canada will continue to encourage diplomatic efforts with other interested parties to end the conflict. The priority for all authorities in the region should be to ensure the safety of the civilian populations affected by this crisis. Unquote. OTTAWA 00001064 002 OF 002 Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada WILKINS
C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 001018 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2018 TAGS: NATO, PARM, KCFE, RU, GG, IT SUBJECT: TFGG01: ITALIANS NOT LIKELY TO BE HELPFUL ON NAC STATEMENT REF: STATE 85678 Classified By: Ronald P. Spogli, Ambassador, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d ) 1. (C/NF) Poloff spoke with Carlo Battori, Deputy NATO Office Director, who stated that Italy had not decided whether to support a NAC statement on the situation in Georgia and added that Italy’s position was likely to be more “balanced” than that of other NATO countries. Battori quickly added, however, that Italy would continue to insist that Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty be respected. He said the GOI’s immediate concern was supporting the French-led diplomatic effort in the region and would not do anything to derail the process. Additionally, from the GOI perspective, it was still unclear what had actually happened and how the situation was evolving. Georgia and Russia’s behavior and openness toward dealing with the negotiating teams would be taken into account in forming the GOI position. 2. (C/NF) Battori’s noted that the final decision on whether to condemn Russia for its actions in Georgia will rest with the Foreign Minister. FM Frattini told the press this morning that the EU should maintain a unified position on this situation and avoid framing a response in anti-Russian terms. He called the Polish, Lithuanian, Czech and Estonian proposal to convene a special meeting of EU heads of state a negative development. 3. (C/NF) Comment: Given Frattini’s statements to the press and Battori’s careful articulation of Italian resistance to any statement condemning Russia, the GOI is likely to be less than helpful in the NAC. Berlusconi and Putin have already spoken and we expect Russia to try to use the personal relationship between the two to urge Italy to derail efforts to condemn its actions in international fora. SPOGLI
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 WARSAW 000947 SIPDIS EUR FOR GARBER, EUR/CE FOR PIERANGELO E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2018 TAGS: PREL, PARM, NATO, KCFE, RU, GG, PL SUBJECT: GOP RALLIES NEIGHBORS, EU TO CONDEMN RUSSIAN ACTIONS IN GEORGIA REF: A. KYIV 1546 B. STATE 85678 Classified By: CHARGE D’AFFAIRES PAMELA QUANRUD FOR REASON 1.4 (B), (D) 1. (C) SUMMARY: Poland has taken on a surprisingly forceful leadership role during the Georgia conflict. President Kaczynski has coordinated regional demonstrations of solidarity with Tbilisi — including a planned August 11 joint trip to Tbilisi along with the Ukrainian and Baltic presidents — and loudly condemned Russian military actions in an August 9 joint statement along with his three Baltic counterparts. Foreign Minister Sikorski overcame some EU member states’ sympathy for Russia’s “defensive/offensive operations” in Georgia to win agreement on an August 13 meeting at the FM level. Sikorski, who will be speaking to the Secretary this evening, is also pushing a proposal to replace Russian peace-keeper forces in Georgia with an EU-led force, although this may flounder for lack of Russian buy-in. Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andrzej Kremer insisted to Charge August 11 that the Russian actions in Georgia not be allowed to damage Georgia’s MAP candidacy, an effect that would reward Russia and encourage it to take similar actions elsewhere in the region. END SUMMARY. OVERCOMING EU SYMPATHY FOR RUSSIAN ACTIONS 2. (C) Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andrzej Kremer told Charge August 11 that FM Sikorski had to overcome significant opposition within the EU even to schedule a foreign minister level meeting on Georgia August 13. Kremer said a number of EU member states believed Georgian President Saakashvili was responsible for the conflict and were sympathetic to the GoR claim that it was only acting “defensively-offensively.” Although Polish FM Sikorski suggested in a “Dziennik” newspaper interview today that the Georgians had made the mistake of “yield(ing) to provocations,” he pushed hard to win agreement on the EU FM meeting. Kremer said Poland had focused its lobbying efforts on the EU because the GoR suspects the USG, a NATO leader, encouraged the GoG to go on the offensive, and because the EU has economic leverage with Russia. Kremer said FM Sikorski’s proposal to create an EU-led international mission to take over the Russian peace-keeping operation in Russia could well garner EU support. However, Kremer said such a plan would be contingent upon Russian approval, which appears unlikely at present. SUPPORT FOR A STRONG STATEMENT AT THE NAC 3. (C) Kremer agreed with the need for a strong statement condemning Russian actions in the August 12 NAC, but said that he did not really expect Russia to listen to NATO. Kremer agreed with all elements of reftel demarche, and added that Poland will also push hard at the NAC to prevent negative spillover on Georgia’s MAP prospects. He said Russian action in Georgia should not be allowed to interfere with the MAP process, and the upcoming NATO mission to Georgia should go forward. To do otherwise would reward Russian actions and encourage Russia to act similarly elsewhere in the region. Separately, Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski spoke by telephone with DASD Dan Fata, calling for a strong NAC statement condemning Russian actions in Georgia. Komorowski warned that without a cease-fire, a wider regional conflict involving Ukraine could result. ORCHESTRATING A SHOW OF SOLIDARITY IN EASTERN EUROPE 4. (SBU) The Polish Government is pressing the envelope of international efforts to create an immediate cease-fire in Georgia and condemn Russian disproportionate use of force there. In an unusual display of presidential-governmental unity, the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have coordinated joint initiatives among Eastern European countries and pressed hard for EU and NATO efforts to end the fighting. As a show of regional solidarity, President Kaczynski is working to coordinate a joint visit to Tbilisi the evening of August 11 along with the Presidents of Ukraine and the three Baltic countries. Kaczynski’s plan, foreign policy aide Mariusz Handzlik told PolCouns, is to pick up each president in capitals en route to Tbilisi; President Klaus of the Czech Republic also backs the mission but was unable to join due to a hip injury. President Kaczynski’s internet page is currently relaying messages from the Georgian government, since the Georgians’ own websites are (apparently) being blocked by Russian interference. 5. (U) On Saturday, August 9, President Kaczynski and his three Baltic counterparts issued a statement condemning WARSAW 00000947 002 OF 002 Russian military actions “aimed against the sovereignty and independence of the Georgian state” and calling on the EU and NATO to oppose the spreading of “imperialist and revisionist” policies in Eastern Europe. Under these circumstances, the statement questioned the appropriateness of an EU-Russian strategic partnership and said that Russian actions in Georgia should be factored into negotiations on a new EU Partnership and Cooperative Agreement with Russia. 6. (SBU) On August 12, the Deputy Chief of the President’s Chancery, Piotr Kownacki, will fly to Georgia to promote a seven-point plan authored by the Presidents of Ukraine and Lithuania and backed by President Kaczynski. The plan, which President Kaczynski reportedly briefed President Sarkozy about, calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the transformation of the Russian peace-keeping force in Georgia into an international force under EU command. Kownacki has told reporters that Polish troops would definitely participate in an EU-led mission. Kremer noted that Kownacki’s mission is information-gathering in nature. 7. (U) The Polish government has also organized the voluntary evacuation of 300 Poles in Georgia. The Poles and a few accompanying Czechs and Estonians drove to Yerevan, from where they were to be flown home on Polish government flights. EFFECT ON MD NEGOTIATIONS? 8. (U) Some Polish politicians, including President Kaczynski, argued publicly that Russian actions in Georgia drove home the need for Poland to conclude a Missile Defense agreement with the U.S. However, the government’s chief MD negotiator, FM Sikorski, said there is no link between events in Georgia and the MD talks. 9. (C) Comment: The Poles are clearly concerned that Russia be prevented from redefining the status quo in South Ossetia — and tanking Georgian (and Ukrainian) MAP aspirations at the same time. Kremer was insistent that the conflict be walled off from MAP discussions. He (and his Minister) are hoping first that the EU will decide to offer up a peacekeeping force, and second that the EU will be willing to put some big ticket items in the EU-Russian dialogue — energy relations and the EU-Russian Partnership Agreement negotiations — on the line in order to convince Russia to accept such peacekeepers. Both are a tall order. QUANRUD
C O N F I D E N T I A L REYKJAVIK 000166 SIPDIS FOR EUR/NB, EUR/RPM, EUR/RUS, EUR/CARC ALSO S/ES-O Georgia Task Force E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: NATO, PARM, KCFE, RU, GG, IC SUBJECT: NAC STATEMENT ON RUSSIAN ACTIONS IN GEORGIA REF: STATE 85678 Classified by Ambassador Carol van Voorst for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1.(C) Ambassador delivered reftel demarche to MFA Political Director Greta Gunnarsdottir August 11. Noting that Iceland has publicly endorsed the August 8 OSCE statement and the August 11 EU presidency statement calling for immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to negotiations, Gunnarsdottir said the MFA was following developments closely, and was in close touch with its representatives in NATO. The proposed key points will be carefully and quickly considered. 2.(SBU) Echoing Foreign Minister Gisladottir’s comments over the weekend, Gunnarsdottir noted that the security and welfare of civilians was a particular concern of the government of Iceland, and was pleased to see the commitment to humanitarian assistance in the proposed language. van Voorst
C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 000680 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2018 TAGS: PREL, KCFC, NATO, PARM, NL, GG SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/GEORGIA: SEEKING “BALANCED” NAC STATEMENT REF: SECSTATE 85678 Classified By: Political Economic Counselor Andrew C. Mann for reasons 1.5(b,d) 1. (C) SUMMARY: The Dutch MFA has not reached a final position on the August 12 NAC statement but the first reaction is to seek a more balanced, less Russia-focused document. In other developments, the EU will hold a special GAERC session on Georgia on August 13; the Dutch are very concerned about situation in Georgia. END SUMMARY. “FIRST THOUGHTS” ON NAC STATEMENT: “EMPHASIZE EVEN-HANDEDNESS” ——————————————— —————– 2. (SBU) Ambassador Culbertson delivered reftel to Ms. Renee Jones Bos, Ambassador-Designate to the United States and DG for Regional and Consular Affairs, and Jones-Bos’s deputy, Mr. Jan Henneman. Poloff discussed reftel points to MFA NATO desk, the Deputy Director for North American Affairs, and the Deputy Director for Southeastern and Eastern Europe. Army Attache and poloff delivered reftel points to MOD NATO desk. Army Attache delivered reftel points to Pieter-Henk Schoor, Policy Coordinator International Affairs and Operations at the MOD General Policy Department. 3. (C) Dutch MFA staff Carin Lobbezoo, deputy chief for East Europe and Central Asian Affairs, and Johanneke de Hoogh, Senior Policy Officer for NATO Affairs, told poloff their “first thoughts” were to “emphasize even-handedness,” as the U.S. draft is “a bit too focused on Russia.” The document should appeal for a cease fire. The Dutch would support language from past EU statements calling on Russia to respect Georgian sovereignty. Asked whether the Russians were more at fault, De Hoogh stated that Georgia started the conflict, that reports from Moscow suggest the campaign is ending, and the Dutch want to keep dialogue open. Although the NATO-Russia Council has produced little, the Dutch want to maintain Russian participation in efforts such as Operation Active Endeavor. On the other hand, Lobbezoo noted the conflict is a “clear overreaction by the Russians.” OTHER DEVELOPMENTS: ——————- 4. (C) Lobbezoo reported that FMs Stubb and Kouchner will debrief on their visit to Tbilisi and Moscow at an August 13 special GAERC meeting. The Dutch support the EU presidency’s efforts to de-escalate the situation, promote a ceasefire, and deliver humanitarian aid. 5. (C) The Dutch embassy in Tbilisi has confirmed bombings in Georgia. Lobbezoo indicates it’s “worrying” that Georgia port and other non-military facilities have been bombed. The banking system has collapsed. Culbertson
C O N F I D E N T I A L LISBON 001999 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: NATO, PARM, KCFE, PO, RU, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: PORTUGAL NOT PLANNING TO SUPPORT STRONG NAC STATEMENT REF: STATE 85678 Classified By: Dana M. Brown, Pol-Econ Officer, Embassy Lisbon Reason 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Portugal is concerned about the crisis in Georgia but is not ready to make a statement against Russian actions at this time, according to MFA Director for European Affairs Liliana Mascarenhas Neto. She told us that Portugal would wait to hear the French report at the special GAERC meeting on August 12 and then decide how to proceed in agreement with other EU partners. To that end, MFA Acting Director for Security and Disarmament Affairs Pedro Sousa Abreu reported that Portugal would not support a strong NAC statement tomorrow because it would preempt the French efforts and would be based on incomplete information. 2. (C) According to Neto, Portuguese FM Amado will return from vacation to attend the August 12 GAERC because he wants to hear the French analysis personally. (Note: Portugal does not have an embassy in Georgia and covers the issue only from Moscow.) She said the GOP was not excusing either side, but rather attempting to be objective. At the same time, she declared revealingly, “Georgia must play a better game” and commented, “This is why we didn’t think Georgia was ready for NATO.” 3. (C) Comment: Neto and Abreu both made it clear that the GOP would prefer not to support statements condemning either side, perhaps even after hearing from the French presidency. They also criticized the public statements made by the Baltic States and Poland earlier today against Russia’s actions, stating that the EU could not seem impartial if member states made announcements individually. End comment. Ballard
S E C R E T USNATO 000281 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, NATO, MOPS, PINR, GG, RS SUBJECT: NATO ALLIES LACK COHESION DURING FIRST MEETING ON GEORGIA CRISIS REF: A. STATE 85678 B. USNATO 279 C. USNATO 278 D. USNATO 277 E. USNATO 274 F. USNATO 275 G. USNATO 276 Classified By: Acting DCM Walter S. Reid III for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) SUMMARY: At the August 11 NATO Political Committee meeting on the fighting in Georgia, Allies unanimously deplored the Aug 8-11 developments but differed on how these events should affect NATO’s relations with Russia. The Balts and Poland would like to suspend the NATO-Russia Council, but Germany, France, and other traditionally cautious Allies argued that this channel of communication should be kept open to help bring an end to the fighting. The NAC will meet August 12 to examine the crisis in Georgia, immediately before meeting with the Georgian Foreign Minister (since cancelled – now with the Georgian Ambassador). While most Allies seem inclined to issue a North Atlantic Council (NAC) Statement on the crisis, there are divisions along traditional lines on whether that statement should contain strong criticism of Russia or simply be “balanced.” Many European Allies are concerned that a NAC statement not diverge from the EU’s internal consensus-building efforts to be undertaken in Brussels April 12-13. France is also concerned that a NATO statement would undermine President Sarkozy’s August 12 trip to Moscow. END SUMMARY 2. (C) NATO Allies met August 11 to discuss Georgia, the first such discussion at NATO since the outbreak of major military operations. The Chairman opened discussions by sharing that on August 8 the Russian Charge had admitted that Moscow had instructed him not to request a NATO Russia Council (NRC) meeting to discuss Georgia. The Russian Charge had also threatened that if the NAC goes through with its planned September visit to Georgia, this would significantly impact the NATO-Russia relationship. (Note: According to the NATO International Staff Russian Ambassador Rogozin has requested to meet with the Deputy Secretary General late on August 11. End note). 3. (C) At the Chair’s invitation France briefed on FM Kouchner’s efforts on behalf of the EU. Belgium had little detail to share on events under its chairmanship of the UN Security Council. All Allies condemned the ongoing violence, and the Russian violations of the territorial integrity of Georgia. All speakers also hoped that a ceasefire would soon take place. However, Allies were divided on the issue of what political steps NATO can take in order to encourage a speedy end to the fighting and what policy measures NATO should take vis-a-vis Russia as a result of its aggressive conduct in Georgia. Several called for frequent NATO meetings to assess developments. 4. (C) The U.S. shared that Washington views these developments very seriously, and announced the early arrival of Ambassador Volker in order to attend the August 12 NAC meeting on Georgia. The U.S. criticized Russia’s disproportionate military operations and assured Allies that, should events develop according to current trends, they could have serious effects on the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship. After indicating that Washington would like a strong statement, the U.S. distributed points (Ref A) that the U.S. believes NATO must make in order to credibly deal with the Russians on this issue. Finally the U.S. listed many of the ways that Moscow is breaching the commitments it made when NATO and Russia agreed to set up the NATO Russia Council. In response to suggestions from the Balts about suspending the NRC (below), the U.S. said consequences for the NRC are worth further considering, and Washington would examine its options further. ——————————————— —- APPORTIONING BLAME – SOME WANT TO BLAME THEM BOTH ——————————————— —- 5. (C) While most Allies agreed that Russia is using excessive force, Hungary and Slovakia called for NATO to take into account the role Georgia played at the beginning of this recent conflict, suggesting that Georgia invaded South Ossetia without provocation. Germany asserted Russia “has crossed the red line” by conducting airstrikes within Georgia, but went on to criticize the (allegedly unprovoked) Georgian invasion of South Ossetia. ————————————- NATO RUSSIA COUNCIL – DIVISION OVER ITS POSSIBLE SUSPENSION ————————————- 6. (C) Latvia, echoed by Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland highlighted their Presidents’ joint statement on the crisis and invited Allies to support that declaration. Each of these Allies expressed that Russian violence should “not serve the aggressor’s purpose” and that NATO should respond by suspending all NRC activity with the exception of any discussion aimed at bringing an end to the conflict. Bulgaria liked the idea immediately. Estonia underlined that NATO must show Moscow that Russia’s aggression has larger consequences, while Lithuania underscored that Russian actions will have security implications for the EuroAtlantic Area. Canada, the Czech Republic, the UK and Denmark, found the idea of suspending the NRC “interesting” and agreed to send it back to capitals. Germany argued that there is no mechanism for NATO Allies to suspend the NRC (“this is a very useful body”) and called for more consultations with Russia. Norway and France agreed that the NRC should not be suspended. Germany, joined by Norway and France, also argued that the NRC consultation mechanism was needed now more than ever. ————————————- NAC VISIT TO GEORGIA – ISSUE DEFERRED ————————————- 7. (C) Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Canada all asserted that the scheduled NAC visit to Georgia in September should go ahead. Germany the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Turkey said it was too early to decide. Denmark’s representative said she would have to ask Copenhagen. ——————————————— ————— AUGUST 12 NAC – POSSIBLE JOINT STATEMENT EXPOSES MORE CRACKS ——————————————— ————— 8. (C) Poland called for a very strong NAC statement, and expressed concern that NATO and EU statements on the crisis must be consistent and reinforce each other in order to strongly communicate the level of international condemnation of Russia’s actions. The Balts, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and the UK also wanted a strong statement. Germany countered, hoping for harmony between EU, OSCE and NATO messages and cautioning that any statement by the NAC should “help in defusing tensions.” This German perspective was backed by France, Turkey, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Italy and Slovakia. Denmark said it needed to take the U.S. points back to capital. France also expressed concern that a NATO statement might undermine France’s attempts to negotiate a settlement in its role as president of the EU. —————————- CONCLUSION: UNITED IN PRINCIPLE BUT DIFFICULT TO AGREE ON ACTION —————————- 9. (C) The Chairman, summarizing the meeting, concluded that Allies: — Generally agree that Russia now bears the burden of responsibility to halt the fighting — Support the EU and OSCE efforts to end hostilities — Want the humanitarian situation monitored closely However he also highlighted the lack of unity within the Alliance on the potential content of any NAC statement that would result from their 12 August meeting. ——- COMMENT ——- 10. (C) A number of Allies – especially Germany – are parroting Russian points on Georgian culpability for the crisis. Intelligence releasable to NATO Allies on this point might be a useful tool. 11. (C) All would like an immediate end to the fighting, but some believe that the best way to bring this about is to avoid confronting Moscow by adopting highly critical language. It is clear that many Allies fear a NAC statement could be perceptibly different in tone to the language that will emerge from the EU’s PSC on August 12, and the ministerial-level GAERC to be held in Brussels on August 13. 12. (C) In the aftermath of this Political Committee meeting USNATO held a Quad meeting April 11 to try to iron out consensus with the UK, France and Germany (results to be reported septel). WEINROD
C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000282 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, NATO, MOPS, PINR, GG, RS SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA APPEALS AT NATO FOR IMMEDIATE MILITARY ASSISTANCE AGAINST RUSSIA REF: A. STATE 85678 B. USNATO 279 C. USNATO 278 D. USNATO 277 E. USNATO 274 F. USNATO 275 G. USNATO 276 Classified By: Acting DCM Walter S. Reid III for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) At 20:10 local on August 11 the Georgian Mission to NATO began distributing an appeal for military assistance from their Foreign Ministry. Text of the letter follows. 2. (C) MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF GEORGIA Utmost Urgent N 6/3996-07 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia presents its compliments to all Diplomatic Missions of friendly countries and International Organizations accredited to Georgia and being under threat of totally (sic) occupation of the country request the immediate military assistance against the Russian direct and uncovered aggression. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia avails itself of this opportunity to renew to all Diplomatic Missions of friendly countries and International Organizations accredited to Georgia the assurances of its highest consideration. Tbilisi, August 11, 2008 ALL DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS OF FRIENDLY COUNTRIES AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ACCREDITED TO GEORGIA TBILISI WEINROD
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 STATE 086156 NOFORN, SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 25X1 TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 7 Classified by Senior Watch Officer Deborah Schneider for reasons 1.4 (B and D). RUSSIAN GROUND FORCES PUSH TOWARDS TBILISI —————————————— 1. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi reports Russian troops have taken Gori and OSCE observers confirm the troops are moving in the direction of Tbilisi. Georgia fears an imminent attack on Tbilisi and has appealed for immediate international intervention to defend the capital, according to its embassy in Washington. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 2. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi reports Russian ground troops occupied the western Georgian towns of Zugdidi, Khobi, and Senaki. They also occupied the central Georgian town of Kareli, severing the east-west highway and essentially splitting Georgia in half. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 3. (C) Embassy Tbilisi reports Georgian troops have fallen back to Mtskheta, 10 miles northwest of Tbilisi. Georgian officials told the Embassy they are uncertain if their troops will be able to form a defense. OSCE observers confirm reports that Georgian forces are out of the zone of conflict. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon, Tbilisi 1356) 4. (SBU) The last of the USAF C-17 flights bringing Georgian troops from Iraq landed in Tbilisi, according to Embassy Tbilisi. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 5. (S/NF) The Russian DATT contacted Embassy Tbilisi to request the removal of all U.S. C-17 aircraft from the airport immediately as Moscow is considering bombing the airport in the near future. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi e-mail) DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS INTENSIFY —————————- 6. (SBU) EUR DAS Bryza landed in Tbilisi and, for security reasons, has moved from the city center to the Embassy. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 7. (SBU) Embassy Warsaw reports President Kaczynski plans to pick up the presidents of Ukraine and the three Baltic states en route to Tbilisi for meetings. The Latvia desk reports Latvian PM Godmanis will leave for Tbilisi late August 11. (TF/Warsaw desk e-mail, TF/Latvia desk telcon) 8. (C) President Sarkozy will travel to Moscow August 12 to meet with President Medvedev, according to STATE 00086156 002 OF 003 SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. media. The French MFA has announced a three-part proposal to end the ongoing hostilities, including an immediate cease-fire, a return to August 6 troop positions with international support, and respect for Georgia’s sovereignty. (TF/France desk e-mail) 9. (C) Embassy Berlin confirms Chancellor Merkel plans to travel to Sochi August 15 to meet in a previously-scheduled meeting with President Medvedev. (Berlin 1095) HUMANITARIAN UPDATE ——————- 10. (C) Embassy Tbilisi reports an initial estimate of 3,000 IDPs from the conflict, but notes the numbers could climb into the tens of thousands. (Tbilisi 1356) 11. (C) Embassy Tbilisi received an initial request of emergency supplies for hospitals and IDPs from the Georgian Ministries of Health and Refugees. USAID has $250,000 in new emergency spending authority to support such procurement. (Tbilisi 1356) 12. (C) Embassy Tbilisi notes key potential problems in meeting needs include the security situation, the lack of international transportation due to the Russian blockade, and difficulties with the internal distribution of aid. (Tbilisi 1356) 13. (SBU) The Turkey desk notes Turkish concern over an influx of refugees from Georgia. (TF/Turkey desk telcon) 14. (C) Embassy Yerevan reports Armenia is concerned about imports given that a majority of its food and fuel consumption is imported via Georgia. (TF/Turkey desk telcon, Yerevan 639) PANIC IN TBILISI, IDPs FLOW INTO CITY, AIRPORT OPEN ——————————————— —— 15. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi describes Tbilisi residents as in a “state of panic” and has requested that Mission personnel stand fast and review their security status. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi e-mail) 16. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi reports a group of Georgian IDPs entered a housing cluster occupied by USG personnel. The cluster was cleared without incident but the IDPs threatened to return. Post comments the continuing influx of IDPs raises the possibility of confrontations and possible criminal activity directed against Americans. (TF/DSCC e-mail) 17. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi reports the international airport is open, although only Georgian airlines continue to operate. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi e-mail) STATE 00086156 003 OF 003 18. (SBU) Embassy Yerevan reports the convoy comprised of 20 USG family members and over 100 private AmCits has arrived in Armenia. The Embassy continues to receive requests for departure assistance; a third convoy is planned for August 13. (TF/Yerevan e-mail, TF/Tbilisi telcon) 19. (SBU) Sixty-four USG employees, nine spouses and three children – in addition to several TDYers, – remain at post and are standing. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 20. (SBU) A convoy of 87 Peace Corps volunteers and trainees crossed into Armenia. They will remain in reserved lodging in the town of Tsaghkadzor. (TF/Peace Corps e-mail) 21. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi held a town hall meeting which nearly all mission personnel attended, and continues to respond to a large number of inquiries from concerned Americans. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi e-mail) 22. (U) MINIMIZE CONSIDERED. RICE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAKU 000761 SIPDIS DOE FOR INTERNATIONAL/LANA EKIMOFF E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/10/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ENRG, AJ, GG, TU SUBJECT: AZERBAIJAN SCALES BACK PRODUCTION, LOOKS FOR ALTERNATE OIL EXPORT ROUTES Classified By: Acting DCM Rob Garverick, Reasons 1.4 (b) (d) 1. (C) Summary: BP and SOCAR acknowledged sharp declines in offshore oil and gas production at the ACG and Shah Deniz fields. BP Azerbaijan expects BTC repair work in Turkey to begin as soon as tomorrow, but cannot yet estimate how long repairs might take. AIOC consortium is weighing options for alternative export routes, but Russia-Georgia conflict is making matters difficult. Baku-Supsa is operating at reduced capacity; some AIOC oil has been rerouted to Novorossiysk. Exports via Iran (swaps) are unlikely. Shah Deniz natural gas is currently unavailable for Georgia; SOCAR may supply Georgia with other gas, depending on storage needs and demand. End Summary BP Unsure of Extent of Damage to BTC ———————————— 2. (SBU) In a conversation on August 11, British Petroleum’s Security Manager for Azerbaijan Eldar Nurizade told the Embassy that the fire caused by the explosion last week on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in a remote area of Turkey is still not fully extinguished, although the fire is greatly diminished. Nurizade expressed his confidence that the fire would die out in the next 24 hours. (Note: Press as of August 11 18:00 Baku time is reporting that the fire is completely out). He reported that once the fire is extinguished and the area has time to cool, teams of experts, led by Turkey’s Botas, could begin examining the damaged area to determine the cause of the fire and the timeframe for repairing the pipeline. Nurizade told the Embassy that until the initial assessments from the experts come in, he is unable to provide any information on how long it will take to have the BTC pipeline fully functional. Conflict in Georgia Complicates Things ————————————– 3. (SBU) Switching his attention to the conflict in Georgia, Nurizade told the Embassy that approximately 45,000 barrels per day (bpd) are now moving through the recently refurbished Baku-Supsa pipeline, carrying AIOC (consortium) oil from Azerbaijan’s ACG field to the Georgian Black Sea Coast. BP, which acts as the operator for this pipeline, has moved into its highest level of alert in Georgia, but it has not evacuated its employees there. Nurizade confirmed that tankers are remaining in “neutral waters” near the port of Supsa. Referring to reports of a Russian naval blockade of Georgia, he said that there are enough tankers near the port to hold up to eight days of pipeline throughput and expressed confidence that within that period ankers would be free cross the Black Sea. SOCAR Less Optimistic ——————— 4. (C) Murat Heydarov, who serves as Advisor to the President at the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), sounded more somber in his separate assessment of the situation. Heydarov said that ACG production fell today to 125,000 barrels per day; production had peaked before the BTC fire and Russia-Georgia conflict at nearly 900,000 barrels per day. Embassy received reports last week that production, because of export constraints, had been rolled back to 300,000 b/d and then 200,000 b/d. Heydarov confirmed that Baku-Supsa is taking 45,000 b/d and noted that some AIOC oil (up to 80,000 b/d) had been rerouted to Novorossiysk. That option, however, is limited, Heydarov explained, because SOCAR is also using that route for non-consortium oil exports, and “technical limitations” within Russia put further restraints on additional volumes. Iran Maybe, Probably Not ———————— 5. (C) Heydarov said that rail exports via Georgia are limited to ExxonMobil at this point, and that the AIOC consortium did not have plans, perhaps for security reasons, to begin shipments of oil by rail to Batumi. Embassy officer asked if other routes, perhaps to the South, were being considered. Heydarov reluctantly reported that there had been some discussion of a swap deal with Iran, but nothing had been proposed. The arrangement would allow AIOC oil to be sent to the Iranian Caspian port of Niko; in turn, Iran would export oil from its South through the Gulf in Azerbaijan’s name. Heydarov doubted that such a swap arrangement would b initiated, as volumes would be severely limited Shah Deniz Production Also Down ——————————- 6. (C) Heydarov said that Shah Deniz production had declined from 16-17 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) to 10 mcm/d. (On an annual basis, these numbers would represent a decline from about 6 bcm to 3.65 bcm.) Shah Deniz gas exports, accordingly, are being shipped to Turkey in accordance with sales contracts. No Shah Deniz gas is currently available for Georgia. SOCAR produces other gas — aside from Shah Deniz — which could be sent to Georgia. Heydarov said, however, that Azerbaijan is keen to use that gas to fill storage ahead of winter. Heydarov does not expect a natural gas crisis to emerge near-term in Georgia, as demand is not great in summer and early fall. Comment ——- 7. (C) SOCAR seems to be more concerned about declines in oil and gas production than BP Azerbaijan at this moment. Losses for now appear be economic only, as investors are not reporting damages to the ACG or Shah Deniz fields. Conflicting stories about the cause of the BTC explosion/fire in Turkey and Russian attacks on the BTC pipeline in Georgia are adding to the uncertainty. Embassy understands that as long as BTC pipeline and Russia-Georgia conflict do not disrupt oil shipments over the long term, SOCAR, BP and other AIOC partners are not likely to pursue export contracts or swaps with Iran. LU
C O N F I D E N T I A L PRAGUE 000535 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: NATO, PARM, KCFE, EUN, RU, GG, EZ SUBJECT: TFGGO1: CZECHS ENGAGED ON SITUATION IN SOUTH OSSETIA REF: A. STATE 85678 B. PRAGUE DAILY 08.11.2008 Classified By: Acting POLEC Counselor Martina Strong for reasons 1.5 (b ) and (d). 1. (SBU) Summary: Emboffs discussed the upcoming August 12 NAC with Czech MFA Director of Security Policy, Veronika Kuchynova-Smigolova, who noted that the Czechs share a similar perspective to the USG and offered her assurance that they want to coordinate closely with us. As noted in Ref B., Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg feels strongly that a tough message needs to be conveyed to Russia, and he has been reaching out to his colleagues to advance this cause. The Czech FM is planning to travel to Brussels August 12 so that the EU Foreign Minister Troika (French FM Kouchner, Swedish FM Bildt and Czech FM Schwarzenberg) can meet tomorrow evening, in advance of the Emergency GAERC August 13. End Summary. ———- Schwarzenberg Advocating a Strong Message to Russia ———- 2. (C) Czech Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg, who was on leave last week, returned early because of the worsening situation in Georgia. With his return, the MFA has released daily statements since August 8, appealing to both parties to stop military operations, conclude a cease-fire, and start negotiations. Schwarzenberg has spoken recently with both FM Kouchner and Georgian FM Tkeshelashvili (who reportedly will remain in Brussels through the EU GAERC meeting). He has also spoken with German FM Steinmeyer, who reportedly “was shaken” by Russian actions. FM Schwarzenberg plans to press hard at the EU FM Troika discussion August 12 for the strongest possible language. According to the MFA, contact from the USG with France, Italy (particularly given PM Berlusconi’s close ties to Russia) and Germany would be helpful as the EU works to form a consensus. ———- Czech Message at NAC and GAERC ———- 3. (C) The Czechs plan to press for language out of the NAC calling for an international peacekeeping force. According to Kuchynova-Smigolova, the Czechs would prefer a NATO-led peacekeeping force, but thought it was unlikely that all EU NATO members would support such a force. The next logical alternative, from the Czech perspective, would be a force led by the EU or, as they would prefer, “EU plus friends.” The Czechs also plan to press for references to Russian “occupation forces” in Georgia. While they would like a strong message out of the NAC, they also want to achieve a strong message at the Emergency GAERC scheduled for Wednesday, August 13 at 10:00am. Kuchynova-Smigolova was candid in her assessment regarding building consensus to condemn Russia. The Czechs feel that action through the UN is “impossible,” while they are not optimistic that they will get as strong a message as they would like out of NATO; they appear slightly more optimistic that at the EU GAERC they will be able to achieve more. Thompson-Jones
C O N F I D E N T I A L TOKYO 002216 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, MARR, GG, CH, JA SUBJECT: ACCS KAWAI ON OUTCOME OF PM FUKUDA’S MEETINGS IN BEIJING Classified By: Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer for reasons 1.4 (b) and ( d). 1. (C) Prime Minister Fukuda discussed ways to increase “mutually beneficial bilateral security cooperation” during August 8 meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, Assistant Cabinet Secretary Chikao Kawai told the DCM on August 11. Fukuda and Hu had agreed to this during Hu’s May visit to Japan. Kawai said there will be an uptick in the number of senior bilateral military personnel exchanges between Japan and China aimed at increasing military transparency. Japanese Defense Minister Hayashi will visit China, the head of the Chinese Air Force will visit Japan in September, the head of the Chinese Navy will visit Japan in October, and the PLA Deputy Chief of Staff will visit Japan before the year-end. 2. (C) Fukuda personally requested Kawai brief Embassy Tokyo on these visits to make sure the United States does not misunderstand Japan’s intent, Kawai emphasized. The increased bilateral personnel exchanges are aimed at increasing military transparency, and are not geared at strengthening military cooperation, he noted. Kawai said he told Fukuda that the United States will understand Japan’s goal and will not misinterpret Japan’s actions. Fukuda reiterated that he wanted Kawai to share this information with the United States to avoid “any misunderstanding,” and to promote information sharing and coordination between Japan and the United States on China issues, Kawai stated. Fukuda wanted the United States to hear about the upcoming visits from GOJ, not the media. The DCM thanked Kawai for the information and explained that the United States welcomes Japan’s improved ties with China. 3. (C) Turning to Secretary Rice’s telephone conversation with Foreign Minister Koumura, the DCM shared a copy of the G-7 draft statement on Georgia and explained that it is very important to have Japan’s cooperation on this. Secretary Rice is trying to arrange a call among G-7 ministers to urge Russia to consider the political cost of continuing the conflict, the DCM explained. Japan shares our concerns, Kawai responded. SCHIEFFER
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 001532 SIPDIS DEPT FOR TFGG01, EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EUR, EUR/RUS, EUR/CARC, IO, IO/UNP (MARIZ) E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PREL, UNSC, ID, GG, RS SUBJECT: TFGG01: URGING INDONESIAN SUPPORT ON GEORGIA SITUATION REF: STATE 86130 Classified By: Pol/C Joseph L. Novak, reasons 1.4(b+d). 1. (C) SUMMARY: Per reftel, Mission has urged key Indonesian interlocutors to support the draft U.N. Security Council Resolution on the situation in Georgia. GOI officials agreed that the situation was very serious and promised to work with us on the matter in New York. Mission has also reached out to a key legislator and a think-tank expert, urging that they work to publicize what is happening in Georgia. Mission is also coordinating with the British and French embassies. 2. (C) SUMMARY (Con’d): So far, there is some local media coverage of Russia’s actions, but most Indonesians are not focused on the situation. Indonesians who are involved in international relations seem genuinely concerned by the sheer egregiousness of the Russian attack. END SUMMARY. URGING GOI SUPPORT 3. (C) Per reftel instruction, Mission has urged key Indonesian contacts in the President’s Office and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DEPLU) to support the draft UNSC resolution on the situation in Georgia. We underscored that the situation was extremely serious. There must be an immediate cease fire, a withdrawal of all Russian and Georgian forces to their pre-August 7 positions, international support for mediation and complete implementation of the 1994 Moscow agreement. UNSC members must stand firm in calling for an end to the conflict, even in the face of a Russian veto. 4. (C) The Ambassador reviewed key points with Presidential advisor Dino Djalal. Djalal took our points on board and said he would review the matter. 5. (C) Poloff also discussed the situation with Riando Sembiring, Deputy Director for International Security and Disarmament Affairs at DEPLU. Sembiring agreed that the situation in Georgia was serious. He promised to review reftel points with other DEPLU officials and said the Indonesian Mission in New York looked forward to continuing to work with USUN on the matter. PRESSING OTHER ANGLES 6. (C) Pol/C also raised the issue with Theo Sambuaga, Chair of the national legislature’s foreign affairs committee. Sambuaga agreed that the Russian invasion was “totally inappropriate” and called it a “blunt instrument.” He promised to press the President’s Office and DEPLU to join the United States and other UNSC members in support of the resolution. Sambuaga also said he would speak to the media in order to educate the Indonesian public about the seriousness of the situation and the importance of Indonesian support for the resolution. 7. (C) Poloff also discussed the situation in Georgia with Rizal Sukma, an influential foreign affairs expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Jakarta’s leading think-tank. (Note: Although a non-governmental entity, CSIS experts often advise DEPLU on key international issues.) He said Indonesian experts were following the matter and appreciated hearing USG views. He agreed that the situation was serious and that Indonesia should support UNSC efforts to end the conflict. Poloff urged Sukma to work to publicize the matter. (Note: Sukma often writes influential op-eds on foreign policy issues in the local papers.) 8. (C) Finally, poloff compared notes with British and French JAKARTA 00001532 002 OF 002 Embassy colleagues. The British were pressing the issue with DEPLU interlocutors and had received back the same basically positive message as us. The French have not yet received instructions on the matter but would seek appropriate meetings once they had. NOT MUCH AWARENESS 9. (C) So far, there is some local media coverage of the situation, but the vast majority of Indonesians are not focused on the situation. The small numbers of Indonesians who are involved in international relations seem genuinely concerned by the sheer egregiousness of the Russian attack. We think that the GOI will continue to be cooperative in New York. HUME
C O N F I D E N T I A L RIGA 000472 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PREL, MOPS, ENRG, NATO, EUN, RS, GG, LG SUBJECT: TFGG01: LATVIAN FM WANTS STRONG NATO AND EU STATEMENTS BUT NOT OPTIMISTIC REF: A) STATE 856708 B) STATE 86108 Classified By: Ambassador Charles W. Larson, Jr., Reason: 1.4 (d) 1. (C) Summary: Latvian FM Riekstins supports strong statements by the EU and NATO in support of Georgia and in opposition to Russian actions, but he is skeptical that consensus can be achieved in either organization for a tough line. He feels that it is important for the Latvian public to see that these organizations stand up for their friends. He also remains interested in staying in close touch with the US on responding to Georgian requests for military assistance. Looking ahead, the minister advocated for a quick NATO decision to grant MAP to Ukraine to stave off Russian provocations there and said that events in Georgia will likely lead Latvia to take a critical look at its energy security needs. End summary. 2. (C) Ambassador and A/DCM called on FM Riekstins August 12 to urge Latvian support for strong NATO and EU statements on Georgia. Riekstins was in full agreement on the importance of both organizations issuing tough statements. He said recent statements by the NATO SYG were good, but Russia is looking to see a tough, united statement, otherwise it will continue its activities in Georgia. He also noted that the Latvian public is looking to both organizations to increase their level of activity on Georgia, as a sign of how these organizations treat their friends. The August 11 Georgian request for military assistance from democratic countries was “unlike anything” he had seen before and Riekstins said he wanted to stay in close touch with the US on potential responses to this request. 3. (C) Riekstins positively noted the strong statement by President Bush August 11. Echoing many of our own points, the FM said that Russia has discredited itself a peacekeeper in the “near abroad” and its justification of “protecting its citizens” is a worrying precedent. What if it asserted a right to protect Russians living in Germany? (Comment: what he really meant was “what if Russia asserted a right to protect ethnic Russians living in Latvia, with force if needed? End comment.) He added that he was very skeptical of Russian claims of Georgian atrocities, but expected “evidence” to be produced to advance this claim. 4. (C) That said, the FM did not believe that either NATO or the EU could agree on a tough statement, “unless Sarkozy is rudely kicked out of Moscow.” More likely, he thought, was the Russia would express some support for a French plan, but place conditions or other restrictions on it that would water it down. That would still be enough though to get some countries (he specifically cited Italy) to urge a “balanced” statement that would not give Russia any cause for concern. In that regard, he though the visit by Latvian PM Godmanis and the presidents of Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Ukraine to Georgia August 12 was very important. Riesktins and his Baltic and Polish colleagues could speak at the August 13 GAERC on the basis of what their leaders had seen in Georgia first hand, but even with this, he projected uphill sledding in the GAERC. 5. (C) Rieskstins opined that apart from statements, we needed to consider concrete actions that could be taken that would demonstrate to Russia the real consequences of their action and cause them to rethink their activities in Georgia. Suspending the PCA negotiations with the EU, he said, was of no real consequence to Moscow. Ideas he mentioned (but did not advocate for any one in particular) included pulling the 2014 winter games from Sochi, kicking Russia out of the G8, and suspending Russian membership in the Council of Europe. 6. (C) Looking ahead, Riekstins said that NATO should move quickly to grant MAP to Ukraine, before Russia could stage provocations there. He also said this was an important symbol that NATO would not be deterred by Russian aggression. 7. (C) Asked by the Ambassador what consequences events in Georgia would have on Latvia’s relations with Russia, Riekstins said that he was not yet sure. Some economic ties would continue because “business is business.” However, Latvia viewed the August 11 comments by Russian Ambassador Vyeshnakov that the Baltic States and Poland were “hurrying to conclusions with potentially dangerous consequences” as a not very subtle threat. The GOL had checked and their energy supplies were OK on electricity, even though the Ignalina plant in Lithuania is undergoing annual maintenance. On gas, the underground storage facilities in Latvia gave them a buffer from an immediate cutoff. He said that PM Godmanis had said that he wanted to lead a cabinet discussion of the future relationship with Russia upon his return from Georgia. LARSON
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001362 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 8: RUSSIANS PULL BACK, BUT BOMBING CONTINUES UNTIL MEDVEDEV SAYS IT IS OVER REF: TBILISI 1356 Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (C) Begin Summary: The Minister for Reintegration and Prime Minister confirmed press reports that Gori was again bombed in the late morning August 12. Targets included Gori University, the Post Office, and the hospital. There was also a bomb blast in near Tbilisi at the SU-25 factory near the Tbilisi airport. OSCE reported that Russian troops had pulled out of Gori, slightly to the North. Georgia’s remaining forces have moved to establish defensive positions in Stepantsminda, Mtskheta, and the outskirts of Tbilisi. Overnight, the Heidelberg Cement factory in Kas Kaspi, in the river valley between Tbilisi and Gori, was bombed. UNOMIG confirmed that Russian troops had left Senaki military base after destroying it. Russian troops remained in Zugdidi. UNOMIG’s international observers continue to occupy their posts in the area. As Tbilisi residents engaged in panic buying of gasoline and foodstuffs late in the evening August 12, President Saakashvili made a live address to appeal to the nation for support The Tbilisi international airport remains open and operational. 2. (C) Polish President Kaczynski is scheduled to arrive late afternoon August 12 in Tbilisi, accompanied by the Ukrainian and Lithuanian President, and either Presidents or PMs of Latvia and Estonia. French President Sarzkozy is due to arrive in Tbilisi the evening of August 12 from Moscow. EUR DAS Bryza arrived August 11 in Tbilisi, and is talking to Georgian leaders, including PM Gurgenidze to discuss Georgia’s urgent economic needs. He said the banks would be closed tomorrow. The Ministry of Agriculture told Post Georgia has a sufficient food supply for two months. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has provided temporary use of the unfinished road they are constructing for a southern route to Samstkhe-Javakheti from Tbilisi. Post issued a new travel warning at 1000 and is preparing a third convoy of Americans to depart Tbilisi on August 13 for Yerevan with more than 100 Amcits expected to take part. A group of 27 FLEX students being sent to study in the U.S. with PAS support departed for the U.S. via ground through Baku. Except for the bombing at the aircraft factory, Tbilisi remains quiet. This sitrep covers events since the evening of August 11 (reftel). End Summary. 3. (C) At 1145 August 12, Minister for Reintegration Temuri Yakobishvili confirmed press reports that Gori was again being bombed during the late morning. PM Gurgenidze held a press conference shortly thereafter and said the targets include Gori University, the Post Office, and the hospital. Casualties are reported, and some foreign journalists apparently came under fire. There were no reports of Americans being injured. Georgian journalists from Channel 1 reported that a Dutch cameraman had been killed and Dutch and Greek journalists injured. OSCE earlier confirmed that Russian troops had pulled out of Gori, slightly to the North. Georgia’s remaining forces have moved to establish defensive positions in Stepantsminda, Mtskheta, and the outskirts of Tbilisi. Overnight, a German assistance-dedicated concrete plant in Kaspi was bombed. Kaspi lies approximately halfway between Tbilisi and Gori, along the new highway being built with German foreign assistance. 4. (C) UNOMIG confirmed that Russian troops had left Senaki military base after destroying it. Russian troops remained in Zugdidi. UNOMIG’s international observers continue to occupy their posts in the area. They have no plans to vacate or relocate. A senior Georgian official said that Russian troops remain outside of the port of Poti with Russian ships reportedly anchored offshore. We also hear that fighting continues in the Upper Kodori valley of Abkhazia. 5. (C) President Saakashvili made two live addresses, and appealed to the nation for support. A special session of Parliament began at 1300 local time August 12, and Saakashvili called upon the populace to rally for support in front of the building at 1500. (Comment: Local contacts report that the President’s address was gloomier and more depressed than usual. They opined that he seemed a bit lost and angry, and was focused more on blaming Russia than providing a plan forward. End comment.) Our local staff reports that the general mood of the public is bad. Most people in Tbilisi are scared, but quiet and staying at home. 6. (C) Gurgenidze told DAS Bryza that Georgia is facing a potentially severe economic crisis, with Russia having shut down the Port of Poti and severing Georgia’s main east-west highway that is the country’s economic lifeline. (Note: During his press conference today, Gurgenidze said the Port TBILISI 00001362 002 OF 002 of Poti is operating and three ships were unloaded August 11, carrying mostly food supplies. Post’s shipping agent confirmed the port is open, but said that no cargo has been loaded or unloaded as ships are being rerouted. End note.) The PM agreed to meet with Bryza today and discuss specific measures that could restore economic confidence. 7. (U) Eka Zguladze, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, held a press conference at the same time as the PM’s, in which she provided an update of events and called for calm. She noted that Rezo Beshidze will attend the NATO 26 1 session for Georgia, that the Russians are not indicating they will advance on Tbilisi, and that Georgia is seeing significant support from Europe and the U.S. — as five European presidents are arriving in Tbilisi today, and President Bush’s speech was very strong. 8. (SBU) The Ministry of Agriculture advised Post yesterday there is a two-month supply of food in the country, and additional import routes/supplies are being explored. Despite some panic buying overnight of food and fuel, there appears to currently be enough of each. 9. (U) The MCC constructed temporary signage and provided use of the unfinished road they are constructing on the southern route to Samstkhe-Javakheti from Tbilisi. The road is graveled and passable, but not yet paved. 10. (SBU) Post issued a new travel warning at 1000 August 12 and a warden notice announcing the organization of a third convoy of Americans citizens to depart Tbilisi at noon on August 13 for Yerevan. More than 100 Amcits are expected to take part. Peace Corps volunteers are all now relocated in a former ski resort near Yerevan, remaining in place and awaiting clarification of the security situation. A group of 27 FLEX students (with Embassy PAS support) left by ground for Baku yesterday, and now are on their way to study in the U.S. With the exception of bombing at the aircraft factory, Tbilisi remains quiet. TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TALLINN 000279 SIPDIS SENSITIVE FOR EUR/NB MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, RS, GG, AM, EN SUBJECT: TFGGO1: ESTONIA SUPPORTS STRONG NAC STATEMENT Classified by: DCM Karen Decker for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d) REF: (A) STATE 85678 (B) WARSAW 947 1. (C) On August 8, DCM and Poloff provided reftel points on Georgia to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Harri Tiido and Georgia Desk Officer Toomas Tiirs. Tiido told DCM that the GOE will strongly support U.S. efforts for a NAC on Georgia at the August 12 meeting. 2. (C) Later in the day, U/S Tiido briefed diplomats from EU and NATO missions on the Estonian reaction to the situation in Georgia. Tiido characterized the current situation as Russian military aggression against a sovereign country. He said that at the North Atlantic Council (NAC) meeting on Tuesday, Estonia would be looking for a strong statement from the NAC or the Secretary General condemning Russian actions and recognizing that the Russian Federation (GOR) is operating outside the boundaries of international law. NATO needs to affirm the territorial sovereignty of Georgia, Tiido said, and call for an immediate end to the hostilities and full withdrawal from Georgian territory. Estonia would also like the NAC statement to contain a reference to Georgia’s intent to join NATO. The GOE feels strongly that NATO should send a message that both Georgia and Ukraine remain applicants and their progress toward membership will continue. 3. (C) With respect to EU action on Georgia, Tiido said Estonia would like to see EU support for the French/Finnish Four Point Action Plan (withdraw of troops to previous position, an immediate halt to hostilities, respect for sovereign territory, refrain from using inflammatory language). Tiido also called on the EU to act rapidly and decisively to find a single voice on the matter. The EU should also consolidate activities in the UN/OSCE/COE and other international organizations. Tiido called on the EU to demand an active role in sending a “new” peacekeeping force to South Ossetia. He emphasized the need for a “new” mission, stating Russia ‘clearly demonstrated themselves to be unfit to conduct peacekeeping operations.’ Tiido also invited all democratic countries to join a joint statement by the Polish and Baltic presidents (emailed to EUR/NB) condemning Russian actions in South Ossetia. Finally, Tiido suggested that the EU should review EU-Russia relations and consider actions that would signal to Russia that military aggression against its neighbor is not without consequences. (E.g. suspending the EU-Russia PCA negotiations and the EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement.) (Note: The GOE sent a memo to all EU members detailing its position on Georgia/Russia within the EU. The MFA provided Embassy with a copy of the note, which has been emailed to EUR/NB). 4. (C) Subsequently, Post confirmed ref B report that Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves will travel to Georgia along with the Polish, Lithuanian, Ukraine Presidents and the Latvian Prime Minister on August 12. Earlier plans for Prime Minister Ansip to travel to Georgia have been delayed because of logistical problems. PM Ansip and Foreign Minister Paet (who is currently in Iraq) may travel later in the week. 4. (C) Estonia has chartered an Estonian Air flight to take humanitarian aid to Georgia via Yerevan. Media reports indicate that approximately 50 volunteers from the Estonian Defense League are traveling to Georgia to deliver assistance. The plane is also set to bring back 100-120 Estonian nationals from Georgia. Estonia will also send two cyber security experts to help Georgia defend against that wave of cyber attacks they are currently experiencing. The Chairman of the Parliament’s Defense Committee, Mati Raidma, is already in Georgia to consult on cyber security. 5. (U) Senior GOE officials and parliamentarians have issued multiple statements over the last few days. Estonian President Ilves, PM Ansip, FM Paet and several TALLINN 00000279 002 OF 002 members of the Estonian Parliament have all publicly condemned Russia’s military intervention in South Ossetia and demanded that Russia immediately withdraw its troops form Georgia. Several MPs have noted they do not think Russia intends to stop at Ossetia, is intent on forcing a change of government in Tbilisi and that western powers need to step in before they find themselves in ‘a new war in which Russia dictates the terms.’ 6. (C) COMMENT. Estonia has a long-standing interest in Georgian security and is clearly willing to take an aggressive stand in this matter ‘ both individually and in coordination with regional partners. Several Estonian officials, including Undersecretary Tiido, have expressed concerns that a failure to stop Russian aggression in Georgia could have far reaching implication for other countries with large ethnic Russian communities. END COMMENT. PHILLIPS
