Cablegate: Fsc Autumn 2008 End-of-Round: Georgia-Russia War
PP RUEHAST RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR
DE RUEHVEN #0310/01 3521230
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171230Z DEC 08
FM USMISSION USOSCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6114
INFO RUCNOSC/ORG FOR SECURITY CO OP IN EUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0653
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1208
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 1148
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 USOSCE 000310
STATE FOR VCI/CCA, VCI/NRRC, EUR/RPM, EUR/PRA, EUR/CARC,
SCA/CEN, SCA/RA, PM/WRA, ISN/CPI
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 GG XG
SUBJECT: FSC AUTUMN 2008 END-OF-ROUND: GEORGIA-RUSSIA WAR
REVERBERATES AS U.S. OBJECTIVES MET
1. (SBU) Summary: Recriminations from the August
Georgia-Russia war echoed through the autumn session in the
Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC), coloring Security
Dialogue presentations and even reactions to an otherwise
mundane decision describing the work of the Forum. Russia
introduced a draft decision for an embargo of arms to Georgia
but failed to gain support. Russia has warned it will return
in 2009 to all the CSBM proposals it has made over the last
two years, including those on naval forces, rapid reaction
forces, and improved implementation of the Vienna Document.
2. (SBU) France will follow Finland into the FSC chair in
January but has not made known in detail its priorities for
the winter 2009 round. France is known to support further
work to strengthen the existing OSCE political-military
acquis, although it has also been supportive of greater
engagement with Russia over the Medvedev proposals for a new
European security architecture. Besides the cyber security
workshop on March 17-18, a meeting to review the OSCE
Document on SALW and supplementary decisions will also be
held in 2009.
3. (SBU) U.S. goals for the autumn FSC session were met.
Inter alia, this included maintaining Allied unity in
refusing Russian entreaties to reopen OSCE documents or
create new CSBMs and advancing implementation of UNSCR 1540,
although progress on the 1540 Best Practice Guide is slower
than anticipated. Allied unity was also conspicuous in the
response to Russia's invasion of Georgia, with almost all pS
supporting Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The U.S. often finds itself reacting to initiatives of others
rather than leading. At an appropriate point, the U.S. may
want to become more proactive in the FSC. Washington, see
para 29. End summary.
4. (SBU) Russia made good on its threat at the first meeting
of the autumn round to focus on the August Georgia-Russia
war, returning to it several times in the Security Dialogue
and under General Statements in the FSC plenary. Russia
charged Georgia with starting the war by an unprovoked
invasion of South Ossetia and the indiscriminate bombardment
of civilian targets in the region. Russia also alleged
violations of the Code of Conduct for armed forces by Georgia
and of OSCE documents on arms transfers by those states
5. (SBU) Georgia countered that Russian provocations over the
years preceding had increased tensions in the region. The
Georgian attack on South Ossetia was actually in response to
the threatened or actual movement of Russian forces into the
6. (SBU) The U.S. and others called for both sides to observe
the six-point cease-fire agreement and cooperate with the
OSCE in restoring peace and stability to the region. The
U.S., EU, and other pS reminded Russia of Georgia's right as
a sovereign state to determine its defense requirements. The
U.S. challenged Russia to explain how heavy weapons got into
the hands of separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and
why this did not violate OSCE principles, including the OSCE
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Document on SALW and the OSCE Principles Governing
Conventional Arms Transfers.
7. (SBU) Russia also sponsored a guest speaker in the
Security Dialogue, Petr Litavrin, a deputy director from the
Russian MFA security affairs and disarmament department, who
warned that pS should not export arms to countries where they
might be used for international aggression or domestic
repression. Litavrin called for review of OSCE documents on
SALW and arms transfers to enhance transparency and
accountability in arms transfers.
8. (SBU) A Ministerial decision drafted by the FSC on the
2009 work plan (MC.DEC/13/08) was held up in the working
group for several weeks because Russia and Georgia could not
agree how to describe the ongoing FSC discussion over the
August conflict. Georgia wanted a reference to a
"Georgia-Russia" conflict, while Russia insisted this was
insufficient as Georgia had started the war by attacking
South Ossetia, which Russia then rescued.
9. (SBU) As part of its verbal skirmishing with Georgia,
Russia also introduced a draft decision calling for an
embargo of arms and military assistance to Georgia
(FSC.DEL/155/08/Rev.1). Only Belarus supported the proposal,
while it was successfully opposed by the U.S. and the EU.
10. (SBU) Russia attacked the U.S. for insisting that no
substantive work on CSBMs in the FSC could occur while Russia
had suspended implementation of the CFE treaty. Russia
accused the U.S. of linking Russian initiatives in the FSC to
"unrelated and secondary issues" like Georgia and the CFE.
