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Cablegate: Russia Campaigns for International Support On

VZCZCXRO3984
PP RUEHIK RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #2629/01 2470646
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030646Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9806
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 002629

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON AM GG TU UZ RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA CAMPAIGNS FOR INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT ON
GEORGIA

REF: MOSCOW 2618

1. (SBU) Summary: Russia's President, Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister fanned out in an effort to gain support for
the Russian decision to recognize the independence of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Medvedev met with Armenian
President Sargsyan in Sochi on September 2, while Putin went
to Uzbekistan and Lavrov to Turkey. The meetings with the
Armenians and Uzbeks come just days before the Collective
Security Treaty Organization's (CSTO) September 5 meeting in
Moscow, where Russia hopes to gain the support of the
organization for its actions in Georgia. This event took on
even greater importance after Russia failed to get the
support of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) during
its August 28 summit (reftel). While neither Medvedev nor
Putin said whether they expected Armenia or Uzbekistan's
support, official statements suggested that Russia could link
enhanced economic ties with this issue. Lavrov, meanwhile,
went to Turkey to discuss Ankara's proposal for a Caucuses
stability organization and to possibly force a split in NATO
on how to handle Russia. End summary.

Russia Looks Ahead to CSTO Meeting
----------------------------------

2. (U) Russian President Medvedev said on September 2 that he
expected the members of the CSTO to reach a consensus
position on the situation in Georgia during their September 5
meeting in Moscow. Speaking following a meeting in Sochi
with Sargsyan, Medvedev did not say whether he thought the
CSTO would back Russian military action in Georgia or its
recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Russian media
reported, however, that CSTO Secretary General Bordyuzha said
that the organization would support Russia. Meanwhile, MFA
spokesman Nesterenko said that the foreign ministers of CSTO
member-states would "analyze" the situation in South Ossetia
during a preliminary meeting on September 4.

Medvedev and Putin to "Brief" Leaders on Georgia
--------------------------------------------- ---

3. (U) Official statements on Medvedev and Putin's meetings
with the Armenians and Uzbeks said the Russians would "brief"
their counterparts on Russia's position on Georgia. The
statements went on to explain at length the nature of
Armenian and Uzbek trade relations with Russia, seemingly
linking the health of political and economic relations and
suggesting that the reward for support of Russia's position
could mean closer economic ties.

4. (U) Putin went to Tashkent to meet Uzbek President Karimov
and PM Mirziyoyev on September 2. Traveling with a business
delegation that included Lukoil chief Vagit Alekperov and
Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller, Putin ostensibly went to
discuss bilateral ties, but said he would take the
opportunity to discuss Russia's decision to recognize
Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A GOR official told ITAR-TASS
that the current position of the Uzbek government on Georgia
"is quite balanced and at the same time neutral". In
separate statements, Putin and Medvedev praised Uzbekistan as
being among Russia's most important partners and a key to
Central Asian stability.

Lavrov Heads to Turkey
----------------------

5. (U) Lavrov went to Turkey for a September 2 visit that,
according to the MFA, would focus on the "consequences of
Georgian's military aggression" and discuss the Turkish
proposal to establish a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation
Platform. While this visit will not have an impact on the
upcoming CSTO meeting, commentators noted that Turkey offered
to include Russia in its proposed regional organization when
other NATO members were sharply critical of Russian actions
in Georgia.

6. (U) At the same time, bilateral trade tensions are
increasing. Russian customs officials have been delaying the
clearance of Turkish trucks at Russia's border, and Turkey's
Trade Minister stated August 29 that Turkey would impose
similar measures on Russian imports and consider withdrawing
its support for Russia's WTO entry. At a joint press
conference on September 2, Lavrov and Turkish FM Babacan
noted that they had discussed the trade dispute. Lavrov
denied that the recent imposition of stricter customs
controls on Turkish trucks was politically motivated.
Babacan said they had discussed the problem in a sincere and
constructed way and noted that it could be overcome with
Russia's cooperation and flexibility.

MOSCOW 00002629 002 OF 002

7. (SBU) Comment: The GOR is engaged in a full-court press
to enlist support for its decision to recognize the Georgian
breakaway regions' independence. By underscoring the scope
of its bilateral trade and economic cooperation, Russia is
reminding regional partners what is at stake as they balance
their proximity to Russia with their desire to deepen
relations with the U.S.
BEYRLE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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