Cablegate: Fsc May 21: Georgia Will Wait for Unomig Report Of
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FM USMISSION USOSCE
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RUEASWA/DTRA ALEX WASHINGTON DC//OSAE
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TAGS: MOPS PARM PREL OSCE KCFE GG RS XG
SUBJECT: FSC MAY 21: GEORGIA WILL WAIT FOR UNOMIG REPORT OF
1. (SBU) Summary: Georgia told the FSC on May 21 it would
defer release of the findings of the independent group of
investigators of the April 20 UAV incident until the UNOMIG
fact-finding team reports. Georgia did announce that the
independent experts--from the three Baltic states and the
U.S.--corroborated the reliability of the Georgian radar and
video depicting the UAV downing. Russia replied that
Georgia's UAVs continue to over-fly Abkhazia, which has
"destroyed seven of the drones." The UK reported that its
experts believe the Georgian video to be reliable and depicts
a Su-27 attacking the UAV. The U.S. again urged restraint by
all parties and asked Russia to explain its deployments of
additional arms and combat forces to support a nominal
peacekeeping operation. Russia objected to the U.S.
suggesting Russia was a party to a dispute that was solely
between Georgia and Abkhazia.
2. (SBU) Russia continues to push for stricter enforcement of
the Vienna Document timelines for requesting inspections,
although several participating States have supported U.S.
position that a chair's statement requiring the refusal of
untimely requests is inappropriate. Canada does not support
the revised Russian proposal to define the "specified area"
for Vienna Document inspections. Canada and Ukraine support
the revised Franco-Belgian draft proposal for an information
exchange and Best Practice Guide on illicit trafficking by
air of small arms and light weapons. The draft decision on
the publication of Best Practice Guides moves to the Plenary
on May 28. A revised version of the proposed update of the
Code of Conduct Questionnaire has been distributed.
Washington, see para 18. End summary.
Georgian UAV Incident
3. (SBU) Georgia announced it would defer release of the
findings of the independent group of international experts
investigating the April 20 UAV incident until the UNOMIG
fat-finding team had reported. Georgia added that the
experts, from the three Baltic states and the U.S., had
verified the reliability of the evidence it had submitted.
This includes Georgian radar plots and the video taken by a
camera on the UAV in the moments before it was destroyed.
Georgia has shared the international experts' report with
NATO and EU countries. Georgia has completed it s own
investigation that leaves "no unanswered questions."
4. (SBU) Russia (Ulyanov) commended Georgia for respecting
the role of the UN, but noted that Georgia and Abkhazia had
declined to participate in the UNOMIG fact-finding team.
Meanwhile, Ulyanov added, Georgia continues without
authorization to over-fly Abkhazia with UAVs. Abkhazia has
"shot down seven of the drones."
5. (SBU) The UK (Hartnell) reported that its experts had
examined the evidence assembled by Georgia, which appeared
genuine. The British experts believed the aircraft attacking
the UAV was an Su-27. The UK welcomed the UNOMIG
investigation and urged all sides to cooperate with it.
6. (SBU) The U.S. (KScott) confirmed that it had participated
in the first group on international experts and that it had
found no reason to doubt the reliability of the evidence
presented by Georgia. The video and radar data indicated
that the attacking aircraft had made a high-speed passage
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from north to south before shooting down the UAV and then
returned along the same route in the opposite direction. The
evidence, including radar plots and the video, indicated the
speed of the aircraft exceeded anything in the Abkhaz
inventory and had a twin-tail, similar to the MiG-29 or
7. (SBU) Scott said the parties and the OSCE should focus on
the growing tensions in the region. He noted U.S. efforts to
urge restraint on all sides, and referred to previous U.S.
statements in the FSC and PC on the concerns of one of the
parties about the "creeping annexation of its territory."
Scott recommended that the parties use the methods and
resources of the OSCE to defuse the situation. He noted a
destabilizing accumulation of weapons in the region and the
recent Russian deployments of "high readiness" combat troops
to support a nominal peacekeeping force. He called on Russia
to withdraw these forces and for Georgia to avoid military
activities that contributed to the tension. Scott said it
would be useful to the OSCE and the parties to know the
details of Russian and Georgian military deployments in the
8. (SBU) Scott noted that some claims suggested the attacking
aircraft took off from the Gudauta military base. He called
on Russia to voluntarily open the base to an international
military inspection. He asked Russia to present any evidence
that would refute the video to the UNOMIG investigation, if
it in fact existed. He urged the pursuit of a peaceful
solution to the Abkhaz situation within the internationally
recognized borders of Georgia.
9. (SBU) Ulyanov objected to the U.S. reference to increasing
tensions "between Russia and Georgia": the tensions were
rather between Georgia and Abkhazia. Ulyanov noted the U.S.
had failed, despite assertions about the speed and design of
the attacking aircraft, to identify its nationality. He
asked why the U.S. would challenge the provision of military
forces to a peacekeeping operation. On Gudauta, Ulyanov said
the Russian Federation has objected in the past to "military
tourism," noting there had been two inspections recently of
the base "shut down in 2001." In any case, if the U.S.
wanted to visit, the request should be directed to the
Sukhumi authorities, not Russia.