C O N F I D E N T I A L RIGA 000478 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PREL, MOPS, EAID, PINR, EUN, NATO, RS, GG, LG SUBJECT: TFGG01: MFA STATE SECRETARY UNUSUALLY BLUNT IN CRTICISM OF RUSSIA REF: RIGA 472 Classified By: Ambassador Charles W. Larson, Jr., Reason: 1.4(d) 1. (C) Summary: In an unusually blunt briefing for NATO and EU Embassies, MFA State Secretary Penke on August 12 was exceptionally critical of Russia’s actions in Georgia. He stated that Russia had “violated Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” committed “aggression, including through its massive and disproportionate response.” Commenting on Medvedev’s reference to Georgia as the aggressor, Penke termed this “crazy.” He said that NATO and EU member states needed to assess what kind of partner Russia is, since it used “nonsense” excuses to attack Georgia and the suggestion that Russia was attempting to force peace is “unacceptable.” While praising efforts by the EU presidency and OSCE CiO to foster a solution, Penke lamented the inability of NATO to reach agreement on a tough statement, which revealed “important differences” on Georgia within the alliance. He also bemoaned the NAC’s failure to discuss the Georgian request for military assistance. Penke added that “business as usual” with Russia was no longer possible and we need to develop strategies vis-a-vis Moscow that are based on “hard wording, strict decisions, and full implementation. Russia must understand that these actions are not without consequences and sanctions.” Latvia is sending humanitarian assistance to Georgia valued at nearly 250K USD. End summary. 2. (C) MFA State Secretary Normans Penke briefed NATO and EU Ambassadors the afternoon of August 12 on Georgia. Ambassador and A/DCM attended. Penke was blunt in his language and presentation throughout. His opening words were that “Russia has violated Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Abkhazia and South Ossetia themselves belong to Georgia. What Russia has done is aggression, including through its massive and disproportionate response (to alleged provocations).” Recalling the statement by Russian president Medvedev an hour or so before that offensive operations would cease because the “aggressor has been punished,” Penke termed the Russian view of the conflict “crazy.” He added that Russia’s various justifications for its actions, including that it was forcing Georgia to make peace, were “unacceptable.” 3. (C) Saying that Georgia had made several cease-fire offers of its own and had been willing to work with others on peace plans. Praising efforts by the French presidency of the EU and the OSCE CiO, Penke said that the lack of a commensurate Russian response forced us all, and NATO and the EU as organizations, to ask what kind of Russia could be. He called for a complete reevaluation of relations with Russia by both organizations and suggested that as first steps the EU should suspend further negotiations on visa facilitation or on a new PCA. Saying that Russia would not heed “weak partners” he advocated for NATO and EU statements with “hard wording, strict decisions, and full implementation. Russia must understand that these actions are not without consequences and sanctions.” 4. (C) Penke’s frustration at the inability of the NAC to adopt a tough statement at its August 12 meeting was evident. He said that the debate revealed “important differences” among allies on Georgia policy and he was especially concerned that NATO had not discussed Georgia’s request for assistance and hoped that would be possible “at least on the margins” of the August 13 GAERC. In response to a question, Penke said that NATO must move faster on MAP for Ukraine and he hoped that events in Georgia also spurred Ukraine to “finish its homework.” 5. (U) Penke said that the Latvian cabinet had approved a shipment of nearly USD 250 thousand worth of humanitarian assistance and much of it would be sent in the evening of August 12 with the plane carrying it Yerevan, bringing back a load of Latvians and others looking to leave Georgia. He also said that Latvia was looking on how to respond positively to a Georgian government request that Latvia extend the validity of visas for Georgians in Latvia who cannot safely return home. 6. (C) Comment: A/DCM has worked with Penke for over two years and been in a number of meetings with him. Today’s brefing, especially for this large crowd, was unusually emotional and blunt. In fact, Penke, a former Ambassador to Moscow, has a reputation within the GOL for being somewhat soft on Russia. You wouldn’t have known it today. His passion seemed genuine and his frustration with Russia, and the inability of NATO to respond forcefully, was deep. In stood in contrast to the more measured and traditionally diplomatic tones of FM Riekstins when we saw him earlier the same day. LARSON
C O N F I D E N T I A L STOCKHOLM 000565 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, RU, GG, SW SUBJECT: TFGG01: SWEDEN SHARES U.S. POSITION ON GEORGIA-RUSSIA CONFLICT REF: STATE 86108 Classified By: CDA SILVERMAN FOR REASONS 1.4 (B & D) (C) On August 12, Charge delivered reftel demarche to Acting Foreign Minister Frank Belfrage. Belfrage emphatically said that Sweden shares the U.S. position on the Georgia-Russia conflict, and the key was to get EU members to agree on a strong common position. He said a strong common position is possible–much more so now after this week’s events–adding that he already has been in touch with several EU foreign ministers. Belfrage said he will join Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who currently is in Tbilisi, at the August 13 GAERC in Brussels. He inquired about the U.S.’ thoughts on follow-up actions; the Charge promised to stay in touch on the matter. SILVERMAN
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000666 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PREL, XG, GG, LH SUBJECT: TFGG01: LITHUANIA TO PUSH EU VISA FACILITATION FOR GEORGIANS REF: STATE 86108 Classified By: CDA Damian R. Leader for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Post shared reftel points August 12 with MFA Director of Transatlantic Cooperation and Security Policy Vytautas Leskevicius who said FM Vaitiekunas expects to brief his EU counterparts at the August 13 GAERC on what he witnessed in Georgia August 10-11 and invite them to go to Tbilisi themselves to “form a human shield” to help prevent further Russian aggression. Leskevicius said Lithuania favors suspension of post-PCA and visa facilitation negotiations with the Russians and commencement of visa facilitation negotiations with the Georgians. He also said Vaitiekunas might raise the possibility of deploying the EU Rapid Reaction Force to Georgia. The latter was publicly supported by the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee August 12. 2. (C) Leskevicius said Lithuania was pleased by Ukrainian President Yushchenko’s decision to join the group of Presidents expected to arrive in Tbilisi August 12. He also shared Lithuanian hopes that the situation in Georgia will solidify the internal Ukrainian discussion in favor of closer ties to the West and NATO. Leskevicius said French President Sarkozy will meet with the group of Presidents August 13 in Tbilisi (after Sarkozy’s August 12 trip to Moscow). 3. (U) In Vilnius, the Russian Embassy has been a venue for various protests both on August 11 and 12, the latter organized by the Conservative Party together with members of the Georgian community. A larger rally is expected August 13 in Cathedral square, a popular venue in the old city for public events. A peaceful group of about half a dozen pro-Georgia protesters gathered at lunch time outside the U.S. Embassy August 12 urging the United States to do more for Georgia. The group dispersed after about 30 minutes. LEADER
C O N F I D E N T I A L ATHENS 001156 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, GG, GR SUBJECT: TFGG01: GREEKS WILL FOLLOW FRENCH LEAD ON GEORGIA CRISIS REF: A. SECSTATE 86108 B. ATHENS 1152 C. SECSTATE 85678 Classified By: CHARGE D’AFFAIRES DEBORAH MCCARTHY. REASONS 1.4 (B) and (D). 1. (C) SUMMARY: The GOG has still not announced an official position on the crisis in Georgia, probably due to its concerns about alienating either the Russians or Georgians, with both of whom Greece maintains close ties. But our conversations with MFA and other high-placed interlocutors indicate Greece will closely follow the lead of French President Sarkozy and support the common EU position. The GOG is preparing humanitarian supplies, which may be directly airlifted by the Hellenic Air Force or folded into the collective EU humanitarian response. The Greek press has generally stuck to the facts in its reporting of the crisis, though editorial opinions are divided between pro-Russian and pro-Georgian positions. END SUMMARY. GOG POSITION: SUPPORT SAKOZY —————————- 2. (SBU) On August 12, A/DCM conveyed ref A points on the GAERC discussion on Georgia and information on USAID humanitarian assistance efforts to the office of MFA Secretary General for International Economic Affairs Skylakakis. Skylakakis’ policy advisor, Christian Argyropoulou, noted that Greece was now in the process of considering how to provide similar assistance to Georgia. 3. (C) Minister of Interior Prokopis Pavlopoulos — who is close to PM Karamanlis and plays a larger role in the GOG than his title suggests — told us that Greece would follow the French lead. According to Pavlopoulos, FM Bakoyannis had been instructed to support the position of President Sarkozy and adhere to the common EU position. On humanitarian aid, the Interior Minister confirmed the GOG was preparing a package, which would be folded into the collective EU response. 4. (C) A/Polcouns delivered ref A points to Stella Bezirtzoglou, head of the Georgia Desk at the MFA A5 Directorate for CIS Countries, and to European Correspondent Antonia Katzourou. Bezirtzoglou will accompany FM Bakoyannis to Brussels for the GAERC discussion Wednesday and said she had already provided our points on a NATO Georgia statement (ref C) to Bakoyannis. Bezirtzoglou was still unable to provide an official Greek position on Russia’s aggressive military action against Georgia but noted that Greece supported Sarkozy’s efforts and would support whatever common EU position emerged from the upcoming discussions. She did, however, reiterate Greece’s support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and noted that Greece had prepared four tons of humanitarian assistance (blankets, tents, medicines, etc.) for shipment to Georgia as soon as practicable. Katzourou also said Greece was expecting to follow Sarkozy’s lead and supported his efforts. She said Greece was committed to the principles of respect for territorial integrity of Georgia and respect of international borders. At the same time, Greece was in a “delicate position” because of its traditional good relations with both Russia and Georgia. 5. (C) A/DATT met with RADM Lainas, Director of A Branch of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (HNDGS), which has overall responsibility for military operations. Lainas said the HNDGS had received guidance from the MFA to be ready to conduct possible humanitarian assistance missions to Georgia, specifically, the delivery of medical supplies and medications. He was unprepared to offer further details, such as when the mission might be executed, means of delivery, or quantities of materiel. He said the HNDGS was standing by and would be ready to respond to guidance from the MFA. OPPOSITION PASOK LEADER CALLS FOR CEASEFIRE ——————————————- 6. (C) On August 9, opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou published a statement on the crisis in Georgia in which he called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and swift resumption of negotiations, deplored the loss of life, and joined the calls for an “Olympic truce.” Papandreou’s foreign policy advisor Demitris Droutsas subsequently told us — after the extent of Russian military actions became clearer — that it was “obvious” that Greece needed to join the international community’s condemnation of Russia’s “unilateral disregard of the law.” Droutsas added that the situation in Georgia had special resonance with Greeks because of rience with Turkey’s o#prus under the pretext power. (NOTE: The ` the situation in GeorgQa touchstone for Greek viQs. The more pro-Russi!TO’s actions in Kosovo s actions in Georgia; more pro-Georgia or, at least, more neutral Greeks often cite the analogy with the situation in Cyprus. END NOTE.) UPDATES FROM FRENCH, BALTIC, UKRAINIAN EMBASSIES ——————————————— — 7. (C) Charge discussed the crisis with the French Charge, who stressed the need to consider the best forum in developing the mechanisms for international involvement in any eventual agreement between the parties — this was the longer-term challenge, he added. 8. (SBU) Poloffs also spoke with representatives from the Lithuanian, Estonian, and Ukrainian embassies in Athens. All three representatives said their presidents were en route and not expected to arrive to Tbilisi until the evening of the August 12. They said the visit’s purpose was to show unity and support for the president of Georgia. Ambassador Yahilo from Estonia added that the situation was in a state of flux but that his country supported Saakashvili. Estonia, Lithuania, and Ukraine were monitoring the humanitarian situation and had sent aircraft to Georgia with medical supplies, including personnel, medicine, and ambulances. The Lithuanian embassy stated there were preparations for more medical equipment to be sent tomorrow. GREECE PRESS DIVIDED OVER CRISIS ——————————– 9. (SBU) Greek media extensively reported on the Caucasus crisis. News reports generally stuck to the facts, stressing that Georgia started the operation, that Russia responded with heavy force, and that there was intensive propaganda from both sides. Editorials were more partisan. Some media linked the crisis with the recognition of Kosovo (some fron-page headlines called the Caucasus a “New Kosoo”) and reminded their audiences that Russia hd warned the U.S. and the international community that Kosovo was going to be used as a potential precedent in cases like South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and others. MEGA Channel highlighted in its August 10 evening prime-time news program the crossfire between the U.S. and Russian permreps in the UNSC, noting a State Department official’s comments that the USG was “cynically” more interested in Russia’s positive stance on the Iranian nuclear program and that it was not intending to dispatch U.S. or NATO troops to the Caucasus. The unnamed State Department representative also reportedly “admitted” that during the debate over Kosovo’s independence Russian FM Lavrov had warned Secretary Rice “not even to think of intervening” in case of a future crisis in South Ossetia. Media also generally noted that the Greek government had not come out with a strong position on the crisis, to the chagrin of both sides in the conflict both of which were expecting more Greek support. A dominant theme throughout was that the crisis could represent a resurgence of the cold war between Russia and the U.S. SMALL DEMONSTRATIONS SUPPORT GEORGIA ——————————– 10. (SBU) On August 10 at 1630 hours, approximately 400-500 peaceful demonstrators marched past the Embassy then moved to the Russian Embassy in the suburb of Paleo Psychiko. The demonstration started at Syntagma Square in central Athens with the group carrying Georgian flags and dressed in red and white. The demonstrators paused in front of the U.S. Embassy for a few minutes chanting for the U.S. to help Georgia. The Hellenic Police provided one anti-riot bus and 20 officers to secure the Embassy. The Russian Embassy was heavily guarded. 11. (SBU) In Thessaloniki on August 12, about 200 people, apparently Georgians, participated in a peaceful march in the downtown area stopping at the Russian consulate. In addition to loud anti-Russian chanting, speakers voiced concern for relatives and friends in Georgia and grief and anger over the crisis. Long-time residents noted that this was the first anti-Russian demonstration in Thessaloniki they could recall. MCCARTHY
C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 000684 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, EU, NL, GG SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/GEORGIA: SUPPORTING CONDEMNATION OF RUSSIA’S EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE REF: A. SECSTATE 86108 B. FALLS EMAIL 8-12-08 C. THE HAGUE 680 Classified By: Political Economic Counselor Andrew C. Mann for reasons 1.5(b,d) 1. (C) For the August 13 GAERC, the Dutch want a “strong, unified condemnation” of Russia’s excessive use of force. Poloff shared ref A points on August 12 with Rochus Pronk, Deputy EU Correspondent, Carin Lobbezoo, deputy chief for East Europe and Central Asian Affairs, and Johanneke de Hoogh, Senior Policy Officer for NATO Affairs. Pronk responded that the Dutch have not seen EU draft conclusions but support a “strong, unified condemnation” of violence. The “use of force is excessive and unacceptable.” The conclusions should not comment on the impact on EU-Russia relations at this time — “that would go too far.” The most important priority for the resolution is to end the war. Pressed on the language the Dutch support regarding Russia, Pronk explained the Netherlands supports a condemnation of Russia’s “disproportionate use of force” and language urging Russia to respect Georgian sovereignty. At the same time, both sides should respect humanitarian law, and troops on both sides should pull back. (Note: As reported in ref B, the Dutch reversed their earlier position, reported in ref C, in favor of softening or balancing the Russia language proposed by the USG for the NATO meeting on August 12. The Dutch toughened their position based on events during the previous evening, i.e., continued Russian advances into Georgian territory. End note.) 2. (U) At the insistence of the absent FM Verhagen, State Secretary for European Affairs Timmermans issued a statement on August 12 condemning the “excessive use of force.” The Foreign Ministry was reacting to news a Dutch cameraman (Stan Storimans) was killed during the Russian bombing of the Georgian city of Gori, saying “the Dutch government was horrified” to learn of Storimans, death. Timmermans met with Georgia’s ambassador to discuss the matter and called in the Russian ambassador for an explanation. The statement noted: “There is no military solution to this conflict, only a political one. The Netherlands supports the efforts by France as EU chairman and Finland as OSCE chairman to reach a cease-fire between the parties as soon as possible, to achieve a withdrawal of Russian and Georgian troops under some form of international supervision and to hold negotiations about a lasting solution to the conflict.” Culbertson
C O N F I D E N T I A L BRATISLAVA 000377 SIPDIS STATE FOR EUR/NCE, EUR/CARC, EUR/UMB, EUR/RPM E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOVLO, GG, RU, LO SUBJECT: SLOVAK MFA EXPRESSES DEEP CONCERN REGARDING RUSSIAN ACTIONS IN GEORGIA REF: A) STATE 86108 B) BRATISLAVA 372 C) STATE 85678 Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Keith Eddins, Reasons 1.4 b and d 1. (C) Summary. DCM and Pol/Econ Chief delivered ref c demarche to the MFA’s Director for Russia, NIS and the Balkans, Stefan Rozkopal on August 12. Rozkopal — recounting recent meetings with the Russian Ambassador and DCM — characterized Russia’s actions and rhetoric as unacceptable, obfuscatory and reminiscent of the Communist era. Rozkopal told DCM that MFA instructions to Slovakia’s NATO delegation for the August 12 NAC closely tracked the points (ref a) in Ambassador’s demarche on August 11, but added that he did not think the EU line emerging from the August 13 GAERC would be as strong as earlier statements by individual European leaders, e.g., Swedish FM Bildt. Rozkopal suggested that FM Kubis, who spoke on August 11 to Russian FM Lavrov, might cut short his vacation to attend the GAERC. Rozkopal observed that this week of meetings (NAC, GAERC, UNSC) was just the beginning, and wondered aloud how others in the Slovak government and political elite, e.g., Prime Minister Fico would approach the situation. End Summary. 2.(C) Rozkopal was quick to point out broad Slovak agreement with the U.S. points and shared his impressions of recent conversations at the Ministry with resident Russian diplomats. Rozkopal, who studied in Moscow and speaks fluent Russian, noted that the language used by both the Russian Ambassador in his meeting with the State Secretary and with him made a “highly negative” impression. He claimed the Russian Ambassador actually referred to the “Soviet Union,” before correcting himself and made other such verbal “slips” that created a very anachronistic atmosphere. In response to persistent questioning by State Secretary Algayerova (the highest ranking MFA official present in Bratislava) as to how Russia’s stated aims were served by bombing locations deep inside Georgian territory, the Russian Ambassador had no answer, parroting President Medvedev and PM Putin’s statements about “punishing the aggressors.” 3. (C) In a subsequent meeting with Rozkopal, the Russian Ambassador was more straightforward; asked how the destruction of Georgian communications and radar comported with the mission to “protect” civilians and peacekeepers, the Russian diplomat noted that “this is war; and in war, one of the first priorities is to destroy the enemy’s communications.” Rozkopal agreed that although Russian behavior is reminiscent of past conflicts, the current situation is “something new” and a bold Russian gambit to change the reality on the ground. Rozkopal noted that FM Kubis, who is on leave, had had a tough telephone conversation with FM Lavrov, and that Kubis might cut short his vacation to attend the GAERC. As for any statements emerging from the August 13 meeting, Rozkopal predicted something short of the tough rhetoric of FM Bildt and the Polish and Baltic leaders, but made clear that Slovakia supported a message of full support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. 4. (U) On August 11, following Kubis’s calls with Lavrov, Czech FM Schwarzenberg and former Chair of the Georgian Parliament Burdzanadeova, the MFA issued a statement that read, in part: “Minister Kubis repeated long-standing support for preservation of the territorial integrity and complete respect for the sovereignty of Georgia, and likewise rejection of the use of force to resolve contentious or open questions. Minister Kubis at the same time expressed his deep displeasure with the developing situation in Georgia, in particular in connection with military operations which have moved beyond the administrative borders of South Ossetia.” 5. (C) Rozkopal concluded the meeting by noting that the MFA continued to provide guidance and information memos — which he described as “not at all pro-Russian” — to senior GOS officials, e.g., PM Fico. He added that it would be “very interesting” to see how Fico and other key political elites, such as the Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Boris Zala, would address the situation. 6. (C) Comment: Rozkopal is a facile diplomat, who, like several others in the Slovak MFA, believes he has better insights into Russian thinking and tactics than most European (and certainly U.S.) diplomats. In this meeting, Rozkopal’s main goal was to let us know how unacceptable he deemed Russian actions and rhetoric. Nevertheless, when the Slovak government returns to session next week we anticipate that PM Fico will likely stake out a position on the margins of the EU with respect to Russian actions, i.e., he will be as non-critical as possible. We also expect he will draw connections between Kosovo — both the precedent of its independence and the NATO bombings — and the situation in the Caucuses. 7. (C) Comment continued: Post is mounting a vigorous public diplomacy campaign, drawing on briefings and statements by senior USG officials, to present to the Slovak public a balanced picture of the events in Georgia and to combat this flawed, but unfortunately prevalent, argumentation. With the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia fast approaching, it will be interesting to observe to what extent these events will be seen through that prism, or, conversely, to what extent Putin’s logic and lies will be accepted. OBSITNIK
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 086603 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2018 TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 9 CLASSIFIED BY THOMAS T. JUNG, SENIOR WATCH OFFICER, S/ES-O, FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D) MILITARY SITUATION ON THE GROUND —————————————— 1. (C) Embassy Tbilisi confirms that Russian aircraft bombed Gori on the morning of August 12, targeting Gori University, the Post Office, and the military hospital. Two blasts were reported in Tbilisi, including one at the SU-25 factory near the airport. (Tbilisi 1362) 2. (C) OSCE reports Russian troops pulled out of Gori toward South Ossetia. UNOMIG confirms Russian troops left Senaki military base after destroying its infrastructure. Russian troops remain in Zugdidi. (Tbilisi 1362) 3. (SBU) The port of Poti is open, but Russian naval vessels are turning ships away. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 4. (SBU) The Georgian Embassy reports Russian and South Ossetian forces are arresting ethnic Georgians in the village of Mereti in South Ossetia. (TF/Georgian Embassy telcon) 5. (U) Georgia filed a lawsuit alleging ethnic cleansing by Russia at the International Court of Justice. (Reuters) 6. (U) British Petroleum shut the Baku-Supsa pipeline as a precaution. (Reuters) DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS ——————- 7. (U) Russian and French presidents announced a six- point plan: 1) Russian agreement to conclude military operations; 2) the return of Russian armed forces to the line preceding the beginning of operations; 3) a no- first-use- of-force pledge in Georgia; 4) a return of Georgian armed forces to their pre-conflict locations; 5) free access for humanitarian assistance; and 6) international consideration of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia issues. (CNN) HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE —————– 8. (SBU) PM Gurgenidze presented a reconstruction package to Embassy Tbilisi. The proposal seeks $1 billion to create a five-year loan facility for the National Bank of Georgia to rehabilitate the port of Poti, roads, and agribusiness, and to develop a settlement facility for internally displaced persons (IDPs). (Tbilisi 1367) 9. (SBU) The Minister of Health stated he must personally approve all humanitarian shipments; flight clearance will be tied to his authorization. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) STATE 00086603 002 OF 002 10. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi will submit a formal request for a Disaster Assistance Response Team on August 13; 60,000 IDPs are expected from the conflict. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 11. (SBU) Two C-17s and two C-130s with an ESAT team and humanitarian assistance will arrive in Tbilisi within the next couple of days. Embassy Moscow demarched the Russian MFA on the flights. (TF/Embassy Moscow e-mail) 12. (SBU) One French-sponsored EU humanitarian flight arrived August 11, delivering bedding and medical supplies, and removing 300 EU nationals. A second flight is expected August 13. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 13. (SBU) UNHCR will request $12-$15 million to protect and assist IDPs. (Geneva 688) 14. (SBU) The Red Cross briefed Geneva missions on its $7.4 million preliminary appeal for South Ossetia. Sweden contributed $740,000 to the appeal. (Geneva 687) 15. (C) Embassy Ankara reports Turkey has provided humanitarian assistance through the Turkish Red Crescent Society, including 150 tents, bedding, and drinking water, and is considering a request for a field hospital in Gori. (Ankara 1442) STATUS OF AMCITS —————– 16. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi reports more than 100 AmCits registered for the August 13 convoy to Yerevan. Embassy Yerevan reports shortages of hotel rooms and seats on flights from Yerevan. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi/Yerevan telcon) 17. (U) Minimize considered. RICE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 001561 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2017 TAGS: UNSC, PGOV, PREL, PBTS, EUN, FR, GE, RU, GG SUBJECT: WORKING WITH FRANCE TO ADVANCE A SOLUTION TO THE CONFLICT IN GEORGIA (UNSCR AND GAERC) REF: A. SECSTATE 86108 B. SECSTATE 86130 PARIS 00001561 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Kathleen H. Allegrone. Rea sons 1.4b,d 1. (C) Summary: Embassy Paris raised Reftels UNSCR points (State 86130) and points for the August 12 GAERC (State 86108) with multiple counterparts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after Russia declared it would stop hostilities, but before the Sarkozy/Medvedev meeting concluded. France welcomed the close coordination with the USG on a Security Council resolution and expressed optimism that a favorable outcome could be achieved. On the GAERC points, the French were largely in agreement with U.S. objectives while noting a strong desire to secure EU unity early in the process so as to support the effort to broker a settlement led by the French President and Foreign Minister in tandem with the OSCE. We noted the need to combat a Russian public diplomacy effort to minimize Russian violations of Georgian sovereignty and reiterated the need for European and U.S. unity in the face of Russia’s disproportionate response to Georgian actions. End Summary. 2. (C) Post raised Georgia demarche points (Ref A State 86108) on the afternoon of August 12 with MFA DAS-equivalent for Eurasia Alexandre Vulic, who said that France’s goal for the August 13 extraordinary GAERC meeting is a demonstration of EU unity. Regarding the U.S. hopes for an EU statement, as expressed in State 86108, Vulic expressed broad agreement on the five points. He described the first two points, on Georgia’s sovereignty and humanitarian concerns, as non-controversial. He said the third point, regarding withdrawal of Russian military personnel, needed to be clarified as applying to forces entered since the beginning of hostilities, not prior peacekeeping forces. On the fourth point, a call for immediate negotiations, he said that there could be nuances depending on how much success FM Kouchner has to report at the GAERC from French diplomatic efforts thus far. Vulic identified the final point as most controversial within the EU, since there is not internal consensus about what the crisis means for EU-Russia relations, let alone how much to say publicly. Vulic agreed to provide a readout following tomorrow’s meeting. 3. (C) Vulic said not much information was available yet in Paris about today’s ongoing discussions in Moscow and Tbilisi, but that they were not necessarily going well due in part to Russian demands related to questions like Georgia’s renunciation of the use of force. He said that the GAERC should produce an expression of support for either an agreement, if one has been reached before the August 13 GAERC, or if not, for the mediation effort. He asked for our assessment of whether fighting is ongoing since Medvedev’s declaration of the end of hostilities, about the current presence of Russian forces in Georgia beyond South Ossetia, and what we think Russia’s final goal is (what are they buying time for; how could they force the departure of Saakashvili). Vulic agreed on the importance of U.S.-EU coherence, thanked us for our support of French mediation efforts, and said the French looked forward to our continued cooperation for a UNSC resolution, if the current French mediation is unsuccessful. Vulic expressed interest in how long DAS Bryza will remain in Georgia, the state of U.S. humanitarian efforts and what steps the USG was contemplating to follow on President’s August 11 statement regarding Russian relations with the United States. 4. (C) We also raised reftel points with Nicole Michelangeli, Deputy Director for European Cooperation. With the situation fluid, Michelangeli was cautious about French plans/expectations for the Wednesday GAERC. She described some Europeans as being more “en point” than others and noted PARIS 00001561 002.2 OF 002 “certain nuances” that seemed to correspond to previous history with Russia or sharing a long border. Hence some countries — Poland and the Baltic states — were more “anti-Russian” than “others” (she specifically mentioned Portugal, Italy, and Germany, which she described as more cautious). Michelangeli was unsure whether the Ministers would issue a concluding statement, or whether the meeting would primarily be used by Kouchner to brief on his and Sarkozy’s visits to Moscow and Tbilisi, others to discuss what they have been doing, and have a general exchange of views including a discussion of next steps, including in the humanitarian domain. However, she said almost all of the EU partners (Luxembourg and Portugal still haven,t commented) had responded positively to Sarkozy,s initiative and travel to Moscow and Tbilisi. 5. (C) Post raised Georgia UNSCR points (Ref B State 86130) with PDAS equivalent for International Organizations Marc Giacomini on the afternoon on August 12. Giacomini expressed optimism that passage of a resolution was possible. He confirmed the French Mission is working closely with the U.S. and UK missions in New York to refine the text of the draft UNSCR towards this end. In terms of Council votes, the French believed nine favorable votes are not out of reach: Costa Rica supports while Panama, and Burkina Faso show positive signs of being open to US arguments; They count on China abstain; South Africa is being discrete. The French consider Indonesia, Libya, and Vietnam, as has been the case in the past would be harder to convince. France is currently seeking support of other UNSC members in New York but intends to demarche Capitals beginning on August 13. The French welcomed our outreach to these capitals and noted they judged individual demarches rather than joint P3 demarched as the potentially most effective tactic. Discussing potential next steps, Giacomini described Russian impediments to a resolution would likely center on the nature of engagement and non-use of force guarantees, and probably will not founder on talks of an international tribunal. In terms of operative mechanisms in the post-conflict situation, he said the French would be looking first at the UN, OSCE, and possibly the EU*although at this point they concede it is too early for EU consensus and involvement*and cautioning against a NATO role, given Russian concerns. 6. (C) In all these meetings we stressed the need for France and the EU work closely with us in this matter, and particularly to avoid comments that would show disunity of views or that would seem to throw responsibility wrongly on us for any of the recent events. Referring to a comment to a reporter by FM Kouchner on August 11 suggesting the U.S. was a party to the conflict in Georgia, PolCounselor noted that while Russia was clearly a party to the conflict, the USG should not itself a party to the conflict. Giacomini observed FM Kouchner made this remark in the context of underscoring the European role in brokering a ceasefire and reiterated French appreciation for U.S. support. Giacomini added the situation was fluid on the ground in Georgia, in Moscow and in New York. 7. (C) Comment: We were struck by the French view that the UNSCR resolution could avoid a Russian veto. Please visit Paris’ Classified Website at: http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Fran ce STAPLETON
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 BERLIN 001108 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: MOPS, PREL, MARR, NATO, EUN, GM, AF, SU, KV, BK, LE, GG, ET SUBJECT: German Out-Of-Area Deployment Update REF: A) Berlin 250 B) Berlin 620 C) Berlin 1045 1. (SBU) As of July 30, Germany had 6,750 military personnel in out-of-area deployments (compared to 7000 in May), plus 2,500 on stand-by for the NATO Response Force (NRF) and an additional 1,000 on stand-by for the EU’s Battle Groups. All armed military out-of-area (OOA) deployments, with the exception of those in support of UN observer missions, require parliamentary approval. A 2005 Deployment Law regulates the parliamentary process, allowing expedited procedures only for non-controversial deployments. What follows is a brief run-down on Germany’s current OOA deployments. (Note: OOA deployments are defined as deployments outside Germany’s territory where the German military could become part of an armed conflict. End Note.) —————— The Deployment Law —————— 2. (SBU) According to a landmark 1994 Constitutional Court decision and a subsequent 2005 Deployment Law, the Bundestag must preapprove the deployment of any German armed forces outside of Germany. The Deployment Law does provide for urgent armed deployments to go forward without the prior approval of the Bundestag, but most German officials view this exception as applicable only in the most exigent of circumstances, e.g. when there is literally no time to obtain Bundestag approval between the outbreak of a crisis and the need to respond militarily. Even in these circumstances, the Deployment Law requires the government to seek Bundestag approval as soon as possible. If approval is not granted, the deployment must be terminated. 3. (SBU) In a decision that is likely to make it even more cumbersome for the government to deploy German armed forces overseas, the German Constitutional Court ruled May 7 that the government’s decision to allow German air crews to participate in the NATO AWACS mission in Turkey in 2003, on the eve of the war in Iraq, without first seeking approval of the Bundestag, was unconstitutional. The Court dismissed the assertion of the then-Social Democratic/Green coalition government that the AWACS deployment was just a “routine,” unarmed reconnaissance mission, holding that there were “tangible, factual indicators” that the German AWACS air crews could have been drawn into armed conflict. The Court reaffirmed the Bundeswehr as a “parliamentary army,” underscoring that the German Basic Law (Constitution) “entrusted the decision about peace and war to the German Bundestag as the representative body of the people.” The Court emphasized that when in doubt about whether it is necessary to obtain Bundestag approval, the government should err on the side of seeking parliamentary permission. (See Ref B for further reporting and analysis on this Constitutional Court decision.) ——————————————— – International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) ——————————————— – 4. (SBU) The Bundeswehr currently has 3,520 military personnel (3,446 in May) operating under ISAF in Afghanistan. These personnel are deployed under a one-year combined mandate approved by the Bundestag October 12, 2007. This combined mandate includes the deployment of six Tornado reconnaissance aircraft, which were previously covered by a separate mandate. Due to force rotation, Germany as of July 31 had more than the 3,500 soldiers authorized in Afghanistan; the mandate provides for temporarily exceeding the ceiling during troop rotations. 5. (SBU) Germany has been active in ISAF since the operation’s inception in January 2002, and was the first country to volunteer to lead an ISAF Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) outside of Kabul. Germany currently commands ISAF’s northern region (RC-North), where it leads two of the five PRTs (Kunduz and Feyzabad) as well as the Forward Support Base in Mazar-E-Sharif. On February 23, 2008 Germany inaugurated a Provincial Advisory Team (PAT), a mini-PRT in Takhar province with around 50 civilian and military personnel total. 6. (SBU) The Bundeswehr has taken on, or has committed to take on, a number of additional tasks in recent months, which will soon bring it right up against the current troop ceiling of 3,500: — Germany has taken over the Regional Command-North Quick Reaction BERLIN 00001108 002 OF 005 Force (QRF) company on July 1. This is the first time Germany has had a force (consisting of about 200 troops) that can be quickly deployed around the country on short notice and that is authorized to conduct combat missions. This constitutes a significant new aspect of the Bundeswehr deployment in Afghanistan, whose forces up to now have been focused almost solely on stabilization and force protection missions. German officials point out that the primary mission of the QRF is to respond to emergencies in RC-North, but they also have said that Germany will come to the aid of Allies (i.e., outside RC-North) when required. Such exceptions are explicitly allowed by the ISAF mandate (see para 10 below). — Germany is tripling the number of troops (from 100 to 300) devoted to the training of the Afghan National Army (ANA). Besides fielding additional Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams (OMLTs), up to a total of seven, Germany also plans to expand a drivers and mechanics school in Kabul into a logisticians’ training center, set up a combat engineering school in Kabul and establish an infantry training center in Mazar-e-Sharif. — Germany has increased the number of military policemen devoted to the training of the Afghan National Police (ANP) in Mazar-e Sharif from 30 to 45. — In the wake of numerous rocket attacks against PRT Kunduz, in February Germany deployed a company of 200 airborne infantry soldiers to do regular patrolling in the immediate area around the PRT. 7. (SBU) On June 26, DefMin Jung and German Chief of Defense Gen. Schneiderhan announced the intention to increase the troop ceiling. The troop ceiling increase is designed to create enough headroom and flexibility for the Bundeswehr to respond to an unexpected crisis. Political reactions to the announced increase were fairly moderate, although some speculated that the increase in the troop ceiling might hurt the state election prospects of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, which holds an absolute majority in the state parliament. 8. (SBU) When the ISAF mandate comes up for renewal in October, the current expectation is that the government will seek a renewed mandate through December 2009, which would avoid the need to vote on a mandate in the heat of the campaign for the September 2009 Bundestag election. The new mandate will also include some language that puts the deployment of German radio operators in Kandahar on firm legal grounds. 9. (SBU) Following COMISAF’s request for NATO-AWACS for ISAF, there has been public discussion about whether Germany should support such a deployment. (For further detail on the debate, see Berlin 1045). Depending on the status of discussions at NATO on the deployment of NATO AWACS aircraft to ISAF, the mandate could address deployment of German aircrews on NATO AWACS. A decision on this has not been made yet by the German government. 10. (SBU) Germany currently provides OMLTs for ANA maneuver battalions based in Kunduz and Feyzabad. It also contributes to two multinational OMLTs — one for the HQ of the 209th Corps and the other for the HQ of the 1st Brigade of the 209th Corps. Both HQs are located in Mazar-E-Sharif. Germany plans to contribute three additional OMLTs as a new ANA brigade (2nd Brigade, 209th Corps) and its subordinate battalions are fielded in the north over the next year. Germany also plans to build garrisons for the new brigade in the north. 11. (SBU) The German ISAF mandate defines their area of operations as the northern region and Kabul. Nevertheless, an exception in the mandate allows for temporary, limited deployments to other parts of the country on a case-by-case basis if deemed “absolutely necessary” to the overall ISAF mission. Case in point, German radio operators have provided communication support to Regional Command South in Kandahar for several months. 12. (SBU) In the fall of 2007 and again in May 2008, DefMin Jung approved the temporary deployment of a small number of Bundeswehr soldiers outside the north to provide medical and intelligence support to combat operations against insurgents in Region West. None of the German soldiers, however, were directly involved in combat operations. For the May 2008 operation, German members of the multinational OMLT for the 209th Corps HQ were part of a group authorized to deploy, the first time that German OMLT members were allowed to deploy outside the north (albeit for a Corps HQ and not a fighting unit). MOD has thus far not allowed German OMLTs assigned BERLIN 00001108 003 OF 005 to infantry ANA battalions to deploy outside the north. 13. (SBU) Meanwhile, the ISAF mandate allows the Tornado reconnaissance aircraft to operate throughout Afghanistan, but restricts the resulting information from being distributed outside of ISAF channels. The information can only be passed to OEF in instances where doing so directly supports ISAF operations. Since the end of January 2008, Germany has provided an additional two C-160 Transall aircraft in Afghanistan to ISAF, for a total of eight. ——————————— Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) ——————————— 14. (SBU) The parliamentary mandate for OEF, which allows for the deployment of up to 1,400 personnel, expires on November 15. Currently, Germany has deployed 90 sailors (263 in May) and the Bundeswehr has P3-Orion Reconnaissance Aircraft stationed at the Horn of Africa. At this point, Germany has no frigates under OEF operating around the Horn of Africa. In June 2008 there was a controversial debate on whether German navy ships deployed under OEF have the authority to act against pirates. Germany is currently considering support for an ESDP mission on the Horn of Africa that would act against pirates. The structure of the ESDP mission remains unclear at this point. 15. (SBU) The OEF mandate includes an authorization for the deployment of up to 100 German Special Forces (KSK) to Afghanistan. Reportedly, no KSK have been deployed to Afghanistan under OEF since 2005, which led some politicians to question the utility of maintaining this part of the mandate during last fall’s debate over its renewal. The Afghanistan portion of the OEF has become a “virtual mandate,” the main purpose of which is to demonstrate solidarity with the United States. There is little parliamentary support for actually deploying the KSK to Afghanistan under OEF. 16. (SBU) Despite parliamentary approval, OEF remains unpopular in Germany due to misperceptions of the mission as a strictly combat operation and its association with civilian casualties. OEF is an especially divisive issue within the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the junior party in the Grand Coalition government. Some 42 SPD parliamentarians — about 20% of the caucus — voted against extending the OEF mandate this past year. While significantly higher than in 2006, when only 13 opposed OEF, the number of defections is significantly below what the SPD suffered in March 2007, when 69 voted against the original deployment of Tornado reconnaissance aircraft to Afghanistan. 17. (SBU) During the parliamentary debate on OEF, FM Steinmeier called for evaluating whether OEF could be mandated in the future through a UNSCR, rather than continuing to rely on the self-defense provisions of Article 51 of the UN Charter. He also called for examining the possibility of transferring the ANA training mission from OEF to ISAF, thereby continuing the trend toward an ever larger ISAF and smaller OEF. Finally, he proposed holding an international conference in the coming months to take stock of the progress made towards achieving the goals of the Afghanistan Compact. 18. (SBU) Given the upcoming 2009 national parliamentary election and the fact that public support for the operation remains very low, renewal of the OEF mandate this coming fall could be difficult. Nonetheless, the government is still likely to seek renewal of the mandate, believing that failing to do so could send a negative signal about Germany’s commitment to the fight against terrorism. On June 26, DefMin Jung announced that he intends to cut the OEF mandate by 600 military personnel, which would mean that only 800 soldiers would be authorized after November 2008. ——————- Kosovo Force (KFOR) ——————- 19. (SBU) Germany currently has 2,240 military personnel (compared to 2,645 in May) in KFOR, far below the authorized troop ceiling of 8,500 military personnel. There is a German Operational Reserve Force (ORF) battalion on stand-by in Germany to reinforce KFOR as necessary. The mandate is extended automatically each year unless there is a change to the UNSC Resolution framework for the Kosovo Force. Germany formally recognized Kosovo’s independence on February 20 in a letter from President Koehler. The government made BERLIN 00001108 004 OF 005 clear that it still considers UNSCR 1244 as the legal basis for KFOR, a position that all parties in the Bundestag, except the small Left Party (roughly 12% support nationally), support. ———————————– European Union Force (EUFOR) Bosnia ———————————– 20. (SBU) Germany currently has around 130 soldiers (same as in May) in Bosnia as part of the EU’s Operation ALTHEA. Most of the German soldiers are deployed as liaison and observer teams. The mandate, amended December 1, allows the deployment of up to 2,400 military personnel. This operation extends automatically unless there is a change to its underlying UNSC resolution. In 2007, Germany reduced its military presence in Bosnia by more than 700 military personnel in coordination with other allies. Germany is relying more on home-based reserve forces and less on deployed troops to provide the necessary security support for the implementation of reform measures mandated by the Dayton Peace agreement. ——————————————— — United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) ——————————————— — 21. (SBU) Since March 2008, Germany no longer leads UNIFIL’s naval component, but still has 460 military personnel deployed (compared to 464 in May). The current mandate, authorizing up to 1,400 military personnel, expires on September 12. On February 29, Germany handed over the command of UNIFIL’s naval component to EUROMARFOR, a joint, non-permanent fleet including Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. An Italian officer assumed command. ———————— Sudan (UNAMID and UNMIS) ———————— 22. (SBU) Germany currently has 39 military observers taking part in the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). These observers monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The parliament imposed a caveat barring military observers from going to Darfur without prior consultation with the Bundestag Foreign Relations Committee’s chairman and ranking members. The mandate, which was extended for an additional year on November 15, 2007, allows for the participation of up to 75 German military observers. 23. (SBU) Replacing its old AMIS mandate, the Bundestag approved a new mandate in support of the UN/AU hybrid mission in Darfur (UN Assistance Mission in Darfur, UNAMID) on November 15. It authorizes the Bundeswehr to deploy transport aircraft and up to 200 troops in support of the UN/AU hybrid mission. —————- Georgia (UNOMIG) —————- 24. (SBU) Germany has been part of the UN Observer Mission in the Abkhazian region of Georgia (UNOMIG) since 1998 and currently has 12 personnel stationed there, most of whom are medical personnel and military observers. To meet a UN request for additional medical personnel, the German cabinet decided last August to raise the personnel ceiling for this mission from 13 to 20. Despite the conflict currently raging in Georgia, German observers are remaining. ———————– Other minor deployments ———————– 25. (SBU) One military observer serves in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). One German military observer is seconded to the United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The Bundeswehr has seconded 41 military personnel to Strategic Medical Evacuation (STRATAIRMEDEVAC), for which no parliamentary mandate is required, since it is not an armed deployment and the stand-by aircraft are stationed in Germany. ———————– Other force commitments ———————– 26. (SBU) The Bundeswehr currently has 2,500 soldiers committed for the twelfth rotation of the NATO Response Force (NRF). There are currently 1,000 Bundeswehr soldiers assigned to EU Battle Groups in BERLIN 00001108 005 OF 005 the second half of 2008. ————————- Bundeswehr transformation ————————- 27. (SBU) The Bundeswehr is currently undergoing a transformation process, the goal of which is to be able to send up to 14,000 soldiers to as many as five different theaters for stabilization missions by 2010. The Bundeswehr will be reduced from its pre-transformation level of 270,000 to a final strength of 250,000 (162,300 Army, 62,700 Air Force and 25,000 Navy). The new Bundeswehr will be composed of three different groups: 35,000 for intervention forces, 70,000 for stabilization forces and 147,000 for support forces. Part of the Bundeswehr’s transformation is a comprehensive rebasing program, which is also intended to be completed by 2010. Moreover, transformation includes the procurement of new equipment to fill capability gaps, mainly in the fields of strategic air lift, network centric warfare and armored vehicles. Due to limited funding (Germany spends just 1.3 percent of its GDP on defense, with few prospects of significant increases in the future) and defense industry delays (mainly EADS), the equipment side of the transformation is behind schedule.

