Cablegate: Uk Will Continue to Support Georgia; “On the Same
DE RUEHLO #2211/01 2411713
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 281713Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9609
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 0092
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0290
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1235
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0633
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1253
C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002211
STATE FOR IO/UNP:KMOORE
EO 12958 DECL: 08/28/2018
TAGS ECON, EAID, UNSC, PREL, PGOV, FR, GG, UK, UP
SUBJECT: UK WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT GEORGIA; “ON THE SAME
PAGE” AS U.S. REGARDING OPPOSITION TO SOUTH OSSETIA AND ABKHAZIA PARTICIPATION IN UNSC
REF: A. STATE 92325 B. STATE 92371
Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Richard LeBaron, Reasons 1.4 b, d.
1. (C) Summary. The United Kingdom agrees that South Ossetian and Abkhazian representatives should not participate in UN Security Council (UNSC) meetings on Georgia, according to Mariot Leslie, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Director General (DG) for Defense and Intelligence. Leslie told the Charge August 28 that the UK shares the U.S. view on the importance of providing support to Georgia, including economic and development assistance. Recent Russian steps in Georgia represent a “strategic, tectonic shift in international relations,” Leslie averred, citing Foreign Secretary Miliband’s August 27 speech in Kyiv in which he warned Russian President Putin that he has a “big responsibility” not to start a new Cold War. End Summary.
Steps to Support Georgia
2. (C) The Charge called on Mariot Leslie, the FCO DG for Defense and Intelligence and Acting Political Director, on August 28 to discuss recent developments in regard to Georgia and deliver ref demarches. Leslie affirmed that the U.S. and UK are “on the same page” that South Ossetians and Abkhazians should not participate in upcoming UNSC meetings on Georgia. She stated that the August 27 G-7 Joint Foreign Ministers Statement, which condemns Russia’s recognition of South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence, “mostly covers” concerns about recent Russian steps. The UK, she continued, is “absolutely right along with you” and is trying to persuade others to follow the same course.
3. (C) Leslie said that HMG will continue to support economic and development assistance to Georgia. She noted that Foreign Secretary Miliband agreed with Secretary Rice about the importance of economic aid to Georgia and cited the August 25-27 U.S. interagency delegation led by Under Secretary of State Jeffery. She added that a team from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), recently completed a ten day visit to Georgia and is in the process of drafting a report of its mission. HMG will host high level economic discussions with a Georgian delegation soon in London to discuss economic and development assistance. (Note. Separately, Andrew Gleadle, from DFID,s Humanitarian Operations Team told Econoff that DFID would program the remaining GBP 1.5 million ($3 million) of its GBP 2 million Georgia assistance pledge based on the mission,s report. He expected DFID to focus on protection of human rights for displaced people seeking to return to their homes rather than food/shelter, as these needs were already being met by other donors. Also, Karen Pillay, Head of Middle East, CIS and Energy at HM Treasury told Econoff that HMG had received an economic assistance “wish list” from Georgia, but was awaiting the results of an IMF needs assessment. End Note.)
4. (C) Leslie stated that there “is lots going on” within the EU and that the EU Council meeting on Monday will consider the “crucial issue” of the next steps the EU should take regarding Russian actions and in support of Georgia. Within the EU, “one end of the scale” involves discussions of a possible ESDP presence in Georgia, while “economic aid acceleration” is also under discussion.
A Strategic Shift...But Not a New Cold War
5. (C) Leslie told the Charge that Russia’s actions in Georgia represent a “strategic, tectonic shift in international relations.” Citing Foreign Secretary Miliband’s August 27 speech in Kyiv, Ukraine, in which Miliband affirmed that Putin has a “big responsibility” not to start a new Cold War, Leslie observed that HMG is “not calling this a new Cold War,” although recent events have “strategic consequences” and mark the “end of the period that began in 1991.” Leslie stressed that Miliband’s clear condemnation in his speech of Russia’s actions has helped put the Russians in the defensive position of having to justify
their actions -- “(Foreign Minister) Lavrov is on the run.” (Note. Miliband’s speech affirms “in the midst of the Georgia crisis...the commitment of the United Kingdom to support the democratic choices of the Ukrainian people” and states that “the sight of Russian tanks in a neighboring country on the fortieth anniversary of the crushing of the Prague Spring has shown that the temptations of power politics remain.” The full text of the speech is available on the FCO’s website, http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/ End Note.)
6. (C) Asked by the Charge whether, in her view, Russia’s decision to go into Georgia was part of an overall change of Russian strategy, Leslie replied that she is “still assessing if it was a strategic decision or a tactical decision with strategic consequences.” Leslie stated that in her capacity as DG for Defense and Intelligence she would continue to evaluate “the big strategic challenge from Russia.”
7. (C) In a separate meeting with Cabinet Office Director General for Foreign and Defense Policy Margaret Aldred to deliver ref points, she pointed to Foreign Secretary Miliband’s speech in Kyiv as laying out HMG’s strong condemnation of Russian actions in Georgia, including Moscow’s recognition of the two breakaway Georgian enclaves. Echoing Leslie’s comments, she told Pol Minister Counselor that Moscow’s actions represented a “seismic shift” in international relations and a defining break with global relationships in place since the end of the Cold War. Turning to the situation on the ground in Georgia, Aldred said that the six-point peace plan negotiated by the French had “clearly” left room for Russian forces to remain “outside existing boundaries” and the Russians were taking “maximalist” advantage. The West needs to be thinking what its response will be to this, if the Russians continue this approach. She also referred to messages she had seen from Tbilisi indicating that there were voices in Georgia, as well, that wanted to resume military action -- the West had to send a message to Georgia as well warning against this.
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