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Cablegate: Sanakoyev Speaks in Brussels

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RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1562/01 1800954
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290954Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6850
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001562

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E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS GG
SUBJECT: SANAKOYEV SPEAKS IN BRUSSELS


Summary
-------

1. On June 26, Dmitry Sanakoyev, head of Georgia's Temporary
Administration of South Ossetia, addressed the European Parliament
in Brussels. Georgian media gave extensive and positive coverage to
the event, hailing it as the first ever address made in Brussels in
the Ossetian language. The separatist regime in South Ossetia
criticized the speech and reportedly turned off electrical power so
that residents of Tskhinvali would be unable to watch it on live
television. End Summary.

Georgia and Ossetia will come back to Europe
--------------------------------------------

2. Sanakoyev, appearing at the European Parliament as a member of
the Georgian delegation, started his speech by stressing the
significance of Europe and its institutions for the Ossetian people,
as an example of "leading a dignified life, forgetting the problems
of the past and creating an environment where every person is
guaranteed a safe, dignified and peaceful existence." Sanakoyev
expressed his belief that due to the progress of the past three
years, Georgia is "returning to Europe, its natural environment,"
and, together with Georgia, so will South Ossetia. Sanakoyev
stressed that he was speaking as an ordinary Ossetian who himself
fought in the conflict and who had personally experienced all the
hardships that had beset South Ossetia for the past 17 years. At
the same time, he said it was absolutely certain that the conflict,
which occurred due to the faults of the Soviet legacy and grave
mistakes made by both sides, "should come to an end and become
history, as a tragic and shameful blight on the centuries-long
friendship of the Georgian and Ossetian peoples."

Political will creates hope
---------------------------

3. Sanakoyev stressed that a just and peaceful resolution of the
conflict could not be achieved without restoration of mutual
confidence and respect between Georgians and Ossetians which, in
turn, could be achieved only through direct dialogue. He
underscored that political will for such a resolution had emerged in
Georgia and this also creates hope for the final settlement. In
addition, such a dialogue requires a conducive environment and
friends ready to assist in critical situations; and that is why "the
role of the European Union in confidence building and economic
rehabilitation is so significant." Unfortunately, he added, the
Ossetian people have become hostages of the de facto regime, which
under the dictation of the "northern neighbor" is "oriented to
preserve the status quo in South Ossetia."

From a zone of conflict to a zone of tourism
--------------------------------------------

4. Looking into the future, Sanakoyev stressed that "Ossetian
people have a lot to say to the world," and South Ossetia should
transform from a "zone of conflict" into a "zone of tourism." This
goal should be preceded by joint social, economic and cultural
projects, but most important is mutual work to specify wide autonomy
for South Ossetia, and elaboration of guarantees for political
representation and preservation of cultural identity, which has
already started." At the same time, Sanakoyev stressed that while
working for this common goal, South Ossetia and the central
government in Tbilisi had different views on a number of issues, and
under such circumstances the participation of an objective and
friendly arbiter was essential. "Europe can be such an arbiter,"
concluded Sanakoyev, calling on European institutions and experts to
get actively involved in discussions on the status of South Ossetia.


Tbilisi hails speech; Tskhinvali turns off the light
--------------------------------------------- -------

5. Tbilisi media, commentators, and politicians of all views gave
favorable reviews to Sanakoyev's speech, characterizing the fact
that he addressed the European Parliament a "serious step forward"
and a "historic" event. Reaction in the separatist region was
predictably negative, and according to press reports, the de facto
government went so far as to turn off electrical power in the
Tskhinvali district during the speech, so that the population could

SIPDIS
not watch it on Georgian-sponsored Alania television. The de facto
ministry of foreign affairs issued a statement expressing
"indignation" over the event, which it characterized as part of
"Georgia's broad-scale campaign to legalize the puppet temporary
administration."

Comment
-------

6. The Georgians clearly see Sanakoyev's appearance in Brussels as
a major step toward greater international recognition of Sanakoyev
as a legitimate representative of South Ossetia, something they
believe will also bolster his standing among the South Ossetian
population. We do not know if it is indeed having this effect, but

TBILISI 00001562 002 OF 002


the reported shutoff of electricity during Sanakoyev's speech
suggests that the de facto authorities fear just such an outcome.

TEFFT

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