C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIJING 003107 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2028 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, MOPS, RS, CH, GG SUBJECT: CHINA WILLING TO ENGAGE IN UNSC DISCUSSIONS ON GEORGIA-RUSSIA CONFLICT REF: STATE 86130 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Aubrey Carlson. Reasons 1. 4 (b/d). 1. (C) Summary: China is “willing and ready” to engage in P5 and UN Security Council (UNSC) discussions of a UNSC resolution on the Russia-Georgia conflict, Chinese MFA International Organizations and Conferences Department Deputy Director General Li Junhua told PolMinCouns August 13. China looks forward to receiving the texts of the six-point agreement prepared by the EU Presidency and agreed to by Georgia and Russia and a new draft UNSC resolution, Li said. PolMinCouns, along with British and French Embassy counterparts, met with Li to urge China’s active and constructive participation in discussion of a UNSC resolution on the Georgia-Russia dispute. End Summary. 2. (C) Political Counselors from U.S., French and British embassies jointly met August 13 with MFA IO Department Deputy Director General Li Junhua to urge constructive PRC participation in UNSC discussions of a resolution on the conflict in Georgia. Reporting on the EU Presidency-prepared political document just agreed to by the Russians and Georgians, French PolCouns Erkki Maillard stressed recent positive developments in the Russia-Georgia crisis and said the six-point agreement will be reviewed for endorsement by EU foreign ministers August 13 and will serve as the basis for a UNSC resolution. He urged China’s clear and strong support at the UNSC to make sure the six-point agreement is translated into a lasting settlement. British PolCouns Peter Wilson emphasized the urgency of passing a UNSC resolution to demonstrate the ability of the UNSC to engage on this issue. Per reftel instructions, PolMinCouns stressed the need for a resolution to prevent further hostilities, restore the status quo ante, deal with underlying issues, and reaffirm Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. 3. (C) MFA IO Deputy Director General Li responded that China welcomes the six-point agreement signed by Georgia and Russia and is “willing and ready” to participate in P5 and UNSC discussions of a UNSC resolution. He said the new agreement makes it easier for UNSC members to discuss a UNSC resolution. He stressed that China’s top leaders are “extremely concerned” about the situation and acknowledged that all P5 members should be involved constructively in the process of resolving the conflict. Li requested that the text of the six-point agreement and a UNSC draft resolution be shared with China as soon as possible. Once provided with the texts, China will give them serious consideration, Li added. 4. (C) In response to questions about China’s engagement with Russia and Georgia on the conflict, Li said that the Russian and Georgian embassies had been in to present their versions of the situation to the MFA. RANDT
UNCLAS VILNIUS 000668 SENSITIVE SIPDIS AMEMBASSY MINSK SENDS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL, PHUM, PINR, BO, GG SUBJECT: BELARUS: SPAT WITH RUSSIA OVER GEORGIA REF: VILNIUS 663 1. (SBU) The neutrality of the Belarusian regime with regard to the conflict in Georgia (reftel) has now become the topic of a public bilateral dispute between Minsk and Moscow. Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Surikov, in remarks to the media August 12, decried the GOB’s “timid silence” and complained that the Belarusian position was “completely incomprehensible. Citing mutual responsibilities with the Russia-Belarus “Union State”, Surikov complained that Russia supports Belarus internationally — opposing, for example, U.S. economic sanctions on Belarusian leaders — and has a right to expect support in return. 2. (SBU) A response to Surikov’s remarks has been provided by Aleksandr Zimovskiy, Belarusian National State Television and Radio Company Chairman, who spoke to independent press agency Belapan August 12. Zimovskiy, after first deferring to the separate upcoming meetings of the countries’ presidents and prime ministers, accusing Putin of snubbing Lukashenko while at the Olympics in Beijing: “Putin [formally Prime Minister of the Union State] was discussing the Caucasian issue not with his formal chief [Lukashenko, Head of the Union State] and legal ally but with others. It follows from this, that Belarus considers Russia to be its ally historically and permanently, but Russia considers Belarus its ally at the moment when it is politically and economically expedient. At the beginning, the Russians gave us to understand: ‘We’ll be fine without you.’ That’s understandable. And then they get upset: ‘Why have you abandoned us?’ This is silly.” Comment ——- 3. (SBU) Minsk and Moscow get into minor tussles from time to time, and from our perspective this current spat does not in itself presage any major change in the bilateral relationship (or better prospects for reforms in Belarus). The cancellation or postponement of the upcoming encounters between Presidents Lukashenko and Medvedev or Prime Ministers Sidorskiy and Putin, were that to happen, would indicate a deeper rift. MOORE LEADER
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001372 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: GG, RS, PGOV, PHUM, PREL SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 9: RUSSIAN TROOPS REMAIN IN GEORGIA; SAAKASHVILI, ALLIES DEFIANT REF: TBILISI 1362 1. (SBU) Begin Summary: As of mid-afternoon August 13, Georgian officials report that Russians destroyed the Georgian military base in Gori and that there is shooting in the streets between Russian troops in APCs and Georgians in civilian clothing; embassy officers on the scene in Gori early August 13 confirmed these reports. Russian troops are also maintaining a heavy presence in Zugdidi; both areas are outside of the conflict zones. The GOG has also reported looting and executions of ethnic Georgians taking place in Gori and Georgian villages near Tskhinvali in the conflict zone. There are reports accusing Russian Cossacks of these crimes. UNOMIG confirms that Abkhaz militia are present in Ganmukhuri and other Georgian villages near Zugdidi. Armed Abkhaz stole cars at gun point in Rukhi during the night. On August 12, Parliament convened a special session, and President Saakashvili led two rallies in front of Parliament, attracting 50,000 to 60,000 people each. At the second rally, the Presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, and the PM of Estonia called for Georgians to unite, and expressed solidarity with the country in its bid for freedom and democracy. They jointly demanded strong EU and UN action to defend Georgia’s sovereignty, democracy, and territorial integrity. French President Sarkozy made a quick late evening stop in Tbilisi August 13 to discuss cease-fire terms with President Saakashvili and carried an agreed paper for consideration of EU Foreign Ministers. 2. (C) The Georgian Government confirms Russian tanks are in Poti and have occupied the Coast Guard station, seized three Coast Guard cutters, and reportedly ordered personnel to leave. Embassy observers in Poti said that local contacts reported that the Russians warned the mayor to evacuate the port so that they could destroy military vessels there. Embassy observers departed Poti after hearing large explosions and seeing black smoke over the port. Conflicting reports indicate that the Port of Poti is open, but cannot store cargo. Despite Russian President Medvedev’s order to halt combat operations on the ground, subsequent bombings were reported in the afternoon of August 12 in Gori, Kaspi, and Khashuri region, all outside the zone of conflict. BP confirmed reports that they have shut down their Baku-Supsa pipeline, which runs north of Gori. The New Rightists opposition party issued a statement denouncing Russia’s actions, and appealing for international assistance and MAP in NATO. This sitrep covers events of August 12 after the previous sitrep (reftel) through mid-day August 13. End Summary. 3. (C) Comment: No new aerial bombings were reported overnight, August 12-13. Saakashvili’s and Machavariani’s speeches yesterday announcing the cease-fire (below) were heavily laced with an overtone of victory for Georgia against Russia and personal accusations that Russian Prime Minister Putin was responsible for the operation. Some Tbilisians have expressed significant disappointment with the aggressive tone of the messages (and singing at the rallies), given the crushing defeat and devastation visited upon the country. A three-day mourning period was announced, beginning August 13, which may help soften yesterday’s tone in the capital. End comment. Trouble In, Outside Gori ———————— 4. (SBU) GOG officials report that Russians destroyed the Georgian military base in Gori, well outside of the conflict zone. The GOG has also reported looting and executions taking place in Gori and villages near Tskhinvali. GOG claims local sources tell of Ossetian separatists taking Georgians hostage in the villages of Nikozi, Dzveri, Tkviavi, and Karaleti (north of Gori). Additional reports indicate Russian Cossacks are shooting local Georgians and raping women/girls in the villages from South Ossetia to Gori. Post is unable to confirm these reports due to the inaccessibility of the region; however they have been increasing in number and tempo. An Embassy contact told us Russian Cossacks shot a relative in Gori as the relative tried to stop them from looting. Russians in Zugdidi, Abkhaz also in Georgia ——————————————- 5. (SBU) UNOMIG confirms that Russian troops maintain a heavy presence, with tanks, in Zugdidi. Abkhaz militia are present in Ganmukhuri and other Georgian villages near Zugdidi. They have taken over three Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs observation posts. Armed Abkhaz stole cars at gun point in Rukhi during the night (the last village north of Zugdidi, before you reach the Inguri river crossing). GOG claims that Abkhaz militia are entering these villages, and possibly other Georgian villages in the area, with the likely intent of looting and violence. As of August 12, the Russian troops in Zugdidi had reportedly been mostly civil toward the population. Parliament, Saakashvili Denounce Russia ————————————— 6. (SBU) On August 12, Parliament convened a special session, and President Saakashvili led a rally at 1500 in front of Parliament on Rustaveli. (Note: A famous Georgian poet’s funeral took place at the same time across the street from Parliament. End note.) The Parliamentary session saw multiple MPs, including Speaker David Bakradze, Vice Speaker Machavariani, and opposition leader Giorgi Targamadze denounce Russia’s attacks and call for unity in restoring the country. Post estimates more than 50,000 people attended. Many were waving Georgian flags and, notably, had driven themselves there (rather than being driven to the rally by Saakashvili’s political supporters). The group was quite diverse, with many young people. Although many were Saakashvili supporters, many attendees told embassy officers that they were there to support the troops and the country, but not the President. After verbally personally attacking Putin and calling for Georgian victory (in traditional Georgian style), Saakashvili denounced Russia’s attacks on Georgia’s democratic sovereignty. Saakashvili compared the current situation to David and Goliath and the April 9, 1989 killing of peaceful demonstrators by USSR spetznaz. Saakashvili pointed out that the country is united, and thanked the opposition and world community for their support. At the end of his speech, Saakashvili announced Georgia will leave the CIS, in a final “good-bye to the Soviet Union.” Eastern Europeans Support Georgia, Saakashvili ——————————————— – 7. (U) At the rally, Saakashvili invited the crowd to return later the same evening and meet the Presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, and the PM of Estonia. A smaller, but enthusiastic crowd still numbering in the tens of thousands, met the group. Broadcast live, and singing and waving flags from the various countries (including one large U.S. flag), the crowd was appreciative of the foreign dignitaries. At approximately 2300, the Presidents each addressed the crowd and called for Georgians to unite in the face of Russia. Each also expressed solidarity with the country in its bid for freedom and democracy. The group (minus Ukraine’s President Yuschenko, who had already left Georgia to return to Kyiv) held a press brief on August 13 at 1215. They demanded the EU and UN adopt a real decision on the solution to the conflict, that would hold Russia accountable for its actions and recognize and support Georgia’s territorial integrity. After the Cease-Fire, Clashes Persist ————————————- 8. (U) Despite Russian President Medvedev’s order to halt combat operations ground at 1345 August 12, subsequent bombings were reported on the afternoon of August 12 in Gori, Kaspi, Ruisi village, and Khashuri region, all outside the zone of conflict. The GOG issued a press release (emailed to EUR/CARC) in which they confirmed Russian troops’ presence in Zugdidi, additional bombings, a blockade of the port in Poti, forced detention of ethnic Georgians in a camp near Kurta, targeted killings of ethnic Georgians elsewhere in the South Ossetian zone of conflict, and economic warfare including bombing of the railroad and station in Kaspi (last point confirmed). Post has not verified all of these instances; however, most appear credible. There were no bombings reported overnight August 12-13. Coast Guard Cutters Seized at Poti ———————————- 9. (C) The GOG reports that at least two Russian tank crews are in Poti now. They have occupied the Coast Guard station, seized three Coast Guard cutters (two 24-meter and one 44-meter), and reportedly ordered personnel to leave. Post’s GOG contact told us that the three cutters may likely be sunk (media reports claimed they already were). The crews that remain are not resisting, and are reportedly being treated respectfully. (Note: Post’s GBSLE-program has donated over USD 1.5 mil to the three vessels. Five other Coast Guard vessels have apparently not yet been seized, but their location unknown. End note.) Conflicting reports indicate that the Port of Poti is open and operable (including one from our cargo handler), but cannot store cargo due to bomb damage to its storage facilities. Other reports say Russian naval vessels are still blocking ships from entering. A container vessel from Turkey was refused landing by a Russian naval vessel on August 12. Post heard another unconfirmed report that any ship wishing to use the port must file first with the Russian embassy in Tbilisi. BP Shuts Down Pipeline Near Gori ——————————– 10. (U) BP confirmed reports that they have shut down their Baku-Supsa pipeline, which runs north of Gori, as a precautionary measure. The pipeline was only operating at about one-third of its capacity, and is fully operational. However, with the loss of shipping capacity at Poti, and having been targeted by bombs (which apparently have not harmed the pipeline) near Gori, BP decided to shut down the pipeline for the time being. New Rightists Issue Statement —————————– 11. (U) The New Rightists opposition party issued a statement denouncing Russia’s attacks on Georgia’s sovereignty. They also appealed for continued international assistance and support, and strongly called for NATO to approve Georgia’s request for a MAP.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 WARSAW 000953 SIPDIS STATE FOR A/S FRIED, U/S ROOD E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, PARM, NATO, KCFE, RU, GG, PL SUBJECT: TFGG01: POLAND’S CHOD ON GEORGIA, UKRAINE, AND MISSILE DEFENSE REF: WARSAW 00949 Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Quanrud for reason 1.4(b and d) 1. (S) SUMMARY. In an August 13 meeting with DATT, General Gagor, Polish CHOD criticized Georgian President Saakashvili for playing into Russian hands, leaving in ruins both his army as well as Georgia’s MAP candidacy. Poland is convinced Russia’s success in Georgia will boost hard-liners in Moscow, who will be able to point to a very capable performance over the past week. Georgia has requested from Poland both air defense GROM launchers/rockets and anti-tank FAGGOT missiles; should Poland decide to provide the weapons, it will request US airlift to Georgia. Gagor called for a U.S.-Polish effort to convince Germany to back accelerated MAP for Ukraine; had Georgia been accepted for MAP in April, the Russian attack would not have occurred. The conflict in Georgia has bled over into Polish-US Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) negotiations, confirming GoP views on the threat from Russia and the need for Patriot missiles to defend Poland. End Summary. RUSSIAN INTENTIONS 2. (S) Asked about next steps and intentions of the Russians, Gagor said (adding that he is supported by discussions with senior Polish officials) Saaskashvili made an extremely bad decision to move into South Ossetia and played directly into Russia’s hands. Poland believes Saakashvili was manipulated by Russian agents — possibly even among his advisors — to open the door for military action in Georgia with the object of destabilizing the Georgian government. Russian motivations are energy related — to disrupt pipelines in Georgia — and to de-rail Georgian NATO MAP aspiration’s before the December NATO ministerial. Georgia’s “stupid” move only benefits Moscow and greatly strengthens resurgent forces in Russia. It has ruined the Georgian military and any chance for future NATO membership — clearly a goal of Moscow. Poland is convinced that Putin is in charge of events and that Medvedev is only doing Putin’s bidding. Gagor had no insight on whether Russia would advance to Tbilisi but stated the Georgian military is in no condition to prevent further Russian military action. RUSSIAN MILITARY PERFORMANCE 3. (S) Gagor continued that the Russian military proved it is still very capable; particularly in regards to intelligence, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare. This will give a boost to hard-line leaders in Moscow and “we will see more resources pushed to the military.” IMPACT ON US-POLISH MD TALKS 4. (S) Gagor then volunteered the impact of the Georgian crisis on US-PL missile defense negotiations. (NB: U/S Rood and DASD Green arrive in Warsaw today for negotiations.) Russian actions in Georgia prove Polish assessments on the Russian threat correct and US and NATO assessments wrong. The situation in Georgia proves that Russia is unpredictable and that the use of military force remains an option for Moscow. Polish officials now believe even more strongly that Poland’s security must be strengthened and that the deployment of Patriots in Poland is even more critical. 5. (S) Regarding the latest US non-paper on Patriot options, Gagor said the Polish Government is not satisfied with Phase II of the plan — which states: “The equipment for the Patriot battery would remain continuously deployed in Poland. U.S. Army crews that would operate and train with the Patriot equipment would rotate to the garrison and remain in Poland at least 30 days every quarter.” The Polish Government does not feel the Patriot capability would be credible unless continuously manned — either by US or Polish crews. In this version the Patriots would only be operational 30 days each quarter; citing the lack of warning in Georgia he noted there would not be adequate warning to deploy troops to man the Patriot battery. (Comment: The US non-paper may not have this in mind at all — another reading would suggest the battery would be manned continuously with crews rotating every 30 days.) Gagor concluded that events in Georgia would influence MD negotiations positively, but he restated that the Polish Government must still show that Poland’s security is increased by MD. GEORGIAN REQUEST FOR WEAPONS 6. (S) Gagor reported that Georgia has requested from Poland WARSAW 00000953 002 OF 002 both air defense GROM launchers/rockets and anti-tank FAGGOT missiles, although he did not know the exact numbers off the top of his head. The request is now with Foreign Minister Sikorski for decision. Should Poland decide to provide the weapons, Warsaw would request US airlift to move the arms to Georgia. FALLOUT ON UKRAINE 7. (S) Gagor added that events in Georgia show we must accelerate NATO MAP for Ukraine in order to remove any temptation from Moscow to further expand its influence. Had Georgia received MAP at the NATO Summit, Russia would not have precipitated the situation in Georgia. Poland and the US must convince Germany to accept MAP for Ukraine. Ukraine and Poland are cooperating at the political and diplomatic level to resolve the crisis. QUANRUD

C O N F I D E N T I A L BAKU 000768 SIPDIS FOR EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, GG, AJ SUBJECT: AZERBAIJAN’S LOW-PROFILE RESPONSE TO RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN CLASH Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Donald Lu for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) Summary: Presidential foreign policy advisor Novruz Mammadov told the Charge on August 13 that Russia’s military operations against Georgia are consistent with Russia’s desire to regain its “empire” in the South Caucasus. Mammadov reiterated the point many GOAJ officials make with Embassy officers: Azerbaijan’s more cautious approach to Russia is more sensible than Tbilisi’s confrontational style. The GOAJ’s public response largely has been quiet, with Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Khazar Ibrahim briefly highlighting Azerbaijan’s support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and the need to solve the conflict according to the principle of territorial integrity in an August 8 public statement. Among the general public, the prevailing sympathy is with Georgia; many locals interpret Russia’s recent military actions as part of a broader attempt to reassert its influence in the South Caucasus. The volume of people crossing from Georgia into Azerbaijan reportedly has returned to pre-conflict levels. End Summary. President’s Advisor: Caution Over Confrontation ——————————————— — 2. (C) Presidential foreign policy advisor Novruz Mammadov told the Charge on August 13 that Azerbaijan needed to react very carefully to the Russian military operation against Georgia. He began the discussion by showing a map with Georgian cities circled in red where Russian planes had bombed. The pattern of bombing, according to Mammadov, made it clear to him that the target was Georgia’s oil and gas infrastructure — both the pipelines themselves but also the perception that this route is safe and reliable. Mammadov also noted that Russia’s main objective is to block Caspian basin energy from reaching western markets. He emphasized that Azerbaijan’s numerous energy facilities, including the Sangachal oil and gas terminal, would be easy targets for a similar Russian attack. 3. (C) Mammadov emphasized that Azerbaijan’s cautious Russian policy is more sensible than Tbilisi’s penchant for confrontation. According to Mammadov, Russia views the South Caucasus as a lost empire and took advantage of tensions with Georgia to assert its military strength. He noted that Russia is launching a full court press in the Russian language media concerning its position on the conflict. He advised the U.S. and Europe to work together to counter this Russian propaganda. He believes that the Russian attack was premeditated and is the long-awaited response to Kosovo independence and Georgia’s aspiration for NATO membership action plan status. GOAJ Keeping a Quiet Public Line ——————————– 4. (C) The official GOAJ response has been muted. On August 8, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson Khazar Ibrahim gave a short public statement expressing support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and the need to solve the conflict within the framework of Georgia’s territorial integrity. On August 12, when Ibrahim was asked about Georgia’s decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth of Independent States, Ibrahim only stated, “This is Georgia’s decision.” Public Sympathizes with Tbilisi ——————————- 5. (C) Despite the GOAJ’s limited public response, the general public overwhelmingly sympathizes with Georgia over Russia. Although some criticize Georgian President Saakashivili for an “emotional” decision to take Tskhinvali, Russia’s military actions against Georgia reinforce the strongly-held Azerbaijani perception that Russia is an aggressive power seeking to reassert its influence in the South Caucasus. Reflecting the prevailing negative view of Russia, an article in the independent Zerkalo newspaper referred to Russia’s military operation as a “fascist” undertaking. In the past several days, there have been several small attempted rallies in front of the Russian Embassy to show solidarity with Georgia. The police have broken up each of these demonstrations. Limited Outflow from Georgia —————————- 6. (C) UNHCR Director William Tall told the Embassy a UNHCR team deployed to the Azerbaijan-Georgia border on August 10 to monitor the potential refugee flow. Thus far, the UNHCR team reported a significant amount of people crossing the border into Azerbaijan, but the processing was stable and orderly. The majority of people leaving Georgia were foreign citizens living in Georgia, not Georgian citizens. The number of ethnic Azeris and Turks crossing into Azerbaijan was low, according the Tall. 7. (C) U.S. Emboffs at the Red Bridge border crossing in northeastern Azerbaijan on August 13 reported that border crossing were back down to their normal level, which are approximately 300 per day. Local Azerbaijani customs officials reported that during the peak of the conflict, there was a maximum flow of 1,000 people per day. An MFA consular officer deployed to the Red Bridge border checkpoint to facilitate individuals seeking an Azerbaijani visa reported that he only issue 20 visas on August 12. Comment ——- 8. (C) While it is summer and many GOAJ officials are on vacation, the GOAJ’s limited public stance concerning the conflict tracks with the broader GOAJ preference for caution in dealing with Russia. Presidential Foreign Policy Adviser Mammadov told us that it was convenient to have the President in Beijing and the other ministers on holiday as it reduced the expectation of a government response to this crisis. LU
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 001257 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ENGY, EUN, GG, BO, SY SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR SILVERBERG MEETS EU POLICY PLANNING CHIEF BRUSSELS 00001257 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: USEU POLMC Chris Davis for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Summary: During the Ambassador’s initial call on her, on July 23, EU Policy Planning Director Helga Schmid urged that the EU and U.S. coordinate efforts on Georgia and together convince Russia of Georgia’s importance to us. Schmid reviewed measures to be taken regarding Georgia and Abkhazia, including a proposal that the EU act as an observer, as was done with Moldova and Transnistria, which, she thought, the Abkhaz would welcome. To her mind, the Abkhaz had no illusions about Russia. On Syria, the Ambassador cautioned that the EU not make concessions absent concrete evidence of changes in Syrian policy. Taking the point, Schmid said there were reasons to be optimistic. On energy security, Helga Schmid noted Russia’s more aggressive role, including attempts to “buy up” the energy sector in Belarus. PolMC accompanied the Ambassador. End Summary. Georgia and Abkhazia ——————– 2. (C) Helga Schmid, Director of the Council’s Policy Unit, said that her focus was on the east – i.e., Russia/CIS, Ukraine, Middle East and Syria – and on horizontal issues, such as climate change and energy security. She and the Ambassador opened their meeting by agreeing that the U.S. and EU exerted more leverage on the question of Georgia by working together. (Note: Their discussion took place two weeks before fighting broke out in South Ossetia. End Note.) Schmid was discussing with the Political and Security Committee (PSC) concrete proposals involving direct talks, an economic package of incentives, confidence building measures, and a proposal that the EU act as an observer for the dispute between Georgia and Abkhazia, as was done with Transnistria and Moldova. Schmid had been to Abkhazia with High Representative Javier Solana and noted Abkhaz interest in having EU involvement. She said she was impressed by the fact that the Abkhaz had no illusions about Russia, which was “instrumentalizing” the m; however, they feel isolated. “We tell the Georgians to reach out to the Abkhaz; the Georgians won’t commit themselves to the status (of Abkhazia) question right away, but they need to be a more attractive alternative than Russia is,” Schmid noted. 3. (C) Helga Schmid said that the briefing by German Foreign Minister Steinmeier at the July GAERC was not a breakthrough, but no one has a better proposal. Schmid was alert to Russian attempts to divide the U.S. from the EU, and she added that she appreciated U.S. Ambassador Tefft’s supportive statement about the Friends of Georgia Group. She was pleasantly surprised, she said, that Georgia dominated discussions between Chancellor Merkel and Russian President Medvedev, and that Merkel raised it at G-8. Russia has to understand the importance of this issue to the EU, Schmid said. Syria —– 4. (C) If Syrian President Al-Assad kept his promise made at the recent Mediterranean Union Summit to exchange ambassadors with Lebanon and was generally more helpful, such an attitude would help the Annapolis process, Schmid said. An options paper on Lebanon presented to the PSC ten days earlier, she said, offered the possibility of unfreezing the Association Agreement with Syria and the possibility of increased investment, which Syria “badly” needed. The Ambassador cautioned against offering too much too soon, saying we ought to look for concrete changes in Syrian policy, that Syria stop violating arms embargo, stop rearming Hezbollah, and respect sovereign borders. 5. (C) Schmid said that she was cautious when presenting her options paper to the PSC, stressing the importance of seeing concrete steps on the part of Syria, such as adopting a more constructive role regarding Lebanon, including establishing diplomatic relations, and stopping support for terrorism. Nonetheless, there were some encouraging signs. Prime Minister Sinora considered diplomatic relations with Syria to be more important than recovering Sheba Farms, for example, and Syria considered Lebanon to be more important than the Golan Heights. Moreover, Helga Schmid asked rhetorically, how can secular Syria have a strategic relationship with Iran, a question she said she once put directly to the Syrian Prime Minister. Energy Security and Belarus ————————— 6. (C) The Ambassador raised energy security, and Schmid said the topic is part of a paper her unit is preparing on climate change and security. In advance of an updated European Security Strategy report due in December, Schmid said she will host a gathering of policy planners this fall, to which S/P David Gordon is invited. Whereas the 2003 Strategy report focused on topics such as terrorism and non-proliferation, the “new challenges” of energy security and climate change will be featured. The report will BRUSSELS 00001257 002 OF 002 consider options for early warning systems, and it will look at transit countries. 7. (C) A week prior to her meeting with the Ambassador, Helga Schmid went to Belarus, where “Russians are buying up everything,” including more than 50 percent of the Belarus national gas company. She recounted meeting prominent opposition candidate Menekevich who, while admitting hatred for Lukashenko, nonetheless noted that the Belarusian President at least guaranteed Belarus’s independence from Russia. SILVERBERG .
S E C R E T USNATO 000287 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2017 TAGS: NATO, PREL, MOPS, GG, RS SUBJECT: DEBATE ON RUSSIAN ROLE IN OAE FORESHADOWS DIVIDING LINES ON NATO-RUSSIA POLICY Classified By: Ambassador Kurt Volker for reasons 1.4 (b), (d) 1. (C) Summary: During the August 13 North Atlantic Council (NAC) meeting, the U.S., Poland, the Balts, UK, and Czech Republic, and Canada, giving teeth to the “no business-as-usual” approach to NATO relations with Russia, opposed participation of the Russian ship Ladniy in Operation Active Endeavor (OAE). As a result, the NAC did not reach consensus. Russia will be informed of the NAC decision through both political and military channels, and SHAPE will return operational control of the Ladniy to the Russian navy. Leading those opposed to Russian participation, Ambassador Volker argued that NATO would send the wrong signal if the NAC allowed Russian participation. Germany, however, as the standard bearer for pro-Russia camp, expressed its dismay over the negative decision and urged Allies to reconsider it in light of the effect on NATO’s long-term relationship with Russia. The NAC also decided to take no action on the Russian request for a Russian proposed NATO-Russia Council meeting, pending discussion by NATO Foreign Ministers at an extraordinary session on August 19. The discussion on OAE provides an insightful preview on how Allies will approach NATO’s future relationship with Russia at the Ministerial meeting. End Summary. ————————————– RUSSIAN FRIGATE SET TO SAIL IN NATO OP ————————————– 2. (S/NF) During the August 13 meeting of the NAC, the Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee (DCMC) informed the NAC that SACEUR had approved the RFS Ladniy’s participation in OAE, per OAE’s rules of procedure. According to the DCMC, it was within the procedures for SACEUR to assume NAC consensus based on the Ladniy’s participation in 2007. The Russian Navy transferred operational control of the Ladniy to SHAPE on August 11, and it was due to set sail on August 18 from the Turkish port where it is currently doing pre-deployment work. SHAPE wisely declined to hoist the NATO flag, pending today’s NAC discussion. In the August 12 NAC, when the Secretary General informed the NAC of SACEUR’s approval, several Allies, including the U.S., raised objections. In the August 13 session, the NAC could not reach consensus to approve the Ladniy’s participation in OAE. The Russian navy will be informed of the NAC decision through SHAPE and NATO political channels, and SHAPE will return operational control to the Russian Navy immediately. The DCMC said the non-participation of the Ladniy would have no operational impact on OAE, but could negatively affect the long-term inter-operablity efforts between NATO and Russia. The DSYG also informed the NAC that the head of the Russian Navy plans on visiting JFC Naples and U.S. Naval facilities in Naples August 25-28. —————————— ALLIES DIVIDED DOWN THE MIDDLE —————————— 3. (S/NF) Ambassador Volker stated firmly that the U.S. could not support Russian participation in OAE in light of the present circumstances. The Baltic States, Poland, the Czech Republic, the UK, and Canada supported the U.S. position. Hitting the nail on the head, Estonia said it would be difficult to imagine seeing a Russian ship under a NATO flag given the current circumstances. The UK said it could not be business-as-usual in the NRC, but along with Canada hedged its bets by saying they were not prepared to approve “at this time.” Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Greece suggested that the NAC leave this decision for Ministers; however, the DCMC responded unequivocally that the NAC must make a decision today. He contended that the worst possible outcome from a military perspective was to leave this decision in limbo, since the Russian Navy had already transferred operational control of the frigate to SHAPE. 4. (S/NF) Germany strongly disagreed, railing against this decision’s effect on long-term relations with Russia. Moreover, Germany stressed the importance of OAE as a counter-terrorism operation and worried that it would cripple our overall counter-terrorism efforts with Russia. (NOTE: Besides OAE, Russia and NATO have only limited counter-terrorism cooperation that rarely extends beyond exchanges of views. End note). France, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia and Iceland supported the German view. Norway said it is imprudent to cancel cooperation that is in NATO’s interest, while Hungary cautioned against decisions that are irreversible. Ambassador Volker refuted the German argument urging the NAC to send the right message to Moscow and to end the ambiguity by making a decision today. ———————— U.S. IS THE NRC LINCHPIN ———————— 5. (S/NF) As the OAE debate demonstrates, curtailing any NRC activity will split the NAC down the middle. If consensus limits us to a calibrated response, we should target the higher profile projects dear to the Russians, including the counter-narcotics training project, the Cooperative Airspace initiative (CAI), Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) cooperation, and the NRC website. The U.S. has disproportionate influence on NRC cooperation, as the only Ally to participate in all NRC activities and as the largest financial contributor of NRC projects (all funded on a voluntary basis). Without U.S. support, key projects would wither quickly, if not collapse immediately. On the monetary side, the U.S. has pledged but not transferred 100,000 USD to the counter-narcotics training budget and 3,000 USD for the NRC website. In addition, we are considering substantial contributions to the CAI (approximately 700,000 USD) and to TMD phase III (undecided but in the same range as CAI contribution). The Drug Enforcement Agency has led approximately 40 percent of the NRC counter-narcotics training in Central Asian and Afghanistan, and many NRC members and partner Finland conditioned their participation on working with DEA. Most important, the U.S. was the lone Ally to consider committing equipment to the Russian-proposed TMD live fire exercise 6. (S/NF) Official suspension of part or all NRC activities would require an NRC decision, including Russia. For example, Allies tried to disband the peacekeeping working group in 2007, and Russia blocked this measure. However, the NAC could take a decision to suspend NATO participation in all or parts of the NRC. Russia set a precedent for this during the Kosovo campaign, when it suspended Russian participation in the Permanent Joint Council (PJC), the predecessor of the NRC. This put the PJC on ice until Russia returned. Theoretically, individual Allies could suspend their participation, but Allied disunity would give Russia a golden opportunity to drive wedges. ——- COMMENT ——- 7. (S/NF) The German-led side (to include Belgium, Spain, and Norway) is unlikely to support anything more than a slap on the Russian wrist in the upcoming NATO Ministerial. French views are more nuanced aimed at promoting a French (and EU) leadership role, while sharing much of the U.S. analysis of Russia’s behavior. Greece and Hungary are leaning towards this camp. In sharp contrast, the Baltic states, Poland, and Czech Republic would consider harsh measures to include suspension of the entire NRC relationship. Canada and the UK favor a graduated approach on curtailing NRC activities, because this would give NATO more options and leverage to influence Russia as events unfold. Italy and the Netherlands are on the fence. Thus, NAC consensus on any measure will be difficult, but the U.S does have strong cards through our active support of all NRC projects. France and Germany’s participation and financial support in the NRC is weak and does not match their pro-Russian rhetoric. The one sacred cow to the vast majority of Allies is political dialogue, especially relating to resolution of the conflict. Lack of consensus worked in our favor in the OAE debate, but this only works for blocking a decision. Germany will surely turn the tables to block consensus on future decisions that require an affirmative NATO action to stop cooperation with Russia. End comment. VOLKER
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 001256 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, EUN, GG, RU SUBJECT: TFGG01: EU FOREIGN MINISTERS SUPPORT FRENCH MEDIATION REF: BRUSSELS 1245 Classified By: USEU POLMC Chris Davis for reasons 1.4 (a) and (d) 1. (C) Summary: EU Foreign Ministers issued formal Conclusions at the GAERC August 13 on Georgia welcoming the Russian-Georgia agreement as presented by the French presidency. In the press briefing following the GAERC, French FM Kouchner, EUHR Solana, and Commissioner Rehn repeatedly celebrated the role the EU had played in mediating between Russia and Georgia. FM Kouchner emphasized the EU’s readiness to deploy an observer or monitoring mission. At the request of UK Foreign Minister Miliband and others, the French presidency agreed to put broader EU – Russia relations on the agenda for the informal EU Foreign Ministers Gymnich meeting in early September. End Summary. 2. (C) The GAERC Council Conclusions welcomed the agreement between the parties announced by the French presidency. Prior to the meeting, however, the Georgian Ambassador to the EU told Ambassador Silverberg that the Georgians were not endorsing the plan and, in particular, had objected to the provision allowing the Russian government to put in place “additional security measures” prior to deployment of an international mechanism. The Georgian Ambassador reported that the Georgians had asked for an audience with the EU to present their concerns. Council secretariat officials also raised concerns regarding point five of the “principles,” noting that it would give the Russians sufficient incentive to resist establishment of a follow-on replacement force. Following the meeting, the Georgian Ambassador onfirmed that the Georgian FM had not been allowed to present their concerns to the Council. According to Council Secretariat contacts, there was support from some member states for a discussion with the Geor gians, but the French presidency and others objected. Member state contacts told USEU that the UK and Swedish Foreign Ministers questioned the fourth and fifth principles of the mediation plan during the meeting, suggesting they could be deliberately misinterpreted by the Russians in their favor. Even some countries favoring a moderate approach to Russia (eg., Austria and Belgium) felt that point five of the principles gave Russia too much leeway. The French Presidency argued that some of the points were intentionally ambiguous in order to get the agreement of both parties. 3. (U) In a press briefing following the GAERC, French FM Kouchner noted that the agreed six principles would have to be incorporated into a UN Security Council resolution in order to be legally binding. 4. (C) Foreign Ministers also reached general agreement on the necessity of deploying observers or monitors to Georgia, according to contacts inside the meeting. The first step should be to enhance the OSCE mission already in Georgia, and secondarily to increase the EU’s own presence on the ground. According to member state contacts, Finnish FM Stubb, acting in his role as OSCE chair, pressed strongly for EU member states to increase the field presence of the OSCE by 200 people, arguing that they could accomplish their objectives more quickly through the OSCE than with their own EU mission. It was not clear from the Conclusions whether the EU will insist on UN authorization for a mission. Contacts told USEU that while Foreign Ministers viewed a UNSC resolution as essential for the EU to send peacekeepers, it might not be an essential predicate to an observer mission. FMs believed that any Mission, however, would require the agreement of the parties. Contacts noted that while the timeline for sending obs ervers was not clear, Foreign Ministers had conveyed a sense of urgency, and the Council Secretariat would be further discussing details later August 13. Other Insiders’ Views ——————— 5. (C) Italian Political and Security Committee (PSC) Ambassador Andrea Meloni commented to us that Italy was “reasonably satisfied” with the outcome because it reinforced French mediation efforts. The Council’s paragraph 1 language on independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity did not represent agreed positions of Georgia or Russia; however, the six “principles” did, he contended. The EU’s highest priority, he said, was to sustain a cease-fire. Regarding a monitoring mechanism, Meloni said Finnish Foreign Minister Stubb commented that an EU presence could forestall the Russians asserting their right to patrol in “Georgia proper.” Meloni said the role and area of operation of an EU monitoring force could be discussed in New York. He said Italy, as well as several other member states, announced their willingness to contribute personnel. BRUSSELS 00001256 002 OF 002 6. (C) Meloni said the wider aspects of the crisis would be taken up at the Avignon informal meeting of foreign ministers in early September. Meloni told the DCM that Italy supported the French Presidency in declining to offer the floor to the Georgians for the sake of evenhandedness. At the post-Council press conference, Council President and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told journalists that a Georgian senior official was present in the conference room and anyone should feel free to ask questions of the Georgian. 7. (C) Although the French Presidency wanted to avoid using the conclusions of the meeting to attribute blame to either party, there was frank discussion in the Council about Russia’s disproportionate use of force, particularly aimed at civilians. The Romanian PSC Ambassador told us the implications for Russian-EU relations would be further discussed in formal and informal (i.e., Gymnich) meetings. 8. (C) Comment: The Council deliberately avoided condemnation of Russian action in this document to avoid disrupting mediation efforts. It remains to be seen whether the EU will take steps to show consequences to the Russians for their actions. The task now falls to the Council Secretariat and the Commission to make proposals in time for the informal (Gymnich) meeting in early September in Avignon, and the follow-on GAERC of September 15. End Comment. SILVERBERG .
