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Cablegate: Osce/Permanent Council: Statement On Recent

DE RUEHC #7197/01 2262359
O P 132354Z AUG 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Post is authorized to deliver the following statement
at the August 14, 2008, special meeting of the OSCE Permanent
Council in Vienna.

Begin text:

Mr. Chairman,

We appreciate so much that you scheduled this special session
of the Permanent Council, and express our full support for
the joint efforts of the Chairman in Office, Special Envoy
Talvitie, and the European Union to resolve this crisis. We
deeply regret the loss of life caused by this conflict,
including the senseless civilian casualties, and our thoughts
and prayers are with the victims and their families.

Mr. Chairman, the United States continues to be deeply
concerned by the recent events in Georgia, when Russian
forces moved beyond the zone of conflict in South Ossetia,
overran the city of Gori, and attacked military installations
near Tbilisi. We also continue to be concerned by reports
that in the same period, Russian troops moved beyond Abkhazia
to the port of Poti and the city of Senaki and in the Gori
area. We are gravely concerned by reports of ethnic
cleansing of Georgians in South Ossetia, and we urge the OSCE
to investigate these and any other claims of such abuses.

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The aggressive military actions of the Russian Federation
were completely out of proportion to events in South Ossetia
and went beyond any reasonable steps to ensure the safety of
civilians and peacekeepers, escalating to open hostilities
with Georgia. Russia,s actions represented a dramatic and
brutal escalation of the conflict and were inconsistent with
assurances that its objectives were limited to restoring the
status quo ante that existed before fighting began August 6.

Russian military action was also inconsistent with Russia,s
peacekeeping role under the 1994 Moscow Agreement and with
commitments made in Istanbul and under Article II of the UN
Charter, which calls for all UN members to refrain from the
threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or
political independence of any state.

In our view, Russia acted outside international law and must
be considered a party to the conflict. It invaded a
sovereign neighboring state and threatened a democratic
government duly elected by its people. We strongly condemn
Russia,s actions, and we deplore the casualties and physical
damage that resulted from the re-emergence of armed conflict
on European soil. Russia,s actions this week raised serious
questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region.
These actions have damaged substantially Russia,s standing
in the world and jeopardized Russia,s relations with the
United States and other countries.

The United States welcomes the ceasefire mediated by the
French President on behalf of the European Union. We
strongly urge the full cessation of hostilities and the
withdrawal of those Russian military forces introduced after
initiation of the current conflict from Georgian territory
and a return to the military status quo as of August 6. We
urge Russia to demonstrate respect for Georgia,s territorial
integrity. We reaffirm our support for the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of Georgia within internationally
recognized borders.

We note the current diplomatic efforts taking place in Moscow
and Tbilisi and urge the parties to put in place a lasting
cease-fire and reach a political solution to the conflict
that ensures Georgian territorial integrity and sovereignty.
A safe and secure humanitarian assistance corridor for the
victims of these tragic events should be immediately
established. We urge Russia to lift its naval blockade of
Georgia,s coast in order to allow food, fuel and
humanitarian aid to reach civilians throughout the Caucasus.

Mr. Chairman, we would like to express again our full support
for the joint efforts of the Chairman in Office and the
European Union to resolve this crisis. The United States
will work with the international community to ensure Georgia
has all the assistance it needs to meet immediate
humanitarian needs and, over the longer term, to rebuild its
country and repair the damage done by recent assaults.

We support fully the continued work of the OSCE Mission to
Georgia and believe the OSCE can play a key role in further
mediation, monitoring, and humanitarian work. We applaud the

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efforts of Foreign Minister Stubb and call on OSCE Secretary
General de Brichambaut, Ambassador Salber and Ambassador
Hakala to develop and implement an OSCE plan that helps
facilitate the delivery of international humanitarian
assistance where OSCE can add value to efforts underway.
OSCE as a promoter of peace and stability must respond
immediately to the needs of the victims of this tragedy.

In practical terms, we urge continued joint OSCE-EU
involvement in negotiations to reach a lasting solution to
this conflict. We encourage consideration of enhanced OSCE
border control activities and approval for an immediate
increase in the number of OSCE Mission Monitoring Officers in
South Ossetia. We also urge consideration of EU proposals to
send EU peacekeepers to the region.

We believe these are practical steps the OSCE can take to
help resolve this conflict. We urge the OSCE and our
Chairman in Office to implement them immediately.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

End text.

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