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Cablegate: Fsc April 30: Fsc Defers to Unomig to Investigate

VZCZCXRO5118
PP RUEHAST RUEHBW RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVEN #0120/01 1231602
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021602Z MAY 08
FM USMISSION USOSCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5697
INFO RUCNOSC/ORG FOR SECURITY CO OP IN EUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0495
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1054
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0999
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE//POLAD/XPXC//
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ5-T/ECPLAD/ECCS//
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEASWA/DTRA ALEX WASHINGTON DC//OSAE
RUESDT/DTRA-OSES DARMSTADT GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5-DDPMA-E/DDPMA-IN/CAC//
RUEADWD/DA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 USOSCE 000120

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR VCI/CCA, VCI/NRRC, EUR/RPM, EUR/PRA, SCA/CEN,
SCA/RA, PM/WRA
JCS FOR J5
OSD FOR ISA (PERENYI)
NSC FOR DOWLEY
USUN FOR LEGAL, POL
CENTCOM FOR CCJ5-C, POLAD
UNVIE FOR AC
GENEVA FOR CD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM PREL MOPS OSCE KCFE GG RS XG
SUBJECT: FSC APRIL 30: FSC DEFERS TO UNOMIG TO INVESTIGATE
GEORGIA UAV INCIDENT

USOSCE 00000120 001.2 OF 006


1. (SBU) Summary: At the request of the Finnish
Chairman-in-Office under the OSCE's "Bucharest mechanism,"
the Forum for Security Cooperation held initial discussions
of the August 20 UAV incident in Abkhazia. The EU and
several of its members deferred to UNOMIG--as it had the
"main responsibility"--to take the lead on an investigation.
While delegations supported continued "discussion" on the
incident in the FSC, Russia challenged the chair when it
announced that the UAV incident would remain on the agenda to
allow any experts to report. Despite Russia's charge that
experts reporting in any national capacity would have no
status compared to a report from UNOMIG, the Estonian chair
declined to reverse herself. The U.S. called for
transparency and calm, and invited other participating States
to join it in sending experts to the region to investigate.
Russia charged that the Internet video of the shoot-down was
a hoax and that the Georgian UAV was engaged in impermissible
"military activity" under the Moscow Agreement and UNSCR 1808
by over-flying Abkhazia.

2. (SBU) Although the UAV incident dominated discussions, on
other issues Germany promised to table a revised version of
its quota race paper after it digested comments from several
delegations, including the U.S. Russia continued to insist
that further measures were necessary to ensure compliance
with the timelines for requesting inspections under the
Vienna Document. Belarus is still waiting for instructions
to join the other 55 delegations in supporting the MANPADS
principles update decision. The Small Arms and Light Weapons
Point of Contact decision will be taken up in the May 8
Plenary after reaching consensus in the working group.
Belarus introduced a Food-for-Thought paper on SALW end-user
certificates. Germany tabled a draft decision on the
publication of a Best Practice Guide Handbook on Stockpiles
of Conventional Weapons. A revised Code of Conduct
Questionnaire draft decision is expected by mid-May. End
summary.

Security Dialogue: Georgia UAV Shoot-down
-----------------------------------------

3. (SBU) After Russian objections prevented the Permanent
Council failed from adopting a draft decision that would have
asked the FSC for its "expert advice" on the April 20 Georgia
UAV shoot-down, the FSC chair Estonia (Parts) informed that
she had just received a letter form the PC chairman
(CIO.GAL/67/08) making the same request for expert advice
under the OSCE's "Bucharest mechanism" (MC.DEC/3/2001,
paragraph 8). Estonia had already added the UAV incident to
the Security Dialogue agenda the day before the FSC meeting
(FSC.GAL/52/08/Rev.1). Parts also reported she had received
a letter from Georgia (Dolidze), also invoking the Bucharest
mechanism, and requesting the FSC send a group of independent
experts to Georgia to investigate (FSC.DEL/84/08).

EU: Let UNOMIG Do It
--------------------

4. (SBU) Slovenia, on behalf of the EU, said it was seriously
concerned but noted the "leading role" of the UN in Abkhazia
and supported a UNOMIG investigation. While regretting the
PC's failure to adopt the decision, the EU looked forward to
continued discussion in the FSC consistent with the approach
of the CiO. Croatia, Norway, Albania, Ukraine, and Iceland
echoed the EU statement. Canada hoped that experts could

USOSCE 00000120 002 OF 006


soon investigate and encouraged Russia to cooperate in any
investigation.

5. (SBU) The U.S. (Finley) called for complete transparency
in an investigation of the shoot-down and urged all involved
in the region to show calm and restraint. She announced that
the U.S. had already sent military experts to Georgia and
invited other participating States also to send experts.

Russia's Questions
------------------

6. (SBU) Russia (Ulyanov) had five questions for Georgia
about the UAV shot down on April 20:

(1) Why was the Georgian UAV in Abkhazian air space despite
UNSCR 1808, which prohibits "unsanctioned" military
activities?
(2) What was the UAV doing: conducting a geological survey?
(3) Another Georgian UAV was shot down on March 18: why did
Georgia not alert the international community to this earlier
incident?
(4) Why did Georgian authorities initially deny the April 30
loss of the UAV but later admit it?
(5) Does the Internet video constitute an "official
statement" by Georgia and is the video to be seen as
authentic?