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 087210 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2038 TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 11 STATE 00087210 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: THOMAS JUNG, SENIOR WATCH OFFICER, S/ES-O, REASON 1.4(D) EUROPE REACTS; OSCE UPS MONITORS; TURKS TO WEIGH-IN ——————— 1. (U) EU FOREIGN MINISTERS AGREED TO SEND MONITORS TO VERIFY THE CEASE-FIRE AND INCREASE HUMANITARIAN AID IN SOUTH OSSETIA. (REUTERS) 2. (SBU) THE OSCE SAID IT WILL ALSO INCREASE ITS MONITORS FROM 200 TO 300, BUT MADE CLEAR ANY WIDER EUROPEAN PEACEKEEPING OPERATION WOULD REQUIRE A UN RESOLUTION. EMBASSY TBILISI NOTES OSCE MONITORS HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO REACH VILLAGES NORTH OF TSKHINVALI TO INVESTIGATE REPORTS OF ETHNIC CLEANSING. (TF/EMBASSY TBILISI E-MAIL, REUTERS) 3. (C) THE TURKISH PM AND FM WILL TRAVEL TO MOSCOW AUGUST 13-14 TO REITERATE PRESIDENT BUSH’S PRINCIPLES WITH THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT AND PM. (TF/TURKEY DESK E- MAIL) CONFLICTING REPORTS ON RUSSIAN TROOP ADVANCE ————————- 4. (SBU) EMBASSY TBILISI REPORTS RUSSIAN TROOPS DESTROYED THE GEORGIAN MILITARY BASE IN GORI AND FIGHTING BETWEEN RUSSIAN SOLDIERS AND GEORGIAN CIVILIANS CONTINUES. POST COMMENTS THE RUSSIAN MOVEMENTS LIKELY ARE PART OF A PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE CAMPAIGN. (TF/EMBASSY TBILISI TELCON, TBILISI 1372, REUTERS) 5. (SBU) EMBASSY TBILISI HAS RECEIVED NUMEROUS REPORTS OF NORTH CAUCASUS IRREGULARS BETWEEN GORI AND TSKHINVALI PARTICIPATING IN LOOTING AND ETHNIC VIOLENCE. (TF/EMBASSY TBILISI TELCON) 6. (SBU) RUSSIAN TANK CREWS HAVE OCCUPIED THE COAST GUARD STATION IN THE PORT CITY OF POTI, SEIZING THREE GEORGIAN COAST GUARD CUTTERS AND ORDERING PERSONNEL TO LEAVE. (TBILISI 1372) U.S. HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE ARRIVES, OTHERS PLEDGE AID —————————– 7. (S) A C-17 CARRYING COTS, SHELTER, AND MEDICINE LANDED IN TBILISI. AN ESAT TEAM IS SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE AT 2100 EDT, WITH A THIRD HUMANITARIAN FLIGHT SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 14. (TF/OSD TELCON, TF/EMBASSY TBILISI TELCON) 8. (SBU) USAID APPROVED GRANTS FOR HALF THE $250,000 OFDA EMERGENCY FUND AUTHORIZATION; ADDITIONAL PROPOSALS ARE EXPECTED AUGUST 14. (TF/USAID E-MAIL) 9. (SBU) EMBASSY ATHENS REPORTS A GREEK C-130 IS EN ROUTE TO TBILISI WITH HUMANITARIAN SUPPLIES, INCLUDING STATE 00087210 002.2 OF 002 TEN-PERSON TENTS, BLANKETS, AND MEDICINE. (TF/EMBASSY ATHENS E-MAIL) 10. (SBU) A UK ASSESSMENT TEAM WILL ARRIVE IN TBILISI AUGUST 16. THE UK WILL DONATE $1 MILLION THROUGH THE RED CROSS, AND CONTRIBUTE $250,000 THROUGH THE EC. (TF/EMBASSY LONDON E-MAIL) 11. (U) Minimize considered. RICE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIJING 003122 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2028 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, MOPS, RS, CH, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA DISAPPOINTED WITH CHINA’S RESPONSE TO RUSSIA-GEORGIA CONFLICT REF: STATE 86130 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Aubrey Carlson. Reasons 1. 4 (b/d). 1. (C) Summary: Georgia is disappointed with China’s “limited” response to the conflict between Georgia and Russia and with the apparent lack of interest from the Chinese press in Georgia’s plight, Georgian EmbOff Archil Kalandia told PolOff August 14. Kalandia said that the Chinese MFA said it will notify the Georgian Embassy of the Chinese Government position in the “near future.” Regarding the six-part EU cease-fire agreement, Kalandia acknowledged that Georgia has serious concerns about the points that leave the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia open to discussion and allow Russian peacekeepers to “implement additional security measures.” Kalandia expressed appreciation for U.S. support and expressed hope that U.S. mediation will help end the conflict. End Summary. Disappointed by the Chinese Response ———————————— 2. (C) Kalandia said Georgian Ambassador Zaza Begashvili met Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi August 12 and MFA European-Central Asian Affairs Department Director General Cheng Guoping August 13 to seek China’s support in ending the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Kalandia said that the Chinese Government has not taken a clear position on the conflict and that Yang told Ambassador Begashvili that China would make its position known to Georgia in the “near future.” Kalandia said that Georgia has been “a little disappointed” by China’s limited response and reluctance to engage actively on this issue. 3. (C) Kalandia said that the lack of interest shown by the Chinese press has also disappointed Georgia. None of the major Chinese press outlets, including the state-run People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency, attended a press conference held by the Georgian Embassy August 12, and the Georgian Embassy has received no response from the Chinese press to offers to interview Ambassador Begashvili. Kalandia said Chinese press representatives claimed they were too busy covering the Olympics, but he suspects the Chinese Government has discouraged the press from covering the Russia-Georgia conflict. Nevertheless, he said that China supports Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity and that he expects China to support Georgia’s position in the conflict. Concerned about the Six-Point Agreement ————————————— 4. (C) Kalandia expressed concern about the fifth and sixth points of the six-point agreement prepared by the EU Presidency and agreed to by Georgia and Russia. He said the fifth point, which allows Russian peacekeepers to “implement additional security measures,” is being used by Russia to justify further advances into Georgian territory. The sixth point, which leaves the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia open for discussion, could be used as a “pretext for Russian attempts to annex the two regions.” In spite of tese concerns, Kalandia was optimistic that Rusia would removeits troops from Georgian territory “by this weekend.” Appreciative of U.S. Support —————————– 5. (C) Kalandia thanked the United States for sending military aircraft to Tbilisi with humanitarian aid. He said that he is aware of Secretary Rice’s planned visit to Tbilisi and expressed hope that U.S. mediation would help end the conflict. RANDT
S E C R E T STATE 087260 SIPDIS NOFORN E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2038 TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 12 CLASSIFIED BY: DEBORAH SCHNEIDER SENIOR WATCH OFFICER, S/ES-O, REASON 1.4(D) RUSSIA SCUTTLES THREE GEORGIAN SHIPS; TROOPS LEAVING ——————————————— ——- 1. (S/NF) Russian forces sank the Georgian Coast Guard vessels near Poti and destroyed some structures at the port, including a radar station. (TF/DOD e-mail) 2. (SBU) OSCE representatives report the OSCE Economic Development Center in South Ossetia was leveled. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 3. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi reports Russian troops will leave Gori to be replaced by Georgian police. Georgia is concerned about the continued presence of North Caucasus “irregulars” in Gori. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon, TF/Embassy of Georgia telcon) DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS —————— 4. (SBU) Russian FM Lavrov denied to media Russian troops were in Poti and asserted forces in Gori were organizing humanitarian deliveries. (TF/Russia desk e-mail) 5. (C/NF) USOSCE Vienna will support the Finnish proposal to increase OSCE monitors in Georgia. Embassy London reports Lavrov responded negatively to UK FS Miliband’s suggestion of more OSCE monitors in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. (TF/EUR/RPM e-mail, London 2107) HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE BEGINS —————————— 6. (SBU) The second humanitarian flight and an ESAT team arrived in Tbilisi. (TF/EmbassyTbilisi telcon) 7. (SBU) USG MREs, originally en route to Afghanistan, remain in Poti. The shipper reports the food, which might be included in U.S. assistance efforts, is not in immediate danger from Russian forces. (TF/DOD telcon) 8. (SBU) The first DART members will arrive in Tbilisi August 16. (TF/OFDA e-mail) 9. (U) Australia announced $877,000 in emergency humanitarian assistance, half to UNHCR and half to ICRC. (dfat.gov.au) NO NEW CONVOY PLANNED ——————— 10. (U) Embassy is seeking to determine welfare and whereabouts of private AmCit minors. (TF/Tbilisi telcon) 11. (U) Minimize considered. RICE
C O N F I D E N T I A L RIGA 000492 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, MOPS, RS, GG, UP, LG SUBJECT: TFGG01: PM GODMANIS ON VISIT TO GEORGIA Classified By: Ambassador Charles W. Larson, Jr. Reason: 1.4 (d) 1. (C) On the margins of an August 14 special session of Parliament to express Latvian support for Georgia, Ambassador Larson had an opportunity to discuss briefly with PM Godmanis his visit to Georgia with the Presidents of Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, and Ukraine. The Ambassador commended the PM on his leadership in making the trip. Godmanis said that it was very important to make the trip and show solidarity for Georgia. He added that including Yushenko was particularly important as a way to show support for Ukraine. “The rest of us have the protection of being in NATO and the EU. Yushenko is really out there alone and needs our support,” Godmanis said. 2. (C) Godmanis said that the most important thing for Georgia is “verification.” Noting Russian claims of 2,000 dead in South Ossetia he asked “Where are the bodies?” He also said that the Georgians had claimed that artillery coming out of South Ossetia into Georgia prior to August 6 came from Russian weapons larger than allowed under the terms of the peacekeeping mission there. “That should be easy to check,” he said. Only with verification, Godmanis added, could we show that the Russians were exaggerating or fabricating their reports. 3. (C) Just prior to leaving, the PM said, that “we need to look at ways to strengthen our defenses. It may not be cheap and it may not be popular, but it is needed.” LARSON

C O N F I D E N T I A L BRATISLAVA 000382 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2014 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, PHUM, OSCE, UN, GG, RS, LO SUBJECT: TFGG01: SLOVAKIA WILL URGE RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL BUT NOT ASSIGN BLAME REF: A. SECSTATE 87254 B. BRATISLAVA 377 Classified By: DCM Keith Eddins for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) DCM delivered ref A points in Ambassador’s absence to MFA Political Director Roman Buzek. Buzek supported the US points and said Slovakia will urge both Russia and Georgia to fulfill their commitments. He agreed that it is most important to keep pressure on Russia. 2. (C) Buzek lamented that there is a lack of confirmable information coming out of the region and said that his main sources for news are CNN and the BBC. Buzek implied Georgian actions had caused the immediate conflict, but said it would be necessary to look back more than two hundred years to find out who started it. 3. (C) Buzek described MFA State Secretary Algayerova’s conversation with the Russian Ambassador on Monday (ref B) as “blunt” and said she asked how one could imagine that a country of 5 million people would start a war with a country of 150 million that spends 59 times more on defense. 4. (C) Slovakia’s position at the August 13 GAERC was, according to Buzek, balanced. Algayerova emphasized the need to build on progress being made towards a peaceful solution, get Russian troops back to their August 6 positions, and leave judgments about the origins of the immediate conflict to historians. 5. (C) Buzek,s characterization of the situation reflected Prime Minister Fico’s comments to journalists on August 13, in which he said, “I wouldn’t view the situation as black and white, as some see it, because someone provoked the situation, and we know who provoked it. Then a reaction came, and that reaction was very strong, which is why we must cross our fingers and sit down at the table and resolve things. But I refuse to adopt a black-and-white view, that one side is good and the other bad.” Fico went on to say that wherever people are being killed, it is necessary to stop shooting immediately and come to a ceasefire. OBSITNIK
UNCLAS HELSINKI 000374 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV, PREL, GG, RU, FI SUBJECT: FINNISH COMMENTS ON AUGUST 13 GEORGIA GAERC REF: STATE 86108 (SBU) Poloff delivered GAERC points to MFA Deputy Director Anu Laamanen on August 12. Finnish representatives were en route to Brussels and Laamanen had obtained no position draft as yet. She stated that Foreign Minister Stubb had met with Lavrov in the morning and that he had called Secretary Rice to give her a readout on the meeting. Sarkozy, Putin and Medvedev were in a closed door meeting at the time of the demarche and Laamanen awaited the results. She stated that French Foreign Minister Kouchner and Stubb would brief EU ministers the following day. Swedish FM Carl Bildt & Chair of Committee of Ministers, Council of Europe, would also recount his Tblisi trip. Laamanen stated that the GoF is especially grateful for Stubb’s access to the Secretary and other USG officials during the course of this crisis. BARRETT
S E C R E T LONDON 002112 NOFORN SIPDIS FOR EUR/WE, EUR/CACEN, EUR/RUS, GEORGIA TASK FORCE E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, PHUM, OSCE, UNAUS, GG, RS, UK SUBJECT: TFGG01: HMG AGREES ON NEED TO PRESSURE RUSSIA TO WITHDRAW FROM GEORGIA REF: STATE 87254 Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Greg Berry for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). Situation in Gori —————— 1. (S/NF) FCO Georgia Task Force Director (and Head of International Organizations Department) Nick Hopton expressed appreciation for points reftel and noted HMG concurrence with U.S. view that Russia needs to comply with its agreement to remove its forces from Georgia, and to allow OSCE and other observers in to report on the humanitarian situation. Hopton told us that UK Embassy Tbilisi and the UK seconded monitor to the OSCE Mission both confirmed press reports that Russian troops were withdrawing from the center of Gori. He cautioned, however that while the trend was definitely a reduction in troop levels, Russian patrols were still entering the city occasionally. Hopton also noted that Georgian police were returning to their stations in Gori, and that thus far there had been no violent encounters between the police and Russian troops. Humanitarian Aid —————- 2. (C) Task Force members told us that a humanitarian needs assessment team (comprised of FCO and Department for International Development (DfID) personnel) will hit the ground on Saturday to decide specific needs. Meanwhile, HMG is allocating UK Pounds 500K to ICRC (about 1M USD) and is contributing 1/6th of the 1m Euros the EC is pushing forward. Consular Situation —————— 3. (C) According to the Task Force, the flow of UK nationals from Tbilisi to Yerevan has stopped, and in fact some of the evacuees have opted to return to Georgia. The UK is therefor calling back to London consular personnel sent to Yerevan earlier in the week to help with the surge. UK consular personnel in Yerevan also report that the Georgian government is not allowing males between the ages of 16 and 55 to leave the country due to what the Georgians are describing as a “general military mobilization.” Any who make it past Georgian immigration officials are being allowed to enter Armenia. Visit London’s Classified Website: http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Unit ed_Kingdom TUTTLE
C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 001045 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, GG, RU, IT SUBJECT: TFGG01: DEBUNKING THE ITALIAN MYTH OF “BALANCE” ON GEORGIA REF: A) ROME 1021 B) ROME 1018 C) ROME 631 D) ROME 545 Classified By: Ronald P. Spogli, Ambassador, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d ). 1. (C/NF) As originally predicted by post in the early days of the Berlusconi government, the GOI’s close relationship with Russia could soon become a point of friction in the otherwise very close U.S.-Italy relationship. The GOI leadership, particularly FM Frattini, have gone to great lengths to insist that the transatlantic community and EU should approach the Georgia-Russia crisis with a sense of “balance.” While the MFA and other GOI leaders insist that this means the GOI will not attempt to assign blame to either party, we interpret this to mean that Italy will refrain from pressing Russia on this issue. At best, Italy will refrain from making strong statements or taking action against Russia. At worst, Italy could work to undermine the resolve of other allies in international fora, including NATO and the EU. Statements by GOI leaders on this issue indicate that they believe they have successfully navigated a neutral path between the US and Russia and have been successful in moderating the response of other nations, including those of the U.S. and the EU’s newest members in taking a firm line on Russia. 2. (C/NF) We have reached out to the GOI at high levels to advise that Italy must take a principled position on this issue based on objective facts. Additionally, we have advised that the goodwill the new Berlusconi government has engendered in its first months of office could dissipate if its credibility on this issue is damaged. Unfortunately, with the summer vacation period in Italy, many of our key interlocutors in the parliament and Foreign Ministry are not accessible. We will continue to try reach out, but we encourage the Department to instruct our missions in international fora to press this case with Italian permanent representatives – many of whom are senior and influential diplomats and who during this critical time outrank many of the personnel left staffing offices in the MFA – to send this same message back to Rome. SPOGLI
C O N F I D E N T I A L ROME 001046 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, GG, RU, IT SUBJECT: AMB URGES ITALY TO PUSH FOR RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL REF: STATE 87254 Classified By: Ambassador Ronald P. Spogli for reasons 1.4 b and d 1. (C) Ambassador Spogli delivered reftel points requesting the GOI’s engagement with Russia to PM Berlusconi’s principal adviser, U/S Gianni Letta on August 14. Letta told the Ambassador that he would convey the points to PM Berlusconi who was in the next room. 2. (C) The Ambassador told Letta we had heard reports of a continued Russian military presence around Gori and the port city of Poti which included attacks on Georgian military positions and destruction of property. The Ambassador said it was essential that all Russian troops withdraw from Georgia and return to South Ossetia as soon as possible. Letta agreed. The Ambassador also encouraged the GOI to push Russia to permit free and unimpeded access to both international observes and providers of humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. 3. (C) The Ambassador told Letta that Washington was “not happy” with the Italian response thus far and that we had been particularly perplexed by FM Frattini’s statements. The Ambassador encouraged the GOI to evaluate the facts on the ground and act accordingly. The Ambassador noted that the current policy of “equidistance” (between U.S. and Russia) will seem inappropriate once the facts have been fully examined. Letta indicated he had anticipated the U.S. displeasure with the Italian position and that he would convey the message to the PM soonest. SPOGLI
C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000458 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, PHUM, OSCE, GG, NO SUBJECT: NORWAY ON RUSSIAN PRESENSE IN GORI REF: STATE 87254 Classified By: Charge de Affairs, Kevin M. Johnson for reasons 1.4 b and d 1. (C) On August 14 Charge delivered reftel points to Norwegian MFA political director Vegard Ellefsen and urged the GON to contact the Russian government to express concerns. Ellefsen agreed with the substance of the points but said that the political leadership of the MFA would have to decide when and if to contact the Russians again. Ellefsen noted the public comments made by FM Stoere which were quite critical of Russian behavour. Ellefsen also noted the Russian Ambassador’s criticism of the GON’s comments on the situation in Georgia. Norway’s position is clear, he said. 2. (U) FM Stoere made extensive comments on the situation in Georgia in the media on August 13. He said that it will require a tremendous political effort to renew trust and strong cooperation between NATO and Russia following the Georgia conflict. Stoere criticised Georgia for starting the conflict with an attack on rebel positions in South Ossetia. Stoere’s harshest criticism was for Russia, saying that the Russian incursion into Georgian territory is a violation of international law. Stoere did modify this criticism slightly by saying that Norway’s relations with Russia are quite different and based on good and constructive bilateral relations. JOHNSON
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 002411 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, MOPS, GG, RS, UP SUBJECT: TFGG01: EFFECTS OF RUSSIA-GEORGIA CONFLICT ON GOR RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE REF: A. KYIV 1557 B. MOSCOW 2351 Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Alice G. Wells for reason s 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) Summary: The war of words between Russia and Ukraine has intensified with the war in Georgia. Russia has decried Ukrainian announcements, including a presidential decree, calling for the Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) command to notify Ukraine about ships and aircraft returning to the Ukrainian border. FM Lavrov said President Yushchenko’s August 13 decree could damage all aspects of Russian-Ukrainian relations. Moscow also has admonished Kyiv for providing Georgia with weapons, particularly air defense systems that posed complications for Russian planes, with the Deputy Chief of the General Staff saying the deaths of Russian boys were on Ukraine’s conscience. Experts believe that although Russia is not using the conflict in South Ossetia to threaten Ukraine overtly, it has sent an implicit warning to Ukraine over its NATO aspirations, and do not rule out Russian economic pressures or the stoking of irredentist sentiments in Crimea. End Summary. ——————————————— ————— GOR Officials Blast Ukraine on Black Sea Fleet Announcements ——————————————— ————— 2. (U) Responding to an August 10 statement by the Ukrainian MFA that said Ukraine “reserved the right” to bar entry into Sevastopol of BSF ships that took part in actions off the coast of Georgia because their participation would effectively entangle Ukraine in the conflict (ref A), the Russian MFA said it was “bewildered” by the tone and content of the Ukrainian statement. The Russian MFA pointed out that the 1997 “Treaty On Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership” and the “Agreement Between the Russian Federation and Ukraine On the Status and Terms of the Presence of the Black Sea Fleet On the Territory of Ukraine” do not give Ukraine the right to limit the scope of BSF activities. Attempts by Ukraine to do so, the Russian MFA said, would be “unfriendly” to Russia (ref B). 3. (U) In an August 11 telephone call initiated by the Chair of Ukraine’s Supreme Rada Arseniy Yatsenyuk, FM Lavrov reiterated the GOR’s points that elements of the BSF had been dispatched to the waters off the coast of Abkhazia in an effort to protect Russian citizens and render humanitarian aid. Lavrov said that any changes in the agreements governing the BSF (that would allow Ukraine to limit BSF activities) would have to be agreed upon by the Russian-Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet Subcommittee. (Note: Experts here agreed that the subsequent offer of Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Konstyantyn Yeliseyev to sign such a deal would be ignored by GOR officials.) An August 12 MFA statement noted that DFM Karasin expressed his concern to Ukraine’s Ambassador in Russia Grishchenko about Ukraine’s “pretensions” toward the BSF’s involvement in the conflict in South Ossetia. 4. (U) In an August 13 press conference, Russian Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Anatoliy Nogovitsyn argued that BSF ships were deployed off the Georgian coast to provide security and support Russian peacekeeping operations. As for Ukraine’s announcement that it may try to block the return of Russian ships to the port of Sevastopol, he confidently declared, “They are our bases; we will return there.” ——————————————— ————- BSF Ships Return to Sevastopol; MFA Responds to Yushchenko ——————————————— ————- 5. (U) On August 13, Interfax reported that three BSF warships, including the escort vessel Smetlivy, returned to their base at Sevastopol from the coast of Georgia. That same day, President Yushchenko issued a decree that Russia’s BSF command must inform Ukraine’s General Staff 72 hours in advance about any BSF warships or aircraft returning to the Ukrainian border. The Russian MFA accused Ukraine of taking a “serious, anti-Russian step,” and “creating serious complications for the BSF’s practical operation, in direct contradiction with the basing agreements between Russia and Ukraine.” In addition, the MFA argued that Ukraine’s actions “contradict the letter and spirit of the 1997 Agreement on MOSCOW 00002411 002 OF 003 Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between Russia and Ukraine,” and warned that they could have broader consequences for bilateral relations. 6. (U) Foreign Minister Lavrov attributed Ukraine’s latest move to the “permanent crisis that is evident in Ukrainian politics.” He claimed the decree was just another manifestation of “external factors” influencing Russian-Ukrainian relations, particularly by those in Kyiv who have a desire to pander to NATO. Deputy Foreign Minister Karasin went even further, implying that outside powers were actively trying to drag Ukraine into the “anti-Russian ‘International.'” ————————- Arms Transfers to Georgia ————————- 7. (U) In its August 10 statement on the BSF, the Russian MFA argued that, if Ukraine was concerned about being drawn into the conflict in South Ossetia, “it should have thought of this when it was supplying arms to the party that started this conflict.” On August 13, Minister of Emergency Situations Sergey Shoygu expressed his disappointment that Ukraine sent weapons to Georgia only a week after Russia sent a humanitarian aid convoy to Ukraine to assist victims of a flood. At a press conference the same day, Russian Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Anatoliy Nogovitsyn focused heavily on the use of Ukrainian weapons by Georgian forces. He accused Ukraine of being the primary weapons supplier to Georgia. Nogovitsyn paid particular attention to Georgia’s use of anti-aircraft defense systems, which Ukraine allegedly supplied. These systems caused Russian aircraft to face considerable difficulties, and as a result, a number of Russian planes were lost. Furthermore, he claimed that if Kyiv had not “armed Saakashvili to the teeth,” Georgia never would have taken such aggressive measures against South Ossetia. Nogovitsyn also chastised Ukrainian (and American) specialists, who trained Georgian forces before the war commenced. He asserted that “the death of our boys, in particular, is on the conscience of these two countries.” ————————————– Russia Not Overtly Threatening Ukraine ————————————– 8. (C) Dmitry Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center told us that he did not anticipate any “unprovoked attacks” by Russia against Ukraine, but he did not rule out “incidents” in Crimea if Ukraine blocked the Black Seat Fleet from returning to Sevastopol. This is a “very serious issue” in Russia, he said. He added that if the West “pushed Ukraine toward NATO membership now,” he feared for the stability and security of Ukraine. Deputy Editor-In-Chief of the Independent Military Overview Viktor Litovkin said that Russia did not aim to use the conflict in South Ossetia to discourage opposition to Russia in Ukraine or other CIS states. He added, however, that this may be a message these states take away from this. 9. (C) Vladimir Yevseyev of the Russian Academy of Sciences agreed, adding that Russia therefore will most likely take a more nuanced approach in its relations with Ukraine. “Ukraine’s political elites are anti-Russian, and they have been agitated by the conflict in South Ossetia,” he argued. Yevseyev predicted that Russia would concentrate more on economic levers of influence in its dealings with Ukraine. Litovkin and Yevseyev both said Russia may somewhat harden its stance by increasing its verbal assaults. Director of the Center for Military Prognosis and a member of the Ministry of Defense’s Civilian Council Anatoliy Tsyganok thought the GOR did not need to use events in South Ossetia to threaten Ukraine’s pro-Western policy. “Ukraine was divided enough internally that Moscow did not have to interfere actively to derail Ukraine’s NATO aspirations,” he said. According to Tsyganok, a NATO MAP offer would split Ukraine in two, regardless of Moscow’s role. —————————— Arms Transfers and Mercenaries —————————— 10. (C) Media reports have made much of Ukraine’s arms transfers to Georgia prior to the conflict, and alleged MOSCOW 00002411 003 OF 003 Ukrainians were fighting in Georgia. The experts argued that the GOR has never been comfortable with Ukraine arming Georgia, and was now venting its anger. The experts also did not rule out the possibility of individual Ukrainian mercenaries fighting in Georgia, but admitted that they were unlikely to have been sent there by the Ukrainian military. ——- Comment ——- 11. (C) Russian foreign policy experts believe that Russian consolidation of control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia has changed the strategic landscape and restored Russia as the preeminent regional power. Ukraine’s obvious unwillingness to accept this fate sets the stage for continued jousting that has the potential to escalate, particularly if Russia draws the wrong lessons from its military foray into Georgia. RUBIN
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 YEREVAN 000649 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018 TAGS: ECON, ELTN, PREL, EWWT, ENRG, EAGR, RU, GG, AM SUBJECT: TFGG01: ARMENIAN PM RAISES ALARM ON FUEL, GRAIN SHIPMENTS THROUGH GEORGIA REF: A) YEREVAN 646 B) YEREVAN 639 Classified By: CDA JOSEPH PENNINGTON, REASONS 1.5(B)(D) ——- SUMMARY ——- 1. (C) The Prime Minister convoked the Charge August 14 to express his urgent concerns (despite the GOAM’s public reassurances) about continuing problems in the transport of critical goods, especially fuel and grains, to Armenia through Georgia. Georgian transport companies that ship to Armenia from Georgian ports announced two weeks ago a huge increase (more than three-fold) in transport fees. The PM then contacted his Georgian counterpart, who agreed to meet at the end of August to discuss the price issue. The problem was compounded by the outbreak of hostilities in Georgia, which temporarily cut off all shipments to Armenia. The PM complained that while Georgian authorities denied clearance for critical goods already at the Georgia-Armenia border to enter Armenia once the conflict was underway, Georgian shipments to Azerbaijan continued without disruption. Although ministerial-level contacts with the GOG and a slight easing of the situation in Georgia have helped restart limited shipments, the PM claimed that Armenia could experience severe shortages of key commodities within 30 days. The PM said the situation with jet fuel is especially precarious given the expected increase in the number of European humanitarian assistance and charter flights expected to come to Yerevan in coming weeks. He reiterated, however, Armenia’s willingness to serve as a humanitarian corridor for supplies to Georgia. CDA stressed that the first step toward resolving Armenia’s supply problem is for the Russians to end their military activity in Georgia and abide by the agreed cease-fire. He urged Armenia to use its influence in that direction. End Summary. ————————————- HUGE PRICE HIKES PRECEDED HOSTILITIES ————————————- 2. (C) Prime Minister Tigran Sargsian (joined by FM Nalbandian) called in the CDA for an urgent meeting on the morning of August 14 to discuss what he called “the very serious problems” Armenia is facing because of the difficulty in getting shipments of critical commodities through its traditional supply routes through Georgia. (Note: Due to closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, well over 70 percent of Armenia’s imports — including nearly all of its fuel and grain supplies — comes via transit through Georgia. End note.) Sargsian explained that nearly two weeks ago, the two Georgian firms that provide transport services for freight to Armenia from the Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi announced simultaneously an enormous price increase (more than three-fold) for their services. The two firms are reported to be an effective duopoly, with one monopolizing shipments from the port of Poti, and the other doing the same from Batumi. 3. (C) When Armenia’s largest importers complained to the GOAM that such an increase was unsustainable, the PM contacted his Georgian counterpart for an explanation. After several days, the Georgian Prime Minister reportedly contacted Sargsian to say that the increases were necessary from the standpoint of “risk management.” Sargsian said he wasn’t sure exactly what this meant, but added that Armenian importers attribute the price hike to a “political decision” in Tbilisi. He further claimed that both of the transport companies have strong official ties and are “subject to influence” by the Georgian Government. In any event, Sargsian said he and the Georgian Prime Minister had agreed to meet at the end of August in Tbilisi to address the issue. ——————————————— ——— CONFLICT STOPS ALL SHIPMENTS, BUT NOT TO AZERBAIJAN… ——————————————— ——— 4. (C) According to Sargsian, the outbreak of Georgian-Russian hostilities on August 8 resulted in a total shutdown of Armenian imports through Georgia. This would have been understandable, the PM said, except for the fact that “we knew that similar shipments to Azerbaijan were moving without disruption.” Sargsian recounted how a Georgian Government official at the Georgia-Armenia border soon after the start of the conflict refused to clear more than 30 rail cars of fuel and wheat bound for Armenia on the grounds that Georgia “may have need of the cargo for itself.” (This tracks with what we were told by Deputy Foreign YEREVAN 00000649 002 OF 002 Minister Gharibjanian earlier in the week — Ref B.) After a call by the Armenian Transport Minister to his Georgian counterpart, the GOG agreed to release 19 of the rail cars. According to the PM, the remaining 15 were moved back to Tbilisi. 5. (C) Although the PM acknowledged that the situation has marginally improved over the past several days, and that limited shipments have started to reach Armenia, he insisted that most cargo destined for Armenia remains blocked at Georgian ports. The PM said that what little freight is entering Armenia now is being paid at the previous transport rates, as agreed with the Georgian Prime Minister. He added, however, that the Georgians could demand retroactive payment of the higher rates depending on the outcome of the prime ministers’ discussions scheduled for later this month. Sargsian complained that the Georgian Prime Minister “is no longer taking my calls,” and hinted that Georgia may be punishing Armenia for its close relations with Russia. “We have not made this into a public issue,” the PM insisted, “because we are trying to protect the good relationship we have with Georgia.” He added, however, that Armenia could face serious shortages of critical commodities — especially fuel and grain — within 30 days if the current situation does not improve. ——————————————— —— HUMANITARIAN FLIGHTS COULD EXACERBATE FUEL SHORTAGE ——————————————— —— 6. (C) PM Sargsian also noted that the GOAM had accepted a proposal by the European Union that Armenia serve as a humanitarian corridor for relief supplies bound for Georgia. A survey team from the Estonian Government visited Yerevan several days ago to plan logistics for relief flights, and the PM indicated that several such flights had already taken place. When pressed, Sargsian said he did not have the details of these flights at hand, but promised to have his staff provide full information soon. He noted that while Armenia is eager to contribute to humanitarian relief efforts in Georgia, the expected increase in unscheduled charter and humanitarian flights in coming weeks will further strain Armenia’s already precarious supply of jet fuel. According to Sargsian, the GOAM as a matter of policy maintains an emergency 30-day reserve stock of jet fuel, but has already started requesting all inbound flights to carry as much fuel as possible in order to minimize refueling requirements at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport. 7. (C) CDA welcomed Armenia’s willingness to play a role in humanitarian efforts, recognized the urgency of Armenia’s supply problems, and promised to pass on the PM’s concerns to Washington and Embassy Tbilisi. But he also stressed that the most immediate priority was for Russian forces to end military activity in Georgia and abide by the terms of the cease-fire, and he urged that the GOAM use its influence in that direction. He added that the Georgian Government will be in a much better position to engage on the supply issues once a semblance of stability has been reestablished. ——- COMMENT ——- 8. (C) Despite the urgency with which the Prime Minister made his case, we remain unconvinced that Armenia is on the brink of an economic emergency. As we reported in Ref A, the lack of panic buying by Armenian consumers or large price increases by retailers suggest that significant shortages, while certainly possible, remain some ways off. Armenian officials’ public statements have been entirely contradictory to their private message, as they seek to avoid creating an economic panic or enflaming public anger against Georgia. We have no insight into the large price hikes announced by the Georgian freight companies, so are not in a position to say whether that is a long-term problem or a passing phase. Nevertheless, given Armenia’s lack of supply alternatives, imports through Georgia remain critically important and the Government’s near-panic on the issue is at least understandable. We will watch the situation closely and continue to encourage the GOAM to address their concerns directly with Georgian counterparts, taking into consideration that the GOG is necessarily distracted at the moment by more immediate problems. PENNINGTON

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MOSCOW 002414 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, GG, RS SUBJECT: TFGG01: RUSSIA DEFIANT Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Alice G. Wells. Reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 1. (C) Summary. Russian officials August 13 and 14 continued a defiant line, with Medvedev insisting that Russia would support an international agreement that recognized the rights of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. FM Lavrov questioned Georgia’s territorial integrity and said Washington would need to choose between “an illusory project called Georgian leadership” and a “real partnership” with Russia. The MFA challenged Georgia’s NATO aspirations, saying the decision would be “a test of political maturity and seriousness” of the Alliance. It also accused Ukraine of violating the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, and bilateral agreements on the Black Sea Fleet (septel). After canvassing a range of prominent analysts, even the most pro-Western experts lashed out at the U.S. for supporting Georgia, saying Russia could not have remained passive in the face of Georgia’s actions in South Ossetia, and contending that the GOR believed it was not violating international norms, but using the precedent set by the U.S. and the West in Kosovo in 1999. They argued that Georgia would never be able to reunify, and posited that Russia’s actions demonstrated that Moscow would no longer “tolerate being ignored.” The experts expressed concern at the impact on U.S.- Russian relations, but downplayed the prospect of international pressure on Russia. End summary. Medvedev Questions Status ————————- 2. (U) President Medvedev reiterated that Russia would support “any settlement that recognized the international rights of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” following a press conference August 14 with the leaders of the two conflict zones. He maintained that Russia would serve as a guarantor of South Ossetia and Abkhazia both in the Caucasus and “in the whole world.” Lavrov Defiant ————– 3. (U) FM Lavrov challenged Georgia’s territorial integrity in an interview on Ekho Moskvy August 14, calling it “limited due to the conflict in the two regions. He said it would be impossible to return them to Georgia, and he could not see a situation where either South Ossetia or Abkhazia would “wish to live in one state with the person who ordered military strikes on them.” Lavrov reiterated that Moscow did not see Saakashvili as a “viable partner for negotiations.” 4. (U) The day before, Lavrov had reacted strongly to comments from Washington. “We paid attention not only to what President Bush said but also to what he did not mention. … On several occasions we cautioned our American partners as part of our dialogue of trust that this is a dangerous game and that it was possible that these resources … could be used recklessly. Our American colleagues unambiguously and firmly assured us back then that they would not allow that to happen.” Later in the day, and carried after midnight on local television, Lavrov posed to the U.S., “it is necessary to choose: prestige for the virtual project (support for Georgia) or real partnership (with Russia) which demands collective action.” 5. (U) During his press conference yesterday, Lavrov also took exception to DAS Bryza’s statement that Russia had ceased to be the peacemaker in Georgia. Calling this an attempt to mischaracterize the situation, Lavrov countered that the agreement brokered by President Sarkozy emphasized the role of Russia as peacemaker. FM Lavrov also denied claims that Russian troops remained in Poti, acknowledged there were troops on the outskirts of Gori and Senaki but asserted they were there simply to “neutralize” the unguarded arsenals of weapons and military hardware in the two zones. He also denied allegations of looting by Russian soldiers, contending the “peacekeepers” had strict instructions against looting, and saying the GOR would look into allegations but would not permit such actions. MFA on Georgian NATO Membership ——————————- 6. (U) DFM Karasin challenged NATO on the issue of Georgia’s membership in the Alliance. Karasin said the decision was a question that affected not only Georgia, but would be “a test MOSCOW 00002414 002 OF 004 of the political maturity and seriousness” of the Alliance. Referring to the “bloody nature of the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia and the following humanitarian catastrophe, he said that “serious politicians in NATO member-states” were “capable of making independent decisions.” Other GOR Officials Defiant ————————— 7. (U) The head of the Federation Council, Sergei Mironov, used more forceful language in a statement on his website, where he blamed the U.S. for backing Georgia into “this barbarous aggression,” and that the U.S. had underestimated Russia’s reaction. Experts United ————– 8. (C) Even the most pro-Western political experts here are expressing concern for the future of U.S.-Russian relations and pointing the finger at the U.S. for putting the relationship in jeopardy. Contending that Russia had no choice but to respond militarily to Georgia’s attacks on South Ossetia, they accept the GOR’s comparison of its actions in South Ossetia to the U.S. and NATO’s actions in Kosovo in 1999. They point out that Russian officials had repeatedly warned for years about “Saakashvili’s intent to unify Georgia by force,” and note the GOR’s frustration that “the U.S. had not only not listened, but had armed and trained the Georgian military.” Some even argue that the GOR feels its concerns (e.g. over NATO enlargement, missile defense, and Western “encroachment” into Russia’s neighbors) have been ignored by the West, and particularly by the U.S. for too long, but now Russia is strong enough to push back forcefully. 9. (C) Masha Lipman of the Carnegie Moscow Center and Public Chamber member and Russian/Georgian political observer Nikolai Svanidze highlighted the concerns that persons who consider themselves to be “liberals” were confronting in trying to understand and explain domestic political implications of the Russian-Georgian conflict. Both were critical of Russian and Georgian leaders, as well as of the United States for its strong support for Georgia since 2003. They both cited the recent presidential election in Georgia when criticizing the U.S. for too great an emphasis on Georgia’s democracy, while also readily acknowledging Russia’s own shortfalls in terms of political freedom. Both noted that the GOR’s military action to oust Georgian forces from South Ossetia and to inflict damage on military infrastructure in Georgia enjoyed overwhelming support from the Russian public. 10. (SBU) Independent “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” editor Konstantin Remchukov — a political moderate, who does not hesitate to criticize Kremlin policy, also presented a defiant view of Russian foreign policy. Remchukov said he was finally convinced that the Secretary did not give Saakashvili a green light to attack Tskhinvali, but that he was in a minority. U.S.-Russian relations were experiencing their worst crisis, he charged, due to the U.S. refusal to criticize Saakashvili’s assault. In that context, the U.S. outrage at the “disproportionate response” was pocketed by Russians (and especially the Russian elite) as confirmation that the U.S. approved of the misadventure. Remchukov railed against U.S. unwillingness to accept that Saakashvili had ordered Georgian troops to fire on Russian peacekeepers — “what would your response be?” Tskhinvali, he stressed, “changed everything,” not just U.S.-Russian relations, but the entire strategic equation. “Kosovo Set the Precedent” ————————– 11. (C) Sergey Oznobischev, Director of the Institute for Strategic Assessments, Dmitriy Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center, Ivan Safranchuk of the World Security Institute, and Aleksandr Belkin of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy all told us that Russia believed it had been justified in undertaking a “humanitarian intervention” to save the people of South Ossetia. The Kremlin and MOD were applying “the exact model of the West’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999,” Safranchuk said. Russia was using “just cause” in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster. Despite Russia’s criticism of that intervention and oft-repeated assertions that such actions should not be undertaken without a UN mandate, Belkin MOSCOW 00002414 003 OF 004 contended that Russia was not setting a precedent; it was merely following the one already established by the U.S. 12. (C) Lipman said the GOR’s use of the term “genocide” clearly made the link to Kosovo. “There’s genocide, we invade, we occupy, we rule, and then we make the decision on independence,” she posited was the GOR’s belief in a direct correlation to the West’s actions in the Balkans. “Russia Won’t Be Ignored Anymore” ——————————— 13. (C) Many of the analysts said the GOR had made clear it was not responding to pressure from the West in making its decisions. Lipman pointed out that Russia had acted “without permission,” and had made the decision to stop military operations “when it chose to,” before French President Sarkozy arrived in Moscow. This is “old-style 19th Century politics,” both she and Aleksandr Golts of the Daily Journal suggested. Russia wanted to be seen and treated as an equal to the U.S. and the West. Russia had warned about Saakashvili for years, they said, but the West, particularly the U.S., had ignored them. At the same time, the U.S. dismissed Russian concerns and continued to support the “color revolutions,” to press for NATO enlargement to Russia’s borders, and to move its military infrastructure into Central Asia and Eastern Europe (including missile defense). She posited that Russia had been telling the West that it was getting increasingly stronger and should not be taken for granted. Now, she suggested, the GOR believed it was strong enough to stand up to the West. “Munich was words; South Ossetia was action” Lipman argued. “Georgia Will Never Reunify Now” ——————————– 14. (C) Most analysts believe there is now no chance that South Ossetia and Abkhazia will ever rejoin Georgia. “Reunification of Georgia is completely impossible now,” Oznobischev told us. There will be a “very strong imperative” for Russia to consider the two regions as sovereign states and recognize their independence, he contended. Trenin agreed, saying the status quo ante was “impossible now.” Consequences for Relations with U.S. and the World ——————————————— —– 15. (C) Lavrov told Ekho Moskvy August 13 that he did not see a reason to “interrupt our dialogue with the United States,” commenting that the two countries “have a broad agenda.” Others are not so sure. Both Svanidze and Lipman (separately) commented that some circles of Russians were now beginning to see that while the military operation had made them feel good about Russia’s ability to defend what it defines as its interests, this has translated to fear – but not the respect Russians feel they have been denied from abroad since the collapse of the Soviet Union – that they had hoped it might. They said that liberals took extremely seriously the fact that Russia’s use of force against Georgia was the first time military force has been projected abroad from Soviet/Russian territory since the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. They are acutely aware that the new dynamic in relations with the EU and with the US will need to be managed, and worried about the long-term consequences. Their hopes that Medvedev would be able to distinguish himself from Putin and begin to make policy and personnel changes have now been shelved. They also noted that, with strong public opinion behind them, they will need to carefully calibrate how and when they begin any assessment of the Russian “victory” in South Ossetia. 16. (C) Both also spoke of their deep concerns over the clear isolation of Russia as a result of its military campaign. In particular, they noted the total absence of support from CIS countries and China. While both argued that, in the short term the isolation, and retaliatory steps contemplated by western nations would have little effect on decision-making of Putin and Medvedev, Lipman expressed concern that this isolation over a prolonged period was not in Russia’s interest. Svanidze went further, arguing that the isolation would play to the benefit of the siloviki and the advisors around Putin. They would paint internal and external critics of Russia’s Georgia policy as enemies of the country, and use the crisis as an opportunity keep Putin the man calling the shots. MOSCOW 00002414 004 OF 004 17. (C) Golts said he did not think that the GOR wanted to worsen relations with the U.S. (“if it’s possible for them to get any worse,” he quipped), but believed it depended on the U.S. response. He said Russia would certainly seek to split Europe (at least Germany, France, Italy and such) from the U.S. and play to their concerns and sympathies. 18. (U) Sergey Kortunov, Deputy Chairman of the Expert Council of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, told military journal Krasnaya Zvezda that the importance of the crisis for Russian-American relations should not be exaggerated. “One should certainly not think that, because Russia used force to compel Georgia to make peace, the Americans will resort to a serious exacerbation of relations with Moscow which would, for example, be characterized by major sanctions of some type – trade, economic-political-diplomatic sanctions. The point is that Russia and the United States have strategic interests and neither Russia nor the United States is in any position to ignore those interests.” He argued that there were too many issues that could not be resolved without the participation of Russia. 19. (C) Trenin contended that Lavrov’s statement reflected Medvedev and Putin’s views. They believed the number of casualties was half the number the U.S. had lost on 9/11, and the army that had inflicted those casualties had been trained and equipped by the U.S. He said he had been struck by the “restraint” with which the Russian leaders had not commented on the role of the U.S., but he suggested, as the U.S. criticism of Russia mounted, the Russian response would get harsher and louder. 20. (SBU) As for international leverage, Remchukov downplayed the prospect of international pressure on Russia. With oil and gas sanctions not on the table, Remchukov said the U.S. was limited to “only cursing” Moscow. Sanctions, he argued, only work when the populace can be rallied to oppose the policies of their leadership. With Putin/Medvedev enjoying the “total” support of Russian elite and public opinion, Remchukov predicted an unswerving insistence that Abkhazia and South Ossetia were lost to Georgia forever, and pointed to the tough August 14 comments by Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov on BBC as proof of the new Russian bottom line. He predicted that the U.S. would be unsuccessful in maintaining trans-Atlantic unity, pointing to the “schism” already evident between Old and New Europe. Remchukov stressed that his personal view, and the view of the Russian public was that Russia’s “moral position” was strong. Referring to Israeli attacks on Lebanon, and U.S. actions in Belgrade and Baghdad, Remchukov underscored that Russia wasn’t going to be lectured to about international law. The failure of a working international forum, given the gridlock at UNSC and dissension in Europe, could make the crisis in Georgia a catalyst for fundamentally changing the international landscape. Comment ——- 21. (C) The consistently strong support for Russian military actions, and the defiance of Western criticism across the political spectrum, will likely define the domestic political and diplomatic environments for some time to come. RUBIN