10. (SBU) The Plenary chair (Estonia), noting one delegation
still lacked instructions, announced the draft decision on
amending the MANPADS export controls principles would be
placed under the silence procedure until May 26 at 1200.
(Note: Belarus is apparently still without instructions. End
Vienna Document Inspection Requests
11. (SBU) Canada and the UK supported the U.S. version of a
chair's statement calling for compliance with the timelines
for requesting inspections and evaluations under paras 85 and
112 of the Vienna Document (FSC.DEL/93/08/Rev.1). The UK
added that it would prefer no statement, as the Vienna
Document does not require amplification. The U.S.
(Silberberg) concurred that even its proposal was
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unnecessary, but recommended it as preferable to the Russian
version (FSC.DEL/75/08/Rev.1), which would tie the hands of
12. (SBU) Russia (Ulyanov) complained that the U.S. approach
was inadequate to address the "massive" violations of the
timelines. Even Russia, Ulyanov admitted, had been guilty of
violating the standards. Ulyanov asked if it was fair to
penalize states making timely requests by preferring early
but untimely requesters. This was, he concluded, tantamount
to "legal nihilism."
13. (SBU) Germany (Schweizer) agreed with Russia that there
was a need for stricter compliance. Schweizer proposed a
modified version of the Russian request: deleting the words
"it is understood that" from the first sentence and deleting
the entire second sentence that requires preference to timely
requests. If compliance does not improve, Schweizer added,
the issue could be addressed at the Annual Implementation
Assessment Meeting (AIAM). At that point, something more
than a chair's statement might be needed, he warned. Ulyanov
replied waiting until March 2009 for the next AIAM was too
14. (SBU) The UK noted the related problem of inspection
requests not being shared with all participating States.
Belarus (Pavlov) wondered if a requesting state that made a
timely request could demand that it receive preference over
states making too early requests. Canada replied that the
decision remained with the receiving state. The U.S.
suggested there may be some confusion over how to count days
when determining of a request was timely: were pS counting
work days or calendar days? Also, was it possible that
receiving states preferred early requests because they
allowed more time for preparation?
"Specified Area" for Vienna Document Inspections
15. (SBU) Turkey it was analyzing the Russian proposal to
define the "specified area" for Vienna Document inspections
at 25,000 square kilometers. Ukraine announced its support.
Canada (Gosal) rejected the proposal as unnecessary, citing
the time restraints in the Document as adequate to define the
scope of an investigation. Ulyanov said he might feel the
same way if his country, like Canada, were outside the "zone
of application." As it was, Russia believed the proposal
would enhance implementation of the Vienna Document.
Separately, Denmark told the U.S. it preferred an earlier
version of the Russian proposal that included a "diagonal"
distance minimum that defined the geometry of the specified
area. However, if the U.S. opposed the latest version,
Denmark would probably not support Russia.
Illicit Air Trafficking of SALW
16. (SBU) Canada and Ukraine support the revised version of
the French and Belgian proposal for an information exchange
and a Best Practice Guide on the illicit trafficking by air
of small arms and light weapons. Russia said it was still
studying the paper.
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17. (SBU) Spain (Mor Sola) reported on the May 13-14
Organization of American States meeting in Buenos Aires on UN
Security Council Resolution 1540. Mor Sola attended as the
OSCE representative. He noted much interest in OSCE
activities to enhance implementation of UNSCR 1540, including
the Best Practice Guide now under preparation (FSC.DEL/99/08).
Best Practice Guides on Conventional Ammunition
18. (SBU) The draft decision approving the publication of the
Best Practice Guides on Conventional Ammunition will be
considered in the FSC Plenary on May 28. Mission intends to
join consensus unless instructed otherwise.
19. (SBU) Germany (Schweizer) demanded an update on the OSCE
melange disposition project in Ukraine. Schweizer said it
had been two months since the MOU between the OSCE and the
government of Ukraine had been signed. The CPC agreed to
brief developments at the working group meeting on May 28.
Code of Conduct Questionnaire
20. (SBU) The FSC coordinator for the Code of Conduct
(Eischer, Austria) announced a revised version of the
proposals to update the Code Questionnaire. He explained
that plain text represented the existing Questionnaire and
new language was bracketed. The manual of model answers was
removed from the draft decision but would be retained as a
technical paper for future use. Eischer proposed an informal
drafting meeting if there was sufficient interest expressed
at the next working group meeting on May 28.
21. (SBU) Germany (Schweizer) confirmed it did not favor
reopening the Code itself, but did want to see an
acknowledgment of contemporary reality with increased
reference in the Questionnaire to the role of private
security firms. Finland and Turkey said they were studying
the latest version of the update.
22. (U) The FSC will meet next on May 28.