Search

 

Cablegate: Fsc September 24: Georgia-Russia Dustup Continues

VZCZCXRO2626
PP RUEHAST RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVEN #0228/01 2701432
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261432Z SEP 08
FM USMISSION USOSCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5935
INFO RUCNOSC/ORG FOR SECURITY CO OP IN EUR COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0592
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1147
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHDLCNE/CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEASWA/DTRA ALEX WASHINGTON DC
RUESDT/DTRA-OSES DARMSTADT GE
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JCS WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1087

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 USOSCE 000228

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR VCI/CCA, VCI/NRRC, EUR/RPM, EUR/PRA, EUR/CARC,
SCA/CEN, SCA/RA, PM/WRA
JCS FOR J-5
OSD FOR ISA (PERENYI)
NSC FOR HAYES
USUN FOR LEGAL, POL
EUCOM FOR J-5
CENTCOM FOR J-5
UNVIE FOR AC
GENEVA FOR CD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM PREL KCFE OSCE RS XG
SUBJECT: FSC SEPTEMBER 24: GEORGIA-RUSSIA DUSTUP CONTINUES

1. (SBU) Summary: Georgia gave a lengthy description in the
OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation today of Russian
transgressions, dating back to the breakup of the Soviet
Union and culminating in its continued occupation of Georgian
territories. Russia's relatively brief response blamed the
"criminal aggression" of the "Saakashvili regime" for all the
death and suffering resulting from the August war. The U.S.
repeated its call for Russia to comply with the ceasefire
agreement and meanwhile protect the human rights of all
living under its occupying forces in Georgia. Both sides are
expected to return to the debate in future FSC meetings.

2. (SBU) Dr. Ronald Dreyer of the Swiss Mission to the UN in
Geneva described ongoing efforts to implement the 2006 Geneva
Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a political
commitment by 94 states to take integrated action to curtail
armed violence and so enhance economic development. He noted
the U.S., while not a signatory, has taken "concrete actions"
to reduce armed violence.

3. (SBU) In the working group the revised Estonian-Lithuanian
cyber security paper now recommends a workshop occur before
summer 2009 in cooperation with the Permanent Council.
Finland, the FSC chair, announced a series of speakers who
will address next steps in implementing the UN Program of
Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons through OSCE
activities. End summary.

Georgia Takes the Long View
---------------------------

4. (SBU) Georgia (Giorgadze) followed through on its promise
at the September 17 FSC to make a broad-ranging presentation
in response to Russia's assertions that Tbilisi alone was to
blame for the August conflict. Giorgadze outlined the long
history of Georgia-Russia tensions, finding the core of the
current conflict was the Russian belief that Georgia was
partly to blame for the collapse of the Soviet Union and
Russia's refusal to recognize Georgia's right to make itself
into an independent, democratic, and pluralistic state.

Separatists are Russian Inventions
----------------------------------

5. (SBU) Giorgadze asserted there was no real difference
between the separatists and the Russian leadership. The
separatist movements were merely a means for Russia to exert
pressure on a sovereign neighboring state. The August war
was the culmination of a long-term Russian plan to dismember
Georgia by provoking it to take military steps against the
separatists that Russia used as a pretext for a massive
military invasion of Georgia.

6. (SBU) Major features of the Russian plan included its
rejection of Georgian and international peace proposals; the
seconding of Russian military and civil officials to the
separatists governments and the increasing economic and legal
integration of the separatists region into Russia, including
the issuance of Russian passports to most of the residents;
deliberate freezing of, or withdrawal from negotiations;
increase in Russian military presence in the separatist
regions and adjacent areas of Russia; an escalation of
Russian militant rhetoric against Georgia, including a threat
to take military and "other measures" against Georgia if it

USOSCE 00000228 002 OF 006


joined NATO; and continuous armed provocations against
Georgian villages, peacekeepers, civil government, and
military forces.

Russia Triggers August War
--------------------------

7. (SBU) Turning to the events of the August conflict,
Giorgadze outlined separatist attacks on Georgian villages
with heavy artillery, prohibited by then-extant peace
agreements beginning July 28. Giorgadze played an audio
recording of what he said was the voice of the South Ossetian
"interior minister" ordering the elimination of the Georgian
village of Dvani.

8. (SBU) The separatist authorities evacuated civilians from
Tskhinvali and the surrounding areas beginning on August 3.
Giorgadze said all these events indicated Russia was already
preparing for military action against Georgia. Giorgadze
said Georgian officials called for negotiations several times
between August 5 and 7 but were rebuffed by separatist and
Russian officials.

Russian Offensive Begins August 7
---------------------------------

9. (SBU) Massive Russian forces, according to Giorgadze,
entered Georgia through the Roki tunnel on the morning of
August 7. Giorgadze played audio recordings of what he
described as Georgian intelligence intercepts of mobile
telephone conversations between separatist border guards
concerning Russian military convoys moving through the tunnel
at this time. Giorgadze spent some time rebutting the
Russian explanation that these forces were part of a regular
rotation of peacekeeping units. He said there should have
been prior notice by Russia but the movement was never
announced; the movement should have occurred during daylight;
and the units involved were not those likely to be part of
the peacekeeping forces. He also quoted from an interview in
a Russian military newspaper ("Krasnaya Zvezda") with a
Russian officer who said his unit was ordered to Tskhinvali
on August 7.

