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Cablegate: Georgia: Rebutting Spurious Russian Claims

O 231803Z AUG 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 090980


E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/22/2028
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPKO MARR GG RU
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: REBUTTING SPURIOUS RUSSIAN CLAIMS
REGARDING THE CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT

Classified by EUR A/S Daniel Fried; reason: 1.4 (b) and
(d).

Ref: Moscow 2522 (NOTAL)

1. (U) This is an action request for all posts, see end
of para 2.

2. (C) Reftel lays out Russian efforts to misinterpret
the August 12 Georgia ceasefire agreement mediated by
French President Sarkozy. Among other things, Russia is
claiming that the ceasefire allows for creation of a
?buffer zone? around South Ossetia, gives Russian forces
unlimited rights to "implement additional security
measures" in and outside of South Ossetia, and allows
Russia to "blue helmet" an unlimited number of forces to
implement these additional security measures. ACTION
REQUEST: These Russian assertions are blatantly false,
and posts should strongly rebut them with host country
officials and media, using the facts laid out in the
following paragraphs. As the French negotiated these
documents and are in the lead in ensuring that they are
being carried out, Posts should not take the initiative
in deploying these points (i.e. public releases, opeds,
other press, diplomatic demarches), but rather draw on
them immediately if/when issues related to Georgia are
raised by host governments, media, etc., as well as in
explaining our larger Georgia policies. END ACTION
REQUEST.

3. (SBU) Posts should be careful not to openly
characterize President Sarkozy’s or other French
positions, but rather provide factual information.

4. (SBU) Sarkozy made clear in his August 14 letter to
Georgian President Saakashvili and in supplementary
paragraphs attached to that letter that "?additional
security measures" are limited to "patrols" (not a
?buffer zone? or even checkpoints) by Russian
peacekeeping forces that were in South Ossetia prior to
the outbreak of hostilities on August 7, and that these
patrols are limited to an area "not further than a few
kilometers" outside of South Ossetia, excluding other
parts of Georgia, the city of Gori and other significant
urban zones, and must not impede freedom of movement on
major highways and railways.

5. (SBU) Russia?s actions and statements in recent days
raises suspicions that it does not intend to respect
these restrictions on its forces in Georgia, and is in
fact angling to retain a larger zone of control than
held prior to the invasion. These actions include
Russian forces -- not peacekeepers from pre-August 7 --
digging into positions in and around Poti (200
kilometers from South Ossetia), north of Gori and other
locations outside the zone prescribed for patrols;
Russian military checkpoints impeding movements at the
port of Poti, near the main East-West highway, and near
Gori and other urban areas; and continued Russian
destruction of civilian and military infrastructure.

6. (U) Posts are encouraged to review the following
documents: the August 12 ceasefire agreement, the August
14 letter from Sarkozy to Saakashvili, and the
supplemental paragraphs attached to the August 14
letter. All of these documents are now in the public
domain. These documents are also available at
www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Crisis_Geor gia .

7. (U) Begin text of August 12 ceasefire agreement:

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.

For the European Union,
The French Presidency

s/s

Nicolas Sarkozy

End text

8. (U) Begin text of Sarkozy letter to Saakashvili:

Paris, 14 August 2008

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

Nicolas Sarkozy

End text.


9. (U) Begin text of supplementary paragraphs attached
to August 14 Sarkozy letter to Saakashvili:

-- In the letter accompanying the cease-fire document,
the mentioned territory is defined as in the immediate
proximity of the zone of conflict, as defined by
previous agreements, to the exclusion of any other part
of Georgian territory. Any measure referred to in this
document shall be implemented within an area not further
than a few kilometers, around Tskhinvali within the zone
of conflict.

-- In no way can these measures limit or jeopardize
freedom of movement and traffic along the length of the
major highways and railways of Georgia.

-- Other aspects of the conflict resolution process will
be discussed in the near future.

End text.


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