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Cablegate: Nicaragua Demarche On Recognition of South Ossetia

VZCZCXRO0621
OO RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #1153 2551302
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 111302Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3149
INFO RUEHMU/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0185
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 0016
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0222
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE VIENNA AU PRIORITY 0003
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 001153

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN, EUR/RUS, EUR/CACEN
NSC FOR FISK/GARCIA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/08/2018
TAGS: MOPS PREL GG NU RU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA DEMARCHE ON RECOGNITION OF SOUTH OSSETIA
AND ABKHAZIA

REF: A. STATE 90978
B. MANAGUA 1124

Classified By: Ambassador Robert Callahan for reasons 1.4 (b and d)

1. (C) On September 8, Ambassador Callahan delivered ref A
demarche to Foreign Minister Samuel Santos after informing
him that the visit of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez had
been cancelled. Ambassador emphasized our surprise at the
decision, stressing that recognition validated Russia's
military invasion and was inconsistent with commitments to
Georgia's territorial integrity. Further, Ambassador noted
that this decision would cause all aspects of our
relationship to be reviewed. While Nicaragua had the
authority as a sovereign nation to make such decisions, the
United States as a sovereign nation had the obligation to
disagree, especially when the territorial integrity of
another nation allied to the U.S. and regional security, were
at stake.

2. (C) Santos offered a convoluted and inconsistent
explanation of the decision to recognize the two entities.
Noting that he had just returned from Europe, he dismissed
the notion that other countries had grounds to be concerned
about the decision to recognize and alleged, unconvincingly,
that the recent agreement brokered by the French to withdraw
Russian troops validated Nicaragua's decision. He declared
that the decision to recognize was made by President Ortega
and was intended first and foremost to "stop the killings"
and aid peace in the region. He also said that recognition
was a symbolic demonstration of solidarity following a
request made by the two territories for recognition after the
"aggression" they suffered from Georgia. Santos also noted
that he had warned the U.S. when it recognized Kosovo that it
had "opened Pandora's Box" and was now paying the
consequences. When Ambassador pointed out the inconsistency
of that argument, highlighted by Nicaragua's continued
refusal to recognize Kosovo, Santos asserted that Kosovo
should have remained part of Yugoslavia and that South
Ossetia and Abkhazia were "different" for ethnic, historical
and geographic reasons.

3. (C) In a September 9 meeting with Vice President Jaime
Morales, Ambassador again raised our deep concerns regarding
the recognition. Morales attempted to assert that the
recognition was still not "official" until it was publicized
in the official register, the Gacetta. When pressed, he
admitted that did not mean that there was a chance the
recognition could repealed and acknowledged that the
political impact remained. Morales echoed Santos' assertion
that the decision was made following the request of the
leadership of the two territories which had "suffered
aggression and asked for help." When pressed as to whether
the decision was directed against the U.S., Morales asserted
"no" but admitted he did not know all the reasons for the
decision behind the timing of the recognition.

4. (C) Ambassador spoke via telephone with the UK Ambassador,
resident in Costa Rica, the Japanese Ambassador and Charges
from Germany, Spain and Norway. All noted that they have not
received instructions to date from capitals or the EU, but
that there was general concern over the decision to recognize
the entities. The German Charge said he expected to receive
instructions soon, noting his governments serious concern.
The Danish Ambassador confirmed that he has received
instructions to raise the issue bilaterally with the GON.
Officials of the Canadian Embassy, also resident in Costa
Rica, also have spoken with us to obtain more information on
the recognition and expects to receive demarche instructions
from Ottawa.
CALLAHAN

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