Georgian "Counterattack" on Tskhinvali
--------------------------------------

10. (SBU) Giorgadze claimed military necessity, including
terrain and the location of Russian units, required Georgia
to attack Tskhinvali as part of its August 8 "counterattack"
on advancing Russian forces.

11. (SBU) Giorgadze showed the same overhead imagery of
Tskhinvali displayed by Russia at the September 17 FSC, and
added satellite images of surrounding villages in the Didi
Liakhvi valley, noting that damage to the Georgian villages
was greater than in Tskhinvali. He hoped the Russians would
not claim, as they did last year, that the Georgians
deliberately shelled their own villages. Most of the damage
in Tskhinvali, he said, was actually caused by the Russian
air force.
Russian Attacks on Civilian Targets
-----------------------------------

12. (SBU) Giorgadze reprised some of his comments in response

USOSCE 00000228 003 OF 006


to Russia's presentation at the September 17 FSC. Russia, he
said, has grossly exaggerated its own military casualties and
the civilian death toll. Russia left its peacekeepers in
exposed positions to mask the movements of its invading
force. Russia used its July exercises in the North Caucasus
to prepare for the invasion. Russia used Georgian ceasefires
to reinforce its positions deep in Georgia. Russia used
disproportionately destructive weapons that caused excessive
collateral damage to civilian facilities and population.
Russian forces and separatist militias have deliberately
targeted civilian infrastructure including housing,
hospitals, and schools. Russian forces have attacked and
killed Georgian civilian police. Russian military forces
continue to deny access to South Ossetia and Abkhazia to
humanitarian relief agencies and to OSCE military monitors.

Russian Ethnic Cleansing
------------------------

13. (SBU) Giorgadze said Russian soldiers and separatist
militias are engaged in ethnic cleansing of the territories
they now occupy. This forced displacement of ethnic
Georgians has been accompanied by assaults, robberies, and
murders of innocent civilians, citing reports compiled by
Human Rights Watch. Russia is failing to abide by basic
humanitarian legal principles that require occupying military
forces to uphold the human rights of all living under their
control. Giorgadze concluded by calling for an international
investigation of the conflict.

14. (SBU) Giorgadze's presentation was accompanied by
numerous film clips and power point slides graphically
portraying the nature and extent of the destruction in the
conflict zone. Some of this and much of his narrative was
distributed in paper copy to delegations at the meeting
(FSC.DEL/150/08).

Russia: "It's All Propaganda"
------------------------------

15. (SBU) Russia (Geyvandov) replied that Giorgadze's
presentation was "propaganda" that attempted to whitewash
Georgia's criminal actions. Recalling that Georgian
President Saakashvili had promised never to start a war
because of the suffering it would cause the innocent,
Geyvandov laid the blame for all the civilian deaths on
Tbilisi. Russia's response to Georgia's attack, he said, was
measured and proportionate, considering that the Georgian
"invasion" was "large-scale and gory." Commenting on the
satellite photos Georgia had shown, Geyvandov said Russia
attacked only military and "military-industrial targets." He
asserted there were few Georgian civilian casualties as a
result of Russian military action because the Georgian forces
had mostly fled the battlefield without a fight.
16. (SBU) Geyvandov said there were inconsistencies among the
different documents circulated by Georgia at the OSCE,
including that accompanying the latest presentation in the
FSC. He cast doubts on the provenance of the cell phone
intercepts played by Georgia during its presentation, asking
why it had taken Georgia so long to release them. Geyvandov
said Russia also welcomed an international investigation

U.S. Takes Russia to Task
-------------------------

USOSCE 00000228 004 OF 006

17. (SBU) The U.S. (Neighbour) said both sides to the
conflict had made mistakes but Russia greatly exacerbated the
situation by launching a massive military invasion across a
neighboring state's international border. Neighbour said
thousands of innocent civilians were displaced by the Russian
military occupation that still stretches deep into Georgia.
He deplored Russia's failure to allow humanitarian groups and
international observers into occupied areas. Neighbour
charged Russia to uphold international humanitarian standards
and respect the human rights of all persons under its control
in the occupied territories.

18. (SBU) Neighbour acknowledged Georgia "took the Russian
bait," but Russia then launched an attack that had been
prepared months earlier by giving equipment and weapons to
South Ossetian separatists and issuing Russian passports to
much of the population of South Ossetia. He called on Russia
to abide with all parts of the ceasefire agreement and
amplifying documents and said Russia' recognition of South
Ossetia and Abkhazia is unacceptable.