C O N F I D E N T I A L LJUBLJANA 000371 SIPDIS STATE FOR GEORGIA TASK FORCE, EUR/ERA, EUR/CE E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, PHUM, OSCE, UNGA, GG, RS, SI SUBJECT: TFGG01: GORI DEMARCHE: SLOVENIANS STRESS EU UNITY REF: STATE 87254 Classified By: Ambassador Yousif B. Ghafari, Reasons 1.4 (b,d) FM Noncommittal on Engaging Russia ———————————- 1. (C) At an August 14 meeting with Foreign Minister Rupel, the Ambassador encouraged the Government of Slovenia (GOS) to engage the Russian government regarding events in Georgia, per reftel. The FM said he shared our concerns about the situation, which he termed “alarming, saying he was receiving hourly updates. The Foreign Minister said that he had requested a phone call with Russian FM Lavrov, but was still waiting for a time. Rupel commented that he would first listen to what Lavrov had to say and see what new information could be found out about the situation in Gori. The Ambassador pressed him to convey our concerns, however, the FM did not respond. The FM undertook to inform PM Jansa, whom he was seeing later that day, of our discussion. 2. (C) FM Rupel claimed that there was no will to break or disrupt EU-Russian relations in any substantial way. The Ambassador pushed back, stressing that the EU needed to tell Russia that its actions were too excessive if it wanted to be an international player. Rupel responded that Lavrov, with careful reading, should get the “tough message” that was in the August 13 extraordinary GAERC conclusions. Director General Bogdan Benko, who was also in the meeting with the Ambassador, assured us that the FMs will analyze the EU’s relations with Russia at the Gymnich September 5-6 in Avignon EU Unity a Top Priority … ————————— 3. (C) FM Rupel stressed that the important thing about the GAERC conclusions was that the EU remained united. He underlined the necessity that the EU speak with one voice. He acknowledged differences within the EU about relations with Russia, explaining that “some member states depend quite heavily on Russian energy supplies.” He noted that the EU FMs did not dwell on the question of who was to be blamed. He added that the August 19 NATO FMs meeting would be an opportunity to say more, and perhaps the situation would have evolved by then. Rupel mentioned that some of his colleagues feared that the next EU meeting – the September 5 Gymnich – was too late, but Rupel did not see how the meeting could be any earlier. … and Humanitarian Assistance ——————————- 4. (C) FM Rupel said that Slovenia had contributed 100,000 euros in humanitarian assistance, and planned to provide more, probably through the International Committee for the Red Cross. In addition, Slovenia will take part in the EU mission to Georgia. He worried about how the EU mission would be operative in Georgia/South Ossetia. He added that Solana would prepare the mission by the September 5 Gymnich; Rupel doubted that they could get there any earlier. He noted that the only presence the EU has is the OSCE, which will be increased by 100. Rupel and Benko agreed with us that humanitarian assistance was a priority. GHAFARI
C O N F I D E N T I A L ANKARA 001472 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: MOPS, NATO, OSCE, PHUM, PREL, GG, RS, TU, UN SUBJECT: TFGG01: GOT URGED TO DEMAND RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL FROM GORI; ERDOGAN GOES TO MOSCOW AND TBILISI REF: SECSTATE 87254 Classified By: CDA Doug Silliman, reasons 1.4 (b,d) 1. (C) CDA delivered reftel points August 14 to MFA Deputy U/S for Americas Berk and DDG for Maritime and Aviation Affairs Ozturk. Berk agreed that Russia should fulfill the commitments it made in the agreement with President Sarkozy and that OSCE observers should have immediate access to areas currently under Russian control. 2. (C) Berk noted that PM Erdogan traveled from Moscow to Tbilisi overnight, along with MFA Deputy U/S for Russia, Central Asia and the South Caucasus Cevikoz. Based on only a preliminary readout, Berk said that in Moscow Erdogan met with Medvedev privately, and the two were joined by Putin for a working lunch. Russian protocol was “impressive,” with Russian authorities closing the Moscow airport road to facilitate Erdogan’s short-notice travel. 3. (C) According to the latest GOT information, Poti port is under effective Russian naval control, though Georgian authorities are still operating the port’s commercial operations. In the last 48 hours, two Turkish commercial vessels have unloaded cargo at Poti and left safely, Ozturk said. Turkish authorities have observed four Georgian patrol boats anchored directly adjacent to Turkish territorial waters, near Batumi (where there is usually only one patrol boat anchored). Georgia might have moved the vessels to the area to ensure their safety, Ozturk surmised. 4. (C) A ten-truck Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) team has delivered humanitarian aid to Georgia. Turkey is prepared to provide additional humanitarian aid, but Tbilisi has not requested any more assistance so far. Turkish Airlines (THY) has not resumed commercial flights to Georgia, Ozturk said, because of the prohibitive cost of insurance. Ozturk underscored that Turkey has approved overflight permission for all humanitarian flights to Georgia; in addition, Turkish airspace is open to all flights to Armenia, including Moscow-Yerevan flights. Visit Ankara’s Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey SILLIMAN
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUDAPEST 000821 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR GEORGIA TASK FORCE AND EUR/CE-JAMIE LAMORE E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, PHUM, OSCE, UN, GG, RS, HU SUBJECT: TFGG01: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: RUSSIA RESPONSIBILITIES REF: SECSTATE 87254 Classified By: Charge Jeff Levine, reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 1. (U) This is an action request. See Paragraph 6. 2. (C) SUMMARY: Ref points were delivered on 14 August to GoH Ministry of Foreign Affairs State Secretaries Dr. Jeno Faller and Vilmos Hamikus. Charge also delivered ref points to Ambassador Karoly Banai, Chief Foreign and Security Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister. Interlocutors in both meetings felt Hungary had been quite forward leaning at the recent NAC and GAERC meetings (contrary to U.S. perception). Russian Ambassador Igor Savolskiy visited the MFA earlier in the day to state that Russia was “not happy with facts or timing” of the recent GoH statement but, overall, considered it “moderate” (para 7). Hungary collected 800 kilograms of emergency medical aid equipment for Georgia and requests U.S. assistance in transporting the shipment to needed areas. End summary. “This was typical Soviet behavior” ———————————- 3. (C) Speaking for the GoH Prime Minister’s office, Banai said the Hungarian position had been “very firm” at both the NAC and GAERC meetings. Hungary’s position is very clear. Banai said, “Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity cannot be questioned,” adding that the, “Russian response was entirely disproportionate to the situation.” Banai noted that Georgia clearly miscalculated but Russia’s response was worse. Of paramount importance was that NATO and the EU react unanimously in facing down the threat to democracy in Georgia, according to Banai. With that said, however, Banai argued that communication “must be maintained with the Russians.” Kremlin Calling ————— 4. (C) Faller and Hamikus also felt Hungary had shown resolve in the GAERC meeting by supporting a statement that condemned the “disproportionate Russian military response” and the message that “this conflict has an impact on EU-Russia relations.” Charge and PolOff noted that ref demarche was a request to approach the Russian Government directly, which Faller said Hungary was unlikely to do given that Russian Ambassador Savolskiy had just been in. Savolskiy raised humanitarian aid for Georgians before expressing Moscow’s displeasure with the facts and timing of the GoH statement. He was further incensed at the recent statement from opposition party FIDESZ, which Savolskiy labeled “immoral” (para 8). 5. (C) COMMENT: Hungary believes it is in the same camp as those taking a firm stance against Russia, however their desire for “balance” and “communication” sets them apart from more hard-line neighbors. End comment. 6. (U) ACTION REQUEST: Post requests a response to Hungary’s request for transport of emergency humanitarian aid to Georgia. The MFA is aware of U.S. C-17s delivering supplies to Tbilisi and would like to somehow include the 800 kilogram, 10 cubic meter shipment collected by the Hungarian government. A complete manifest of the medical items can be faxed to the Department. 7. (U) Begin text of GoH statement: Hungarian Foreign Minister Kinga Goncz has initiated that the government should adopt a decision on granting immediate humanitarian aid to the victims of the Georgian-Russian conflict. At the EU foreign ministers meeting on Wednesday, Goncz is going to make a proposal for the reconstruction of Georgia’s war damage. The Hungarian government greets Georgia’s intention to make peace and sign the peace plan, and the Russian announcement on cessation of military operations. Hungary is concerned about the latest military actions in Georgia, which may affect security in the entire Caucasian region, and endanger peace and security. The Hungarian government is convinced that the conflict can only be resolve through negotiations, with the involvement of the international community. Hungary takes a stand for respecting Georgia’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and internationally recognized borders, and qualifies the Russian armed action disproportionate in extent and territorial scope. Hungary supports the efforts of the sides concerned and the international organizations to settle the conflict peacefully as soon as possible. End text. 8. (U) Begin text of FIDESZ statement: What happened is BUDAPEST 00000821 002 OF 002 unprecedented since the end of the Cold War. In the situation that has evolved as a result of the Russian-Georgian conflict, the question is whether the international community will be strong, wise and considerate enough to make it clear that existing conflicts cannot be settled in ways that are unacceptable in the 21st century. What Russians are saying now is not at all different from what they said about Hungary in 1956. The simple fact is that foreign troops are deployed in the territory of another country, bombing cities and killing innocent civilians. Hungary must take a clear stance. It must be clearly and strongly stated that Europe, in cooperation with America, has a responsibility and also has the means that it can use in such historic moments. Hungary should not take the position of an external observer but that of a Central European country. End text. Levine
C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 000897 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/WE, GEORGIA TASK FORCE E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2018 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, PHUM, OSCE, UN, GG, RS, SP SUBJECT: SPAIN FOLLOWS EU LEAD ON GEORGIA CRISIS REF: A. STATE 87254 B. STATE 86108 Classified By: DCM Arnold Chacon for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Ambassador conveyed reftel points and reiterated our continuing concerns about Russian actions in Georgia to Spain’s National Security Advisor-equivalent Milagros Hernandez. She confirmed that our demarches were received by President Zapatero and Foreign Minister Moratinos. Hernandez also noted that President Zapatero and French President Sarkozy spoke at length on Saturday, August 9 about the situation. Spain will continue to work within the EU framework and is supportive of French actions as EU President. 2. (U) The GOS pledged more than 770K USD for humanitarian aid, approximately 15% of total pledges and the third largest contribution. The Spanish MFA released a simple statement noting Moratinos, participation in the August 13 EU GAERC meeting on the situation in Georgia. Moratinos is quoted as saying, “the EU is united to fulfill its policy role,” and that, “thanks to EU efforts the situation is more calm.” Spanish MFA staff told Poloff that the GOS does not plan to make any further statements. 3. (C) Embassy also learned from the office of Deputy FM Angel Lossada that the MFA view is that inappropriate actions took place by both parties. Spain agrees that we must continually be mindful of the need to prevent further deterioration of the situation. With regard to points that Russia must be held to account for actions that are a gross violation of its international commitment to uphold Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Spain’s view is that strong statements against Russia are counter-productive. Angel Lossada will represent Spain at the Tuesday, August 19 NATO meeting in Brussels and reportedly his approach will aim to encourage colleagues to, “study the situation with calm,” and “avoid actions that would lead to a downward spiral of reprisals.” 4. (U) Spanish press continues to cover the Caucasus crisis, specifically the events in Gori, and recognizes Russia,s role as aggressor. Although a few press commentators have attempted to correlate the Georgia crisis and Kosovo,s declaration of independence from Serbia, this stance does not appear to resonate with the Spanish public. Embassy officers will continue to emphasize that Kosovo is not a precedent for Georgia if any interlocutors attempt to present that analogy. Apart from our continuing demarches to the most senior levels, Embassy has widely distributed our points within the MFA to ensure the broadest consideration of our view, including the North America Office, the European office, the International Organizations Office and the MFA office working to evacuate Spanish citizens from Georgia and Armenia. Aguirre
C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000009 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/07/2019 TAGS: PREL, GG SUBJECT: NORWAY REACTS TO GEORGIA AND GAZA REF: STATE 134559 Classified By: Ambassador B. Whitney for reasons 1.4 (b and d) 1. (C) Summary. Sharing U.S. ideas of using carrots and sticks to reintegrate South Ossetia and Abkhazia into Georgia focused the GON on the need to develop a long term strategy. Georgian efforts and EU decisions will be critical in shaping the GON approach. On Gaza, the GON remains very interested in playing a role, albeit a supporting one. End Summary. Georgia ——- 2. (C) In a January 7 call on MFA Political Director Vegard Ellefsen, the Ambassador reviewed reftel points stressing the need for a long term strategy on Georgia and outlining the steps we would propose. Ellefsen explained that Norway had not had a substantive discussion of its approach to Georgia since the fall and the U.S. proposals would refocus Norway on this issue. He noted that Norway has not been involved in any EU discussions on Georgia, but these would be critical for Norway as Norway is apt to follow the lead of the Nordic EU countries on ideas such as a visa ban. Georgian efforts to include and reach out to the separatists would also be an important factor in Norwegian thinking. In an aside, Ellefsen noted that his strong impression, received at a Brussels, donor conference, was that Georgia is doing well and returning to normal. That in itself would be good sign. Ellefsen concluded by offering to continue the bilateral discussions on Georgia. (Comment: Norway is more likely to be a follower than a leader on this issue, because of the cautious approach they take to Russia. End Comment.) Middle East ———– 3. (C) Turning to the fighting in Gaza, Ellefsen stressed that this issue is very close to the hearts of his Foreign Minister and Prime Minister. While Norway is willing to invest a great deal in the effort, Norway has no specific formula and is happy to work with others in any way to help. Ellefsen mused that the critical issue is how to make any agreement stick. Norway would be interested in reviving the 2005 Access Agreement and maybe establishing a monitoring system, based on other UN programs already operating in the region, as a way to make an agreement durable. WHITNEY
C O N F I D E N T I A L REYKJAVIK 000173 SIPDIS E.O. 12985: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, PHUM, NATO, UN, GG, RS, IC SUBJECT: TFGG01: ICELAND ON RUSSIAN ACTIVITIES IN GEORGIA REF: State 87254 Classified by Ambassador Carol van Voorst for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (SBU) In discussion of the current situation in Georgia with Political Director Greta Gunnarsdottir, the highest available MFA official, the Ambassador urged August 14 that Iceland press Russia to take the necessary steps detailed in reftel. Gunnarsdottir will raise the message with the Foreign Minister asap. In response to the Ambassador’s questions, Gunnarsdottir offered following observations: – Humanitarian aid: Iceland was specifically asked for and will provide “very quickly” an information officer to work for UNICEF in Georgia. The government is considering other humanitarian contributions, but has as yet reached no specific decisions. Ambassador detailed U.S. contributions and pressed for a speedy and positive decision to help meet the increasing humanitarian needs of the region. – NAC Meeting August 19 in Brussels: Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir will attend, accompanied by Amb. Thorir Ibsen, MFA head of NATO affairs. – Icelandic-Russian contacts: Iceland has not approached Russia bilaterally on Georgia developments, preferring to deal with the subject in multilateral fora. Ambassador made the case for direct bilateral engagement, noting that Iceland does have an Embassy in Moscow and that the Russian ambassador in Reykjavik has made intemperate and misleading remarks to the press concerning Georgia’s leadership and regional intentions. (Note: We understand that the MFA had considered but decided not to call in the Russian ambassador.) 2. (C) Ambassador has requested a meeting with Permanent Secretary Gretar Mar Sigurdsson, Gunnarsdottir’s boss, on his return from leave next week to raise Iceland’s uninspiring stance in the recent NAC meetings on Georgia. Although we suspect the GOI is trying to avoid irritating the Russians in advance of the October vote on Iceland’s bid for a UNSC seat, we want to point out that stepping up in a necessary cause is the type of behavior the U.S. looks for in a UNSC member. van Voorst
S E C R E T USNATO 000290 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2017 TAGS: NATO, PREL, MOPS, GG, RS SUBJECT: UKRAINE, MAP, AND THE GEORGIA-RUSSIA CONFLICT Classified By: Ambassador Kurt Volker for reasons 1.4 (b), (d) 1. (S/NF) Summary: As NATO Foreign Ministers gather to discuss the Georgia crisis, we also need to look ahead at the implications for Ukraine,s territorial integrity and its bid for a Membership Action Plan. President Putin challenged Ukraine,s territorial integrity rhetorically at the Bucharest Summit. Those words are now cause for greater concern as we look at Russia,s actions in Georgia. We therefore need to give a strong boost to Ukraine,s territorial integrity, reaffirm the Bucharest decision that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO, and begin to shape Allied thinking on a decision about Membership Action Plan this December. End Summary. 2 (S/NF) Events in Georgia are coloring Allies’ views of Ukraine and its membership prospects at NATO. Allies are divided on their perception of how the Bucharest Summit pledge of future membership to Georgia and Ukraine affected the current crisis. The German-led Allies argue that the Bucharest decision on eventual membership provoked the Russian aggression, while most others (including the new members and Canada) see it as we do: that Russia interpreted the denial of MAP as a green light for action against Georgia. 3. (S/NF) In the April 4 NATO-Russia Council Summit, Putin in his last days as Russian President implicitly challenged the territorial integrity of Ukraine, suggesting that Ukraine was an artificial creation sewn together from territory of Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and especially Russia in the aftermath of the Second World War. He stated, “the Crimea was simply given to Ukraine by a decision of the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee. There haven’t even been any state procedures regarding transfer of the territory, since we take a very calm and responsible approach to the problem.” Putin claimed that 90 percent of inhabitants of the Crimea are Russian, 17 out of 45 million Ukrainian citizens are Russian, and that Ukraine gained enormous amounts of its territory from the east and south at the expense of Russia. He added, “if we add in the NATO question and other problems, the very existence of the State could find itself under threat.” Putin further questioned old borders and the worthiness of political leadership in neighboring countries during his August 9 Vladikavkahz speech. These Russian challenges to the territorial integrity of neighboring states are inconsistent with the NATO-Russia Founding Act, the Rome Declaration, and take on profound new meaning in light of Russian military actions in Georgia. 4. (S/NF) NATO needs to be mindful of the connective tissue between events in Georgia, Putin’s threatening language on the territorial integrity of its neighbors, and Ukraine,s (and Georgia,s) MAP aspirations. For many Allies, the Georgia-Russia conflict provides new impetus to moving Ukraine into MAP and toward NATO membership, provided Ukraine continues to request it. Conversely, if the Kremlin achieves all of its objectives in Georgia with few consequences and its international reputation intact – as Germany and others would have it – this may only embolden Russia to increase its bullying behavior towards Ukraine and others in the neighborhood. VOLKER
C O N F I D E N T I A L USNATO 000291 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, NATO, MOPS, PINR, GG, RS SUBJECT: TFGG01: AMBASSADOR VOLKER’S MEETING WITH GEORGIAN FM TKESHELASHVILI AT NATO REF: A. USNATO 287 B. USNATO 284 C. USNATO 283 D. USNATO 282 E. USNATO 281 F. USNATO 280 Classified By: Ambassador Kurt Volker for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Summary. Ambassador met August 14 with Georgian FM Eka Tkeshelashvili to compare notes on the ongoing crisis and her efforts to lobby the Europeans for greater sympathy for the Georgian cause. The FM thanked the United States for its strong support, and welcomed U.S. advice and assistance in winning greater political support from Europe. Tkeshelashvili asserted that Russian forces began to flow into South Ossetia before the Georgian attack on Tskhinvali, proving that Russia had provoked, rather than responded to, the Georgian action. The FM was particularly keen to see the prompt arrival of international observers, before the Russians could further consolidate their position. She agreed to work closely with the United States on strategies to try to improve NATO’s support for Georgia. End Summary. 2. (C) Ambassador met August 14 with Georgian FM Eka Tkeshelashvili to compare notes on the ongoing crisis and her efforts to lobby the Europeans for greater sympathy for the Georgian cause. —————————– FM’S THOUGHTS ON THE CONFLICT —————————– 3. (C) Tkeshelashvili said in recent days Georgia had faced an existential threat to the independence and sovereignty of Georgia. She shared her understanding that it had taken some time for French President Sarkozy to persuade the Russians to drop their demand for the immediate resignation of the President and Cabinet of Georgia as a precondition to a ceasefire. 4. (C) During the fighting Tkeshelashvili had twice talked to Russian FM Lavrov, who had clearly been given instructions to drag out the crisis in order to allow his military time to pursue their objectives. ———————————- PROVOCATIONS, TIMELINES, AND THEIR IMPACT ON PERCEPTIONS OF BLAME ———————————- 5. (C) Tkeshelashvili described a steady escalation of provocations from the start of August, and recalled that the Russians in South Ossetia, citing MFA Special Representative Popov, had contended to her that the Ossetian separatists were beyond their control. She said that Saakashvili’s August 7 announcement of a ceasefire in South Ossetia had been a difficult one because Georgian civilians and forces were taking casualties. According to the FM the subsequent large scale artillery bombardment of villages in pro-Georgian areas had forced her government to respond. Crucially, part of their calculus had been information that Russian forces were already moving through the Roki tunnel into South Ossetia. Tkeshelashvili underlined that the Russian incursion could not have been a response to the Georgian thrust into South Ossetia because the Russians had begun their movements before the Georgians. Tkeshelashvili said Georgia had decided to withdraw from its own declared ceasefire and go on the offensive against the shelling. That action had turned into a larger operation. However they had miscalculated by underestimating the level of forces Russia was introducing, as well as the scope and strategic intent of the Russian military force which ultimately would follow. 6. (C) Tkeshelashvili also shared that the focus of the attack in South Ossetia had been a surprise to her government. The political situation in South Ossetia had been relatively good, and Georgian forces had been configured to deal with problems coming from the more problematic Abkhazia. She wondered whether Russian frustration at the pressure from a wide front, including Germany, to internationalize the Abkhazia political process may have influenced the Russians to provoke a conflict in South Ossetia. 7. (C) Tkeshelashvili said that she would be collecting evidence to be used in future war crimes charges, including the targeting of civilians and the indiscriminate use of cluster munitions. 8. (C) Ambassador Volker observed that the Europeans cannot realistically consider Russia to be a neutral mediator, and noted that the invocation of Article 51 of the UN Charter made Russia a legal party to the conflict. The FM agreed with the Ambassador that a UN mandate for a peacekeeping or observer force would be unlikely. She feared that the French effort to take its measures to the UN could become trapped there, and asserted that the UN cannot be the ultimate body in this case. ——————————————– GEORGIA LOBBYING FOR EU GOVERNMENTS’ SUPPORT ——————————————– 9. (C) The FM explained she had come to Brussels to lobby for support to Georgia in the ongoing crisis. She had met with many EU representatives and ministers on the margins of the August 13 GAERC in Brussels. She expressed regret that the Europeans were moving at a very slow pace in their discussion about providing peacekeepers/observers. Tkeshelashvili had been particularly alarmed at the EU’s intention to defer examination of proposals for observers until the informal meeting in Avignon on 5 and 6 September. Tkeshelashvili assessed that President Bush’s August 13 strong statement of support for Georgia, including practical assistance, would cause the EU to speed up its timeline. ———————————– GETTING THE EUROPEANS TO UNDERSTAND ———————————– 10. (C) The Ambassador emphasized the importance of effective public diplomacy in the days ahead. He explained that Europeans in some countries believe that Georgia had started the conflict, that the U.S. is to blame for encouraging Georgia, that NATO is to blame for its Bucharest promise of membership, or that both sides are problematic and both are equally to blame. The Ambassador advised that it would be important for a new public understanding to take hold. Empowering the voices of credible third parties such as NGOs and journalists would be crucial, especially given the importance of legality and human rights in European public opinion. Europe, he said, must be allowed to understand that this had been a long-planned conflict, and that Georgian forces had responded to an attack, not initiated one. He said candor would be important from the Georgian government, and that they must choose carefully how they portray Georgian forces’ actions in the attack on Tskhinvali, and acknowledge any misconduct. Europe, he said, must also understand this is part of a Russian plan that has implications for the wider region, not just Georgia. 11. (C) The Ambassador encouraged a quick start to further public diplomacy efforts, so that, when governments reconvene to consider support for Georgia, their own domestic public opinion pushes them in the right direction. Tkeshelashvili agreed, saying she intended to communicate in detail the events that had led to the conflict. ——————————————- CEASEFIRE OBSERVERS – WHERE TO GET THEM AND HOW TO DO IT QUICKLY? ——————————————- 12. (C) Tkeshelashvili said that on August 13 the Russian Ambassador had provided the Deputy FM a draft non-use of force agreement to be signed by the Abkhazians, South Ossetians, and Georgians. She remarked on the irony that Russia continues to portray itself as a non-party to that ceasefire agreement contending it is still a neutral broker. The FM underlined that her government could not accept Russian-proposed buffer zones inside Georgia. 13. (C) Tkeshelashvili said that Europe needs to become more involved in the situation on the ground. She warmly welcomed the upcoming visit by Secretary Rice to Paris and Tbilisi as a very important effort to make the EU’s work more effective. The FM expressed fears that, though many EU states are ready and willing to contribute personnel to a monitoring mission, they would be held back by a need for EU consensus. She said it is imperative to change both peace processes on the ground in the separatist regions, especially since Russia’s control over both territories would lead both separatists and the Russians to act at will. Tkeshelashvili thought several EU members’ hesitancy about sending monitors would dissipate now that the ceasefire was beginning to take hold. A second round of negotiations in the EU must start on this issue. 14. (C) Ambassador Volker suggested that, in addition to the Georgians’ ongoing effort to solicit observers from the EU and OSCE, Tkeshelashvili might consider the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. He also indicated that the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities might worth consulting, as the existing mandate for that body would not require new authorization by OSCE members to allow observers to deploy. —————————- GEORGIA’S NEXT STEPS AT NATO —————————- 15. (C) The Ambassador counseled Tkeshelashvili that Georgia should not call another NAC 1 meeting for its own sake, but only with a specific outcome in mind, in light of the outcome of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting. Right now, he said, Allies needed a closed door discussion to forge a closer understanding of recent events and of the implications for NATO-Russian relations. The United States, he said, looks favorably on Georgia’s list of requests to NATO, adding that not all Allies were of the same mindset. He said we would push hard for NATO to provide as much of the requested assistance as possible. Tkeshelashvili and the Ambassador agreed that Georgia should stay in close touch with the United States on the tactics of Georgia’s interactions with NATO. 16. (C) Comment: Tkeshelashvili acknowledged that “the front line now lies with the MFA.” She looked exhausted, but remained articulate and reasonable. Despite the stress of the conflict and a week without more than 30 minutes of sleep at a time, she remains capable of representing her country well on the international circuit. While her actions in the coming days will be important, we assess that many European governments will not easily chose to support Georgia in circumstances where Russians might object. We look forward to the August 19 ministerial in Brussels which will be crucial in the effort to persuade Europe that it must reexamine its Russia policy or risk similar developments in the future. End comment. VOLKER

C O N F I D E N T I A L OTTAWA 001090 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, NATO, OSCE, GG, RS, CA SUBJECT: CANADA STRONGLY SUPPORTS U.S. POSITION ON GORI REF: A. (A) STATE 87098 B. (B) STATE 87254 Classified By: AMB DAVID WILKINS FOR REASONS 1.4 (b.) and (d.) 1. (C) This is an action request. See para 3. Ambassador Wilkins spoke by phone with Deputy Foreign Minister Len Edwards and urged Canada to demand that Russia withdraw from Gori, take responsibility to end atrocities in South Ossetia and Gori, and allow immediate inspection of these areas. Edwards said he sees no problem with the U.S. request and would get back to the Embassy with a more formal response. He noted that Canada has already issued fairly strong public statements condemning Russia’s military action but that the situation remains fluid. Edwards also said that Canada is busily preparing for next week’s NAC ministerial meeting. Foreign Minister Emerson is in a remote area of British Columbia and not reachable. 2. (C) DCM also spoke to Colleen Swords, Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security Affairs (and Canada’s G-8 political director), to make the same points. A non-paper covering the talking points in reftels was left with Ms. Swords. She agreed NATO should respond strongly. She said that Minister Emerson is curtailing his family vacation to get to Brussels for the NAC ministerial. Noting that the last G-7 teleconference had been on August 12, Swords suggested a series of bilateral or plurilateral discussions in Brussels might be useful – without a formal G-7 label since Japan will not be present. 3. (C) Swords also requested a bilateral for Minister Emerson with Secretary Rice. Post strongly recommends the Secretary agree to a bilateral with Emerson if at all possible. Emerson met the Secretary at the G-8 Foreign Ministers meeting but has not had a one-on-one since taking office. Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada WILKINS
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 087776 SENSITIVE , SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 15 GEORGIA REPORTS MORE RUSSIAN MOVEMENTS ————————————– 1. (SBU) The Ministry of the Interior reports 100 Russian tanks and trucks moving towards Poti and Abasha in an attempt to control the East-West corridor and terrorize the Georgian population. (TF/Embassy of Georgia telcon, TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) FRENCH VISIT VLADIVOSTOK; GENOCIDE CASE OPENED ——————————————— – 2. (SBU) A Russian Navy honor guard greeted a French navy vessel at the port of Vladivostok. Consulate General Vladivostok reports the French and Russians will conduct limited joint naval exercises despite the United States and the UK pulling out of the annual FRUCKUS military training. The United States will not send representation to the August 17 reception on the French vessel. (TF/Consulate Vladivostok telcon and e-mail) 3. (U) Russian officials stated the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal case of genocide on the deaths of Russian citizens in the South Ossetia region. (Kommersant.com) HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE ———————– 4. (SBU) Embassy Moscow delivered the humanitarian assistance demarche to the Russian MFA. The MFA raised no objections and said it would notify the Ministry of Defense. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 5. (SBU) The Government of Armenia agreed to the EU request to use the airport in Yerevan for humanitarian aid flights. Embassy Yerevan notes this could serve as a humanitarian access corridor. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon, State 087762) 6. (SBU) Gori is generally calm despite Russian troops nearby. Limited humanitarian relief is entering from Tbilisi. Embassy Tbilisi reports five carloads of assistance arrived in Gori. Distribution remains problematic outside Tbilisi because of the security situation and damage to the infrastructure. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 7. (SBU) The Georgian government claims to have registered 49,000 internally displaced persons (IDP). An estimated 15,000-20,000 IDPs remain unregistered. Many of the 28,000 IDPs registered STATE 00087776 002 OF 002 SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. from Gori plan to return to the city if security and living conditions improve. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 8. (SBU) Embassy Ankara reports ten trucks with humanitarian assistance are at the Georgia-Turkey border waiting to gain entry. (TF/Embassy Ankara telcon) RESCUE OF AMCIT GIRLS PLANNED —————————– 9. (U) Fox News plans to fly the father of two AmCit minors to Turkey. The father will reportedly work with a private rescue organization on next steps to extract the girls from Georgia. Embassy Tbilisi and CA advised the father against this action. Post is in contact with the family and notes it is safer for the children to remain where they are rather than risk travel at this time. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) is following this case. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 10. (U) Minimize considered. RICE
C O N F I D E N T I A L TALLINN 000282 SIPDIS SENSITIVE FOR EUR/NB MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ S/ES-O PLEASE PASS WHSR E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, RS, GG, EN SUBJECT: TFGGO1: Estonian President Ilves Issues for Discussion with President Bush Classified by: DCM Karen Decker for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d) REF: (A) TALLINN 279 (B) Decker-Gilchrist email 1. (C) Jana Vanaveski, Head of President Ilves Foreign Policy Department told Pol/Econ Chief August 15 that President Ilves will want to do the following during his discussion with President Bush this afternoon (note 0715 EST, 1415 local time): — Give a brief summary of his August 12 trip to Georgia with the presidents of Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania and the Prime Minister of Latvia; — Emphasize the importance of providing humanitarian assistance to Georgia. (Note: Estonia has already provided 5.5 tons of medical and other supplies to Georgia and announced it will provide USD 1 million in humanitarian assistance. End Note.) — Discuss the impact of events on relations with Russia and stress that there must be repercussions for Russia?s actions. — Reiterate that Georgia is an important country for Estonia. 2. (C) On August 14, local media reported that Baltic and Polish leaders had proposed their own peace plan for Georgia. In contrast to the French mediation plan, the Baltic/Polish plan calls for “full support for Georgia’s territorial integrity.” It also highlights the need for NATO to offer a Membership Action Plan to Georgia to “prevent similar acts of aggression.” Vanaveski told Pol/Econ Chief that Estonia fully supports the efforts of the French Presidency and emphasized that the Baltic/Polish plan is not intended to contradict the French plan. Rather, it is meant to supplement France’s efforts by highlighting additional necessary steps. 3. (C) Vanaveski also noted that GOE officials had been kept busy yesterday and this morning addressing false claims in Interfax reports that the GOE had sent military units/soldiers to provide assistance to Georgia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press statement dated August 14 refuting these claims. PHILLIPS
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 RIGA 000496 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2023 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, PHUM, NATO, EUN, RS, GG, LG SUBJECT: TFGG01: WHAT GEORGIA MEANS TO LATVIA REF: A) RIGA 478 B) RIGA 472 C) RIGA 492 Classified By: A/DCM Tamir G. Waser. Reason: 1.4 (d) 1. (C) Summary: Events in Georgia have dominated the news and discussion here like few other events in recent memory. Latvians, at least ethic Latvians, look at Georgia and think that this could easily be them. As the EU and NATO have been unable to respond forcefully to Russia — and many members advocate for a balanced approach — Latvians are beginning to worry if membership in these two organizations provides them the assurances of their security that they had hoped for when they joined. So far, the US willingness to take a tough line in opposition to Russian actions and in support of Georgia has been well received here, but some key figures are asking if the west is fully prepared to deal with a resurgent Russia. We expect that the Latvians will make additional requests for tangible signs of our commitment to their security in coming weeks and months. A wild card in Latvian thinking is how the personal economic ties many key players have with Russia will influence their thinking – and whether they continue to believe that they can separate politics and business with Russia. 2. (C) Summary, cont’d. Also influencing events is the fact that roughly one third of the country is ethnic Russian, who receive much of their information from Moscow based or affiliated news sources. Their perceptions of the crisis in Georgia and our role are diametrically opposed to those above and are a reminder of the serious ethnic divide in Latvia. Unfortunately, while these events have highlighted the need for greater integration in Latvia, the resulting political tensions have made integration that much more difficult to achieve. End summary. 3. (C) Georgia dominates here at the moment. Most any conversation includes some discussion of the situation, newscasts and newspapers are covering little else, and internet discussions are lively and have wide participation. Among Latvians, at least ethnic Latvians, what you hear is a sense that this could have been us. Recalling their own history with Russia, Latvians have been visibly demonstrating their support for and solidarity with Georgia. An August 11 march, advertised only through mentions on newscasts and online posts, drew over 1,000 people in support of Georgia. Candle lightings outside the Georgian Embassy are well attended and Georgian flags can be seen around Riga. Anecdotal evidence suggests that sales of Georgian wine and mineral water have increased. 4. (C) In discussing events in Georgia, most Latvians we talk to say that they feel the value of NATO and EU membership and believe that the possibility that the same thing could happen to them is greatly reduced. At the same time, the divisions in both organizations over how to deal with Russia worry Latvians. Comments by Russian Ambassador to Latvia Veshnyakov that the Baltics and Poland should not “rush to judgment” lest they encounter “unforeseen consequences” did not put any nerves at ease. We reported on MFA views on a full re-evaluation of relations with Russia and frustration with NATO and EU positions (Ref A), but it is also worth noting some of the public comments of key opinion leaders here. Former President Vike-Freiberga said she was “surprised and disappointed” that an emergency GAERC was not convened until August 13 and that the EU “failed to come out with a common, coordinated and condemning stance,” in contrast to the joint statement by the Baltic and Polish Presidents. Aivars Ozolins, perhaps the country’s most influential columnist, wrote that the crisis has exposed “serious divisions” in the west on relations with Russia and argued that Latvia must demand clear plans from NATO to defend its territory. He concluded one recent column with the line, “We are in a new cold war and Latvia is on the front line.” 5. (C) The question of what Latvia does in response is also vexing to key figures. PM Godmanis was widely praised for his visit to Georgia with Baltic, Polish and Ukrainian leaders, and for delivering a strong message of support (and President Zatlers has been criticized for not cutting short his visit to the Olympics in China). The parliament adopted a tough resolution critical of Russia and calling on the EU and NATO to reconsider their approach to Moscow. Latvia has reaffirmed its strong support for MAP for both Georgia and Ukraine. But Latvians are frustrated that they cannot do more to influence the situation directly. They want to be an active voice in debates at both headquarters in Brussels, but feel lost between the big powers. They see their best hopes as getting the Nordics on board with the Baltics, Poland and Czech Republic and are heartened by what they view as realistic comments on a “changed situation with Russia” coming out of Stockholm and Helsinki in particular. Former RIGA 00000496 002 OF 003 FM Pabriks told the Ambassador that “Now it is important that Latvia works to convince the EU that there is no business as usual with Russia.” 6. (S/NF) In this, though, Latvia will face its own internal challenges. Many people in Latvia, including key political figures, have very lucrative business relationships with Russia that they fear losing. It was telling that FM Riekstins, asked about the future of bilateral relations, remarked that “business is business.” (ref B) Leaders of the People’s Party, to which Riekstins belongs, have many business deals with Russia, notably in the energy sector. Transport minister Ainars Slesers, who has made a fortune off real estate and transit deals that rely heavily on Russia, stated at the parliamentary debate on Georgia that “although Russia clearly crossed a line a in its response, we need to at least consider whether Saakashvili does not bear some blame for provoking this crisis.” From sensitive sources, we understand that immediately after the crisis broke out, the Russian Ambassador to Latvia called Slesers and former PM (and People’s Party founder) Andris Skele to explain Russia’s position. We think it is no accident that he called two of Latvia’s three oligarchs (and while he didn’t call Aivars Lembergs directly, he also called the parliamentary leader of the party closest to Lembergs) to try to play the business card to build political support for Russia. As the days move on, key figures in Latvia will likely find that they face much tougher choices on relations with Russia than just whether to cease NATO military cooperation with Russia or end EU negotiations on visa facilitation. The one exception to this may be PM Godmanis. As reported in other channels, he immediately recognized the possibility for Russian retaliation through the energy sector and ordered contingency plans drawn up. Unfortunately, we expect that the first instincts of many of the other political players will be to do everything they can to preserve their personal business deals, clinging to their naive idea that business and politics with Russia can be separated. 7. (C) One area where we do expect to see concrete actions by the Latvians is to increase their military preparedness. PM Godmanis was clear with the Ambassador that this needed to be done, even knowing the costs involved. (ref C) The Defense Minister has stated publicly that Latvia needs to review its own defense posture and privately told us that he will look for US assistance in this project. We can expect further political calls for a comprehensive NATO plan to defend the Baltics. Former FM Pabriks suggested to us that Latvia needs to look at increasing the size of its military forces, noting that Georgia, less than twice as large as Latvia, had 2,000 troops in Iraq when Latvia had a hard time finding even 100 to deploy. 8. (C) The aspect of the Georgia crisis that has ethnic Latvian especially nervous is the Russian claim that they went in to Georgia to protect Russian citizens. Latvia’s population is nearly one-third ethic Russian and half of those, more than 420,000 people, are not citizens of Latvia. While only a small number (estimated at roughly 20,000) have Russian citizenship, Russia has been taking steps to increase ties with these “compatriots” through steps such as waiving visa requirements to enter Russia and providing access to educational and social benefits in Russia. This population gets its information from a completely separate media space that relies heavily on Moscow sources for its foreign news. As a result, Russian language media here is talking of Georgian ‘genocide’ in South Ossetia, suggesting that the US endorsed Saakashvili’s move on Tsinkvali in advance, and drawing parallels to Kosovo. (septel will report on this in greater detail) 9. (C) Some Latvians recognize that the lesson of Georgia is that Latvia needs to do more to integrate its ethnic Russian population and have them view themselves as Latvian (or at least European Union) citizens first and Russians second. Political scientist Peteris Vinkelis, himself married to a Russian, ended a television interview on events in Georgia with a plea for the two communities to work together and find common ground so as not to become like Georgia. Other senior officials have told us that they would also like to see progress on this front. 10. (C) All of those good ideas, though, go out the window the minute politics is injected and there are few issues as politically divisive here as integration of the Russian speaking population. With a crowded political field among the ethnic Latvian based parties, none of them are willing to risk the firestorm that would ensue from advocating any change to the citizenship process. In fact, more likely is that they will take steps to, for example, increase the number of jobs for which certification of Latvian language skills are required. Logical steps on integration, such as RIGA 00000496 003 OF 003 allowing everyone born in Latvia automatic citizenship, are rejected because they are what Moscow has been pushing for years and ethnic Latvians are unwilling, as they see it, to “reward Russia’s aggression in Georgia” by easing the requirements for citizenship. Meanwhile, ethnic Russians are unlikely to respond to events by seeking Latvian citizenship and some of the more radical elements will hope that Russia might decide to make acquisition of Russian citizenship easier for this group. 11. (C) The challenge for the United States policy in Latvia given events in Georgia is to consider ways that we can bolster our relationship to both assure Latvians of our continued commitment to their security and helps them develop the tools needed for coping with changed relations with Russia, including in their domestic situation. We will be putting our heads together here and sending in some thoughts in coming days. LARSON
