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Cablegate: Fsc May 7: Russia and Georgia Return to Uav

VZCZCXRO6030
PP RUEHAST RUEHBW RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVEN #0125/01 1300750
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090750Z MAY 08
FM USMISSION USOSCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5711
INFO RUCNOSC/ORG FOR SECURITY CO OP IN EUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0503
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1062
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1007
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 07 USOSCE 000125

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR VCI/CCA, VCI/NRRC, EUR/RPM, EUR/PRA, SCA/CEN,
SCA/RA, PM/WRA, EUR/CARC
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 OSCE KCFE GG RS XG
SUBJECT: FSC MAY 7: RUSSIA AND GEORGIA RETURN TO UAV
RECRIMINATIONS

REF: STATE 47868

USOSCE 00000125 001.3 OF 007

1. (SBU) Summary: Georgia and Russia at the May 7 Forum for
Security Cooperation resumed trading accusations on the April
20 UAV incident, Georgia insisting that a Russian fighter
shot down the Georgian "interior ministry" drone with a
missile as it over-flew Abkhazia. Georgia responded to
Russian questions from last week's FSC and repeated its call
for participating States to send experts to investigate,
noting that the three Baltics and the U.S. had already sent
experts. Russia then charged that Georgia had failed to
answer the questions it posed at the April 30 FSC, including
a credible explanation for sending a reconnaissance aircraft
over Abkhazian military formations. Russia also insisted
that future discussion in the FSC include all UAV incidents
and similar Georgian "provocations," not just the April 20
event.

2. (SBU) The U.S., in response, repeated its call for
cooperation in the investigations and appealed for
transparency and restraint. In a separate reply to Russia's
intervention, the U.S. also asked Russia to explain why it
was reportedly deploying airborne forces and heavy artillery
into the region, seemingly at odds with Russia's role as a
facilitator of a peace settlement. Russia angrily replied it
was ready to discuss all aspects of the Georgia-Abkhazia
situation in the FSC, not just the UAV incident. Georgia
then invited Russia to join it in asking the FSC to
investigate, but Russia rejoined that only UNOMIG should
investigate. The Estonian chair promised to return to the
topic when there was new information from the national
investigators or UNOMIG.
3. (SBU) Sarah Parker, recently with the UN Institute of
Disarmament Research, updated the Forum on the development of
the Arms Trade Treaty. The decision on Small Arms and Light
Weapons Points of Contact was approved. In the working
groups, many delegations supported a U.S. rewrite of the
Russian draft chair's statement on stricter enforcement of
Vienna Document timelines for requesting inspections.
Belarus still lacks instructions to join consensus on the
MANPADS update decision. The German draft decision for an
update of conventional arms reporting categories received
wide support "in principle." France and Belgium promise a
revision of their draft decision on illicit trafficking of
small arms by air. There was some support for the Belarusian
paper proposing an information exchange on end-user
certificates. Germany's draft decision on publishing the
Best Practice Guides on stockpiles of conventional ammunition
has wide, unqualified support. The chair's draft letter on
political-military topics for the Annual Security Review
Conference will be considered in the Plenary on May 14. End
summary.

Security Dialogue: Georgia UAV Incident
---------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The chair (Estonia, Parts) reported that UNOMIG and
several participating States (pS) had begun investigations of
the April 20 UAV incident in Georgia. The chair said her
intent was for the FSC to remain engaged and discuss the
incident whenever there are new developments. She announced
Georgia was ready to answer Russia's five questions from the
April 30 FSC.


USOSCE 00000125 002.3 OF 007


5. (SBU) Georgia (Gaprindashvili) confirmed that Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania, and the U.S. were investigating. Georgia
was consulting with other pS about additional experts
investigating and invited all pS to contribute to the
investigation.

Georgia Repeats Earlier Position
--------------------------------

6. (SBU) Gaprindashvili asserted the April 20 flight of its
UAV Georgia did not violate the Moscow Agreement or UN
Security council resolutions. The drone was unarmed and
operated by the interior ministry and therefore not engaged
in "military activity." It would be more appropriate to
consider the "legality" of Russian military deployments and
exercises near the security zone, he added. The UAV was
flown to "verify" information about Russian military
activities. How, he asked, does the presence of a jet
fighter in the security zone comply with these international
agreements? Even if the drone was destroyed by the Abkhazian
air defense forces, the shoot-down would still violate these
agreements.

