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Cablegate: Osce Permanent Council: Statement On Eu Observers

VZCZCXRO5264
PP RUEHAST RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHC #9702 2612318
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 172311Z SEP 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 3744
INFO ORG FOR SECURITY CO OP IN EUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS STATE 099702

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL OSCE GG RS
SUBJECT: OSCE PERMANENT COUNCIL: STATEMENT ON EU OBSERVERS
TO GEORGIA

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The United States welcomes the September 15 European Union
decision to send an independent civilian observer mission to
Georgia. We commend EU Member States, strong commitment to
deploying at least 200 observers by October 1.

We believe these observers, together with the OSCE military
monitoring officers, will constitute the international
mechanism of the six-point Ceasefire Agreement.

The United States notes Russia,s recent withdrawal of forces
from five observation posts along the Poti-Senaki line, but
we remain concerned by Georgian Government reports that an
estimated 1,200 Russian soldiers remain at 19 checkpoints
outside both Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We and our European
partners will watch carefully to see if these soldiers are
withdrawn within 10 days of the deployment of international
mechanisms ) including the EU observers ) in accordance
with the September 8 agreement between French President
Sarkozy and Russian President Medvedev.

Mr. Chairman, the United States once more calls on Russia to
implement in their entirety the commitments made in the
Ceasefire Agreement and reflected in its clarifying
documents. We remind Russia of its obligation to withdraw
its forces to their pre-conflict positions, as required in
the six-point Ceasefire Agreement.

In light of continuing reports of the destruction of ethnic
Georgian villages in areas controlled by Russian forces and
the forced displacement of ethnic Georgians, we also remind
Russia that its forces are responsible for taking steps to
maintain order in the areas of Georgia they occupy and not
blocking the return and safe livelihood of local residents.


Mr. Chairman, we demand that Russia not block the free flow
of humanitarian assistance to all areas of Georgia as
stipulated in point three of the six-point ceasefire
agreement. We remind Russia that turning back shipments of
humanitarian assistance and assessment teams trying to reach
villages in South Ossetia contravenes the agreement and
raises questions about Russia upholding its obligations under
international law as well.

Finally, we urge the OSCE to quickly reach agreement on
modalities for the additional military monitoring officers,
so that the remaining 80 MMOs can be deployed as soon as
possible. We also urge Russia to facilitate access to South
Ossetia for the eight MMOs on the ground prior to the start
of hostilities, in accordance with the September 8 agreement
between Presidents Sarkozy and Medvedev.

In closing, Mr. Chairman, the United States reiterates its
commitment to the people of Georgia and their democratically
elected government. We will continue to support Georgia,s
sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within
its internationally recognized borders.
RICE

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