Cablegate: Fsc October 15: Russia Says South Ossetia/Abkhazia
PP RUEHAST RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVEN #0249/01 2901509
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161509Z OCT 08
FM USMISSION USOSCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5980
INFO RUCNOSC/ORG FOR SECURITY CO OP IN EUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0609
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1164
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RHDLCNE/CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK
RUEASWA/DTRA ALEX WASHINGTON DC
RUESDT/DTRA-OSES DARMSTADT GE
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1104
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 USOSCE 000249
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 OCTOBER 15: RUSSIA SAYS SOUTH OSSETIA/ABKHAZIA
ELIGIBLE FOR OSCE
1. (SBU) Summary: Russian deputy director for export controls
and nonproliferation Petr Litavrin told Georgia he had no
official information about arms transfers to separatists in
South Ossetia and Abkhazia prior to the outbreak of war in
August. However, he added, Russia can provide information on
arms provided to sovereign states, including South Ossetia
and Abkhazia since their recent declaration of independence.
Later, Russian head of delegation Ulyanov, responding to
Georgia's demand that OSCE monitors be given access to South
Ossetia, declared it and Abkhazia were eligible for
membership in the OSCE and the Vienna Document as they were
now de jure independent nations.
2. (SBU) Only Belarus supported the Russian proposal for an
arms embargo of Georgia. The U.S., the EU, and the FSC Chair
have told Russia the proposal is unnecessary and will not be
3. (SBU) Ambassador Roberto Moritan, the chair of the Group
of Government Experts (GGE) on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT),
described the work of the group and the ongoing discussions
over the feasibility and scope of legally binding
international standards for arms transfers. The U.S. noted
its participation in the GGE and the need for further
consideration of the complex issues surrounding the ATT.
4. (SBU) The draft decision on a cyber security workshop was
forwarded to the plenary. Editing continues on the Chair's
draft Ministerial decisions on SALW and FSC issues, and on
draft decisions on trafficking of SALW by air, a revised Code
of Conduct Questionnaire, an overview of melange disposition.
Arms Trade Treaty
5. (SBU) Argentine Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan, the
chair of the Group of Government Experts on the Arms Trade
Treaty, reviewed the work of the GGE and described the next
steps in negotiating the ATT. The GGE was created by the UN
General Assembly with 28 Member States represented, although
over 60 had asked to participate. The group was formed to
examine the feasibility, scope, and parameters of a legally
binding instrument to regulate arms transfers. The group met
three times in 2008 but concluded that these matters require
further discussion. The UNGA and First Committee will
develop a road-map for further work, including increased
participation in the discussion group.
6. (SBU) The GGE recommended that the seven categories of
weapons found in the UN register of Conventional Weapons and
small arms and light weapons be regulated by a global treaty.
Moritan said the treaty is not intended to qualify the right
of states to defend themselves per Article 51 of the UN
Charter. The ATT will also address other UN Charter
provisions including those on human rights. One issue still
under discussion is reconciling ATT requirements with
stricter national arms transfer regulations.
Yes, But Will It Cure the Common Cold?
7. (SBU) France (Fournier) for the EU endorsed the ATT as a
USOSCE 00000249 002 OF 006
panacea for armed conflict, terrorism, organized crime, and
abuses of international humanitarian law. The treaty needs
to incorporate international standards at the highest level
while still respecting state sovereignty. The EU will
organize several conferences on the ATT in 2009 to encourage
8. (SBU) The UK (Gare) noted its early support for the
treaty. The ATT will not duplicate normative work done at the
OSCE and elsewhere but rather will close the gaps in extant
national and regional standards and help to counter terrorism
and human rights abuses. The ATT will provide an
international standard that can be enforced nationally. Gare
noted over 150 states support the ATT, including Finland (the
CiO and FSC chair).
U.S.: Engaged but Cautious
9. (SBU) The U.S. (Malzahn) has made three recommendations to
the GGE for its future work. First, further discussion of
the ATT should be a careful step-by-step analysis of the
feasibility and scope because of the complexity of the
subject matter and the differences in levels of comfort with
the treaty among states. Malzahn noted the U.S. had voted
against the treaty in the UNGA in 2007 as it believed it
would not be possible to create an international instrument
that matched the high standards of some states, including the
U.S., but would instead be a "lowest common denominator"
10. (SBU) Second, Malzahn said, the GGE needed to consider
the different motivations for production and acquisition of
conventional arms. Third, the obligations of exporters and
importers need to be balanced in any treaty. The ATT should
not be just an export controls arrangement.
11. (SBU) Turkey noted it was not a member of the GGE but
liked being informed.
12. (SBU) Moritan concluded by thanking the EU for its
support and said he hoped for an eventual "yes" vote from the
U.S. as the treaty will benefit all.