Georgia on Russian Saber Rattling
---------------------------------

7. (SBU) Gaprindashvili asserted Russia's recent
reinforcements to the area violate the requirement for
complete transparency. He said Russia's belligerent
statements only worsen the situation. According to Russia,
it has deployed 400 fully armed paratroopers to provide
conditions for unhindered peacekeeping operations. What is
the role of the Russian airborne forces recently deployed to
the region?

8. (SBU) Turning to other Russian questions, Gaprindashvili
explained Georgia delayed in announcing the April 20 incident
until it could verify the facts. Turning to Russia's claim
that the attacking aircraft in the Internet video behaved
erratically, Gaprindashvili explained that the preferred
tactic for engagement is to approach the target from below to
get a clear shot, as occurred in the video. In general, he
added, it would be better to wait on the results of the
experts' investigation for more detailed answers to the
technical questions.

9. (SBU) On the Russian assertion that UNOMIG rejected
earlier Georgian claims of Russian aggression, Gaprindashvili
said the UN itself had subsequently abandoned the UNOMIG
findings in those incidents. In any case, Georgia now
welcomed the UNOMIG investigation of the April 20 incident.
Finally, Gaprindashvili said Georgia had fully explained the
August 2007 missile incident, but invited Russia to detail
its remaining concerns.

Latvia Sent Military Expert
---------------------------

10. (SBU) Slovenia, on behalf of the UN, announced it would
make a statement on the incident at the May 8 Permanent
Council meeting. Latvia stated that it was concerned about
the situation and confirmed that it had sent an air force
expert to Georgia.

U.S. Calls for Cooperation in Investigation

USOSCE 00000125 003.3 OF 007


-------------------------------------------

11. (SBU) The U.S. (Neighbour), per reftel guidance,
reiterated support for the sovereignty and territorial
integrity of Georgia, and called on all pS to send experts to
investigate, noting that the U.S. had done so. Neighbour
also called on the parties to the incident to cooperate with
the investigations.

Russia: Georgians Aren't Serious
--------------------------------

12. (SBU) Russia (Ulyanov) expressed disappointment in the
Georgian replies. Although the Georgian comments would be
sent to Moscow for analysis, Ulyanov immediately dismissed as
"not serious" the Georgian position that the UAV flight was
not a "military activity." This was obviously military
reconnaissance for targeting, he asserted. There have been
29 Georgian UAV flights over Abkhazia this year, he claimed.
These reconnaissance flights cause considerable concern and
lead to a sharpening of tensions.

13. (SBU) Ulyanov repeated his earlier claims that the
Internet video was not filmed over the Abkhazian coastline,
the location of the shoot-down, citing the absence of a beach
and the presence of "roads that do not actually exist" in the
video. He promised to return to the subject when the UN
releases its findings. Georgia's remarks, he added, bear out
Russia's position that the over-flights are a flagrant
violation of the Moscow Agreement and UNSCR 1808. He
announced that two more Georgian drones had been shot down by
Abkhazian air defense forces on May 4.

Russia Wants All UAV Incidents Discussed
----------------------------------------

14 (SBU) Turning to "procedural" issues, Ulyanov objected to
the FSC agenda including only the April 20 UAV incident. He
demanded all such incidents be the subject of future Security
Dialogue discussions. He also objected to the April 30
chair's statement (FSC.DEL/89/08) that the national
investigators were invited to present their findings at the
FSC as unnecessary because any national expert can speak at
any time as part of the national delegation. Ulyanov
doubted, though, that it was appropriate for national experts
to speak before the UN had reported.

15. (SBU) The chair repeated Georgia's request for pS to send
qualified experts to investigate.

16. (SBU) Georgia denied that any of its UAVs were shot down
on May 4. Georgia was prepared to discuss all UAV flights,
as Russia demanded.

