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Cablegate: Tough Day for Russia in Security Council

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OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTRO RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUCNDT #0721/01 2240011
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 110011Z AUG 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4779
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000721

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV RU GG UNSC
SUBJECT: TOUGH DAY FOR RUSSIA IN SECURITY COUNCIL

1.(SBU) Summary. All Security Council Members except for
Russia called during...

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000721 SENSITIVE SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL PGOV RU GG UNSC

SUBJECT: TOUGH DAY FOR RUSSIA IN SECURITY COUNCIL 1.(SBU) Summary. All Security Council Members except for Russia called during an emergency session for an immediate ceasefire in response to the crisis in Georgia. Many Council Members said the Russian response to Georgia's August 7 military action in South Ossetia was a disproportionate response to the Georgian operation in South Ossetia and pointed out that a Georgian withdrawal from South Ossetia is underway. The U.S. and U.K. challenged Russia to explain the motives for its actions. Ambassador Khalilzad asked Russian Ambassador Churkin directly if the Russian objective was "regime change" in Georgia. The Russian PermRep accused the UN Secretariat of bias in its reporting on the situtation, defended Russian military activities as a necessary response to Georgia's "militaristic and adventurous" policies, and without directly answering Khalizad's question, said Georgian President Mikhail Sakaashvilli was an obstacle to peace. End Summary. 2.(SBU) In an emergency public meeting of the UN Security Council on the crisis in Georgia on August 10, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe and Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Mulet briefed on the events on the ground in Georgia. Pascoe confirmed Georgia had withdrawn from South Ossetia, Georgian troops were no longer returning fire, and Georgia had opened a humanitarian corridor. He said UNHCR estimated there would be 20,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) needing humanitarian assistance; 5000 refugees had also crossed from South Ossetia into North Ossetia in the Russian Federation. ASYG Mulet confirmed that several Georgian villages had been bombed in Abkhazia, that virtually the entire population of the Upper Kodori Valley had fled the bombing, and that CIS peacekeepers had taken no action to stop the deployments of Abkhazian forces. He also said a Russian naval vessel had interdicted a ship in the Black Sea carrying humanitarian goods. PermRep Churkin accused USYG Pascoe and ASYG Mulet of bias in their reports. The U.K. said the Russians were in no place to be making such claims. 3. (SBU) Georgian PermRep Irakli Alasania called for immediate direct intervention of the Security Council. He said Russia's President had refused to engage directly with Georgia's President. He said that Georgian forces had withdrawn from South Ossetia, but that Russian forces had fired on Georgian forces, impeding their withdrawal. He recalled the Russian actions in Chechnya and said it was clear that the purpose of the "Russian style peace enforcement" was to "erase Georgia from the face of the earth." 4.(SBU) Ambassador Khalilzad called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and return to the status quo ante of August 6. He challenged the "intransigent rejection of Russia to stop the violence", despite Georgia's pullout from South Ossetia and Georgia's offer to return to the status quo ante of August 6. He cited Russian actions to impede Georgia's withdrawal from South Ossetia as "unconscionable", and questioned Russia's motives for rejecting a ceasefire and its continuing to carry out attacks against civilian centers. Khalilzad condemned the violation of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and said he expected a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire to be introduced shortly. 5. (SBU) Russian PermRep Vitaly Churkin responded that Russia was acting in self defense, prompted by the August 7 Georgian military operation in South Ossetia. Churkin accused Georgia of "militaristic and adventurous" agression, citing a "30 times increase" in Georgia's military budget and the presence of 127 U.S. military advisors in Tbilisi as proof. He accused Georgia of engaging in "ethnic cleansing" and suggested that Georgia was targeting South Ossetians who retained Russian citizenship in a genocidal campaign. Churkin defended Russian attacks on targets outside the conflict zone in Georgia by comparing it to NATO attacks on Belgrade and bridges in Serbia during the 1999 Kosovo conflict. In response to civilian casualties, he said the United States had accepted civilian casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Serbia. Churkin denied that Russia was unwilling to engage in dialogue on the conflict and said that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov had spoken to Secretary Rice six times since the conflict began and Presidents Bush and Medvedev had discussed the conflict while in China for the opening of the Olympics. 6. (SBU) In a dramatic follow-up exchange involving the U.S., Russian and Georgian PermReps, Ambassador Khalilzad recounted a telephone call that had just occurred between Secretary Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, in which Lavrov told the Secretary, "Saakashvili must go". Khalilzad asked Churkin, "is Russia's objective regime change, the overthrow of a democratically elected Georgia?" Churkin responded that "regime change" is an American expression, but said, "some USUN NEW Y 00000721 002 OF 002 democratic leaders are an obstacle to peace." Khalilzad asked again, "is the goal to change the leadership of Georgia?". Churkin replied that he had already given his response. 7. (SBU) U,K. Deputy Representative Karen Pierce questioned Russia's political intentions in Georgia, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia, and said the Russian response to Georgia's August 6 military operation in South Ossetia had gone well beyond a proportionate and rational response. She said she doubted Russian claims that its actions were for a humanitarian purpose, and she asked Russia why it would not withdraw. She also asked how Russia expected to resolve the conflict if Russian leaders would not talk to Georgian President Sakaashvilli. 8. (SBU) France called for the immediate cessation of hostilities, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and a return to the status quo ante. The U.K., Belgium, Italy, and voiced support for the French proposal. 9. (U) Costa Rica, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Panama all called for a ceasefire. Libya called for an immediate ceasefire and a return to the status quo ante. Vietnam also called for an immediate ceasefire and called for negotiations between Georgia and Russia based on their "mutual interests." 10. (SBU) We are negotiating with France, U.K., Italy, Belgium and Croatia on the text of a draft resolution which we expect to circulate to the full Council as soon as Monday August 11. Khalilzad

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