Cablegate: Osce/Fsc September 10: Russia Will Focus On
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TAGS: PARM PREL KCFE OSCE RS GG XG
SUBJECT: OSCE/FSC SEPTEMBER 10: RUSSIA WILL FOCUS ON
GEORGIA IN AUTUMN ROUND
1. (SBU) Summary: The Forum for Security Cooperation began
its autumn round on September 10 with an exchange of charges
and counter-charges between Georgia and Russia. Georgia
reports that large numbers of Russian forces remain on its
territory, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and are
engaged in ethnic cleansing. Russia insisted that its forces
only responded to Georgia's aggressive attack on South
Ossetia and remain there and in Abkhazia to protect the lives
of civilians in the now "independent" territories. Russia
charged Georgia with numerous violations of the OSCE Code of
Conduct for armed forces and claimed those supplying Georgia
with weapons were violating the OSCE Document on Small Arms
and Light Weapons. Russia promised to return in detail to
the Georgia conflict in future FSC meetings.
2. (SBU) The U.S. called for Russia to comply with the
French-brokered six-point cease fire agreement, particularly
the requirement for Russia to withdraw its forces to their
pre-August 6 locations. Armenia, on behalf of CSTO,
expressed concern over Georgia's military actions in the
South Caucasus and praised Russia's role in bringing peace to
3. (SBU) Finland assumed the chairmanship of the Forum and
renewed its pledge to support further work on SALW,
stockpiles of conventional ammunition, the Code of Conduct,
and the Vienna Document. Finland will organize an October 29
joint meeting with the Permanent council on human rights in
the armed forces. Finland will host Vienna Document 1999
visits to an airbase and military facility September 23-26.
Finnish Chairman's Plans
4. (SBU) Pauli Jarvenpaa, head of the defense policy
department at the Finnish Ministry of Defense, outlined
Finland's plans for the autumn session. He noted Finland's
role as OSCE CiO in working to negotiate a cease fire and
promote conflict settlement in Georgia. The crisis there, he
said, challenges the OSCE to continue the effective
implementation of its arms control and CSBMs, which have
5. (SBU) Finland wants to further implementation of existing
political-military documents, including SALW and conventional
ammunition, the Code of Conduct, and the Vienna Document.
The Security Dialogue has been recently revitalized, and
should be used to "debate all European security issues."
Finland plans an October 29 joint FSC-PC meeting on human
rights in the armed forces.
6. (SBU) Several delegations welcomed Finland and expressed
support for its plans. France (Lebedel), on behalf of the
EU, agreed with Finland that the events in Georgia had a
direct impact on the work of the Forum. Lebedel concurred
that work should continue on the current acquis of the FSC,
and specifically supported pending proposals on the Code of
Conduct, SALW, and cyber security. Lebedel said that, in
light of the uncertainty over CFE, the role of CSBMs becomes
all the more important. Armenia (Papikyan), on behalf of the
CSTO, called for the FSC to adopt the Russian CSBMs on rapid
reaction and naval forces.
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U.S. Warns CSBMs Not a Substitute for CFE
7. (SBU) The U.S. (Neighbour) welcomed the new chair's
support for further work on implementation of UNSCR 1540 and
use of the Security Dialogue. Neighbour warned that the U.S.
could not, at this point, support further action on some CSBM
proposals in the wake of "one participating State's"
suspension of CFE and actions in Georgia, noting that it was
not possible to substitute these proposals for full adherence
to the principles and provisions of CFE.
The Conflict in Georgia
8. (SBU) Georgia (Giorgadze) charged that Russian troops
remained on its territory without legal basis in a military
rather than peacekeeping role and are engaged in ethnic
cleansing by expelling Georgians from their homes near
Tskhinvali and burning their villages. Russian forces were
indiscriminately using heavy weapons against civilian targets
and population. He described Russian recognition of the
independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as contravening
earlier agreements concerning the territories and
international law. Georgia's actions on August 6 were
intended to terminate "peacekeeping operations" in these
territories and remove the basis for Russian military
presence there. Georgia now views the territories as regions
under Russian military occupation. Georgia has cut of
diplomatic relations with Russia.
9. (SBU) Giorgadze thanked the EU, the U.S., and other
participating States for their support of Georgia's
sovereignty and territorial integrity and for "condemning"
Russian actions. He called on Russia to comply with all
parts of the cease fire negotiated by President Sarkozy. He
said there were currently 17,000 Russian troops deployed on
Georgian territory, of which about 1,000 were outside the
Russia Places All Blame on Georgia
10. (SBU) Russia (Ulyanov) charged that Georgia's military
actions in South Ossetia have led to large-scale killing of
the local population and the destruction of Tskhinvali and
other settlements. Ulyanov said Georgia has used ethnic
cleansing in an attempt to rapidly resolve the issue of the
status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Over 1,500 South
Ossetians and ten Russian "peacekeepers" were killed and only
Russian intervention has stopped the killing. Georgia's
actions have destroyed any chance for the continued
co-existence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia within Georgia.