U.S. Asks Russia about Recent Military Deployments
--------------------------------------------- -----

17. (SBU) The U.S., in response to Russia, called for
restraint and transparency from all sides and noted that the
OSCE was fulfilling its mandate when it highlighted tensions
between pS and seeks ways to resolve the tensions and assists
the sides in finding a road to peace. Neighbour repeated the
list of events USDEL cited at the Permanent Council on April
30, including the closing of the Verkhiny Lars crossing,
helicopter attacks on Georgian villages in the Kodori valley,

USOSCE 00000125 004.3 OF 007


and the August 2007 missile incident. Neighbour noted the
Russian announcement that two Georgian UAVs were shot down on
May 4. The U.S. was still gathering information, he said,
but if true, the shoot-downs could mark a significant
violation of the Moscow Agreement.

18. (SBU) Neighbour called on Russia to repeal the recently
announced official ties between Moscow and the separatist
governments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to stop issuing
Russian passports to residents of the two provinces, and to
refrain from further improvements to the infrastructure
connecting the region with Russia.

19. (SBU) Neighbour called on Russia to provide additional
detail on its recent deployments of airborne forces and heavy
artillery into the region. He asked if the forces had
received peacekeeping training and how they would contribute
to the relaxation of tensions and stabilization of the
situation. He expressed concern that this could be at odds
with Russia's role as a facilitator of a peace settlement.

U.S. Slide Show
---------------

20. (SBU) In response to Russian and Georgian claims about
the Internet video of the UAV shoot-down, Neighbour showed
Internet photographs of L-39, MiG-29, and Sukhoi-27 aircraft,
emphasizing that he was not accusing any pS of anything. He
noted the L-39 was a single-tail aircraft while the aircraft
in the video had twin-tails, like the MiG and Sukhoi. He
also showed a photo of a MiG-29 firing an air-to-air missile
that, contrary to Russian assertions that air-to-air missiles
did not leave a smoke trail, clearly showed the missile's
smoke trail, again similar to that seen on the UAV video.

21. (SBU) Neighbour called on Russia and Georgia to remain
calm, exercise restraint, and seek reconciliation. He urged
Georgia to develop its peace plan with Abkhazian authorities
and hope Russia would not prevent that effort from going
forward.

Russia Takes Umbrage
--------------------

22. (SBU) Russia objected to the "tone" of the U.S. remarks,
finding them condescending. Ulyanov noted that the MiG-29
shown in one of the photographs belonged to Germany. In
response to the U.S. list of incidents, he offered to discuss
them all in the Forum, not just the April 20 shoot-down. He
insisted that a Georgian UAV was shot down on March 18,
despite Georgian denials. Neighbour replied that yes, the
MiG-29 in the photo firing an air-to-air missile that smoked
was German. He asked if Russia was contending that Germany's
missiles smoke and Russia's do not.

23. (SBU) Georgia asked Russia to join it in requesting an
OSCE investigation, but Ulyanov rejected the offer, insisting
that only UNOMIG could conduct a legitimate, unbiased
investigation. Georgia asked Russia to clarify who could be
considered as unbiased. Ulyanov replied that only after the
results of the investigation are presented could the bias of
the investigator be judged. The chair closed the discussion,
promising to return to the topic when the investigators had
information to present. At the conclusion of the FSC, a
number of delegations, including Sweden and Switzerland, told

USOSCE 00000125 005.3 OF 007


the U.S. that its interventions on Georgia were just right
and in accordance with what the OSCE should do.

SALW POC Decision
-----------------

24. (SBU) The Plenary adopted without comment the
Danish-drafted decision on SALW Points of Contact
(FSC.DEC/4/08).

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

25. (SBU) Delegations reacted favorably to U.S. edits
(FSC.DEL/93/08) to the Russian proposed chair's statement on
Vienna Document inspection timelines (FSC.DEL/75/08/Rev.1).
Most agreed on the need for strict compliance with the
timelines, but were reluctant to endorse the inflexible
position found in the Russia draft, even with the diluted
language--"pS will" becomes "pS are requested to"--found in
the revision. Russia agreed to consider the U.S. version.
The chair announced the Conflict Prevention Center had
completed a preliminary study of "violations" of the
timelines, found at paragraphs 85 and 112 on the Vienna
Document (FSC.DEL/91/08).