Russian proposals for naval CSBMs, rapid reaction forces
information exchange, and notification of transits and
deployments of brigades or larger have not appeared on the
FSC agenda for several months, but Russia told the incoming
FSC chair, France, that it intends to renew discussion of
them in 2009. Russia has alluded to the Medvedev proposals
for a new "European security architecture" in the FSC but has
yet to elaborate.
11. (SBU) Estonia sponsored the decision to hold a March
17-18, 2009 workshop on cyber security (FSC.DEC/10/08). The
approved agenda and modalities (FSC.DEC/17/08) include
discussion of state and terrorist cyber attacks and cyber
crime. Russia, Germany, and the U.S. announced their
intention to provide keynote speakers. Goals of the workshop
include exchange of information on national priorities and
showcasing potential defensive measures, lessons learned, and
relevant best practices.
12. (SBU) Russia revived its 2007 proposal for a single
deadline of September 20 to submit defense planning
information under the Vienna Document. The U.S. opposes the
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suggestion as impracticable and unnecessary given the
differences among pS legislative calendars and procedures.
Russia did not request further discussion of its Vienna
Document-related proposals for specifying the area of
inspection at 25,000 square kilometers (FSC.DEL/493/07/Rev.2)
and requiring annual notification of at least one major
military activity below the threshold for mandatory
notification (FSC.DEL/495/07/Rev.3), although it recently
told France, the incoming FSC chair, that it will push for
their adoption in 2009.
Code of Conduct
13. (SBU) Work continued on an update of the Code of Conduct
questionnaire. Despite numerous informal meetings and
extensive discussion in the working group, consensus has not
been reached, almost a year after work began after adoption
of a decision to promote awareness and support outreach of
the Code (FSC.DEC/1/08). Delegations remain deadlocked over
draft questions on, inter alia, arms control and CSBMs, the
role of gender in security affairs, and taking account of
other states' security interests in defense planning.
14. (SBU) Proposals on "supplementary measures" to enhance
implementation of the Code will be taken up in the winter
2009 session. Germany reportedly will offer a
Food-for-Thought calling for annual review of Code
15. (SBU) A Ministerial decision (MC.DEC/11/08), drafted by
the FSC, enjoins further work on SALW/SCA, specifically:
review of the OSCE Document on SALW with a view to further
action; implementation of a legal framework for brokering
activities; conformance of national legal and administrative
norms with the International tracing Instrument;
implementation of the UN Program of Action to eliminate
illicit trade of SALW. The decision also requires a progress
report to the 2009 Ministerial on the implementation of the
OSCE Documents on SALW and SCA.
16. (SBU) Landmines and ERW: Germany offered a
Food-for-Thought paper on landmines and explosive remnants of
war that did not receive much comment. Germany is expected
to introduce a draft decision based on the paper. The U.S.
opposed any reference in the paper to the Ottawa Convention
as a norm.
17. (SBU) UNPOA: Finland, as CiO and FSC chair, publicized
the UN Program of Action (UNPOA) on small arms and light
weapons (SALW) and encouraged delegations to help further its
implementation. Finland also urged the FSC undertake the
assessment of all normative issues connected with SALW and
stockpiles of conventional ammunition (SCA). Finland invited
several NGOs to address the Security Dialogue on the UNPOA.
Small Arms Survey, Saferworld, and GRIP called for more
implementation of existing instruments, including the UNPOA,
and more action on transparency in information exchanges,
brokering, stockpile management, and marking and tracing.
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18. (SBU) Illicit air trafficking: The Forum adopted the
Wassenaar Arrangement Best Practices "to prevent
destabilizing transfers of SALW through air transport" and
will hold an information exchange by June 30, 2009 on
national practices in preventing the illicit transfer of SALW
by air (FSC.DEC/11/08). The decision follows on the special
FSC meeting workshop on the same subject held in 2007. the
decision reflects a compromise among the drafters, including
the U.S., who wanted a normative document but also wanted to
import without alteration the Wassenaar Best Practices.
19. (SBU) End-use certificates: The Forum decided to task pS
to exchange with other pS and the Conflict Prevention Center
exemplars of their end-use certificates for transfer of SALW
and other information on relevant verification procedures by
March 27, 2009. U.S. goals were partly met as the decision
solicits additional information, apart from the EUC itself,
relevant to verification and the requirement for a CPC
"analysis" was dropped.