These territories have now concluded they need to be
independent. Although a difficult decision, Russia
recognized their independence as it was the only way to
protect the lives of their inhabitants.
Russia Compares South Ossetia-Abkhazia to Kosovo
11. (SBU) Some states, among them those who have recognized
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Kosovo, claim Russian recognition of these territories
violated international law. But, Ulyanov asked, why is
Kosovo's declaration of independence acceptable but not South
Ossetia's and Abkhazia's? Russia would like an answer.
Russia Will Return to Georgia at Next FSC
12. (SBU) Ulyanov asked why Georgia was among the most
heavily armed states. He charged some states were supplying
weapons to Georgia in contravention of the OSCE Document on
SALW. Also, Georgia had violated many of the provisions of
the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of
Security. In any case, he added, Russia will leave none of
these issues alone and will return to them beginning with at
the next FSC meting.
13. (SBU) Ulyanov praised the results of the Sarkozy-Medvedev
meeting on September 8. The resulting agreement called for
Georgian troops to return to their barracks and prohibited
the use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The
agreement will establish security zones with international
monitors, with at least 200 from the EU, in sufficient
numbers to replace the Russian peacekeepers, who will
withdraw after the international presence is established. At
that point responsibility for the security of South Ossetia
and Abkhazia will rest with the international community.
U.S.: Russia Must Honor Cease Fire
14. (SBU) The U.S. (Neighbour) called on Russia to honor all
provisions of the six-point cease fire agreement,
particularly the requirement for Russian forces to withdraw
to their pre-August 6 positions. Neighbour noted the
international community had also called for full compliance.
He recalled the EU and NATO condemnations of Russia
recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and their support
for Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
15. (SBU) Russia, Neighbour said, had reacted
disproportionately to Georgia's ill-advised attack on
Tskhinvali and its actions were not those of a peacekeeper.
Russia needs to make better choices as its action have
isolated it, jeopardized its international standing, and
adversely impacted its economy.
16. (SBU) Russia's actions were not merely a response to
Georgia's attack on Tskhinvali. Seconded Russia military
officers commanding South Ossetian forces shelled Georgian
villages and peacekeepers in early August, and Russia forces
aided South Ossetian forces as they attacked Georgians after
the cease fire declared by Georgia on August 7.
17. (SBU) The U.S. welcomed the PC decision to increase the
number of monitors in Georgia and urged Russia to allow the
additional monitors to deploy.
Georgia Recalls Earlier Russian Air Incursions
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18. (SBU) Georgia replied that Russia had been provoking it
with incursions into Georgian airspace, attacks on radar
sites, and constant artillery shelling. Russia has given
many residents of the contested territories Russian passports
while supporting the expulsion of Georgians. On the issue of
arms imports, Giorgadze said Georgia is well below its (CFE)
Russia Quotes U.S. Congressman on Tonkin Gulf
19. (SBU) Ulyanov said he empathized with refugees from South
Ossetia and Abkazia, but they were the victims of Georgia'
gamble that was now having a ricochet effect on its own
citizens. Ulyanov quoted U.S. Representative Dana
Rohrabacher (R-CA), who accused Georgia of provoking a
military incident as "the U.S. did in the Tonkin Gulf
incident." Ulyanov accused the U.S. of a double standard in
its recognition of Kosovo. Responding to the U.S.
description of Russian actions as "disproportionate," Ulyanov
said U.S. military actions in Iraq, Kosovo, Panama, and
Grenada were hardly proportionate, mentioning specifically
U.S. attacks on the Belgrade radio station and Chinese
20. (SBU) The U.S. replied Russian actions were still
disproportionate even if, which was not the case, Georgia has
violated the cease fire. Regarding Rohrabacher Neighbour
said U.S. congressmen, all 535 of them, were free to speak
CSTO Praises Russian "Peacemaking"
21. (SBU) Armenia, on behalf of CSTO, expressed concern for
Georgian military actions that resulted in the deaths of
Russian soldiers and a "humanitarian disaster." CSTO praised
the active role of Russia in "bringing peace to the region."
22. (SBU) Finland announced it would host a Vienna Document
airbase and military facility visit on September 23-26.
23. (SBU) The Conflict Prevention Center (CPC) announced the
publication of the OSCE Handbook of Best Practices on
Conventional Ammunition. The handbook was published in
English but editions in the other OSCE languages will be
24. (SBU) CPC also announced the appointment of Mathew
Geertsen, recently with the Dutch delegation to the OSCE, as
the head of the FSC Support Unit and of Glen Sibbetts
(Canada) as the head of the Communications Network.
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25. (U) The next FSC meeting, which will include both plenary
and working groups, will be on September 17.