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

26. (SBU) Belarus still lacks instruction on the draft
decision to update the MANPADS principles
(FSC.DD/5/08/Rev.1).

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

27. (SBU) Several delegations expressed support in principle
for the German draft decision on updating the conventional
arms transfer reporting categories and promised to return
soon with concrete comments from capitals. The UK, a
co-sponsor, noted that the decision represented the "bottom
line" for the OSCE, the minimum commitment for pS. Belarus
noted it retained concerns about the provisions for voluntary
reporting to the UN Register of Conventional Weapons.

Illicit Air Trafficking of SALW
-------------------------------

28. (SBU) The French-Belgian draft decision on illicit air
trafficking of SALW, calling for an information exchange and
a Best Practice Guide, received wide support. A revised
edition of the decision will be distributed soon. The
sponsors told USDEL their intention was not to alter the
Wassenaar Arrangement document that would be used as the text
of the OSCE Best Practice Guide. Their intent was to assure
wider use of the guide by making it an OSCE document.

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

29. (SBU) Germany, a ghost-writer of the Belarusian
Food-for-Thought paper calling for an information exchange on
national practices with conventional weapons end-user
certificates, confirmed its support. Greece, Finland, and
Sweden also support the paper, the latter noting an exchange

USOSCE 00000125 006.3 OF 007


might be of interest to the Biennial Meeting of States at the
UN in July.

Brokering
---------

30. (SBU) The chair announced she would ask the CPC to revise
its analysis of the one-off exchange of national SALW
brokering practice in light of the late submissions. Finland
and Germany struggled over what the former meant when asking
the CPC to "publicize" the study. Germany insists on more
time to consider the request as it lacks instructions.

BPG Publication Decision
------------------------

31. (SBU) The German draft decision on the modalities of
publishing the Best Practice Guides on stockpiles of
conventional ammunition received wide, unqualified support
and has been re-issued as the chair's (FSC.DD/6/08).
Separately, Sweden informed that it will call for endorsement
of its draft BPG on ammunition physical security soon,
perhaps in conjunction with the Dutch BPG on ammunition
destruction.

Chair's Letter on Political-Military Topics for ASRC
--------------------------------------------- -------

32. (SBU) The transmittal letter and list of topics proposed
by FSC delegations for discussion at the 2008 Annual Security
Review Conference will be on the agenda of the May 14 FSC
Plenary.

Arms Transfer Treaty
--------------------

33. (SBU) Sarah Parker, recently with the UN Institute of
Disarmament Research, updated the Forum in the Security
Dialogue on the development of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
Parker is now with the Small Arms Survey Project in Geneva,
an NGO. Parker explained the antecedents and recent history
of efforts to develop a "universal" treaty regulating arms
transfers, culminating in the UN General Assembly resolution
61/89 of 2006, supported by most states. Slovenia, on behalf
of the EU, Germany, the UK, and France expressed support for
the ATT. Russia, Belarus, and Armenia expressed skepticism
over the enforceability of a universal treaty and resisted
using "irresponsible transfers" as an international standard.

34. (SBU) Parker noted that the U.S., the only state to vote
against the UN resolution that calls for an exploration of
the feasibility of the treaty by a Group of Government
Experts, is nonetheless participating in that group. Parker
also noted that U.S. export controls are among the strictest
and most developed in the world and that U.S. opposition to
the treaty was based on concern that it might undermine
existing national and regional instruments and efforts and
doubts about the possibility of universal participation.

German Arms Control Seminars Continue
-------------------------------------

35. (SBU) Germany announced that, with co-host RACVIAC, it
would host an arms control seminar on "The Role of Arms
Control in Crisis Situations," July 9-11 in Zagreb.

USOSCE 00000125 007.3 OF 007

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

36. (U) The FSC will meet again on May 14.
FINLEY

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