The Georgian Version
--------------------

7. (SBU) Georgia (Dolidze) replied with a description of the
shoot-down: at 0953 a Russian MiG-29 launched a missile at a
Georgian Ministry of Internal Security UAV over Georgian
"territory." Georgian military radar showed the Russian
fighter returning to Russia at 1006 after the incident.
Georgia based its identification of the aircraft on imagery
from a video, Dolidze said, taken by the drone before its
destruction. This shows a twin-tailed aircraft with air
inlets under each wing. The video also showed a missile
launch from the last or outer pylon under the left wing. The
aircraft was first seen on Georgian radar flying near Gudauta
and after the attack was seen again near Gudauta before
returning to Russia. Dolidze noted that Abkhazia claims the
aircraft was from its air force.

Georgia Invokes OSCE "Bucharest Mechanism"
------------------------------------------

8. (SBU) Dolidze said Russia had not responded to Georgia's
request for information. Georgia now requests the FSC direct
an independent investigation under the mandate of the
"Bucharest mechanism, referring to OSCE decision 2001
Ministerial in Bucharest (MC.DEC/3/01). Dolidze noted
paragraph 8 of the decision called for greater use of the FSC
to strengthen the political-military aspects of the OSCE.
The independent investigation should:
-- authenticate the radar data
-- authenticate the video
-- verify technical data of the aircraft involved
-- determine from where the aircraft took off.

9. (SBU) Dolidze said all participating States were welcome
to participate in the investigation, except parties to the
incident, i.e., Russia and Georgia, and, by extension, any of

USOSCE 00000120 003 OF 006


the member states of the CIS or GUAM. He also asserted
Georgia could support a UNOMIG investigation provided it did
not include any of the parties, i.e., Russia, Georgia,
Abkhazia, and the Joint Peace-Keeping Force (JPKF), itself
comprised of military forces from the parties. Turning to
the specific questions from Russia, Dolidze replied that (1)
the UAV was unarmed and flying over Georgian territory and
(2) belonged to Georgia's Ministry of Internal Defense.

Russia's Rebuttal
-----------------

10. (SBU) Ulyanov claimed Russia was "happy" to have the FSC
investigate. This would be consistent with its oft-stated
preference for using the Security Dialogue and FSC to discuss
important, if not contentious, issues rather than listening
to another guest speaker. Ulyanov said the facts were that
Abkhazian air defense forces shot down the Georgia UAV over
Abkhazia. Rebutting Dolidze's suggestion that the UAV had no
military function, Ulyanov noted UAVs were used, as seen in
Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, for military missions like
reconnaissance and targeting. He charged that the flight
violated the ban on military activities in Abkhazia found in
the Moscow Agreement and UNSCR 1808, enacted only a few days
before the incident. Russia, he claimed, had no military
aircraft in the area because of a lull in activities before
the Orthodox Easter.

11. (SBU) Turning to the Internet video of the shoot-down,
Ulyanov asserted it was simply not credible. He claimed the
behavior of the aircraft as it approached the UAV was
"erratic" and improbable, describing how the fighter
approached from below the UAV, "as if it wanted to be
observed (by the UAV's camera)." He asserted there were no
outer wing pylons on a MiG-29. While the vapor trail of a
missile was visible of the video, air-to air missiles do not
leave a vapor trail, Ulyanov said. Also, it was not clear
when the video was made. Finally, he noted that the incident
was supposed to have occurred over the coast of Abkhazia.
Yet the video shows two roads parallel to the coastline; in
Abkhazia there are no such roads. Also, the famous Abkhazian
beach, visible even in satellite imagery, is missing from the
video images. This was, Ulyanov concluded, "another hoax,
and poorly done."

12. (SBU) Citing several incidents in the Kodori gorge where
Abkhazian villages had been shelled and a subsequent UNOMIG
investigation had refuted Georgian charges that Russia was
responsible, Ulyanov said Georgia was asking the OSCE to
investigate because UNOMIG had seen through earlier Georgian
accusations of Russian aggression. Any investigation,
Ulyanov continued, should be conducted by professionals
through the proper mechanism. It was up to the UN to perform
the fact-finding and "do-it-yourself" measures as the
Georgians proposed should be avoided. The investigation
conducted by independent experts of the August 2007 missile
incident in Georgia was of dubious value. Why confuse
things, Ulyanov asked, recalling the EU also supports a
UNOMIG investigation.

13. (SBU) Dolidze rejoined that UNOMIG lacked capacity to
perform an investigation without Russia, Georgia, Abkhazia,
and the JPKF. Ergo, an independent inquiry was needed. He
promised to have more responses to the Russian questions at a
future FSC meeting.