20. (SBU) OSCE project work: Tenders have been invited on
the OSCE melange project in Ukraine. The project would be
the largest yet attempted by the OSCE, involving 16,000 tons
of melange. The first phase of the projects envisions the
elimination of 3,000 tons of melange at a budget of 3.1
Best Practice Guides
21. (SBU) The OSCE published the "Handbook of Best Practices
on Conventional Ammunition" in its six official languages.
22. (SBU) The Finnish-drafted "overview of disposal aspects
for melange," earlier circulated as "Best Practice Guide"
(BPG) was endorsed for publication.
23. (SBU) The U.S.-drafted UNSCR 1540 BPG chapter on export
controls and transshipment is under revision in response to
edits from Russia. A Canadian chapter on 1540-related
physical security is also under revision. No other chapters
are currently in preparation.
24. (SBU) While work on the UNSCR 1540 Best Practice Guide
continued, informal consultations with other delegations and
the Secretariat indicate continued support for further work
in implementation of the resolution. Possible follow-on
could include a one-off information exchange on the state of
national implementation efforts including national action
25. (SBU) The U.S. 1540 coordinator led discussions with
representatives of the OSCE Secretary General, the Border
Management and Actions against Terrorism Units, and several
national delegations on broadening the scope of 1540 work in
Vienna to include the Permanent Council's Security Committee
and other international organizations such as the IAEA and
the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Russia announced that it
prefers to keep 1540 work in the FSC and avoid the problem of
"too many cooks."
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26. (SBU) Ambassador Jorge Urbina, the chair of the 1540
Committee, addressed the Security Dialogue of the role of the
OSCE in furthering implementation of the resolution,
including technical assistance and the development of
sensitive goods export controls. Urbina, echoing the U.S.
1540 coordinator, supported broadening the scope of 1540 work
within the OSCE and urged greater cooperation with other
international organizations in Vienna.
27. (SBU) Beside the ongoing discussion of the Georgia-Russia
war and others topics discussed elsewhere in this report, the
Security Dialogue included a wide range of subjects including
presentations of the OSCE's first-dimension normative and
project work on Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Geneva Declaration on
Armed Violence and Development, the Arms Trade Treaty, the
OSCE melange project in Ukraine, the Montreux Declaration on
Private Military and Security Companies, the ODIHR "Handbook
on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Armed Forces
Personnel," and a proposed OSCE project for removing
explosive remnants of war from the Crimea.
28. (SBU) U.S. presentations in the Security Dialogue
included Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen on
maritime security capacity and international outreach
programs, including anti-piracy measures, environmental
protection, and maritime border management. Also, Major
General Paul Schafer, USAF, director of strategy at U.S.
European Command, explained the "strategy for active
security," designed to defend the U.S. while creating an
environment that supports the strategic interests of the U.S.
and its allies and partners in Europe--including Russia.
29. (SBU) The French program for the 2009 winter round is
largely unknown, although programming on UNSCR 1540 and air
trafficking of SALW is expected. The OSCE cyber security
workshop is to be held March 17-18 and the Forum has been
directed by Ministerial decision (11/08) to hold a meeting to
review the OSCE Document on SALW. Specific guidance will be
required for both these meetings. Further guidance on next
steps on UNSCR 1540, particularly if the focus of activity is
to shift away from the FSC, is also needed. Updated guidance
may be needed on Russian CSBM and Vienna Document-related
proposals if Russia raises them again in the working groups.
The U.S. and Leadership of the FSC
30. (SBU) COMMENT: With the important exception of Georgia,
the U.S. remained per instructions largely in a defensive
position in the FSC this session. Particularly regarding
setting norms through draft decisions, such as on SALW and
related issues, the U.S. exercised influence mostly through
criticism and revision of others' initiatives, and by
exhortations to allies and partners to resist Russia's call
to reopen existing documents or create "new" CSBMs. The only
U.S.-initiated activity remains the effort to further
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implementation of UNSCR 1540 among pS. While U.S. support is
always welcome, delegations increasingly turn to others,
notably Germany and to a lesser degree France and the
Nordics, for leadership and new ideas.
31. (SBU) (COMMENT contd) An assumption often stated by
Russia and shared by many pS is that there should be more to
the FSC than merely monitoring implementation and dialogue.
At an appropriate point, the U.S. may want to proffer what
that "more" could be and/or be more proactive in contributing
constructive ideas to improve initiatives by other states.
Besides 1540, possible initiatives include outreach on
MANPADS along the lines of the recent U.S. seminar in Vienna
for Mediterranean Partners, enhancing export controls norms
and enforcement for dual-use goods, and discussion of
security and stabilization operations by multinational
coalitions, including recent EU efforts. END COMMENT.
32. (SBU) The first meeting of the 2009 winter session will
be on January 21 with France in the chair.