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 STOCKHOLM 000571 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, GG, RU, SW SUBJECT: TFGG001: DEMARCHE DELIVERED–SWEDEN CONDEMNS RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE INTO GEORGIA REF: STATE 87254 Classified By: CDA ROBERT SILVERMAN FOR REASONS 1.4 (B & D) 1. (C) Summary: A senior Swedish MFA official told poloff the EU is divided into two camps and the French have watered-down the GAERC conclusion. Unless the situation in Georgia worsens, the EU is unlikely to offer a stronger statement until after Sept. 6, when the foreign ministers will meet informally. Sweden wants international peacekeepers and observers to replace the Russian “peacekeepers” and will press the EU to send a mission. Current thinking is to use Sweden’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe (until Nov. 2008) to mobilize support to kick Russia our of the Council of Europe. End summary. Scuttlebutt on the Cease Fire Agreement ————————————— 2. (C) On August 14, poloff delivered reftel demarche to Johan Frisell (strictly protect), Head of the Eastern European Section of the MFA. He is one of the MFA’s main interlocutors in the Georgia-Russia conflict and attended the GAERC on August 12. According to Frisell, Sarkozy’s 16-hour trip to Moscow and Georgia was a carefully orchestrated routine that resulted in the “Sarkozy Show.” Although the cease-fire agreement was not ready after the 16 hours, France wanted a success story and prematurely announced such. The result was a flawed document with which many EU countries have taken issue. 3. (C) Frisell said the French Chairman did not want to include the second paragraph of the first Council Conclusion that mentions sovereignty and territorial integrity. Sarkozy likely agreed in Moscow to exclude this language, said Frisell. Also, principle five of the agreement can be read to give Russia the right to take military action, “implement additional security measures,” in Georgia for an undetermined amount of time. Certain EU states, including Sweden, Frisell said, scrambled to insert a modifying paragraph that included “the international mechanism should be set up rapidly.” As it currently is written, the international mechanism is poorly defined. EU Split ——– 4. (C) Frisell said there are two camps in the EU. One camp’s overriding priority is to stop the suffering and ensure the cease fire is respected, that it is too early to judge or blame and the EU cannot appear biased. Members include Malta, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. The other camp says Georgia made mistakes, but the overriding concern is that Russia launched a full-scale invasion of a sovereign nation in violation of international commitments. Without a strong statement against Russian action, Russia gains legitimacy for its actions. Members include England, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, the Baltic states, Slovenia, Slovakia and Bulgaria. 5. (SBU) Frisell said unless the situation worsens, the EU is unlikely to come out with another declaration until after Sept. 6, when the EU foreign ministers will meet informally in Avignon to discuss EU-Russia relations. This meeting will assess the consequences of Russia’s actions and discuss possible reactions; no decision will be made on the EU’s response at this time. Swedish support for Peacekeepers and Observers ——————————————— – 6. (SBU) Frisell said peacekeeping was not discussed on the 13th. Sweden supports international observers and peacekeepers, but they must operate in all of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and replace Russian “peacekeepers.” Sweden is adamant that some must come from organizations in which Russia does not have a veto, such as the EU. Sweden has received indications that Russia is willing to increase OSCE observers from 8 to 108. Military peacekeepers will be harder for Russia to accept, thus it is a good idea to start an international presence with civilian monitors or police. Sweden is looking into how to propose this to the EU. Sweden’s Next Steps ——————- STOCKHOLM 00000571 002 OF 002 7. (C) Sweden will state its position regardless of the EU’s, said Frisell. Sweden, as Chair of the Council of Europe, will seek to solicit support from other Council of Europe members against Russia and in the next few months attempt to vote Russia out. This is still in early planning stages, but is a current goal of FM Bildt. 9. (U) Sweden’s Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs, attended by the King, is convening on Aug. 18 to discuss the Georgia-Russia conflict. The Council only convenes when major Swedish policy decisions have been made to ensure that all political parties have the opportunity to voice their opinions. It is classified and does not make policy. It last convened in March of this year when Sweden publicly recognized Kosovo’s independence. SILVERMAN
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 001130 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, PHUM, OSCE, UN, GG, RS SUBJECT: TFGG01: MERKEL “WILL TALK TOUGH” IN SOCHI; FOREIGN OFFICE AND BUNDESTAG DISPLAY MIXTURE OF RESOLVE AND SKEPTICISM REF: A. STATE 87254 B. BERNSTEIN/RATHKE – HODGES EMAILS Classified By: Acting DCM Jeffrey Rathke for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) SUMMARY: The Ambassador August 14 delivered the points in reftel separately to Deputy National Security Advisory Rolf Nikel and to MFA State Secretary Ammon (with Special Envoy to the Caucasus Hans-Dieter Lucas). Nikel agreed with the U.S. points and said the Chancellor would take a tough stance in her August 15 meeting with President Medvedev in Sochi. Nikel strongly agreed that it was important for the U.S. and Europe to work together to hold Russia to its commitments. The Foreign Office agreed with the points as well but demonstrated greater skepticism about the ability of the West to exert influence. A/DCM and PolOff also met with the foreign policy spokesmen of the government caucuses in the Bundestag, Eckart Von Klaeden (CDU/CSU) and Gert Weisskirchen (SPD). Both spokesmen shared U.S. priorities on holding Russia to its word. END SUMMARY Chancellery Says Merkel Will be Tough 2. (C) Ambassador and Acting DCM met with Deputy National Security Adviser Rolf Nikel and senior-director-equivalent Geza von Geyr. Nikel said he agreed completely with reftel points. It was important for the six-point plan to be implemented as soon as possible; any other actions by Russian forces were unacceptable and must stop. That included Russian withdrawal from Gori, which was outside South Ossetia but represented a strategic line of communication in Georgia. A Russian presence on that line could strangle the Georgian economy. Germany had received reports of irregulars from the northern Caucasus, wearing no insignia. It was Russia’s responsibility to get them out, in the Chancellery’s view. 3. (C) Nikel underscored Germany’s view that Russia had to pull back quickly in line with the agreement. An increase in the OSCE contingent was needed as soon as possible. Germany and the U.S. shared the aim of delivering humanitarian assistance to the Georgian population — Nikel said the Chancellor would be active on this in Sochi. “We will talk tough — no question.” He asked for further information about the humanitarian mission announced August 13 by the President. Would naval transports arrive soon in Georgia, and at which ports? Nikel said the Chancellor might be able to assist in warning the Russians not to interfere with humanitarian assistance — including U.S. assistance — and requested any information the U.S. could share about when our vessels might enter Poti or other ports. We subsequently shared with Nikel information in ref (b) emails about U.S. assistance planning. Nikel thanked us for the information and said he would inform the Chancellor. Nikel said Germany would not back down on the principle of the territorial integrity of Georgia, despite recent public statements by Russian FM Lavrov that one could “forget” Georgia’s territorial integrity. 4. (C) Nikel asked about Secretary Rice’s travel schedule and said that Chancellor Merkel would visit Georgia, not during her Russia trip, but “soon afterwards.” 5. (C) Asked whether Russia was in contact with Prime Minister Putin through any channels, Nikel said Merkel believed emphatically that Medvedev was the appropriate interlocutor. She believed it would needlessly increase Putin’s standing if she sought contact with him. 6. (C) After the meeting, A/DCM asked von Geyr whether the Chancellery had been consulted by the Foreign Office about Germany’s position on the role to be played by the G-7 foreign ministers, including the advisability of a statement. Von Geyr said the Chancellery knew nothing about the issue. Foreign Office Agrees with U.S., but Fears Russia in Driver’s Seat 7. (C) Ambassador and A/DCM met with State Secretary Peter Ammon (accompanied by Caucasus Special Envoy Lucas) and encouraged Germany to raise the issues in reftel with the Russians. Ammon agreed with the points and the Ambassador’s statement that Russia should not be allowed to move the goal posts set just a few days ago during Sarkozy’s visit. Ammon highlighted the “informal manner” BERLIN 00001130 002 OF 002 in which the six-point plan was agreed, and the potential for difficulty in getting the Russians to agree to a UNSCR text. 8. (C) Lucas said EU foreign ministers were united August 13 on several key points: the need for humanitarian aid, the importance of ensuring the cease-fire was respected, and not getting distracted by a discussion of how the conflict had been started. FM Steinmeier spoke August 13 with Lavrov, who showed some openness on international observers, but then had made very unhelpful comments today on territorial integrity. 9. (C) Lucas said that, unfortunately, “Russia is in the driver’s seat.” The Ambassador said that depended on the West’s response; if we provided political support and humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, we would demonstrate that we remain committed. Ammon agreed and emphasized that we should remain focused. Parliamentary Spokesmen: Forward-looking 10. (C) FM Steinmeier briefed a special session of the Bundestag Foreign Relations Committee August 14. A/DCM and PolOff met in advance of that session with CDU/CSU Bundestag Caucus foreign policy spokesman Eckart von Klaeden. Von Klaeden ran through the points he planned to raise and sought U.S. views. A/DCM delivered reftel points and drew from recent statements by the President and the Secretary, emphasizing that Russia risked its credibility as a member of 21st Century structures through its actions in Georgia. Von Klaeden agreed that Georgia’s territorial integrity was essential and could not be conceded. He was especially concerned about the implications of Russia’s actions in Georgia for Ukraine. He asked for any U.S. background or perspective on the legal issues surrounding treaties between Ukraine and Russia and whether these were a serious point of leverage for Moscow. 11. (C) A/DCM and PolOff also met with SPD Caucus foreign policy spokesman Gert Weisskirchen, who stated that the differences within and among the parties appeared manageable, including within his SPD. He thought the special committee session would help focus parliamentary voices on the challenges presented by Russian actions. Weisskirchen agreed on the need to hold Russia to its commitments. Weisskirchen also supported the U.S. humanitarian assistance and viewed humanitarian aid as a top priority. Although the conflict had been a disaster for Georgia, he said it might be possible to turn this military defeat toward political progress, if the West was able to get the OSCE in and the EU was able to strengthen ties with the Ukraine. Russia had overreacted and had much to lose. TIMKEN JR
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 002426 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/RUS, FOR EEB/ESC/IEC GALLOGLY AND WRIGHT EUR/CARC, SCA (GALLAGHER, SUMAR) DOE FOR FREDRIKSEN, HEGBORG, EKIMOFF DOC FOR 4231/IEP/EUR/JBROUGHER E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2018 TAGS: EPET, ENRG, ECON, PREL, GG, RS SUBJECT: TFGG01: ENERGY AND THE CONFLICT IN GEORGIA REF: A. BAKU 740 B. ASHGABAT 1039 C. YEREVAN 646 Classified By: DCM Eric S. Rubin for Reasons 1.4 (b/d) ——- SUMMARY ——- 1. (C) Pundits around the world have linked Russia’s energy ambitions to its actions in Georgia. However, our contacts here largely believe energy is an afterthought. Despite various press reports suggesting Russia has targeted the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, absolutely none of our contacts believe that to be true. That said, there can be no doubt there are energy ramifications to this crisis. The conflict has raised uncertainty about the security of transport routes through Georgia and put Azerbaijan and Central Asia in a more delicate position with respect to Russia. Some of our contacts believe it may have also done damage to prospects for foreign investment in Russia’s own energy sector. On a related note, we have heard reports that Russia has cut gas supplies to Georgia (ref C), but have not been able to verify them. End Summary. ——————————— SAAKASHVILI TARGET, NOT PIPELINES ——————————— 2. (C) From the West’s view, the primary energy concern related to the conflict is the security and stability of oil and gas transit through Georgia. BTC, the most critical link, or the other pipelines in the corridor, would be obvious targets for the Russian military, if its intention were to disrupt energy supplies to global markets. There have been press reports that the Russians targeted, and either hit or missed (depending on the report), BTC. The GOR has publicly denied that it has targeted any pipelines. BP has also reportedly denied that the pipelines it operates have been targeted. Everyone with whom we have spoken about this issue believes Russia is certainly capable of damaging the pipeline and therefore discounts reports that it “missed.” Most also believe that a deliberate attack on the pipeline by Russia would be counterproductive to Russian interests. 3. (C) Former Deputy Energy Minister and now opposition political activist Vladimir Milov told us August 12 that he does not believe the Russians deliberately targeted BTC. If they had, he said, they would have damaged it. Even if they missed the first time, he explained, the Russian military would have just kept bombing until they hit it. Milov also does not believe that energy considerations motivated Russia’s actions in Georgia. Instead, according to Milov, the conflict was largely driven by Putin’s personal and long-term animosity toward Saakashvili, stemming back to the Rose Revolution, and that this was Putin’s way of advertising to regional leaders that they should not “mess with Putin.” Milov added that he was surprised by Georgia’s “miscalculation,” noting that Russia’s likely response should have been obvious. According to Milov, while energy issues were not a motivating factor, replacing Saakashvili with someone less hostile to the Kremlin, and perhaps more pliable, would certainly suit Russian energy interests. 4. (C) Jerry Rohan, long-time head of the energy practice at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Russia and now an independent consultant, told us August 11 that if Russia were to attack energy infrastructure, it would immediately discredit its long-standing claims that it does not use energy as a political weapon. The same would hold true for other potential oil and gas infrastructure including the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) gas pipeline, the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline, and relevant shipping ports. Even if the hostilities were to continue to escalate, the harm to Russia’s already bruised reputation would be very great were it to deliberately disrupt one of the major oil routes through the region. 5. (C) Western diplomats with whom have discussed the issue also believe that Russia would not have missed BTC if it had MOSCOW 00002426 002 OF 003 chosen to deliberately target it. One EU diplomat who closely follows the energy sector suggested that blowing up BTC would make “absolutely no sense” given Russia’s interest in securing Azeri gas. Since BTC is an economic lifeblood for Azerbaijan, a Russian attack on BTC would kill any Azeri interest in cooperating with Russia on gas transit and sales. This diplomat believes energy issues are only of derivative interest in the conflict, “not a main consideration.” Another EU diplomat responsible for energy and transportation issues suggested that even if Russia did not have adequately precise bombs to hit BTC from a distance, it could have used guerrilla tactics to damage BTC or other pipelines. He also agreed that energy was not a driving factor of Russia’s actions in Georgia, but that Russia would have understood that its military action could potentially be beneficial to its regional energy interests by ratcheting up risk and uncertainty. ———- ADDED RISK ———- 6. (C) The conflict in Georgia has clearly added uncertainty about the security and stability of future energy transport through the Caucasus corridor, which could play to Russia’s advantage. Whether energy was motivation for Russia’s attack or not, there is little doubt that players in the region are taking a second look at the vulnerabilities of energy transport through a region which is now directly involved in military conflict. In particular, security concerns have been thrust to the top of investors’ lists in thinking about the region’s energy infrastructure. Many investment house analysts have noted the added political risks to the sector regionally due to the Georgia conflict. (Note: As reported in ref B, the GOTX has already raised infrastructure security concerns related to future cooperation with Azerbaijan on energy transport through the region. End note.) 7. (C) Alf D’Souza, Vice President at Shell Russia, suggested one benefit to Russia could be that Central Asians weigh potential Russian investment in energy more favorably and western investment less favorably than before. He added that the events in Georgia could also give China a stronger hand in Central Asian energy. Another western oil and gas executive, who requested not to be identified, had predicted, prior to this episode, that an event such as the ongoing conflict in Georgia would lead Turkmenistan, for example, to be less inclined to challenge Russian energy interests. 8. (C) However, another energy-related casualty of the conflict could be investor confidence in Russia’s own energy sector. Along with general oil price declines globally, the Georgian crisis has pummeled the Russian stock market in recent days. This stems partly from the fact that many investors perceive the conflict as having strengthened the hand of economic nationalists and weakened that of liberal reformers. Cambridge Energy Research Associates’ Russia specialist John Webb told us August 11 that he thinks the conflict “rings alarm bells for energy investors,” adding that it raises questions about policy control in Russia. If people see Putin giving the orders, they understand that Medvedev, for all his talk of reform, still must defer to Putin. ————– GAS TO GEORGIA ————– 9. (C) Milov said he has heard in the last few days that Russian gas supplies to Georgia have been “reduced” by as much as 75 percent. He also noted that he had recently been in Armenia, before the current crisis, and was struck at how strongly the Armenians fear that Russia would “ignore” Armenian interests in secure gas supplies in the event of hostilities between Russia and Georgia. (Note: While we have no way of verifying the volumes of gas flows to Georgia, ref C reports that supplies to Armenia from Russia through Georgia are down by up to 50%. End note.) 10. (C) Russia could use gas supplies to inflict some direct pain onto Georgia. According to Gazprom statistics, Russia’s share of Georgian gas supplies dropped dramatically from 2006 MOSCOW 00002426 003 OF 003 to 2007 (73% to 41%) with new Azeri supplies through the BTE. But even at that level, Russia could cause disruptions to Georgian consumers as winter approaches, especially if, as reported in ref A, Azerbaijan doesn’t have additional supplies available to fill the demand. ——- COMMENT ——- 11. (C) Russia has a long-term interest in securing Central Asian oil and gas supplies for its own consumption and to meet its export commitments. It also has an interest in controlling, to the extent possible, the transit of Central Asian oil and gas in order to minimize competition and maximize its own economic gains and political clout. However, despite various global opinion pieces to the contrary, it is not clear that Russia’s energy ambitions were a significant driver in its foray into Georgia. Rather, the benefits to Russia’s regional energy interests are, in the Kremlin’s view, welcome by-products. We can expect Moscow to follow up strongly, especially in Central Asia, where the Kremlin probably believes energy suppliers are now less likely to seek closer ties to the West. End comment. BEYRLE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 002428 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PBTS, PINR, PINS, PNAT, PREL, GG, RS SUBJECT: TFGG01: Russian media declares war over – now what? REF: A)MOSCOW 2343, B)MOSCOW 2366, C)MOSCOW 2383 D) MOSCOW 2407 1. (SBU) Summary: The Russian media decreased its coverage of the South Ossetian conflict, shifting the focus to a post-game analysis of the war. Many media reports examined the future of U.S.-Russian relations after the conflict, responding to statements by President Bush and other senior USG officials. Several outlets have opined that Europe may prove to be a more sympathetic partner to Moscow than Washington. The print press offered a wider, more balanced view of the conflict, including limited criticism of specific Russian actions (while remaining convinced that Russia acted correctly.) Other outlets speculated on the futures of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and Georgian president Saakashvili. End Summary. A defeat for Washington? ———————— 2. (SBU) Most Russian media continued to portray the conflict in South Ossetia and Georgia as one between Washington and Moscow, with Moscow winning this round, although President Bush’s statement on sending a humanitarian mission to the region was interpreted as a means of supporting Saakashvili rather than to alleviate human suffering. Many news outlets saw a chillier relationship between the U.S. and Russia in the immediate future. Statements by SecDef Gates and Secretary Rice received much play, although some newspapers (such as Gazeta, a liberal paper) did note the U.S. emphasis against another cold war. Channel One, a state-owned broadcaster, ignored such nuances and declared that a “diplomatic war” was in effect between Washington and Moscow. 3. (SBU) Broadcast news and print emphasized President Medvedev’s role as commander-in-chief, featuring him in the Kremlin meeting with generals and other high-ranking military officers, and announced that he had signed a decree authorizing the awarding of medals for combat during the conflict. A place for Europe? ——————- 4. (SBU) In light of this perceived standoff between the U.S. and Russia, Russian media looked to Europe as a possible ally in this “diplomatic war.” Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a centrist newspaper, predicted increased influence for France as a result of French President Sarkozy’s mediation efforts and dismissed any threat to Russia within the EU from the “Tbilisi quartet” (Poland and the Baltic States.) Reporting of the meeting between Russian President Medvedev and German Chancellor Merkel, the pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestiya declared Russia to have more “solid and predictable” relations with Europe than the U.S. Mikhail Leontyev, a popular anti-American television political pundit, saw Turkey as NATO’s “weakest link” and felt the South Ossetian conflict might be a way of prying Ankara away from Washington’s influence. More balanced coverage all around, but critiques only in print ——————————————— ——– 5. (SBU) Nezavisimaya Gazeta ran an op-ed piece criticizing the Russian military for using out of date equipment and tactics from the Cold War, unsuited for current warfare. Gazeta also ran an article critical of Russian military performance in the Caucasus. Vedomosti, an independent paper, went even further and said the war was fought for the benefit of Russian state energy monopolies. It said Russian foreign policy “smacks of cynicism and double standards” when it calls for Saakashvili to go on trial for war crimes but uses criminal methods in Chechnya. However, such commentary is found only in print media, not/not on television. The coverage, however, did not question Russia’s fundamental right to intervene in Georgia, and simply looked critically at aspects of the operation and policy. Future of the region and Saakashvili? ————————————- 6. (SBU) The meeting between the leaders of South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and President Medvedev headlined news reports and topped the news hours, showing images of the Kremlin warmly receiving the leaders of the two break-away republics,. . Both Izvestiya and Nezavisimaya Gazeta noted that Russia would support any decision made by these republics regarding their future status but within the framework of international law. Izvestiya made clear that “… it’s too early to draw a new map of the Caucasus. Medvedev (although indirectly) has made it understood: that unlike the Western partners (in Kosovo), Russia will act according to the law.” 7. (SBU) The frenzied attacks on Saakashvili and slowed down, but a unanimous consensus on his criminality, his status as an American puppet, and the level of destruction the people of South Ossetia suffered at his hands remained. Media continued to run stories on MOSCOW 00002428 002 OF 002 the South Ossetian victims of the conflict, with South Ossetian leader Kokoyty declaring on Channel One and Rossiya TV that “genocide” was committed against the Ossetian people.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 YEREVAN 000653 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: PREL, EAID, PGOV, GG, AM SUBJECT: TFGG01: ARMENIAN FRUSTRATION MOUNTS OVER PERCEIVED GEORGIAN SNUBS, IN THE FACE OF SINCERE ARMENIAN AIMS TO BE HELPFUL REF: YEREVAN 649 Classified By: CDA Joseph Pennington, reasons 1.4 (b,d) 1. (C) SUMMARY: Top Armenian officials are growing increasingly offended by Georgians’s non-responsiveness to Armenian efforts to reach out. The most discourteous, perhaps, was the Georgian FM’s refusal even to meet FM Nalbandian for a few minutes in Yerevan airport, as she passed through en route overland to Georgia in the early morning of August 15. President Sargsian is starting to take domestic criticism for his presumed “failure” to call Saakashvili, after he did call President Medvedev. Armenians feel their good intentions have been met with an undeserved cold shoulder. Both the president and foreign minister remain new enough in their jobs for such perceived slights to sting more than perhaps would be the case of more seasoned hands. END SUMMARY> 2. (C) AN ATTEMPT AT BALANCE: Armenian officials are growing increasingly agitated, in private meetings with CDA, about the continuing refusal of their Georgian counterparts to take their calls, whether at the presidential, prime minister, or foreign minister level. A key presidential aide confided to CDA that President Sargsian had wanted to call Presidents Saakashvili and Medvedev on the same day, so as to avoid any appearance of Armenian bias between the two sides, but that when Medvedev took the call and Saakashvili did not, the appearance of pro-Russian preference was created. After repeated attempts to get a call through, Sargsian finally just sent a letter to Saakashvili, in a substitute effort to show support for the Georgian side. Local opposition newspapers have already sharply criticized President Sargsian for calling Medvedev and not phoning Saakashvili, and have accused him of sacrificing Armenia’s national interests in a misguided effort to cozy up to Russia. This is galling to Sargsian after his efforts to get Saakashvili on the telephone to offer condolences and assistance. The Prime Minister, likewise, was frustrated (reftel) by his inability to reach his Georgian counterpart to discuss trade and transportation issues which are of critical importance to the Armenian economy. Meanwhile, Armenian officials have kept their public statements about Georgia determinedly positive, even as their private exasperation mounts, though they have begun to suggest that they will take a sharper public tone if the cold shoulder from Tbilisi continues much longer. 3. (C) FM’S PIQUE: The Foreign Minister called in CDA August 15 for a one on one meeting, in which he vented his own simmering frustration, over what he termed Georgia’s “hostile attitude.” Visibly agitated, FM Nalbandian noted that Armenia is trying to help Georgia by taking in more than 4,000 refugees and offering to serve as a humanitarian corridor for international relief efforts. He stressed that Armenia needs a good relationship with Georgia not only for economic reasons, but also for its contribution to regional stability. Nalbandian added that the GOAM had meticulously avoided any statements that could be construed as siding with the Russians. Despite these efforts, Nalbandian fumed, Saakashvili has refused to return repeated calls from President Sargsian, an the Georgian PM has ignored calls from his Armenian counterpart “for more than a week.” The final indignity, according to the FM, was when FM Tkeshelashvili arrived at Yerevan airport at 4:00am on August 15 en route overland to Tbilisi and declined Nalbandian’s proposal for a short airport meeting at that hour. Tkeshelashvili said she was “under instructions” to return to Tbilisi immediately. “What more do they want from us?” Nalbandian asked rhetorically. He said that the GOAM is “avoiding any negative public statements about Georgia,” and warned that were such a statement to be issued, the reaction of ethnic Armenians in Javakheti would be “very dangerous” for Georgia. Despite the obvious threat behind his words, Nalbandian insisted that “this is not a card we could play” with Georgia, but “just a reality.” 4. (C) GEORGIAN AMBASSADOR TRYING: CDA spoke briefly with the Georgian Ambassador August 15, after signing the embassy condolence book. When CDA gave a brief synopsis of the meeting with Nalbandian, the Georgian ambassador said he had been working the phones with Tbilisi for several days to try to set up a Saakashvili-Sargsian call, but to no avail. Although he expressed frustration at Tbilisi’s lack of responsiveness, he attributed the failure to the exigencies of the current emergency rather than to any desire to slight the Armenians. The Ambassador added that he would inform Saakashvili’s office in his next communication that the American Charge had been called in by Nalbandian about this issue. 5. (C) MEDIATION IDEA UNANSWERED: Polchief spoke several YEREVAN 00000653 002 OF 002 times this week with Major General Hayk Kotanjian, a strongly pro-Western thinker in the MOD, who retains close ties to President Sargsian from the latter’s long tenure as defense minister. Kotanjian was eager to position President Sargsian as a potential U.S. and Georgian back-channel to PM Putin to help defuse the conflict, noting that Sargsian has good access to Putin and other senior Russian leaders. Kotanjian said he had spoken to President Sargsian, and the president was primed and ready to act in this capacity. Post conveyed this offer to Embassy Tbilisi by classified e-mail. 6. (C) COMMENT: Armenian leaders initially accepted the (very valid) arguments of Georgian preoccupation with urgent crisis management, but are beginning to suspect that the GOG is snubbing the GOAM on purpose. This hypothesis is only fueled by the still-unexplained temporary hold-up of Armenian goods at Poti and Sadakhlo, while at the same time, Armenians insist, Azerbaijani cargo passed through unimpeded. While we consistently try to soothe Armenian pique and point out that Georgia is in severe crisis mode, receptivity to this explanation has waned. The suspicion is that the Georgians are taking out their anti-Russian rage on neighboring Armenia, counting Armenia a close friend of Russia, and one that can be more easily snubbed. This is particularly upsetting to Armenians because they believe they have bent over backward to be even-handed, to reach out in good faith to Georgian leaders, to insist that Russia not use Armenian-based forces in Georgia, to welcome Georgian refugees with open arms (waiving passport and document requirements, dispatching the Migration Agency chief to the border to smooth every difficulty), and to facilitate any kind of humanitarian aid shipment to Georgia via Yerevan. In truth, Armenian leaders do not want to be purely dependent on Russia, and see Armenia’s strong strategic interest in maintaining strong, good-neighbor relations with Georgia. If Georgia’s cold shoulder treatment continues, Armenian leaders may start to complain publicly in the press, partly out of anger and partly out of political self-defense, to head off opposition criticism. Another aggravating factor in the Armenian reaction, we suspect, is that top Armenian officials are all new in their jobs, still taking their first steps on the world stage, and not yet feeling fully comfortable or secure in their new roles. Perceived slights are probably being felt more keenly than would be the case with more seasoned officials. PENNINGTON

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001478 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/SE, EUR/CARC E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, MOPS, GG, RS, TU, ZJ SUBJECT: PM ERDOGAN VISITS MOSCOW AND TBILISI; SUPPORT FOR GEORGIA’S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY Classified By: CDA Doug Silliman, reasons 1.4 (b,d) 1. (C) SUMMARY. PM Erdogan received a warm reception from Russian leaders in Moscow, where he conveyed Turkey’s clear support for Georgia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The Russians responded they have no intention of entering Tbilisi or occupying Georgia, but that Georgia was responsible for the deaths of 2,000 civilians that sparked the current crisis. The Russians agreed to work with Turkey to develop Turkey’s “Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform” concept. Receiving Erdogan in Tbilisi, President Saakashvili blamed Russia for the crisis and rejected parts of the Sarkozy cease-fire plan, but said his government would engage in a Caucasus stability pact once the current crisis is over. The Turks believe Saakashvili will face significant, and perhaps insurmountable, political opposition at home when the crisis passes. END SUMMARY. WARM RECEPTION IN MOSCOW ———————— 2. (C) The atmosphere was collegial during PM Erdogan’s August 13 visit to Moscow, MFA Deputy U/S for Russia, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia Cevikoz told CDA August 15. Erdogan met privately with both President Medvedev and PM Putin, who then hosted him for a working dinner, joined by FMs Babacan and Lavrov. The Russians described President Saakashvili as directly and personally responsible for the military conflict by ordering military action that they claim took 2,000 civilian lives. The Russians told the Turks they do not intend to enter Tbilisi or to occupy Georgia proper, but do not trust Saakashvili to implement a credible cease-fire. They indicated to the Turks an intention to establish “buffer zones” around South Ossetia and Abkhazia to protect their peacekeepers but it was not clear to Cevikoz whether such zones would be established inside Georgia proper or in the territory of the breakaway provinces. RUSSIANS RECEPTIVE TO TURKISH CAUCASUS STABILITY PACT PROPOSAL ——————————– 3. (C) The Russians responded positively to Turkey’s proposal for a “Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform,” Cevikoz said. The proposal is intended to include the five Caucasus countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia and Turkey, and would be based on OSCE principles (to exclude Iran, Cevikoz quipped). Turkey wants the platform to have a mechanism for conflict resolution and crisis management, as well as elements to discuss economic cooperation, tourism, energy security and related issues. Cevikoz emphasized Turkey’s view that Armenia must play an important role in any such mechanism; Erdogan will travel next week to Baku to sound out the Azerbaijanis and the Turks will soon pulse the Armenians (informally) as well. Medvedev and Erdogan tasked their Foreign Ministers with further developing the stability pact concept. 4. (C) Cevikoz said that no decision has been made yet on President Gul attending the September 6 World Cup qualifier in Yerevan. MFA DDG for Americas Ercin told CDA separately that the MFA is currently engaged in a debate on the pros and cons of Gul’s attendance, with the chief negative the likely very negative Azerbaijani reaction. CDA encouraged Gul’s attendance as a powerful symbol of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. TURKEY SUPPORTS GEORGIA’S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY ——————————————— — 5. (C) Erdogan expressed clearly, according to Cevikoz, Turkey’s support for Georgia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, as defined by international law; the Russians committed to sovereignty and independence, but did not comment on territorial integrity. Cevikoz noted Turkey’s alarm over subsequent public statements by Russian Defense Minister Ivanov and FM Lavrov dismissing the importance of Georgia’s territorial integrity. FEAR AND LOATHING IN TBILISI —————————- 6. (C) In Erdogan’s subsequent August 14 stop in Tbilisi, Saakashvili accused Russia of starting the conflict and preparing for it for months. He denounced Russian claims of ANKARA 00001478 002 OF 002 2,000 South Ossetian civilians dead as a gross exaggeration. Saakashvili told Erdogan that Russia intends to occupy Georgia and remove him from office. He described the French provisional cease-fire proposal as a “Russian plan.” He rejected point six, insisting to Erdogan that Georgia will not discuss the final status of Abkhazia or South Ossetia at the international level, and said he could not accept the wording in point five on the “additional measures” Russian peacekeepers would be authorized to take. Cevikoz said Saakashvili told Erdogan that if Babacan and Lavrov successfully launch a Caucasus stability initiative, he would ask his FM to attend, but only after the current crisis is over. 7. (C) Erdogan emphasized to Saakashvili in a one-on-one meeting the importance of remaining calm and maintaining a softer rhetoric. It is not the time for further escalation, Erdogan argued, but rather for establishing a peaceful environment, conducive to the withdrawal of Russian forces. 8. (C) Cevikoz observed that political groups in Georgia are united presently against Russia, but that such unity will likely break down once the crisis is over. Georgia’s civilian infrastructure has been badly damaged and it will be a tough autumn and winter for the Georgian people. Saakashvili will be the political target. GRATITUDE FOR TURKEY’S HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE ——————————————— – 9. (SBU) The Turks were pleased by Saakashvili’s sincere expression of gratitude for Turkey’s swift humanitarian response to the crisis. He told Erdogan that Georgia does not need any additional emergency aid, but asked for Turkish assistance with the reconstruction of central Gori, where the Georgians said a ten-block area of apartment blocks had been destroyed and the hospital damaged. Erdogan responded favorably and said he would direct Turkish government agencies to determine how to initiate the reconstruction process. Visit Ankara’s Classified Web Site at http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey SILLIMAN
C O N F I D E N T I A L RIGA 000497 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, NATO, EUN, RS, GG, LG SUBJECT: TFGG01: LATVIAN NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON GEORGIA REF: A) RIGA 496 B) RIGA 492 C) RIGA 270 Classified By: A/DCM Tamir G. Waser. Reason: 1.4 (d) 1. (C) Summary: Latvia’s National Security Council met August 15 to essentially ratify the line Latvia has been taking on events in Georgia: Latvia will participate in any credible international effort to monitor/verify/assist in maintaining stability in Georgia; Latvia will provide humanitarian assistance as needed; Latvia will encourage key international organizations to re-evaluate relations with Russia. Key issues such as energy security and integration got short shrift at the meeting. The strong Latvian desire for NATO contingency plans for Latvia was reaffirmed. End summary. 2. (C) Latvia’s National Security Committee – consisting of the President, Prime Minister, Foreign, Defense, and Interior Ministers, and the Speaker and key committee chairs in parliament – met August 15 following President Zatlers’ return from China to discuss the situation in Georgia. Foreign policy advisor to the President Andris Pelss provided us a readout. According to Pelss, the meeting largely ratified policy lines Latvia had been working on all week. Latvia is willing to send troops or other personnel to Georgia only in the context of the a credible international mission. Pelss said it could be NATO, EU, OSCE, UN or some other group but the key for Latvia was that it not be bilateral. That, he said, would be too provocative for Russia. Pelss confirmed that this could include anything from demining assistance to technical experts to verify the causes of the conflict to monitors or peacekeepers to assist in Abkhazia or South Ossetia. 3. (C) Latvia is also willing to provide humanitarian assistance. A number of Latvian doctors have volunteered to go to Georgia if needed. The latest discussion the Latvians had with Georgia, though, was that there were no needs at this moment that Latvia was suited to fill. In coming days, it might be needed and the two countries agreed to stay in touch. 4. (C) The third policy decision was the need to reconsider relations with Russia – a line that Latvia will continue to push in organizations like the EU and NATO. Pelss said that participants all expressed their frustration with European countries who want to continue business as usual with Russia, specifically citing Germany and Italy. 5. (C) In response to questions from us, Pelss said that energy was raised by PM Godmanis, but all agreed that any Russian move to restrict energy supply to Latvia would not take immediate effect due to other means of getting electricity and Latvia’s underground gas storage. So, the issue was noted as one to watch. Pelss said his personal sense is that a coal plant (vice gas) just became more likely (see ref c for background). Pelss also acknowledged that participants discussed the fact that residents of Latvia live in two different information spaces with very different views of the situation in Georgia. But they also decided that this was in the “too hard” category to tackle now. (ref a) 6. (C) Asked if the US was discussed at all, Pelss said that Latvia was keenly interested in our thoughts on international arrangements for Georgia. He also said that they would seek our assistance on various defense planning issues, including getting NATO contingency plans for Latvia. (In fact, shortly after the meeting, Speaker Daudze approached Ambassador Larson at a lunch on board the USS Elrod in Ventspils to ask for assistance in getting such planning.) Pelss added that coincidence of a post visit by a US ship to Latvia at this time “sent an ideal message” both to Latvians “and to our neighbors.” LARSON