USOSCE 00000120 004 OF 006

Estonian Chair: UAV Stays on FSC Agenda
---------------------------------------

14. (SBU) The chair announced that, in the interim, the
matter would remain on the FSC agenda. Ulyanov challenged
the chair, noting the Forum will have to wait a while on the
results of any investigation. Independent experts, he added,
could only speak in their national capacity, so it would be
better to wait for results from UNOMIG. The chair was
unmoved, saying that she intended to invite experts to
address the FSC when appropriate.

Vienna Document Quota Race
--------------------------

15. (SBU) Switzerland (von Arx) criticized the German
Food-for-Thought paper on the Vienna Document "quota race"
(FSC.DEL/51/08) for eliminating "freedom of choice" by
preventing pS from using their inspection quota at any time
of the year. Some states might be able to "hide" military
activities by waiting until the end of the inspection
calendar "period." The FFT also would not eliminate the
quota race but instead creates three separate "mini-races."
The provision for carrying quota over into the first months
of the following year unnecessarily complicates the
inspection regime and is not allowed under paragraph 76 of
the Vienna Document.

16. (SBU) Germany (Schweizer) announced Greece and the U.S.
had also provided comments, all of which will be reflected in
a future version of the FFT. Schweizer said the revised
paper will address the question of late exercises; the
end-of-year quota carry-over provision will be dropped. He
asked the chair to remove the paper from the working group
agenda until the revised version is circulated.

Vienna Document Inspection Request Timelines
--------------------------------------------

17. (SBU) Canada (Gosal) objected to Russia's proposed
chair's statement calling for strict compliance with the
timelines for requesting inspections and evaluations under
the paragraphs 85 and 112 of the Vienna Document 1999
(FSC.DEL/75/08). Gosal said the proposal did not address the
full scope of the problem that for Canada included
eleven-hour time zone differences, lengthy travel times, and
occasional difficulties with communications. Participating
States, he asserted, should retain the ability to accept even
untimely requests. Russia (Ulyanov) disagreed, suggesting
that if Canada had an ongoing problem with the timelines it
could suggest a permanent change to them.

18. (SBU) Switzerland, Italy, and Sweden agreed with Russia
that more discipline in complying with the timelines was
required, but had reservations about the last sentence of the
proposal, which would require refusal of untimely requests.
This language, they cautioned, was more appropriate to an FSC
decision.

19. (SBU) Ulyanov announced he had studied Conflict
Prevention Center (CPC) data for 2007 and calculated that
there had been 85 violations of the timelines, "many of them
by Russia." Continued violations will seriously erode
implementation of the Vienna Document, he said, noting that

USOSCE 00000120 005 OF 006


early requests were also a problem. The chair agreed to task
the CPC to perform a multi-year study of past violations to
determine if the problem was, in the words of the UK (Gare),
"a trend or a blip."

MANPADS Decision
----------------

20. (SBU) Belarus (Pavlov) announced it still lacked
instruction on the draft decision to amend the MANPADS
Principles to include recent Wassenaar Arrangement changes
(FSC.DD/5/08/Rev.1). Pavlov said he was sure Minsk would
approve as Belarus was a member of Wassenaar. The decision
will remain on the working group agenda.

CAT Update
----------

21. (SBU) Russia (Geyvandov) repeated its preliminary
comments that updates to the conventional arms transfer (CAT)
categories should be considered individually by the Forum
rather than automatically made by the CPC as in Germany's
draft decision (FSC.DEL/69/08), and data provided to the OSCE
as part of CAT information exchange was not necessarily
releasable to the UN. Germany replied that a reporting
category update was fundamentally a procedural matter and did
not require deliberation by the FSC; the CPC would in any
case report the changes to the Forum. As to the sensitivity
of information provided, he noted that operative paragraph 4
of the draft decision allows pS to decline to provide
information to the UN.

End-User Certificates
---------------------

22. (SBU) Belarus announced it has circulated a
Food-for-Thought paper on SALW end-user certificates
(FSC.DEL/56/08). The paper proposes an information exchange
on national practices. Pavlov thanked the CPC and Walter
Schweizer, to soon replace Pavlov as the chair of the
Informal Group of Friends of SALW, for their help in drafting
the paper.

SALW POC
--------

23. (SBU) With the U.S. joining consensus, the
Danish-authored SALW Point of Contact draft decision
(FSC.DD/2/08/Rev.1) will move to the May 8 Plenary for
adoption.

BPG Publication
---------------

24. (SBU) Germany tabled a draft decision to publish the Best
Practice Guides (BPG) on Stockpiles of Conventional
Ammunition FSC.DEL/80/08). Sweden supported, noting that two
further guides, on destruction and physical security, were
nearing completion. Schweizer said he hoped the published
BPG handbook could be displayed at the Biennial Meeting of
States at the UN in July.

Code of Conduct Questionnaire
-----------------------------


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25. (SBU) Switzerland (von Arx), a co-sponsor with France and
Austria, announced the proposed update of the Code of Conduct
Questionnaire (FSC.DEL/49/08) will be revised based on
extensive comments from pS. Von Arx hopes the revision will
be available by mid-May.

Next Meeting
------------

26. (U) The FSC meets again on May 7.
FINLEY

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