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Cablegate: Tfgg01: South Ossetia, Abkhazia Leaders Seek

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OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #2415/01 2271621
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141621Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9504
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
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RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 002415

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS GG
SUBJECT: TFGG01: SOUTH OSSETIA, ABKHAZIA LEADERS SEEK
INDEPENDENCE AND RUSSIAN GUARANTEES AGAINST GEORGIA

(U) Summary. In an August 14 press conference in Moscow,
South Ossetia leader Eduard Kokoity and Abkhazia leader
Sergey Bagapsh declared their intentions to work with Russia
towards seeking international recognition of their
independence, in accordance with international law, but
stressed they were not asking for immediate recognition by
Russia. They confirmed that they would negotiate under the
6-point plan proposed by France, but only with Russian
guarantees and reconsideration of previous security zone
boundaries. They said Western countries were morally
responsible for Georgia's aggressions on South Ossetia, both
because of their military support and because of the biased
media reporting on the conflict. End summary.

Independence Under International Law
------------------------------------

(U) Bagapsh said that the two nations would seek recognition
of their independence under international law. He announced
that on August 15, "Foreign Ministers" of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia would travel to Moscow to coordinate efforts with
Russia and discuss the next steps in gaining recognition.
Both leaders said that their main obstacles would be dual
standards and a lack of understanding from Western countries.
Bagapsh insisted that "the two republics are not a threat to
Georgia's territorial integrity anymore," and in fact the two
regions will support Georgia's territorial integrity in the
future (but without them). He also stressed that if dialogue
on the two region's self-determination was possible before
Georgia's attack, now it was not possible at all, saying that
"only the nations of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will decide
their own future, not America and Europe."

(U) Kokoity said he believed South Ossetia's chances of
achieving independence were very high because of the Kosovo
precedent, and the fact that they were not asking for
immediate recognition by Russia of their independence;
instead they would like to achieve international recognition
"without any problems" from Russia or the West. The two
leaders stressed that their peoples were part of Europe with
European culture just like Georgia and Russia, and their
"contribution to stability in Europe could be very
significant." He said that the leaders had the support of
their people based on past referenda.

Negotiation Only With Russian Guarantees
----------------------------------------

(U) The leaders said that they had agreed to discuss all
parts of the 6-point plan with Georgia's corrections, but
only with Russian guarantees. They insisted that they would
refuse Georgian peacekeepers, and only Russian peacekeepers
should operate in the two zones, but observers from the OSCE,
the UN, and the Group of Friends could be discussed.
However, they said that these observers could only be
deployed in Georgian territory, not South Ossetia or
Abkhazia. Kokoity said that previously-agreed security zones
should be reconsidered, saying that during the conflict,
Russian troops deployed to places in Georgia from which the
Georgian military had fired on South Ossetia and it was very
important for the Russian troops to remain there in the
future as a "buffer zone." He lauded the efforts of the
Russian peacekeepers and said that Russia intervened to
protect all nations: South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia
and vice-versa. He said that President Medvedev told him on
August 14 that "we won because w
e were right," and promised his support for any decision of
South Ossetia or Abkhazia.

West Morally Responsible for Georgian Attack
--------------------------------------------

(U) Both leaders blamed the West for its support of Georgia,
and said that the United States and Europe had a moral
responsibility for the death of South Ossetians. They said
that they had evidence that Western countries were involved
in the planning of President Saakashvili's attack, because
U.S. weapons were found along with detailed military maps.
Furthermore, Kokoity said that the American journalist who
came in with the Georgian side was further evidence of
Western planning, saying that the American told him he was
"there to report on the Georgian blitzkrieg." When asked
whether there were any foreign fighters among the Georgians,
Kokoity responded that there were "mercenaries from Ukraine,
Baltic countries, and blacks." He said that Georgia did not

MOSCOW 00002415 002 OF 002


report all of their troop losses because they employed these
mercenaries among their ranks.

(U) The leaders also noted that the West's war of
information was suspiciously well prepared, with U.S. and
U.K. news sources profiting heavily from their one-sided
coverage. Kokoity said that this coverage "should be
considered as direct participation in the genocide." They
reiterated that Saakashvili should be prosecuted for war
crimes, and lamented the double standard of the West in its
reporting and support for only Georgian people and not those
of South Ossetia. They said that they could not trust the
West.
RUBIN

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