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KYIV 001627 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PBTS, PINR, PINS, PNAT, PREL, PGOV, KPAI, GG, UK SUBJECT: TFGG01 Ukrainian Media on Georgian Conflict 1. (SBU) Summary: Ukrainian media is split on its coverage of the conflict in Georgia, which occupied the front page of Ukrainian newspapers this week and featured prominently on broadcast and on-line media. Pro-Western and pro-presidential periodicals denounced Russia’s support for separatist regions in Georgia and accused Russia of imperialism and indiscriminate use of force. Papers leaning toward the opposition as well as those associated with Prime Minister Tymoshenko claimed the conflict was provoked by Georgia and focused on the suffering of South Ossetia’s population. Not surprisingly, the two camps drew different lessons for Ukraine: one urged rapid NATO membership, while the other called for neutrality and warned against provoking Russia. Additionally, some media was critical about the absence of a public statement by the Prime Minister. (Note: While Ukrainian print media and television have been relatively balanced in their reporting, many Ukrainians have access to Russian television stations, which present a very different picture.) 2. (SBU) Print Media ——————– Pro-Western Den’s senior international correspondent Mykola Siruk stated in an article August 13 that Moscow wants “full control over Georgia.” He called Russia “hypocritical” for blaming “Georgian aggression” as the cause of the conflict and rejected Russia’s characterization of its actions as “peacekeeping.” Another Den journalist, Yurii Raikhel, compared Russia’s policy regarding South Ossetia to Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938 under the pretext of defending Sudeten Germans (August 12). In an article August 14, Raikhel ridiculed Russia for trying to pin the term “aggressor” on Georgia. He commented on the outcome of hostilities, stating that Russia had lost politically, diplomatically, financially and militarily (claiming that Russia’s military was inefficient). 3. (SBU) Deputy chief editor of the pro-Yushchenko Ukraina Moloda Dmytro Lykhovii, in an opinion piece headlined “The Russia That I Hate” (August 12), wrote: “The Russian bear opened a new page on military ‘victories’: tanks on foreign territory, the bombing of sovereign Georgia, the killing of hundreds of Georgian citizens, and a massive propaganda attack based on the most brutal lies — this is what Russia’s first war in the third millennium looks like.” He concludes that “Caucasus developments are additional proof of how vital it is for Ukraine to join NATO.” 4. (SBU) These opinions are seconded by the Russian-language “Gazeta po-Kievski” (August 14) which sees the ceasefire as a Russian defeat, urges a fast decision by NATO on Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Membership Action Plans and hails the unity of and “victory in the stand-off with Russia” by Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, whose leaders rallied in Tbilisi in solidarity with Georgia. Both Gazeta po-Kievski (August 13) and Ukraina Moloda, as well as Hazeta24 (August 14), lashed out against Prime Minister Tymoshenko for her failure to denounce Russian aggression against Georgia. 5. (SBU) Some newspapers that supported Georgia and criticized Russia nevertheless published opinion pieces running counter to the general editorial line. For example, Hazeta24 (August 13) prints opinions by European experts, who despite pressure from the journalist, refused to hold Russia solely responsible for the hostilities. Arkady Moshes of the Finnish Institute of International Relations opined that “based on the precedent of air strikes against Serbia that ultimately led to Kosovo independence, it is very easy for Russia to argue it is acting in the same manner in Georgia…In any case, people will take a look at who fired the first shot. In this case the first shot was not from the Russian side. And this fact is impossible to conceal.” Alexander Rahr, a member of the German Council on Foreign Policy, said that, unlike in the U.S., in Europe many view with understanding the Russian move to go into South Ossetia to stop the bloodshed. 6. (SBU) Den, August 14, put on the front page an opinion piece by Ihor Slisarenko who, while blaming Russia for masterminding the conflict, stated that “Russia not only scored a regional military and political victory, but also forced the West to take into account its own ‘Monroe doctrine’.” Gazeta po-Kievski, in the same article that accused Russia of imperialism, expressed hope that the war in Georgia would “force world leaders to review the rules of the game in contemporary world. Because, if the U.S. can do anything it pleases in Iraq, if today Europe recognizes Kosovo’s independence, then these geopolitical players will have followers.” 7. (SBU) Segodnya daily, owned by one of the leaders of the Regions Party, Rinat Akhmetov, in several articles published August 12-14, urged Ukraine to keep clear of any involvement in the Georgian KYIV 00001627 002 OF 003 conflict, warning that involvement would split Ukraine. An opinion column by anti-Western commentator Oles Buzyna (August 12) blamed the U.S. for the actions of Georgian President Saakashvili that provoked the war. Vechernie Vesti, associated with Prime Minister Tymoshenko, carried a large article (August 13) surprisingly critical of President Saakashvili and of pro-Americanism of the part of Ukrainian leadership: “The war in the Caucasus sent shivers down the spine not only because of compassion with the civilian population of Georgia and Ossetia. The open games of Bankova with the White House, the eloquent threats by the Ukrainian MFA to prevent the Russian Black Sea Navy’s ships from returning to Crimea after patrolling the Russian-Georgian border, have given rise to fear among our citizens of deliberate or inadvertent involvement of our country in war. Controversial actions by Ukrainian politicians who talk about a peaceful settlement of the Caucasus conflict in fact only aggravate the already tense relations with Russia and encourage American policies… One is really scared when one realizes where, God forbid, Ukraine’s foreign policy could lead us with its desire to get into NATO at any cost.” 8. (SBU) Kievskie Vedomosti, in an essay by Yevgenii Yakunov (August 13), painted an unattractive portrait of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, ascribed to the Georgian people an intrinsic characteristic of producing unbalanced passionate leaders, and warned Ukraine of the danger of “becoming cannon fodder in someone else’s war.” Broadcast Media ————— 9. (SBU) Ukrainian primetime TV coverage of the Georgian conflict has been mostly straightforward and balanced, covering a wide range of viewpoints (ranging from Russia saying early in the conflict that Ukraine has no moral grounds to mediate in the South Ossetian conflict to the U.S. President Bush statement of strong support for Georgia). In addition to factual reporting, primetime comments included those by Leonid Kravchuk, Ukraine’s first President, saying to television’s One Plus One on August 10 that “a game by superpowers is taking place in the Caucasus, and the game intends to push Russia aside from the position it used to hold there before. Russia is not going to give in, whereas the United States and western countries will try to push Russia aside. So, leaders of the Caucasus should take this into consideration, particularly Saakashvili…” 10. (SBU) Anatoly Grytsenko, chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and National Security, and ex-Defense Minister, said on Channel Five (August 13), “To make an assessment of what has happened one has to distance oneself from the principle ‘friend or foe’ or ‘aggressor and victim.’ I am in solidarity with the people of Georgia, who became the victims of war. However, I’d like to say that I can’t be in solidarity with the actions by President Saakashvili, who resorted to the use of force to resolve the conflict. It’s true he has been provoked. But a statement and state policy are about remaining cool. He resorted to the use of force and ended with a tragic result for the country. One may say absolutely that these two republics (South Ossetia, Abkhazia) will never return to the jurisdiction of this country (Georgia) whatever active measures the international community, including Ukraine, tries to use. Also I’d like to add that the use of rocket launchers is not acceptable in the third millennium, and such actions should be punished… On the other hand, Russia has resorted to an act of war, an act of aggression. It has attacked Georgia from all three spheres: land, water, and air, and it is war, it is the violation of the international war. It should be condemned, and I regret that so far our leadership has failed to call it aggression.” On-Line Media ————- 11. (SBU) UNIAN carried an article titled “Caucasian Crisis: Lessons for Ukraine” written by Yengen Magda (August 11). The author argues that this crisis is not simply a conflict between Russia and Georgia, but could result in a serious change in the European map and Ukraine should prepare for this. Magda suggests that Kyiv should check how many Crimeans have Russian passports. Magna also states that the conflict is Russia’s response to Kosovo’s independence, that Kyiv cannot effectively influence the situation in Georgia because of future gas negotiations with Russia, and that Georgia now will try to receive guarantees to join NATO quickly. Further, Magda says that the conflict may help Ukraine join NATO and that recent events have proved that Ukraine needs a mobile and effective army. This, he says, could result in change of the Minister of Defense, as Yekhanurov is not a professional military man. Finally, Magda stresses that Ukraine should revise its policy in Crimea. http://unian.net/ukr/news/news-266586.html KYIV 00001627 003 OF 003 12. (SBU) In Obozrevatel (“How We Can Prevent War with Russia?” August 13), Dmitriy Bielianskiy argues that Russia’s goal is not to occupy Georgia but to get rid of Saakashvili and that nobody can really prevent Russia from doing it: neither NATO, nor the USA, UN, EU, G7 could do anything except issue statements. The author writes that Ukraine is not a united country and this could result in the same situation as in Georgia. The main question now, in the author’s opinion, is how to prevent war with Russia. He proposes two ways: further promote NATO in Ukraine as the only way to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty or a second approach (a paradoxical one, according to the author) would be to refuse to join NATO and to accept the Russian language as a second official language. http://www.obozrevatel.com/news/2008/8/13/253 456.htm 13. (SBU) Ukrains’ka Pravda carried an analytical piece entitled, “Ukraine Is Next?” by Oleksandr Sushko, Scientific Director of the Institute of Euro Atlantic Co-operation. The author argues that this is a Russian war for a new world order and if Russia wins this war there won’t be a place for Ukraine as a sovereign country. The author points out the weaknesses of the West, saying there are no leaders any more like Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher who would call things by their names. The author expresses the same sentiment as in the above-mentioned article, namely that in order to prevent war, Ukraine has two choices: join NATO as soon as possible or join Russia. http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2008/8/12/79803 .htm 14. (SBU) In “Russia against Georgia: Revival of the Empire,” the author claims that the main goals of Russia are to prevent Georgia from joining NATO and to prevent the creation of “non-Russian” means to transport energy. According to the author, the war in Georgia makes it impossible for Georgia to receive a Membership Action Plan. The author writes about ways to protect Ukraine from the same situation: to join NATO, to remove the Russian Black Sea fleet, to coordinate information space, and to control the situation in Crimea. http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2008/8/12/79832 .htm PETTIT

C O N F I D E N T I A L BRATISLAVA 000384 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2014 TAGS: MOPS, PREL, PHUM, OSCE, UN, GG, RS, LO SUBJECT: TFGG01: FM KUBIS: SLOVAK GOVERNMENT NOW UNITED ON GEORGIA REF: A. BRATISLAVA 382 B. BRATISLAVA 377 Classified By: DCM Keith Eddins for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Ambassador spoke with Slovak Foreign Minister Kubis August 15 to reiterate U.S. views on Georgia (reftels). Kubis, who had just returned from vacation, agreed completely on the importance of Russia honoring the August 13 ceasefire agreement and respecting Georgia’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. Given the legacy of 1968, Kubis fully understood the nature of Russia’s assault on an independent state. Kubis also said that when foreign ministers meet Tuesday in Brussels, NATO should be prepared to review Russian compliance with the ceasefire and be ready to call Moscow to account if Russian troops are not honoring their commitments. (NOTE: Kubis also got in a plug for a ministers-only NAC session in Brussels; he thought ministers would be more open to a frank and honest evaluation of Russian actions in such a forum.) 2. (C) In response to the Ambassador’s question about Prime Minister Fico’s unhelpful comments to the press (in which Fico seemed to accept the Russian view that Georgia was to blame for starting the conflict), Kubis said he doesn’t expect any more such statements from his prime minister. In a subsequent conversation, MFA State Secretary Algayerova told the Ambassador both President Gasparovic and PM Fico accepted and agreed with the U.S. points the Ambassador gave Algayerova on August 11 (ref B). She also said Fico asserted that the press had misquoted him and/or taken his comments out of context. The Slovak government, she said, was united in support of all six points contained in the ceasefire agreement and believes that now is not the time to engage in a “blame game” about who started the latest round of fighting. OBSITNIK
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 088216 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: UNSC, PREL, GG, RU SUBJECT: TFGG01 GEORGIA — GUIDANCE ON FRENCH DRAFT RESOLUTION Classified By: IO PDAS James Warlick for reason 1.4(b). 1. (U) This is an action message. Following is guidance for use in informal consultations and in experts’ meetings on the draft resolution on Georgia, circulated by the French delegation. Formal UNSC action on the resolution should be deferred pending further instructions from the Department. 2. (C) Following on the Secretary’s meetings with President Sarkozy in Paris on August 14, the Department requests that USUN conduct informal discussions with the French and others, as appropriate, to ensure that the draft text reflects the outcomes of the Secretary’s meeting with President Sarkozy. Those outcomes include: a) inclusion of the six principles comprising the EU agreement of August 13; b) inclusion of language incorporating President Sarkozy’s letter to President Saakashvili of August 14, clarifying and limiting the role of Russian troops within Georgia, South Ossetia (Georgia) and Abkhazia (Georgia). c) inclusion of language reaffirming Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the operative clauses. Redlines ——– 3. (C) USUN should seek to include a reference to Georgia’s territorial integrity among the operative clauses. The Department strongly prefers that we use the formulation from previous resolutions on Georgia, most recently UNSCR 1808 (April 15, 2008) “reaffirming Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.” The Department will consider formulations that simply refer to this formulation in previous resolutions, but USUN should make a strong argument in favor of the explicit formulation in the text, in advance of further experts’ meetings, and lobby other UNSC members for support on this point. 4. (SBU) The Department will accept the inclusion of the six principles of the EU agreement of August 13 as listed in OP 1, despite our major reservations regarding the language in OP 1E (which could be seen to grant Russia authorities beyond those existing prior to August 7), provided that language proposed in OPs 1bis and 1ter or a similar formulation is included to limit potential Russian military operations pending further permanent arrangements. Further Comment on Text ———————– 5. (SBU) Revised OP 1 clarifies the relationship of the EU “plan” to this resolution and ensures that the UNSC resolution defines the terms of the solution, rather than the EU communiqu. 6. (SBU) New OP 1quat and revised OP 2 acknowledge the Secretary General’s statement and express Council commitment to support a new, viable peacekeeping operation that does not include the parties to the conflict, with Russia explicitly considered a party. Revised Resolution Text ———————– 7. (U) The above comment is keyed to the revised text below. The Department strongly prefers these formulations, but will consider alternative language that achieves the same goals. 8. (U) Begin revised resolution text: Welcoming the positive outcome of mediation efforts led by France on behalf of the European Union and Finland on behalf of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, Welcoming the commitment to a cessation of military operations, announced by the President of the Russian Federation and the President of Georgia, Welcoming the declarations on 12 August, 2008 by the President of the Russian Federation and the President of Georgia expressing their support for the ceasefire plan proposed by France, as President of the European Union, Distressed by human casualties and the high number of refugees and internally displaced persons, and their rapidly deteriorating situation, Determined to facilitate a peaceful and durable settlement through negotiations, X. Reaffirms the commitment of all member States to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders; 1. Welcomes the above-mentioned settlement plan consisting of the following principles as first steps toward a durable solution to the crisis: a) commitment by all parties to renounce the use of force; b) immediate and definitive cessation of hostilities; c) free access to humanitarian aid; d) withdrawal of Georgian forces to their places of permanent deployment e) withdrawal of Russian forces to their lines of deployment prior to 7 August 2008; pending the urgent definition of an international mechanism, the Russian peacekeeping forces may implement additional security measures. f) convening of international discussions on lasting security and stability arrangements for Abkhazia (Georgia) and South Ossetia (Georgia). 1bis. Further welcomes the letter from the President of France, dated 14 August 2008 (S/2008/XXX) that clarifies the understanding of the government of Georgia and the government of the Russian Federation regarding the meaning and scope of the fifth point of the above-mentioned plan, which is reflected in paragraph 1(e) of this resolution; 1ter. Underscores that nothing in this resolution shall be deemed to authorize the presence or activities of foreign forces within the internationally recognized borders of Georgia, nor prejudice the position of any parties in subsequent political negotiations; 1quat. Welcomes the declaration of the Secretary General offering the resources and good offices of the Secretariat to facilitate international discussion and to contribute to possible peacekeeping or other arrangements; 2. Expresses its readiness to take further action as a matter of urgency to contribute to the implementation of a solution, including consideration of a contribution to international peacekeeping operations in Abkhazia (Georgia) and South Ossetia (Georgia) that do not include the parties to the conflict; 3. Calls on all parties to cooperate fully in the implementation of the principles; 4. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter. End Resolution text. RICE
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 088235 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2018 TAGS: OSCE, PREL, PBTS, GG, RS SUBJECT: TFGG01: ACTION REQUEST: DEMARCHE TO GAIN SUPPORT FOR ADDITIONAL OSCE MONITORS IN GEORGIA REF: A. 85678 B. 86108 Classified By: EUR DAS David Merkel for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) NIACT Immediate Precedence because action required in advance of OSCE deliberations August 18. 1. (U) This is an action request; see paragraphs 2-3. 2. (C) On August 14, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) participating states were unable to reach consensus on a Finnish Chairman-in-Office (CiO) Draft Decision (DD) to increase the number of Military Monitoring Officers (MMOs) for the OSCE’s Mission to Georgia by up to 100 (there are currently eight MMOs). Russia remains the lone holdout to reaching agreement, having agreed “in principle” to increasing the number of MMOs, but calling for clear delineation of MMO responsibilities and urging the deployment of officers throughout Georgia — not just in the zone of conflict. Russia claimed that Moscow was studying the proposal. Although there are some indications that Russia will be prepared to accept the Mission, we are concerned that the conditions Moscow may attach to its instructions for August 18 will be tantamount to delaying tactics. We therefore believe it is useful to and seek to put pressure on Russia to agree to the DD as is, or present suitable modified text immediately. The Finnish Chair has begun informal consultations and will likely convene a special Permanent Council meeting next week for a decision to be taken, assuming that Russia can be persuaded to go along. 3. (SBU) Begin points: ——————————- For Moscow, Paris, and Helsinki ——————————- — Events on the ground in Georgia urgently require MMO efforts to provide a clear and objective picture of the humanitarian situation and prevent further deterioration of relations among all ethnic groups. — It is important that we uphold our mutual principles and commitments and act now. OSCE decision to increase the number of monitors is a critical first step to reducing tensions. — The United States will lend assistance and resources to support increasing MMOs. We welcome your government’s efforts to provide funding, equipment and personnel to support MMOs. ————— For Moscow Only ————— — Welcome your agreement in principle to support increasing the number of Military Monitoring Officers (MMOs) in Georgia by up to 100. — Urge you to join consensus and accept the Draft Decision (DD) as is, or with as few changes as possible. — Concerned however that some of the conditions you may attach to your approval may have the practical effect of only delaying much-needed OSCE efforts. — Believe current MMO mandate is adequate to implement the DD. — OSCE participating States can discuss details of modalities and parameters of MMO functions once a DD is adopted. — Critical that we agree to an increase in MMOs now to avert further deterioration of situation. — Important to support the efforts of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office in working with all sides to manage this crisis. ——— For Paris ——— — The United States strongly supports France’s efforts, as President of the European Union, to broker an agreement that will end this conflict and preserve Georgia’s territorial integrity. — At OSCE, our first priority is to ensure that Russia will allow an expanded monitoring mission to go forward on the ground. — While we have received some indications that Moscow will instruct its delegation to support an OSCE mission, we are concerned that the conditions Russia may attempt to attach to the decision will only lead to further delay. — Request your support to get Moscow to agree to the OSCE decision with minimal or no modification. — We welcome France’s willingness to provide 5 monitors. We would appreciate your efforts to encourage other EU member states to follow your lead. — Regarding the mission itself, our preference is to use the term “Mission Monitoring Officers” instead of “Military Monitoring Officers” in order to provide greater flexibility in the functions of the MMOs in the implementation of the OSCE decision. We have suggested to the Finnish CiO to change the text of the Draft Decision to reflect this, and would encourage you to do likewise. ———— For Helsinki ———— — Deeply appreciative of proactive Finnish CiO leadership and mediation role to help reach a cease-fire. — At OSCE, our first priority is to ensure that Russia will allow an expanded monitoring mission to go forward on the ground. — While we have received some indications that Moscow will instruct its delegation to support an OSCE mission, we are concerned that the conditions Russia may attempt to attach to the decision will only lead to further delay. — Appreciate your efforts to get Moscow to agree to the OSCE decision with minimal or no modification. We are demarching Moscow, and encouraging France on behalf of the EU Presidency to do likewise. — Regarding the mission itself, our preference is to use the term “Mission Monitoring Officers” instead of “Military Monitoring Officers” in order to provide greater flexibility in the functions of the MMOs in the implementation of the OSCE decision. Suggest the Finnish CiO change the text of the Draft Decision to reflect this. — Regarding FM Stubb’s request for immediate assistance for the deployment of Armored Personnel Carriers (or similar protective vehicles) to Georgia to support the movement of MMOs, our understanding is that Germany and Ukraine will provide approximately fifteen vehicles; the U.S. is actively exploring airlift options. The USG needs a formal request in writing from the Finnish CiO to act upon the lift request. — Urge Finnish CiO to push the OSCE Secretariat to develop credible, operational plans to deploy MMOs and rapidly implement the decision, once adopted. Recommend working with the Border Unit staff on ideas for making the best use of MMOs. — If Russia continues to delay or block a decision, Finnish CiO should consider consulting with OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (former Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek, based in Copenhagen) about possibility of deploying HCNM observers to Georgia on an urgent basis as a way of getting additional eyes on the ground. (Note: HCNM mandate does not require “consensus at 56” for action.) RICE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001379 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 10: RUSSIANS ON MOVE, IN GEORGIAN TANKS? REF: TBILISI 1372 Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (SBU) Begin Summary: OSCE and Georgian officials confirmed a large convoy of Russian troops, including Ossetians, was headed east toward Tbilisi as of 1700 hours, August 16, but then OSCE reported that the convoy had turned back around toward Gori. OSCE fears further violence against civilians is likely. The main highway (M-27) remains closed, and OSCE was not allowed to enter Gori. There were reports of Russian troops and Georgian tanks observed traveling through Khashuri the morning of August 16. Media reported ongoing looting and rapes in the town. On August 15, the Georgian MOIA confirmed that Russian helicopters were dropping flares on the Borjomi national forest to start fires. The same day, Georgian TV showed Russian CIS PKF-marked trucks towing multiple Georgian coast guard boats out of the Port of Poti. Various other reports of looting and violence dominate the Georgian news. Relief efforts continue. Stores of grain and fuel are adequate for now, and relief efforts are focused on the immediate basic needs of food, clothes, and shelter. Recent estimates of IDPs put the total number around 100,000 with 60,000 officially registered in Tbilisi. The Patriarch visited Gori on August 15, and Tbilisi hospitals continue to treat wounded. Despite severe shocks, Georgia’s economy remains stable. This sitrep covers events since the evening of August 14 (reftel). End Summary. 2. (SBU) OSCE and Georgian officials confirmed a large convoy of Russian troops and BMPs, including Ossetians, was headed east from Igoeti as of 1700 hours on August 16. The convoy’s direction was unclear, as it could have been going to either Akhalgori (a majority Georgian area near the southeast border of Ossetia) or Tbilisi. A later call from the OSCE confirmed that the convoy had turned around. OSCE fears further violence against civilians is likely, as Akhalgori is highly populated. The main highway (M-27) remains closed, and continuing Russian presence in and around Gori, Khashuri-Agara, and Samtredia-Kutaisi has brought transit to a virtual standstill. OSCE was not allowed to enter Gori on August 16, and access to the city by the police is still unclear. BP officials observed Russian troops and Georgian tanks (presumably driven by Russians) traveling through Khashuri the morning of August 16. The troops were asking local residents for food, and traveling west toward Kharagauli. Earlier, press reports indicated violence, rapes, and looting in Khashuri as well. 3. (SBU) On August 15, the Deputy Minister of the MOIA Eka Zguladze confirmed that Russian helicopters were dropping flares on the Borjomi national forest to start wildfires. She urged cameramen to take as much footage as possible of the destruction. (Earlier she had urged the media not to circulate unconfirmed information which incites panic.) On August 16, the Government said more than 50 hectares are on fire. In addition, on August 15, Georgian TV showed Russian CIS PKF-marked trucks towing multiple Georgian coast guard boats out of the Port of Poti. 4. (SBU) In spite of widespread press coverage of Russian President Medvedev’s signature and expectations that the Russians would immediately withdraw, there were few signs of this happening. Reports of Russian troop movements around Georgia persist as do reports of widespread and systematic looting. It is unclear if this is being orchestrated by Russian troops or irregulars. Video of soldiers in Russian uniforms robbing a Bank of Georgia has made its way to the internet. Government Coordination of Assistance ————————————- 5. (C) During an assistance review meeting hosted by the PM, Government ministers reported to us on the relief situation. They assessed that the country was virtually divided in two. So, they are seeking goods and materials from Azerbaijan and Turkey to supply both East and West. They were confident they had enough stores of goods such as medicines, food, and fuel to supply the general public for the time being. They also report enough necessities for which there is no local market (tents, cots, personal hygiene kits, etc.) Grain/cereal stores were at approximately 20 days, as are fuel supplies. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan are exporting to Georgia freely. Poti port is still a major problem as freight forwarders will not insure delivery. BP confirmed that its ship, which was blocked by the Russian Navy two days ago, had been supplied and departed. Officials had heard reports that ships with Armenian-bound goods were allowed to deliver at Poti with relative ease, while ships delivering TBILISI 00001379 002 OF 002 goods for Georgia were being turned away or had to pay bribes to deliver. The Ministers did not have enough information at the time to determine if this was a deliberate policy, but a trend is noticeable. Members of the cabinet believe the only reason the Russians did not destroy the railroad is because it is the lifeline to Armenia and its destruction would punish the Armenians more than the Georgians. 6. (C) The PM is concerned about controls over the distribution process of humanitarian assistance. Lessons learned from the past show that NGOs, while meaning well, offer no coordination and lose control over the goods they distribute. This creates market distortions when recipients create a gray market by reselling the goods. As such, CabMin proposed that only the GOG and USG would control the wholesale distribution of goods to keep control over the situation and make it systematic and sustainable. The GOG also says it is actively trying to cool off the NGO flood in order to reduce a sense of panic and maintain calm and order among the IDPs. PM would like to centralize IDPs in larger collection points, but is of the opinion that it is not possible to do so. IDPs are already spread out over hundreds of places in Tbilisi and will not move voluntarily. The last image the GOG wants is forcibly moving IDPs to other collection points. The GOG said August 15 that 60,000 IDPs have officially registered in Tbilisi, and estimate total numbers of at least 100,000 so far. 7. (SBU) The Patriarch visited Gori on August 15, and met with IDPs there and in Nikozi. He delivered aid and helped facilitate evacuation of some wounded. Embassy humanitarian assistance units visited Republican and Gudushauri Hospitals in Tbilisi on August 10. Both hospitals had reported approximately 400 casualties each arriving from the conflict zone. In a follow up from August 15, Gudushauri Medical Center reported 600 wounded arrivals (total), including 50 civilians. Republican Hospital reported 450 wounded, one-third of whom are civilians. Republican reported significantly fewer casualties after Sunday. One death was reported at Gudushauri, though there were four DOAs. Gudushauri reported five amputations, Republican six. Economic Update ————— 8. (SBU) Despite severe shocks, Georgia’s economy remains stable so far. The National Bank of Georgia has intervened to not allow exchange rate fluctuations. Overseas transfers of more than 50,000 GEL (35,714 USD) and internet banking have been restricted. Major pipelines running through Georgia have suspended oil and gas delivery. In the case of BTC, it is due to the fire in Turkey. In Georgia, BP needs to examine the Baku-Supsa pipeline near Gori before it can resume operations. Electricity supplies are stable, and no imports are required at this time, although integration of Eastern and Western Georgia’s power grids is not yet repaired. Communication infrastructure, though targeted by the Russians, continues to function. Some cell towers are powered by independent generators, with some reportedly running low on fuel. There are no signs of any food or gasoline shortages. TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001380 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 11: RUSSIANS HOLD IN PLACE, CONTROL ROADS WHILE WAITING FOR ORDERS REF: TBILISI 1379 Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (SBU) Summary: There were few reports of Russian troops movements on August 17, following a day of conflicting reports on the status, location, and direction of Russian forces in Georgia. It is clear that Russian troops control the east-west corridor through Georgia from Poti north and east and all around Gori. UNOMIG observers have seen Russian regular forces establishing installations and gun emplacements on the main east-west highway south of Zugdidi; Georgian Government officials report that Russian troops are in Kashuri and at key road junctions between Poti, Kutaisi and Senaki. UNOMIG also reports the Coast Guard station in Poti is now deserted and the Zugdidi sector is relatively calm. Russians continue to refuse OSCE entrance to Gori, although an EU delegation and Ambassador Richard Holbrooke were able to visit the city the evening of August 16. Russian forces blew up a railroad bridge east of Gori on August 16. GOG reports indicate Russian helicopters started additional fires near the village of Kaspi. Approximately 400 hectares are now burning in the Borjomi-Kharagauli national park, and Russian forces have reportedly refused to allow Turkish and Ukrainian firefighting airplanes to combat the fires. Amcits in the region are safe and accounted for. Distinguished visitors continue to arrive to Tbilisi, including German Chancellor Merkel and U.S. Senator Joseph Biden. The press is reporting that UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will visit August 18. Late breaking press reports state that the Russians have agreed to begin leaving August 18. This sitrep covers events since the late afternoon of August 16 (reftel). End Summary. 2. (C) The Georgian government reported that Russian troops, and 60 vehicles, have moved into Akhalgori near the southeast part of South Ossetia. The troops are distributing Russian passports, flying Ossetian flags, and telling the Georgians there to accept the passports or get out. Additional GOG reports claim that Russian troops are also moving to the village of Sachkhere on the western side of South Ossetia. The GOG is concerned about this activity, as they believe Russia will try and expand its control over these large, traditional Georgian villages. (Note: Post is attempting to obtain independent confirmation of these events. End note.) Russian forces and trucks have also reportedly gone through Khashuri and the Rikoti tunnel, which divides Eastern and Western Georgia. GOG reported additional looting and abuse of civilians by separatists overnight in the villages of Abisi, Koda, and Ptsa in Kareli district. The GOG claimed (still unconfirmed) on August 17 that Russians mined the Chuberi bridge in Svaneti (leading to the Kodori Gorge) and Georgian experts were seeking to demine it. Local media reported on August 17 that Deputy Chief of Russia’s Armed Forces General Staff Anatoly Nogovitsin announced Russian soldiers had taken control of the Enguri hydro-electric station. 3. (SBU) The French Ambassador to Tbilisi traveled to Gori on August 16, along with a representative of the European Parliament and Deputy FM of Bulgaria. He reported that Gori is largely deserted, with no Russian troops and few residents. He said a Turkish humanitarian convoy reached the city on August 16. The French Ambassador said more food supplies and open humanitarian corridors are needed. NSC Secretary Lomaia (who met the French Ambassador in Gori) reported that Russians control the road from Gori west to Khashuri, and are establishing checkpoints all along it. The German Ambassador reported that Russian soldiers are establishing checkpoints at all major intersections between Kutaisi, Senaki, and Poti in Western Georgia. 3. (SBU) UNOMIG observers have seen at checkpoint S-16 on the M-27 road (main highway) Russian regular forces building a HQ type area where they have placed mortars and D-30 field guns (south of Zugdidi), which are pointing north. UNOMIG also reports the Coast Guard station in Poti is now deserted and the Zugdidi sector is relatively calm. UNOMIG observers have not yet found any confirmation to indicate that Russians used cluster bombs in the Zugdidi sector. (Embassy note. We hope to have observers on the ground in western Georgia on August 18. End note.) 4. (C) OSCE military advisor Steve Young had a limited report, as their observers have been pulled back and cannot enter Gori. OSCE’s military advisor expects to have a meeting with JPKF Commander in South Ossetia Kulakhmetov on August 18. Kulakhmetov held talks directly with General Borisov, who is the Regular Russian Army commander currently in charge of Russian forces in Gori. On a side note, the TBILISI 00001380 002 OF 002 Young said that he is being bombarded with offers of “bodies and cars” from Vienna, but he is holding them at arms length at the moment. He and others on the ground are drafting up their requirements to send in before they are given “help” which is not so useful. 5. (C) Embassy observers confirm that Russian forces blew up a railroad bridge east of Gori on August 16. The bridge is near the village of Karakaji (west of Kaspi, whose train station was bombed earlier), lying 16 km east of Gori and 60 km west of Tbilisi. Two tracks run across the 220 meter-long bridge. One span (of six) has fallen, one pillar is damaged, and one pillar is destroyed. Georgian railway engineers reportedly believe that the bridge can be repaired in ten days, with the necessary parts. Railroad cranes are already on the scene beginning repairs. (Comment: DAO confirmed regular Russian forces blew the bridge (reported septel), counter to official Russian statements denying culpability. The Armenian government is quite concerned about the loss, as they are dependent on Georgian railways for shipping cargo. End comment.) 6. (C) GOG reports allege that Russian helicopters started additional fires near the village of Kaspi. Approximately 400 hectares are now reportedly burning in the Borjomi-Kharagauli national park. Additional press and government reports say Russian forces have refused to allow Turkish and Ukrainian firefighting airplanes to enter Georgian airspace and combat the fires. The GOG claimed also on August 16 that houses in the village of Gamdlitskaro near Kaspi were being fired by Russian soldiers. International Efforts ——————— 7. (U) Distinguished visitors continue to arrive to Tbilisi. German Chancellor Merkel met President Saakashvili August 17 and they held a joint press conference during which Merkel called on the Russians to withdraw immediately and offered German support for Georgia’s reconstruction. U.S. Senator Joseph Biden is also visiting Tbilisi August 17. The press is reporting that UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will arrive on August 18. David Cameron, leader of UK’s Conservative Party was in Tbilisi on August 16 to express support for Georgia’s democracy. 8. (C) Press reports state that the Russians have agreed to begin leaving mid-day August 18. General Borisov (the Russian Airborne commander in Gori) was quoted as saying that his troops were the first in so the would be the last out. Ambassador Holbrooke, who visited Gori August 16, told the Ambassador that when he met Borisov, the General was drunk and unsure of what his orders would be August 17. TEFFT

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001385 SIPDIS SENSITIVE DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 12: WAITING FOR A RUSSIAN PULLOUT REF: TBILISI 1380 Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (SBU) Summary. As of mid-day August 18, there is no evidence that Russian troops have begun to withdraw from Georgia. The road from Tbilisi to Gori remains closed and travelers are subject to Russian roadblocks. Next international visitor to Tbilisi will be UK Foreign Secretary Miliband on August 19. Turkish planes are assisting the Georgians in fighting forest fires in Borjomi National Park. Leaders of two Georgian opposition parties issued a letter asking NATO to accelerate Georgia’s integration into NATO. This sitrep covers events since the evening of August 17 (reftel). End Summary. 2. (C) As of 1400 Tbilisi time August 18, the Embassy has no independent information about any change in the positions of Russian troops occupying Georgian territory, despite promises by Russia’s president to pull the troops back. Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria told the Ambassador that the Russians have not begun to withdraw. He said that Russian troops have in fact moved into Sachkhere, west of South Ossetia. Georgian troops near Russian positions at Akhalgori, a village on the cease-fire line have again been ordered not to engage with the Russians. The deputy chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, Anatoly Nogovitsin, is reported to have said in Moscow on August 17 that preparations for withdrawal were underway. Major General Borisov, commanding troops in Gori, is reported to have said that at least some Russian troops were moving from Tskhinvali in South Ossetia to Russia, but he added that because there are a large number of troops in the area, withdrawal could take some time. President Saakashvili addressed the nation on television and said that once Russia withdraws, Georgia is ready for talks with the Russian leadership. The Bulgarian government has reportedly offered Sofia as a location for such talks. 3. (C) Stephen Young, a military observer with the OSCE told the Embassy that he was unable to meet with General Kulakhmetov, head of the Russian PKF in South Ossetia as earlier planned. Young was allowed to visit Gori on August 18 along with a convoy of humanitarian aid from World Food Program and the Red Cross. He saw no signs of a Russian withdrawal, and said that in fact the Russians have erected another checkpoint on the Tbilisi side of Gori, close to Igoeti. He said that the Russians were refusing to allow journalists not accredited in Russia from visiting Gori. 4. (SBU) U.S. Senator Joseph Biden met with PM Gurgenidze and President Saakashvili on August 17. Gurgenidze outlined Georgia’s looming balance of payment problems and asked for USG leadership to secure U.S., European and international financial institution assistance to support Georgia’s macro-economic stability and reconstruction. Gurgenidze told Biden that Georgia had spent 14 percent of its foreign exchange reserves to provide liquidity to the banking system and support the lari. He said that even if no further shocks occur, reserves will decline another 3-4 percent in the next week or so. He expects no additional new foreign investment this year needed to offset Georgia’s 20 percent of GDP current account deficit. 5. (C) German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with President Saakashvili on August 17. Merkel supported Georgia’s sovereignty and said that its territorial integrity must be upheld. Germany supports the French-Russian six-point agreement, she said, and insisted that Russian troops must leave in accordance with that agreement. She said that international peacekeepers should arrive as soon as possible and that corridors for humanitarian assistance to South Ossetia should be opened. President Saakashvili told Senator Biden that Merkel had said that MAP could be possible in December, although publicly she said that Germany’s position on Georgia’s NATO membership has not changed since the Bucharest summit and that Georgia will be expected to fulfill all its IPAP obligations. During the two leaders’ press conference, Saakashvili strongly blamed South Ossetia and Russia for escalating attacks that precipitated the Georgian attack on Tskhinvali. The Georgian government released a detailed timeline of the events before and after August 8 that catalogue the increased intensity of South Ossetian shelling of Georgian villages and the insertion of Russian troops prior to the GOG’s taking action. 6. (U) David Cameron, leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, was in Tbilisi on August 16. He expressed the support of the British people and the British government for Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity. UK Foreign Minister TBILISI 00001385 002 OF 002 Miliband will visit Tbilisi August 19; earlier press reports that UK Prime Minister Brown would visit Tbilisi were not correct. 7. (U) South Ossetia’s de facto president, Eduard Kokoity, dismissed his “government” on August 17, saying that his ministers had failed to perform their functions effectively. Boris Chochiev, formerly South Ossetia’s negotiator with the Georgians, has been appointed acting de facto prime minister. Kokoity imposed a state of emergency and a 9 pm to 6 am curfew on Tskhinvali. 8. (U) Forest fires, reportedly started by Russian incendiary devices, continued to burn in Borjomi National Park. Georgian press reports claim that fires have affected 230,000 hectares forest. Turkish firefighting airplanes that were turned back from the area by Russian forces on August 16 were allowed in on August 17 and have helped to fight the fires. 9. (U) Opposition leaders David Gamkrelidze (New Rights Party) and David Usupashvili (Republican Party) issued an address to NATO Heads of State and Government requesting accelerated integration into NATO for Georgia to support the Georgian people’s Euro-Atlantic choice. In the address, they argue that this is needed to ensure Georgia’s sovereignty, democratic development and Euro-Atlantic values. TEFFT
UNCLAS STATE 088329 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 21 RUSSIAN DEPARTURE UNCONFIRMED; KOKOITY SEEKS ARMY BASE ——————————————— ——— 1. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi cannot confirm the movements of Russian troops, though journalists traveling between Gori and Tbilisi told post the troops expect to depart ?soon.? (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 2. (U) De facto South Ossetian President Kokoity dismissed his cabinet due to delays in the distribution of humanitarian assistance. Kokoity also signed a state of emergency order and established an economic reconstruction commission for Tskhinvali and surrounding areas. (themoscowtimes.com) 3. (U) Kokoity told the media ?international observers will no longer be present on the territory of South Ossetia,? and indicated he would seek a permanent Russian military base in the disputed region. (Reuters) MERKEL, IN TBILISI, CALLS FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP ——————————————— 4. (U) The German Chancellor said, ?Georgia will become a member of NATO, if it wants to – and it does want to.? The statement signaled a change in Germany’s stance on Georgia’s NATO membership, according to the press. (AP) 5. (SBU) The OSCE has yet to request airlift support from member states for the armored personnel carriers needed for its additional observers in Georgia. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) IDP ASSISTANCE CONTINUES; TURKEY HELPS WITH FIRES ——————————————— —- 6. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi estimates 15-20,000 people will remain permanent IDPs following the withdrawal of Russian troops. Post is encouraging the Georgian government to publicize assistance networks, including clinics, currently available for the 80,000 displaced persons in Tbilisi. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 7. (SBU) An Embassy Tbilisi team will travel to Poti with representatives of the World Food Programme to distribute unused MREs from planned military training. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 8. (SBU) Embassy Tbilisi confirms Turkish aircraft are now assisting the fight against forest fires in Borjomi. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 9. (SBU) As of August 17, overall USG humanitarian assistance totals approximately $4.2 million in emergency relief, including bedding, blankets, and medical supplies. (TF/USAID e-mail) 10. (U) Minimize considered. RICE