Russia on Arms Transfer Norms after Georgia War
13. (SBU) Peter Litavrin, the Russian MFA deputy director for
export controls and nonproliferation, described the impact of
current events on implementation of extant arms transfer
norms. Exporters need to consider the actual level of
tension in a region before agreeing to a transfer. The EU,
for instance, should not export weapons if there was chance
they would be used to support international aggression or
14. (SBU) Litavrin complained of insufficient transparency in
arms transfers. Some, he said, complain that arms transfers
to Kosovo or Georgia heighten tensions; others believe it
ensures stability and sovereignty. Some want human rights
violations to be considered before exporting to Syria and
Iran, while others believe these matters are irrelevant to
export decisions. The U.S. does not arm China and
USOSCE 00000249 003 OF 006
discourages other states from doing so, yet the U.S. arms
Taiwan, which is not recognized by the UN.
There was less disagreement over these issues within
homogenous structures, e.g., the EU.
15. (SBU) However, Litavrin said, Russia had for several
years expressed its concern to the EU and others over arms
transfers to Georgia, which Russia considered excessive and
destabilizing. The reply was that there was no UN arms
embargo, so the transfers were permitted. Yet, he asked, if
UN embargoes were the sole criterion, why have these other
export control standards like Wassenaar and the OSCE? Russia
is owed answer to the question how transfers to Georgia are
consistent with these other export control standards.
16. (SBU) Litavrin asserted Georgia's own transparency over
its arms imports did not contribute to stability in the
region. It was time to review critically the OSCE documents
on SALW in order to devise measures of stopping such
destabilizing arms transfers.
Who Armed South Ossetia?
17. (SBU) Georgia (Giorgadze) asked if Litavrin had data on
Russian arms transfers to the separatist movements in South
Ossetia and Abkhazia. Giorgadze also asked why "one
participating State" (pS) was preventing "another pS" from
visiting these separatist regions? Litavrin answered that
independent South Ossetian and Abkhazia could be the
legitimate recipients of arms transfers. He had no official
information on transfers to separatist movements, although he
conjectured that had Russia been supplying South Ossetia
before the war then events might have turned out differently.
18. (SBU) Giorgadze recalled that Georgia had urged military
monitors be allowed access to the separatist regions but
Russia had refused. Georgia had also urged international
monitoring of the Roki tunnel but Russia had blocked that
too. Giorgadze referred delegations to his October 1
statement in the FSC on arms transfers (FSC.JOUR/564, Annex
U.S. on Arms to Georgia
19. (SBU) The U.S. (Neighbor) upheld the right of states to
provide for their own defense. The U.S. has an arms transfer
policy that recognizes this right while taking account of
U.S. interests and regional tensions. These considerations
underlay U.S. arms transfers and other military assistance to
Georgia, which facilitated Georgia's deployment of forces to
Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and
re-establishment of government control over the Pankisi
Gorge. U.S. arms transfers to Georgia have not been in
excess of its legitimate security needs. Neighbour also
referred delegations to the U.S. statement on the same
subject at the October 1 FSC (FSC.JOUR/564, Annex 6).
20. (SBU) The Chair, Finland Kangaste noted with approval the
withdrawal of Russian forces from the security zones per the
Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement. However, OSCE monitors have
reported Russian forces have not withdrawn from Akhalkalaki.
USOSCE 00000249 004 OF 006
Kangaste requested Russian support for monitor access to this
area. He added that talks underway in Geneva are to address
restoration of security and stability in the region and the
plight of displaced persons.
Russian Proposal for Embargo of Arms to Georgia
21. (SBU) France, speaking for the EU, declared that EU arms
transfers to Georgia were complaint with its own and other
international norms and there was no need for the Russian
proposal to embargo arms to Georgia (FSC.DEL/155/08). Russia
(Ulyanov) acknowledged that most EU Member States have not
exported arms to Georgia, but some, mentioning the Czech
Republic by name, have contributed to the instability and
violence in the region. Ulyanov said these arms were used by
Georgia for internal repression: "Entire villages were wiped
out." Countries that continue to arms Georgia will be
politically and morally responsible for any violence that
22. (SBU) Ulyanov said the Russian proposal to embargo arms
to Georgia was meant to supplement apparently deficient OSCE
and EU norms and ensure the return of peace to the area, "for
the good of the Georgians themselves." Georgia (Giorgadze)
denied it had violated any OSCE norms, nor had its suppliers.
It was clear, he added, who was responsible for the
instability in the Caucasus.
23. (SBU) The Czech Republic (Reinohlova) said it was still
waiting for an answer from Russia to the question of who
supplied the South Ossetian separatists. Ulyanov, echoing
Litavrin's remarks earlier, said Russia did not have any
information, although if it had armed South Ossetia perhaps
war would not have occurred.
