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Cablegate: Nato Struggles to React to South Ossetia Fighting

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNO #0276/01 2211416
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 081416Z AUG 08
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2131
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 6039
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI IMMEDIATE 5630
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0754
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHNO/USDELMC BRUSSELS BE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/USNMR SHAPE BE IMMEDIATE

S E C R E T USNATO 000276

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2018
TAGS: PREL MARR NATO MOPS GG RU
SUBJECT: NATO STRUGGLES TO REACT TO SOUTH OSSETIA FIGHTING

REF: USNATO 274 Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Bruce Weinrod for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: As the crisis situation in Georgia unfolded on August 8, NATO Allies and the International Staff struggled with how to respond. While the possibility of an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) was briefly discussed, NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer does not support such a meeting at this time. De Hoop Scheffer did authorize the release of a statement calling on all sides to end violence. Unfortunately, the crisis also revealed the continuing divisions within the Alliance on how to address Georgia's desire to join NATO's Membership Action Plan, with Germany and Norway arguing that the upcoming NAC trip should be reconsidered. On the other hand, Poland--a strong supporter of NATO MAP--had argued that the crisis only reinforced the need for the NAC to travel to the region. END SUMMARY Emergency NAC Idea Floated, but Rejected ----------------------------------------

2. (C) On August 8, the Czech Mission contacted Charge Weinrod, proposing that an emergency session of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) be convened to discuss the developing situation in Georgia. On a follow-up call, The Czech mission stated that it was very likely to pursue a special NAC meeting if Russian forces entered Georgian territory. Weinrod received a similar call from the Dutch Mission, except the Dutch had asked whether a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council might be appropriate. The Charge learned from Deputy Secretary General (D/SYG) Claudio Bisogniero, however, that Secretary General (SYG) Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who is traveling at the moment, opposed quickly convening an emergency session of the NAC, believing that such a meeting might only contribute to the escalation of tensions. (Note: NATO's Political Committee had already been scheduled to have an instructed discussion of the situation in Georgia during its August 11 meeting. End note.)

3. (C) De Hoop Scheffer had also directed the release of a press statement in his name calling on all sides to end the violence (reftel).

4. (C) Senior NATO staff are speaking this afternoon with the Georgian Deputy PM and have been asked to meet with the Russian NATO Charge. Unfortunately, Allied Divisions Continue to Play Out

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

5. (C) According to an American contact on the NATO International Staff (strictly protect), the German Mission had already used the unfolding crisis to argue that the upcoming NAC trip to Georgia (which had only just been reconfirmed late yesterday in a SYG-Saakashvili telcon for September 15-16) should be cancelled. Norway had argued that at the very least Allies should discuss whether the NAC should still travel to the region. On the other hand, Poland had argued that the crisis only provided an additional reason for the trip. (Note: The U.S. is reaching out to senior Americans on the IS, providing them with appropriate information as it becomes available to us.)

6. (S/NF) USNATO has received no questions about the status of Georgian forces in Iraq.

Comment -------

7. (C) Georgia, as a member of the Partnership for Peace, has a right to consult with NATO on any perceived direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence, or sovereignty. This right is guaranteed in Paragraph 8 of the Partnership for Peace: Framework Document. The Georgians have consulted with NATO on these topics before, most recently in the Senior Political Committee, and may do so during the current crisis. If they do seek such a meeting, we will urge them to do so only after they have had time to properly prepare for it. NATO DASG Simmons anticipated the Georgian Deputy PM would raise this issue this afternoon. They will need to be prepared to answer the questions of those who might suspect that Tbilisi is less than completely innocent in how this has played out. In the short run, USNATO will undoubtedly receive further inquiries regarding U.S. thinking on this matter. WEINROD

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