C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001386 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: DAS BRYZA MEETING WITH DEFENSE MINISTER KEZERASHVILI Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (C) Begin Summary: On August 14, Minister of Defense David Kezerashvili spoke with DAS Bryza, the Ambassador, and DATT about the MOD’s current situation following Russia’s invasion. Kezerashvili said Georgia’s army troops are now at Vaziani and other bases around Tbilisi, trying to regroup. They have little equipment left. He said President Bush’s August 11 speech had given a great boost to his troops’ morale. Kezerashvili acknowledged that Russian forces were in Gori, and said they were mining the MOD’s new base there. In discussing events in Tskhinvali, he said that Georgia’s efforts not to target civilians were transparent. He claimed Russia targeted civilians in Gori and Tskhinvali with Tu-22 Backfire bombers, and those planes used “a lot of bombs.” Kezerashvili says 30 soldiers were killed in action and 400 were wounded during the Russian counterattack and bombing of Tskhinvali. DAS Bryza urged Kezerashvili to explain publicly how the escalation occurred during the night of August 7. End Summary. 2. (C) Kezerashvili said Georgia’s army troops are now at Vaziani and other bases around Tbilisi, trying to regroup. They have little equipment left. He said some troops fought well but others were less effective and left as the fight wore on. He did not provide estimates of how many troops were remaining. (Embassy note: We understand that some troops left their units after returning to Tbilisi to check on their families, but in the days since the meeting, many soldiers have rejoined their companies. End Note.) Kezerashvili said President Bush’s August 11 speech had given a great boost to his troops’ morale. He said the troops had been asking, where are the Americans? Kezerashvili told us he had heard a column of Russian troops had turned around after Bush’s speech. 3. (C) Kezerashvili said there were now 20,000 Russian troops in Georgia, with many tanks and much equipment. He claimed they were mining the military base in Gori. (Note: Russian troops or irregulars also set fire to the new barracks at the base. End note.) 4. (C) In Tskhinvali, Kezerashvili said that the South Ossetians destroyed the village of Avnevi with artillery, and began targeting checkpoints near Russian peacekeepers with 122-mm mortars during the cease-fire on August 7. When the firing continued, the Georgians began to return fire. Kezerashvili was clear in arguing that no order was given from the Georgian side to target civilians in Tskhinvali – he said that “anyone can check this information.” Rather, they attacked de-facto government buildings (including Parliament, MOIA, and MOD facilities) that were housing Ossetian militia. 5. (C) After the Georgians attacked, Kezerashvili claimed Russia targeted civilians in Gori and Tskhinvali with Tu-22 Backfire bombers. He said the Backfires targeted 95 percent civilian targets and dropped at least 150 bombs on Tskhinvali. In addition, Backfires targeted Gori, Poti, and other cities. Kezerashvili alleged that Iskander missiles (SS-26) were fired at Gori and the Baku-Supsa pipeline near Rustavi. (Embassy note: Photographs of the Iskander near the Baku-Supsa pipeline were provided by the Georgian Government and shared with the Task Force. End note.) According to Kezerashvili, Georgian MOD troops shot down 17 airplanes and 3 helicopters. The airplanes included Su-24, Su-25, and Su-27 jets, and two reconnaissance planes. Kezerashvili claimed that he lost 30 soldiers KIA and 400 wounded from the Russian bombing and counterattack in Tskhinvali. TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001387 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PREL, GG, RU SUBJECT: GEORGIA: DAS BRYZA MEETING WITH MOIA VANO MERABISHVILI 1. (C) Begin Summary: On August 14, Minister of Internal Affairs (MOIA) Vano Merabishvili spoke with DAS Bryza and the Ambassador Tefft about the current situation following Russia’s invasion, the status of Georgian troops, and how the attacks unfolded. Shota Utiashvili, nominally head of the Statistical and Analytical Department (but in reality more of a Deputy Minister), also attended the meeting. Merabishvili acknowledged that Russian forces continued to move freely in and out of Gori, Poti, and Senaki and claimed that they were also in Zugdidi. Looting was rampant, primarily committed by Russian MOD personnel, but also by Cossacks and Chechens. Merabishvili said Georgian losses were less than has been reported, and that reports of 2,000 dead civilians in Tskhinvali are inaccurate. He estimates that Russia has 24,000 troops in Georgia, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Merabishvili said Georgia’s MOD can rely on approximately 6,000 troops (from an initial 12,000), and that MOIA personnel are largely reliable. End Summary. Situation on Ground in Flux ————————— 2. (C) Merabishvili said the situation on the ground was changing every 30 minutes. There was bombing, then quiet. He said Russian troops had been constantly moving in and out of Gori and the Port of Poti. He said more Russian officers and troops were now present in Gori. He alleged that the “Chechens and Cossacks” noted by the press are actually Russian MOD units with a few Ossetians included. He told us that his police arrested two Russians driving a truck from Senaki with looted goods on August 13. Merabishvili believed all of the Russians in Samegrelo were CIS PKF forces, but that the Russian forces in Gori were poorly equipped and organized. He claimed that the Deputy Chief of Russia’s Airborne forces, General Alexander Borisov, is commanding the Russians in Gori. Merabishvili said 50 Georgian patrol police are ready to go into Gori and reestablish order as soon as the Russians leave. Utiashvili claimed that Russian forces in the villages near Gori allowed North Ossetian irregulars to plunder the area, including raping women and shooting resisters. Utiashvili claimed that they were stealing everything, from TVs to air conditioners to toilet paper. End note.) Fighting, Casualties in South Ossetia ————————————- 3. (C) Merabishvili claimed that press reports of 2,000 people killed in South Ossetia were “fake.” He said that Georgian MOIA forces killed 13 in Tskhinvali, and Georgia’s MOD lost 70 and claimed the numbers of wounded were significantly higher. According to Merabishvili, there were about 30 civilians killed in Tskhinvali, and perhaps 200 policemen. He did not have an estimate for the surrounding villages. He claimed 60 Georgian civilians were killed in a Gori apartment by a single bomb, likely a Backfire bomber. Utiashvili stated that there were 17 Georgians killed in Senaki, primarily by bombing, as well as four at the military base. He said eight people were killed by bombs in Poti. Merabishvili estimated that Georgia is facing a flood of around 200,000 refugees. Invasion of Upper Kodori ———————— 4. (C) In Kodori, Merabishvili reported that General Chaban (head of the CIS PKF, stationed in Abkhazia) had blocked Kodori from both sides, prior to the Russian Air Force dropping 300 bombs on the area. Merabishvili said that his forces suffered three wounded, while they shot down one airplane and one helicopter. He told us there was no ground battle in Kodori, as his men (approximately 500) escaped into the forest, where they remained. Utiashvili claimed that General Borisov led the operation, which included 130 Russian military vehicles. Aside from these 500 men, Merabishvili said of Georgian MOIA personnel, only patrol police remain inside the zone of conflict in Poti, Zugdidi, and Kutaisi. 24,000 Russian Troops in Georgia ——————————– 5. (C) Utiashvili alleged there are now 9,000 Russian troops and 350 military vehicles (including tanks, armored personnel carriers, and trucks) in Abkhazia. Some of these troops are airborne, both in Gali and Zugdidi. He estimated there are now 15,000-plus Russian troops in South Ossetia. “Forget Georgia” Russians Say —————————– 6. (C) Merabishvili said the Russians are now telling Georgian civilians in Zugdidi and Samegrelo region that they “should forget Georgia.” He claimed the Russians are testing former MOIA (under Shevardnadze) Igor Giorgadze’s name in Gali and Zugdidi, as a potential new President/leader. (Note: Press has reported that the deposed, exiled Giorgadze has been sighted in the Zugdidi region accompanying Russian troops, although some now argue that the Georgians are floating this rumor to drum up additional support for the Saakashvili government. End note.) Russian Ballistic Missiles Targeted Georgia ——————————————- 7. (C) Merabishvili said that the Russians used “Iskander” missiles (SS-26) to target Gori’s city center and the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline near Rustavi. Merabishvili provided photographic evidence of the second attack, which he claims originated from Dagestan, to DAS Bryza. (Note: Provided by email to the Task Force and Sit Room. End note.) Post has seen press photos of another Russian missile that landed in Poti. Merabishvili alleged that BP has denied the attack on their pipeline in order to protect their stock value. Utiashvili said that a Russian officer possessed 2,000 new Russian passports (photos have been provided to Post), which he was planting on corpses to inflate the body count of “Russian citizens.” Merabishvili confirmed that the Russians had destroyed several Coast Guard cutters, although most of Georgia’s border guards had gone to Turkey. Shelling of Tamarasheni Provoked Invasion —————————————– 8. (C) Merabishvili told us that the escalation of the conflict occurred after the villages of Nuli and Avnevi were destroyed. Since OSCE observers were hunkered down in Tskhinvali, they could not hear the bombing in Avnevi. Merabishvili said that previous to this, de-facto Ossetian leader Kokoity would always stop the escalation. This time, however, the Georgians and Ossetians traded fire back and forth, as the fighting increased from small arms fire, to mortars, to 122-mm mortars, to artillery. Merabishvili tried to get the Ossetians to stop, but they would not. When DAS Bryza asked who decided to invade Tskhinvali and why, Utiashvili said the Georgian side was compelled to respond to attacks on Tamarasheni. Utiashvili said 44 people were killed in the ensuing three days the Russians bombed Tskhinvali. “Heroes took Tskhinvali, Held Four Days” —————————————- 9. (C) Merabishvili said that 600 of his MOIA special forces, with their Kobra vehicles (armored Humvees with 40-mm guns), took Tskhinvali in six hours, against 2,000 defenders. He claimed that in the future they will use the attack to teach tactics. He returned again to the subject, noting that “we held Tskhinvali for four days despite the Russians’ bombing. Half of our men were wounded, but none died. These guys are heroes.” (Comment: Post understands MOIA control of Tskhinvali was actually closer to 24 hours. End comment.) Current Troop Status ——————– 10. (C) Asked about the loyalty of Georgia’s troops, Merabishvili said the MOD currently has 4,000 soldiers they can count on. He expected this number to increase to 6,000 following President Bush’s speech. Merabishvili claimed that 70 percent of MOIA’s initial paramilitary numbers are loyal and accountable, and that his special forces are 100 percent reliable. In addition, he said the patrol police are functioning and reliable. (Comment: Post’s INL-contracted police trainer, confirms this information. The Patrol Police’s command and control is functioning and they are patrolling throughout the country, except for the conflict zones where they do not have access. End comment.) Looking Ahead ————- 11. (C) Merabishvili expressed concern that the Russians intended to keep troops in Gori. DAS Bryza told Merabishvili of his August 14th strategy session with President Saakashvili. Bryza suggested that the next steps were: — Get the Russian troops out of Georgia, and end the violence. — Take measures to shore up the economy (secure the banking sector and reassure investors). — Repair the commercial sector (including opening the roads and Port of Poti). — Provide relief and assistance to IDPs. Conflict resolution would then follow. Bryza expressed his view that the UN Friends process was finished, and that Kokoity should be ostracized by the international community. He encouraged Merabishvili to present Georgia’s version of the collapse of the cease fire on August 7 publicly. TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 002453 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PBTS, MARR, MOPS, RS, GG, CIS SUBJECT: TFGGO1: RUSSIA REACTS TO GEORGIA’S WITHDRAWAL FROM CIS Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Eric S. Rubin for reasons 1.4 (b ) and (d). 1. (C) Summary: Russian leaders have downplayed Georgia’s decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Russian Duma Deputies and Federation Council members have argued that Georgia was only hurting itself by withdrawing from the CIS, and that neither Russia nor the organization itself would be adversely affected by the move. MFA officials have stressed that they have not yet received official word of the GOG’s decision, but have hinted at possible consequences for Georgia. Indeed, Tbilisi’s move might resonate more than officials are letting on. Russia attaches importance to regional institutions in which it serves as the de facto leader, and has reacted strongly to previous Georgian threats to withdraw from the CIS. Georgia’s decision has already prompted Ukraine to reexamine its future relationship with the Russia-dominated club. The complete withdrawal of one, and possibly two, of its “western-oriented” neighbors from the CIS could chip away at Russian claims of regional hegemony. End Summary. ——————————————– MFA Awaits Official Word; Will Russia React? ——————————————– 2. (U) Shortly after Saakashvili’s August 12 announcement that Georgia would withdraw from the CIS, Russian MFA Spokesman Andrey Nesterenko told the news service ITAR-TASS that neither the CIS nor the GOR had received official word that Georgia would leave the organization. He also pointed out that, according to the CIS charter, member states had to notify the organization 12 months prior to withdrawal. In an August 14 interview with the radio station Ekho Moskvy, FM Lavrov reiterated Nesterenko’s point that no official word of Saakashvili’s decision had been received, despite the Georgian parliament’s unanimous approval of the move earlier that day. He refused comment until official notification was received. 3. (C) According to Nesterenko, the Georgian leader was “obviously struggling for his own political survival.” He said the Georgian leadership was “impulsive” and “irresponsible.” Nesterenko also posited Georgia would be cutting itself off from many economic and humanitarian ties that the CIS had cultivated. Russia has made similar implicit threats in the past. When Georgia announced in 2006 that it was consulting with Ukraine about withdrawing from the CIS, Russia claimed that there would be consequences for their relationship in economic and social areas. Furthermore, when Saakashvili announced in May 2006 that he had asked Parliament to review the benefits of Georgia’s CIS membership, Russia responded two days later with a ban on the import of Georgian mineral water. Now, a failure by Russia to react to Georgia’s withdrawal could be perceived as a sign of acquiescence or weakness by other CIS member states, particularly Ukraine. ——————————————— ———- Federation Council Members Dismiss Impact of Withdrawal ——————————————— ———- 4. (U) Federation Council member Svetlana Orlova predicted Georgia’s withdrawal from the CIS would produce no negative consequences. Despite Russia’s history of trying to compel Georgia to remain in the organization, Orlova added that Georgia brought “nothing but scandal” to the CIS, and the organization would be better off without it. By leaving, “Georgia was hurting only itself.” Federation Council member Vadim Gustov echoed this sentiment, adding that Georgia was walking away from the many trade, economic, and energy agreements that it had negotiated within the framework of the CIS. Various Duma Deputies, Federation Council members, and the CIS General Secretariat issued similar statements. No official has yet to suggest that Russia take any steps to punish Georgia for its withdrawal from the CIS. ——————————————— ———– CIS May Not Be Affected, but Will Russia’s Image Suffer? ——————————————— ———– 5. (C) Vremya Novosti Political Correspondent Arkadiy Dubnov pointed out Georgia did not join the CIS until March 1, 1994, making it the last country to join and the first country to leave. He told us that the CIS would be little affected by the departure of Georgia, as Georgia had been a rather unenthusiastic member and the CIS a rather ineffective organization. Russia’s relations with Georgia were sour prior to the conflict in South Ossetia, and Georgia’s withdrawal from the CIS would not make much difference. Head of the CIS and Baltic Center Leonid Vardomskiy also argued that Russia would lose little by Georgia’s withdrawal from the CIS. Russia already had imposed an economic blockade on Georgia, Russian exports to Georgia were at the same level as before Saakashvili came to power, and a visa regime already existed between the two countries, he argued. Comment ——- 6. (C) However, even if the CIS is moribund, Russia has always been eager to attach importance to Moscow’s leading role in the institution and to the institution itself. Together with the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Russia sees the CIS as a way of maintaining its dominant role in the region and its influence on its neighbors. In comparison to the events in South Ossetia and Abkhazia of the last week, Georgia’s withdrawal from the CIS is seen as a slight blip in Russian-Georgian relations. However, over the long-term it has the potential to chip away at Moscow’s regional role, especially if other states follow Ukraine’s example and start reexamining their membership, too. End Comment. BEYRLE
C O N F I D E N T I A L TEL AVIV 001826 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2018 TAGS: PREL, MOPS, RS, GG, AJ, IS SUBJECT: ISRAEL: MFA DISCUSSES RESPONSE TO CRISIS IN GEORGIA REF: TEL AVIV 1762 Classified By: Ambassador James B. Cunningham for reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) SUMMARY: On August 14, PolOff and Pol-MilOff met with several MFA officials to discuss the crisis in Georgia and Israel’s response. In separate meetings, EmbOffs met Hillel Newman, FM Livni’s chief policy advisor on Europe and Eurasia; Gary Koren, Director of the Eurasia Department; and Roey Gilad, Director of the Export Controls Department. All three officials said the GOI was seriously considering the request received in Washington to reverse the decision to reduce Israeli military assistance to Georgia, but added that they are now proceeding carefully with Georgia within the context of their relationship with Russia. They said that the MFA and MOD plan to hold a joint meeting during the week of August 18 to discuss the way forward. END SUMMARY. 2. (C) Newman told EmbOffs that Livni had recently spoken to Russian FM Lavrov, as well as the Georgian FM, while arranging the evacuation of several hundred Israelis from Georgia. He said that during the conversation, Lavrov thanked Livni for the decision to restrict military support to Georgia, an indication that Russia is watching Israel’s actions closely. 3. (C) In a separate conversation, Eurasia Director Koren emphasized that the GOI is taking the USG request to continue military support to Georgia very seriously and underlined that the Israeli goal is not Russian “satisfaction”, but explained that it is important for Israel to prevent Russian “dissatisfaction” leading potentially to Russian transfers of increasingly sophisticated arms to Iran and Syria. (Note: Other GOI officials have told us the Russians have explicitly threatened to link sales of advanced weapon systems, especially air defense systems, to Iran and Syria with Israeli behavior on issues of key concern to Russia.) Koren also said that Israel had been worried for some time about providing offensive weapons to Georgia out of fear that the Georgians would over-reach, which it appears they did. He added that the GOI was not surprised by the war, given the recent rising tensions and Russian troop movements. 4. (C) So far, Koren said that Israel had been focusing on the immediate reaction to the crisis and was just starting its strategic thinking about the ramifications of reductions in military assistance in this new context. Israel had just evacuated approximately 600 citizens out of Georgia on four flights over the previous two days, and started providing medical humanitarian assistance – medicine, doctors, and potentially ambulances – to the affected areas. Overall, Koren acknowledged that Israel “needs to mend its relationship” with Georgia, to a certain extent. However, he noted that while the two countries traditionally have strong ties, non-security trade with Georgia is small, around USD50 million a year, and the regional focus of Israel’s interest is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline and Azerbaijan. 5. (C) There are also 12,000 Jews living in Georgia, Koren said, and the GOI is concerned about incidents of anti-Semitism. While anti-Semitism is historically very low in Georgia, he explained, there seem to be attempts in the Russian media to blame the outbreak of the war on the Jews by pointing out that the Georgian Minister of Defense, the Georgian minister in charge of territorial negotiations and several other high-ranking Georgian officials directly involved in the issue are Jewish. 6. (C) In a third conversation, Export Controls Director Gilad acknowledged Washington-based conversations with the Israeli DCM on the matter, and confirmed the MFA-MOD meeting later this week to discuss a way forward. He pressed for details of any changes in U.S. military assistance to Georgia, and requested both sides keep the other informed. ********************************************* ******************** Visit Embassy Tel Aviv’s Classified Website: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv You can also access this site through the State Department’s Classified SIPRNET website. ********************************************* ******************** CUNNINGHAM
C O N F I D E N T I A L CARACAS 001160 SIPDIS HQSOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD C O R R E C T E D COPY (TEST PARA 2) E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, RS, GG, VE SUBJECT: BRV BLAMES U.S. FOR GEORGIA CONFLICT REF: A. CARACAS 001024 B. CARACAS 000625 C. CARACAS 000233 Classified By: POLITICAL COUNSELOR FRANCISCO FERNANDEZ, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (SBU) The BRV Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an August 14 press release asserting that the United States “planned, prepared, and ordered” the Georgian military offensive against the break-away region of South Ossetia. The statement continued, “The international community was once again witness to the policy of destabilization and incitement to violence that the American empire practices around the world.” The BRV statement goes on to absolve Russia of all blame and declare it a force for peace in the region. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called Georgian President a U.S. “puppet,” and said the Russians, “did what they had to do,” on August 17 in his weekly television show, “Alo, Presidente.” ——- COMMENT ——- 2. (C) The BRV frequently levels preposterous charges against the United States for domestic and international problems. The BRV was slow to react this time, but the statement is consistent with the growing ties between Russian and Venezuela. Over the last several years, the BRV has inked arms deals with Russia reportedly for some USD 3-4 billion (Ref A). Chavez also recently returned from a trip to Russia, where he was reported to have said Russian bases would be welcome in Venezuela (Note: BRV officials quickly ‘clarified’ Chavez’ remarks and denied such an offer had been made. End note.) In the August 17 edition of “Alo, Presidente,” Chavez said Russia intended to send naval ships to the Caribbean Sea and that the ships would be received in Venezuela. 3. (C) The BRV’s position on the Russia – Georgia conflict appears to derive entirely from Venezuela’s increasingly close relationship with Russia. The BRV opposed recognition of an independent Kosovo while again strongly backing Russia. In a February 21, 2008 speech, Chavez declared that Kosovar independence was, “a plan by the Empire (read: the U.S.) to weaken the governments of the world (Ref C).” Chavez also strongly opposes the autonomy movement in the Santa Cruz region of Bolivia and has accused the United States of backing secessionist efforts in Venezuela’s oil-rich state of Zulia (Ref B). DUDDY
UNCLAS USNATO 000292 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: MARR, MOPS, NATO, PINR, PREL, GG, RS SUBJECT: TFGG01: RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR ROGOZIN RESCINDS REQUEST FOR EXTRAORDINARY NRC MEETING 1. (SBU) On Monday, August 18, the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to NATO, Ambassador Dmitry Rogozin, circulated a letter to the Deputy Secretary General and distributed to all delegations rescinding his request for an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). The text of the letter follows. 2. (SBU) Brussels, “18” August, 2008 Dear Mr. Deputy Secretary General, In view of continuing uncertainty regarding our request to convene the NRC extraordinary meeting on events in and around South Ossetia I revoke this application as irrelevant under the present circumstances. Making our request we proceeded from a clear understanding that extraordinary meetings of the NRC provided for in the Organizational arrangements are needed to exchange opinions on topical issues in the framework of Russia-NATO political dialogue and have to be treated as a matter of urgency by all NRC member states. It is of particular importance at a time when our positions significantly differ. Please, distribute this letter to all NRC delegations. Sincerely yours, /s/ D. ROGOZIN H.E. AMBASSADOR CLAUDIO BISOGNIERO DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION Brussels VOLKER
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 001587 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2018 TAGS: PREL, PBTS, PHUM, MOPS, OSCE, UNSC, FR, GG, RU, RS, UN SUBJECT: TFGG01: FRENCH EFFORTS TO RESOLVE CRISIS IN GEORGIA REF: A. STATE 88235 B. STATE 87254 C. STATE 88216 D. PARIS 01561 E. PARIS POINTS FOR AUGUST 13 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Kathleen H. Allegrone. Rea sons 1.4b,d 1. (C) Summary: Since President Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Kouchner met with Secretary Rice on August 14, President Sarkozy has maintained high-profile efforts to implement the Russia/Georgia six-point cease-fire accord he negotiated in his capacity as EU President — especially the main point of contention, which is the fifth point that states “Russian military forces should withdraw to positions prior to the outbreak of hostilities” and that “while waiting for an international mechanism, Russian forces will implement additional security measures.” In an opinion article published in Le Figaro August 18, Sarkozy stressed that if point 5 of the accord is not applied rapidly and completely, he will convene an extraordinary session of the European Council (EU Heads of State/Government) to decide on next steps. Following on guidance from Washington, Post has relayed demarche requests (see Refs A-C), including the request for additional OSCE monitors in Georgia. While much of the current focus is on NATO and the NAC, Sarkozy,s optic is first and foremost the EU. France, as President of the EU, will also be turning its attention to the upcoming September 5-6 Gymnich, where EU-Russia relations will be prominently discussed, and the September 9 EU summit with Ukraine. End Summary. 2. (U) As of August 18, building on the Secretary’s August 14 visit, the French have concentrated on establishing modalities for implementation of point 5 of the six-point cease-fire accord. On August 17, Sarkozy publicly released the text of his August 14 letter to Georgian President Saakashvili establishing such modalities, stemming from their August 12 meeting in Tbilisi. In the letter, Sarkozy stated that Saakashvili,s signature of the accord would guarantee withdrawal of Russian forces, per Sarkozy,s discussions with Russian President Medvedev. With respect to the presence of Russian troops, Sarkozy stressed that these additional security measures — which would be Russian peacekeeping forces at a level authorized by existing agreements — referred only to the immediate proximity of South Ossetia and not any other part of Georgian territory, including Gori. 3. (U) In his August 17 phone conversation with Medvedev, Sarkozy underlined that a signature by all parties of the six-point accord would have to translate into a withdrawal without delay of all Russian military forces in Georgia since August 7, according to the French MFA and French media citing the Elysee. Otherwise, non-compliance on Russia,s part would have a detrimental effect on its relations with the European Union. In the same conversation, the two heads of state agreed on the deployment of OSCE observers, and the French were hoping EU member states would make a decision today (August 18) to bring the total number of OSCE observers on the ground to 100. The two presidents also agreed to hold a phone conversation each day regarding implementation of the ceasefire. The GOF — following on Medvedev,s announcement that the withdrawal of Russian troops would begin on August 18 — remains vigilant, especially regarding the access of humanitarian organizations to the civilian population. 4. (C) Recent French attempts build on last week,s efforts by the GOF to achieve Sarkozy,s primary goal of establishing a ceasefire in Georgia that would end hostilities and allow humanitarian assistance to flow into the country. During his negotiations with Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin in Moscow August 12, Sarkozy was unable to address issues of “territorial integrity” and “sovereignty” for Georgia. 5. (U) FM Kouchner, for his part, has been in close contact over the past few days with Secretary Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, as well as with many of his counterparts in the European Union. He may also return to Georgia and Russia depending on how the situation evolves, but he has no firm plans or date in mind, according to the French MFA. Kouchner will also participate PARIS 00001587 002 OF 004 in the NAC tomorrow. The foreign minister previously had presided over the August 13 GAERC meeting in Brussels and there relayed the results of his visits in Tbilisi and Moscow, where, together with the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, he had proposed a four-point plan of action. The Kouchner/Stubb original proposal did not include the specific language in the subsequent six-point plan that Sarkozy brokered on Russian military forces withdrawing to pre-hostilities locations, Russian peacekeeping forces, or opening of international talks on the security and stability arrangements in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, the current plan does match the Kouchner/Stubb original proposal in its first 4 points: (1) not to resort to force; (2) to end hostilities definitively; (3) to provide free access for humanitarian aid; and (4) the withdrawal of Georgian military forces to their usual bases. 6. (U) Following on last week,s GAERC meeting, the French Presidency will work with the European Commission and with the Council secretariat on the accord regarding concrete steps for the Union to take that would result in a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Georgia. A working group was to begin meeting today at the MFA. 7. (U) Discussions at the UN Security Council toward adopting a resolution that will contribute to stabilizing the situation in Georgia continued to take place over the weekend, according to the French MFA. Negotiations on the text proposed by the French were to resume today. 8. (C) Following previous efforts (See Ref D), Post passed Georgia demarche points in Ref A on the afternoon of August 16 to MFA Continental Europe A/S equivalent Roland Galharague, who noted receipt of the points but was unable to provide immediately a substantive response. 9. (C) Regarding upcoming French EU Presidency initiatives and meetings, the head of the MFA,s CFSP office, Patrick Maisonnave, on August 18 relayed to post the agenda for the upcoming Informal Foreign Ministers, Meeting (Gymnich) in Avignon, which will focus on (1) the Middle East peace process, (2) Georgia, EU/Russia relations, (3) a revision of the European Security Strategy (Note: a long-standing French ESDP priority) and (4) Transatlantic relations. If time permits, the agenda also will include two more agenda items: Serbia and Afghanistan/Pakistan. The agenda could evolve between now and September 5-6. 10. (C) In addition, we understand Sarkozy and Kouchner recognize that the situation in Georgia — particularly a lack of a solution in the region — could spill over into problems for other former Soviet bloc countries in the region, including Ukraine. This issue probably will figure prominently at the EU/Ukraine Summit, which will take place on September 9 in Evian, according to the Ukrainian Embassy (See Ref E). The summit, held in the context of deepening EU/Ukraine relations, is intended to give a decisive boost to negotiations on a new enhanced agreement that began in 2007. 11. (SBU) Following is an informal Embassy translation of the six-point agreement on a Russian/Georgian cease-fire, as passed to the parties on 14 August 2008: Begin text: Agreed Protocol 1. No resort to force. 2. A definitive halt to hostilities. 3. Provision of free access for humanitarian assistance. 4. Georgian military forces must withdraw to the places they are usually stationed. 5. Russian forces must withdraw to their positions prior to the outbreak of hostilities. While awaiting an international mechanism, Russian peacekeeping forces will implement additional security measures. 6. Opening of international discussions on security and stability modalities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. PARIS 00001587 003 OF 004 For the European Union, The French Presidency s/s Nicolas Sarkozy End text 12. (U) Following is an informal Embassy translation of a statement and related documents released by the French presidency on Georgia, 17 August 2008: INFORMAL TRANSLATION OF COMMUNIQUE AND RELATED DOCUMENTS RELEASED BY THE FRENCH PRESIDENCY ON GEORGIA, 17 AUGUST 2008 Paris 16 August 2008 COMMUNIQUE The Presidency of the Republic, out of concern for transparency, wishes to make public the letter that established precisely the modalities for the implementation of point 5 of the six-point cease-fire accord, stemming from President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy’s 12 August meeting with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. This letter was addressed on August 14 to President Mikhail Saakashvili. Begin text: Mister President: Regarding point 5 of the six-point accord to which you ) after President Medvedev ) gave your approval 12 August during our meeting in Tbilisi, and which states that “Russian military forces should withdraw to positions prior to the outbreak of hostilities” and that “while waiting for an international mechanism, Russian forces will implement additional security measures,” I wish to share with you the following points for the sake of precision: –As I made clear at our joint press conference in Tbilisi, these “additional security measures” may only be implemented in the immediate proximity of South Ossetia to the exclusion of any other part of Georgian territory. –More precisely, these “measures” may only be implemented inside a zone of a depth of a few kilometers from the administrative limit between South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia in a manner such that no significant urban zone would be included ) I am thinking in particular of the city of Gori. Special arrangements must be defined to guarantee the liberty of movement and traffic along the length of the major highways and railways of Georgia. –These “additional security measures” will take the form of patrols undertaken solely by Russian peacekeeping forces at a level authorized by existing agreements, with other Russian forces withdrawing to their positions prior to 7 August in conformity with the agreed protocol; –These “measures” will have a provisional character while awaiting the establishment as quickly as possible of the “international mechanism” whose nature and mandate are still the subject of discussion by different international entities, in particular the OSCE, the European Union, and the United Nations. Armed with these points of precision, I ask that you confirm the agreement that you gave me and that you announced publicly in Tbilisi while affixing your signature at the bottom of the six-point agreed protocol that I had myself signed as a witness and guarantor in the name of the European Union. President Medvedev yesterday assured me that your signature would lead to the withdrawal of Russian forces pursuant to the accord concluded. I ask that you accept, Mister President, the assurance of my highest consideration. s/s PARIS 00001587 004 OF 004 Nicolas Sarkozy End text The Presidency of the Republic wishes to add the three following clarifications: –In a letter accompanying the document relative to the cease-fire, the territory mentioned includes the immediate zone of conflict, as defined by prior arrangements, to the exclusion of any other part of Georgian territory. The measures defined by this document may only be implemented within a zone of a depth of a few kilometers, around Tskhinvali inside the zone of conflict. –In no way will the measures mentioned in the letter be allowed to limit or place in danger the freedom of movement and of traffic along the length of the highways and railways of Georgia. –Other aspects of the process to resolve the conflict will be discussed later. End text Please visit Paris’ Classified Website at: http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Fran ce PEKALA
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 001276 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, EUN, GG, RU, TU, YI SUBJECT: TFGG01: AMBASSADOR MEETS EU ENLARGEMENT COMMISSIONER REHN ON EVE OF GAERC ON GEORGIA; RUSSIA, SERBIA AND TURKEY DISCUSSED REF: BRUSSELS 1245 Classified By: USEU/POL M-C Chris Davis for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1.(C) Summary: In the Ambassador’s August 12 meeting with the European Commissioner for Enlargement, Olli Rehn said the EU, post-Georgia, needed to re-examine its relations with Russia, including the EU-Russia Partnership Agreement. On Serbia, Rehn thought the French presidency would move toward an Interim Agreement, since relations with the EU were improving after the arrest of Karadzic. He did not answer whether he thought a Serbian referral to the ICJ of the question of Kosovo independence could affect the deployment of EULEX. On Turkey, Rehn thought France might open three accession chapters, rather than the usual two per presidency. It is important, he said, to reinforce positive trends, especially those leading to entente between the religious and secular in Turkey. End Summary Georgia ——- 2. (C) The EU’s Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said on August 12 he could not predict what would be decided at the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) meeting on the following day regarding Georgia, pending a report from President Sarkozy. He said President Bush’s strong statement on August 11 was important. The issues to be discussed in GAERC would likely be: cease-fire, withdrawal of forces to status quo ante positions, respect for international borders, humanitarian assistance, and an eventual international monitoring presence. The setting was more complicated for Europe, he said, given especially Russia’s provision of energy resources. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is vulnerable, and Rehn noted that it had recently been damaged in an apparent terrorist attack in Turkey. (Note: This was a reference to an explosion on August 6, claimed by the PKK, End Note.) Nonetheless, he said, Europe needed to voice its concerns and debate the consequences for Russian/EU relations. 3. (C) The Ambassador said Russia should not be allowed to hold Gori as a negotiating point, and that Russian could not retain a continued role as peacekeepers and mediators, per the 1994 Moscow Agreement. To Rehn’s question about the consequences for U.S./Russian relations, the Ambassador noted that the Secretary had convened the G7, signaling less openness toward the G8 format including Russia, and that there was work underway in the USG to identify longer-term consequences. The Ambassador noted that the EU should have on the table a number of options as well including the EU-Russia Partnership Agreement and the treatment of Gazprom. 4. (C) The Ambassador asked about longer-term consequences for EU enlargement. Rehn said Russia was testing EU resolve, and the big issue was Ukraine. He said Putin had been consistent in warning that independence for Kosovo would have consequences for South Ossetia and Abkhazia. “Many Serbians, even pro-European ones,” he said, “are saying ‘I told you so.'” The Ambassador maintained that it is important for the U.S. and the EU to signal continued support to Georgia; otherwise, aspiring democrats will conclude there is a hard price to pay for turning to the West. Moreover, she said, the Russian offensive was clearly pre-meditated. 5. (C) Rehn agreed that Russia seemed to want to establish a buffer zone in Georgia, and even cut the country in half and weaken it. Noting the striking parallels with the early 1920s – when Moscow used the pretext of threats to local Bolsheviks to take over Georgia – Rehn acknowledged that Putin knew his history. “However, he should have been more creative.” Now, Rehn said, it is difficult to imagine what kind of Partnership Agreement the EU could have with Russia, given such behavior. Rehn, who is Finnish, noted there is a reason why his country reportedly has the largest artillery forces in the EU. Serbia —— 6. (C) For Serbia itself, however, things were “clearly better,” and the French Presidency wanted to move toward an Interim Agreement, which Rehn said counted more than a Stabilization and Association Agreement. An Interim Agreement was immediately implementable since it would be based on EU competencies, not member state competencies. If ICTY prosecutor Brammertz’s next report is positive, the Dutch would be more likely to support and Interim Agreement. Rehn thought Brammertz considered the Karadzic arrest to be “a milestone,” but that Brammertz had continued concerns about access to archival materials. “This is the first chance BRUSSELS 00001276 002 OF 002 we’ve had to make real progress with Serbia,” he added. 7. (C) As for referring the question of Kosovo independence to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Rehn wanted to avoid Serbia’s doing that, but said that if Belgrade can transfer the Kosovo issue elsewhere for a time, it could make negotiating with the EU easier. Rehn did not answer the Ambassador’s question about the impact of an ICJ referral on EULEX deployment, which could encourage the UN and some EU members to adopt a “wait and see” approach. The Ambassador also made the point that an ICJ judgment could have unintended consequences for other countries and that we were pointing out to other UNGA members the risks to their interests. Turkey —— 8. (C) Commissioner Olli Rehn said he did not have a convincing answer to the Ambassador’s question about the impact on accession talks of the Constitutional Court’s judgment regarding the Turkish AKP party. Turkish society – Muslim democrats and secularists – still needed to find a modus vivendi, with EU and U.S. encouragement, he said, and this would be “a long and difficult journey.” Rehn thought there now needed to be some constitutional amendments, and no provocation from the Turkish military establishment; however, the chief prosecutor did not seem ready to drop his case against the AKP. Rehn thought France might be willing to open three chapters for negotiation with Turkey, rather than the usual two per EU presidency. Rehn and the Ambassador both deemed unfounded the suspicion some harbor that Turkey’s EU membership would ultimately weaken the EU. SILVERBERG .
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 088627 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 8/18/2018 TAGS: AEMR, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, MARR, PREL, PINR, AMGT, GG SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA TASK FORCE SITUATION REPORT NO. 22 CLASSIFIED BY: PJWALKER/DCSCHNEIDER, S/ES-O, REASON 1.4(D) NO EVIDENCE OF RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL ——————————————— ——— 1. (SBU) Russian checkpoints remain on the Gori-Tbilisi highway. Russia may raise a failed POW exchange as a reason for not withdrawing. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 2. (SBU) Russia denies allegations it blew up the Kaspi bridge. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 3. (SBU) Russia denied access to OSCE observers in both Gori and South Ossetia. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) HUMANITARIAN ISSUES AND RESOURCES ——————————————— 4. (SBU) USS McFaul and US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas will enter the Black Sea August 22 and 24, and reach the Georgian coast two days later. USS Taylor and USS Mount Whitney could enter between August 25-31. (TF/Embassy Ankara e-mail) 5. (SBU) EUCOM Brig. Gen. Miller and Treasury DAS Meyer are in Tbilisi to discuss assistance. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 6. (SBU) EUCOM completed 10 flights with humanitarian aid. (TF/USAID e-mail) CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATIONS CONTINUE TO ARRIVE ——————————————— —- 7. (SBU) Congressman Smith plans to arrive in Tbilisi August 19; the Evans children are the focus of his trip. (TF/Rep. Smith telcon) 8. (SBU) Senators Lieberman and Graham will visit Tbilisi August 20, and Senator Lugar will visit August 23-24. (TF/H e-mail) STATUS OF DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS ——————————————— —- 9. (SBU) NATO did not achieve consensus on the NAC statement or on responses to Georgia’s requests. Discussions on forming a NATO-Georgia Commission are proceeding. Russia revoked its request for an NRC meeting. (TF/USNATO telcon) 10. (SBU) Russia is stalling OSCE action despite Finnish efforts; a decision to deploy additional military monitoring officers is unlikely today. (TF/EUR/RPM e-mail) 11. (S/NF) Quad Political Directors concurred P-3 agreement on any UNSC resolution would be necessary before engaging Russia, making a resolution unlikely until a cease-fire is confirmed. (TF/USUN e-mail) AMERICAN MINORS REMAIN IN COUNTRY ——————————————— —- 12. (SBU) Approximately 25 Amcit children remain in Georgia. Post continues to advise Amcits to stay in place until security improves. (TF/Embassy Tbilisi telcon) 13. (U) Minimize considered. RICE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001391 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, RU, GG SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 13 REF: TBILISI 1372 Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 1. (C) Summary: As of 1600 August 19, there is still no evidence of Russian troops withdrawing from Georgia. Russian checkpoints remain along the main East-West highway on both sides of Gori. Embassy officers who attempted to drive up the road from Tbilisi to Gori were turned back after the second checkpoint. OSCE military observers were able to access both Gori (8/19) and the city of Akhlagori (8/18). Russian troops reportedly threatened Georgian troops in the base at Sachkere, west of South Ossetia in Georgia proper. End Summary. STILL NO EVIDENCE OF RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL ————————————— 2. (C) As of 1600 August 19, there is still no sign of a Russian withdrawal from Georgian territory, including South Ossetia. To the contrary, Russian troops were reportedly moving around the occupied areas of Georgia, undertaking missions of varying military significance. The GOG reports that Russian troops set mines on roads and bridges in Kaspi and Mestia, as well as other areas they occupy. The Russians reportedly left the military base at Senaki and returned later in the day on August 18. During the course of the day, the airfield was dynamited. Russian soldiers burned cottages at the “Patriot” youth camp near the Abkhaz cease-fire line. At the the village of Lamiskana, near Igoeti, on the Georgian side of the South Ossetian cease-fire line, Russian tanks crushed Georgian police vehicles that had attempted to impede their progress into the town. No shots were reported to have been fired. Drunken Russian soldiers did fire into the air as they harassed workers at a pumping station on BP’s Baku-Supsa pipline, as reported by the pipeline’s operator, BP. The soldiers wandered off later in the afternoon and did not return. 3. (C) The major east-west highway between Tbilisi and Gori remains closed to regular traffic and dotted with Russian checkpoints. Journalists and some defense attaches were refused permission to enter Gori and were requested to show Russian visas or Russian-issued press credentials. However, on August 19, an OSCE military observer was able to drive from Tbilisi through Gori to Khashuri, after being stopped the day before. He saw no sign of a withdrawal. Russian Regular Forces and unarmed Georgian police manned a checkpoint outside of Khashuri and all was quiet. In the town of Khashuri people were going about their normal lives with no evidence of panic. Russian checkpoints are flying the CIS-PKF peacekeepers’ flag. The Georgians reported that the Russian military approached the commander of the Georgian base at Sachkere, west of South Ossetia in Georgia proper and asked entry. When he refused, the Russian reportedly threatened to return with reinforcements. The Georgians fear a future confrontation. FOOD SHORTAGES IN GORI ———————- 4. According to USAID, although some food convoys are getting through, experts believe that Gori is not receiving sufficient supplies of food because of the continuing Russian checkpoints. The railroad to Tbilisi remains cut due to the damaged railroad bridge (repairs began August 17 and are continuing). Armenia and Azerbaijan, both of whom depend on the Georgian railway system for trade and commerce, are providing assistance to repair the bridge. USAID is assisting the Georgian government to organize a shipment of food to Gori. National Security Advisor Kakha Lomaia, who has been the key Georgian official in Gori, is negotiating with the Russian commander there to get the shipment through. MORE REPORTS OF LOOTING ———————– 5. (C) Two Georgians in Zugdidi complained to UNOMIG observers that “Russians” had looted their houses, and others in their neighborhood, They said nothing was being spared by the looters. Reportedly, Russian troops have stripped Georgian installations they have occupied of anything valuable, right down to the toilet seats. Thus inspired, protesters outside the Russian Embassy in Tbilisi mockingly offered the diplomats inside toilet seats. On a more serious note, there were reports that Russian soldiers were removing everything of value from both the military and commercial sides of the port at Poti. TBILISI 00001391 002 OF 002 PRISONER EXCHANGE COMPLETED, BUT RUSSIANS TAKE MORE ——————————————— —— 6. (C) Negotiations for a prisoner exchange between Russia and Georgia were stalled by disagreements over the number of prisoners held by the sides, but ultimately the prisoners were exchanged on August 19, with the help of the French Ambassador in Tbilisi. Both sides had sought an “all for all” exchange of prisoners held, but it is not clear whether either side still holds any prisoners or not. On August 14, there were unconfirmed reports that Russian troops had taken a new group of Georgian soldiers prisoner in Poti. MORE THAN 100,000 IDP’S REGISTERED ———————————- 7. (U) UNHRC reported that the number of internally displaced persons has reached 160,000. The Georgian Ministry of Refugee Affairs count of registerd IDP’s is 104,234 in about 600 shelters. Although South Ossetian de facto president Kokoity is reported to have said that no Georgian IDP’s will be allowed to return to their homes in South Ossetia, he was contradicted by the Russian Foreign Ministry. However, the Ministry implied that return of the IDP’s is likely to be a years-long process. GEORGIAN CIVILIANS KIDNAPPED —————————- 8. (C) Deputy Foreign Minister Gigi Bokeria told the Ambassador that 14 Georgian civilians in South Ossetia have been kidnapped and are being held in Tskhinvali. He told Poloff that 250 Georgian civilians are being held in a camp in Tskhinvali and are being forced to work. AZERIS CANCEL BIG CONTRACT WITH TBILAVIAMSHENI ——————————————— – 9. (U) A Tbilisi businessman in a position to know told us that all-but-completed negotiations for a $135 million contract between the Azerbaijan government and Tbilisi aircraft manufacturer Tbilaviamsheni to refurbish Azeri SU-25 military jets were scuttled by the Azeris in the last few days. The Tbilaviamsheni factory’s aircraft runway was a target of Russian bombs last week. The large contract would have been a major boost for Tbilaviamsheni, one of the few complex technology manufacturers in Georgia. FOREST FIRES CONTINUE TO BURN —————————– 10. (U) Forest fires that are believed to have been intentionally set by Russian forces continued to burn in the Borjomi National Park, despite efforts to control them. At least one new fire was detected August 19 near the village of Kvabiskhvevi. TEFFT
C O N F I D E N T I A L BERLIN 001150 SIPDIS STATE FOR U/S JEFFERY, D. NELSON, J. GARBER TREASURY FOR D/S KIMMITT, A/S LOWERY, S. RENANDER E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/19/2033 TAGS: EFIN, PREL, PGOV, GG, GM SUBJECT: G-7 STATEMENT ON GEORGIA: GERMAN FINANCE MINISTRY AWAITS SIGNAL FROM CHANCELLERY AND MFA REF: BERLIN 1130 Classified By: Classified by Economic Minister-Counsellor Robert Pollard for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) The German Finance Ministry generally supports the G7 Finance Ministers draft statement on Georgia, but needs marching orders from the Chancellery and MFA before it can give its final approval. In a August 19 meeting with EMIN at the Finance Ministry, Rolf Wenzel, the newly appointed Director General for Financial Market Policy (including G7), stated that his ministry has carefully examined the text and “has no problem with the statement.” In principle, he added, his Ministry (and the rest of the government, he thought) wanted to support Georgian reconstruction, including through multilateral institutions. 2. (C) Wenzel said he looked forward to the teleconference call led by Treasury A/S Lowery today (August 19). He was doubtful that his Ministry would be able to back the G7 statement now, however, because the German government needed more time to coordinate its overall Georgia policy. Chancellor Merkel has just returned from a trip to Georgia, where she had met with President Saakashvili, Wenzel explained, while Foreign Minister Steinmeier would be attending the NATO meeting today in Brussels (followed by meetings with Secretary Rice and EU Foreign Ministers). Thus, Finance would most likely need to consult with the Chancellery and the MFA after the Brussels meetings before moving ahead. TIMKEN JR

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