Russia: South Ossetia/Abkhazia Eligible for OSCE
24. (SBU) Georgia again demanded that OSCE monitors be
allowed into South Ossetia: perhaps they could determine
where South Ossetia got its arms. Ulyanov replied that this
request should be put to the authorities in the de jure
independent South Ossetia and Abkhazia, adding that they were
now eligible for membership in the OSCE and the Vienna
Document. Giorgadze replied that South Ossetia and Abkhazia
were still part of Georgia and, as such, should be
inspectable. Georgia thanked the EU for declining to support
the Russian call for an embargo.
25. (SBU) Later, in the working group, Russia returned to the
arms embargo proposal and accused the U.S. of breaking its
promise to Russia that U.S.-trained Georgian forces would
never turn their arms against Russia but were to be employed
only to restore government control in the Pankisi Gorge.
This had led Russia to include a ban on training in OP2 of
the draft decision. Belarus (Pavlov) described the Russian
proposal as a "valid response to recent events" and described
OSCE normative documents as inadequate.
26. (SBU) Separately, the U.S. (Silberberg) told Ulyanov his
paper was unnecessary and would not be supported. The Chair
(Kangaste) told Ulyanov there was virtually no support for
USOSCE 00000249 005 OF 006
the embargo proposal; although it can remain on the working
group agenda, Kangaste will urge Ulyanov to withdraw it
"after a decent interval."
27. (SBU) The draft decision on a cyber security workshop in
March 2009 (FSC.DD/12/08) was approved in the working group
and forwarded to the plenary.
MC.DD on SALW
28. (SBU) Spain, Slovakia, Canada, Sweden, and Greece
supported the German edits (FSC.DEL/161/08) to the chair's
Ministerial draft decision on SALW )MC.DD/7/08). The U.S.
(Silberberg) reprised earlier comments on the draft: avoiding
reference in the preamble to need for further work on
stockpiles and resisting the language in OP2 tic one calling
for a review of the "scope and content" of the OSCE Document
on SALW. Azerbaijan supported the U.S. on the OP2 issue.
Germany (Schweizer) noted the phrase "scope and content under
regular review" appeared in the OSCE Document on SALW and
asserted any review should be not just of the document but
all aspects of SALW work in light of current conditions to
determine if further norms were needed. Turkey requested
"requires" be changed to "encourages" in OP3 on the
establishment of national legal frameworks for SALW
brokering. The Chair plans to issue a revised text and will
attempt to find language acceptable to all.
MC.DD on FSC Issues
29. (SBU) Switzerland supported the Russian edits
(FSC.DEL/163/08) to the Chair's Ministerial draft decision on
FSC issues (MC.DD/6/08). The U.S. requested, again, that
reference to specific progress reports be dropped from OP3.
Georgia objected to the absence of any mention of the
"Georgia-Russia" war and proposed language to remedy this
that would omit the reference to "South Ossetia/Georgia."
Latvia and Canada supported the Georgian edits.
30. (SBU) Russia (Ulyanov) countered that the Georgian
language did not reflect the facts on the ground. It was
Georgia that was responsible for all the untoward events of
August. Russia was only "enforcing the peace." Ulyanov said
he could not see the point of the U.S. recommendation for
OP3: last year the Ministers had told the FSC on what to
report, which is as it should be. There was no reason to
change this arrangement.
SALW by Air
31. (SBU) Germany (Schweizer) still prefers to go beyond the
Wassenaar norms on preventing destabilizing transfers of SALW
by air that could be incorporated into OSCE practice by the
revised draft decision (FSC.DD/10/08/Rev.1) that features,
according to Schweizer, "uncritical use of documents coming
from another organization." While Germany generally supports
the latest version, it reserves the right to make additional
USOSCE 00000249 006 OF 006
32. (SBU) Ukraine, Sweden, and Kazakhstan supported the draft
decision welcoming the "overview" of melange disposition
methods (FSC.DEL/148/08), formerly known as a "Best Practice
Guide." Germany wants to see further revision. The U.S.
announced it had passed comments from technical experts to
the paper's author, Finland.
Code of Conduct
33. (SBU) Yet another version of the revised Code of Conduct
Questionnaire (FSC.DEL/98/08/Rev.4) was distributed by the
FSC Code coordinator, Colonel Anton Eischer (Austria).
Eischer has called for discussion of the draft in the October
22 working group. He noted that the revised Questionnaire
needs to be adopted by the late-November Ministerial if the
first set of replies are to be submitted by April 15, 2009.
Kazakhstan supported the latest version of the revised
34. (SBU) Russia (Geyvandov) said it had further edits to the
questions on the political-military commitments of pS.
Geyvandov also cautioned that the revision required careful
inter-agency review by Moscow that could take some time.
35. (SBU) Cyprus and Turkey announced the cancellation of
military exercises as part of renewed discussions between the
"two communities" on the island.
36. (SBU) The Next meeting of the FSC will be on October 22
and will feature a presentation on the Montreux Declaration
on Private Military and Security Companies by Ambassador Paul
Seger, director of international law, Swiss Department of