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development
--------------------------------------------- -------

19. (SBU) Dr. Ronald Dreyer of the Swiss Mission to the UN in
Geneva described ongoing implementation of the 2006 Geneva
Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, which has been
adopted by 94 countries. The U.S. is not a signatory. The
declaration promotes "sustainable security and a culture of
peace" through concrete actions to reduce armed violence and
"its negative impact on socio-economic and human
development." Switzerland leads a core group of states in
implementing these objectives into concrete measures, which
fall into broad areas: advocacy, measurability, and
programming. Work in the initial six focus countries
includes establishing best practices for cooperation among
governments, civil society, and international donors.

20. (SBU) Dreyer encouraged participating States to adopt the
declaration--to date 26 have done so--and continue their work
as donors and sources of technical expertise for the OSCE
projects that further the objectives of the declaration. He
announced a regional meeting to support the declaration in
Sarajevo on November 13-14 for countries of Southeastern
Europe and the Caucasus.

U.S. Praised for "Concrete Actions"
-----------------------------------

21. (SBU) Switzerland, Germany, and Austria offered support
for the declaration and noted the relevance to it of the
OSCE's SALW and ammunition projects. France (Simonet)
expressed some skepticism that a single instrument like the
declaration could address the wide range of problems
encompassed by the subjects of violence and development. The
U.S. (Neighbour) supported the goal of reducing armed
violence while noting its skepticism of the need for
additional legally binding international instruments. Dreyer
thanked the U.S. for its "concrete actions on the ground" to
address the problem of armed violence.

OSCE Communication Group
------------------------

USOSCE 00000228 005 OF 006

22. (SBU) The chair of the OSCE Communications Group, Glen
Sibbett (Canada) reported the results of the group's meeting
September 16, including the adoption of new software for the
Communications Network, version number 3, to be installed by
October 20, that includes formats supporting the Dayton Peace
Accords. A new version, number 6.5, of the automated data
software for the Annual Exchange of Military Information
(AEMI) was also released and should be used for the December
exchange. Sibbett announced the dates for the AEMI and
Vienna Document automated data exchange workshops as 11-15
December, with the Vienna Document exchange on December 12 if
the FSC concurred, and the AEMI on December 15 per the CFE
Treaty. There was no objection to the December 12 date for
the Vienna Document exchange.

AIAM Dates Proposed
-------------------

23. (SBU) The chair announced its draft decision to hold the
next Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting on March 3 and
4, 2009 in Vienna (FSC.DD/11/08).

SALW: Finnish Chair Beats UNPOA Drum
------------------------------------

24. (SBU) The chair, Finland (Kangaste), announced it
intended to use the FSC to advance the UN Program of Action
on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPOA). Citing the
disappointing results of the third Biennial Meeting of States
(BMS) on the UNPOA in July, Kangaste has invited the Small
Arms Survey, Safer World, and the Information Research Group
on Peace and Security (GRIP) to discuss the BMS and how the
OSCE could "bring added value." Kangaste has also invited
the chair of the third BMS, Dalius Cekuolis, to address the
FSC on November 5 on how the OSCE could help improve
implementation of the UNPOA. Kangaste said Finland, also the
2008 CiO, wants the ministerial council at Helsinki in
November to call on the OSCE to continue its work on SALW and
stockpiles of conventional ammunition (SCA). Kangaste said
it was time to assess all normative issues connected with
SALW/SCA. (FSC.DEL/149/08)

Cyber Security
--------------

25. (SBU) Estonia (Tiigimae), in the working group, announced
a revision (FSC.DEL/125/08/Rev.2) of its proposal for a cyber
security workshop, which now would occur before the 2009
summer recess and be organized "together with the PC."
Tiigimae said a subsequent paper would detail the agenda and
modalities. Estonia will soon share its national cyber
security strategy to participating States. Switzerland,
Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, and Canada gave general support
to the paper, although there were some quibbles that it
needed further detail about the agenda.

Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War
---------------------------------------

26. (SBU) There were no comments on the Food-for-Thought
paper on a "more active role for the OSCE in addressing the
landmine and ERW problem" (FSC.DEL/126/08). Germany
(Schweizer) then announced it will begin drafting a draft

USOSCE 00000228 006 OF 006


decision that would detail specific OSCE actions.
Separately, the U.S. (Silberberg) reminded Schweizer again of
opposition to references to the Ottawa Convention and concern
over duplication of work done by other international
organizations. Schweizer said these concerns "would be taken
into consideration."

Draft Decision on Finland's Melange Guide
-----------------------------------------

27. (SBU) Finland (Kangaste) announced a draft decision to
welcome the publication of its Guide to melange (rocket fuel
oxidizer) elimination (FSC.DEL/148/08). The decision refers
to the late 2007 draft of the guide (FSC.DEL/443/07/Rev.1).

Next Meeting
------------

28. (SBU) The next meeting of the FSC will be on October 1
and will include in the Security Dialogue a Russian
presentation on arms transfers to Georgia as well as the
presentations on the UNPOA on SALW mentioned above in para 24.
FINLEY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC