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Cablegate: Nicaragua Recognizes Independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3125
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C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 001124

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DEPT FOR WHA/FO DAS MADSEN
DEPT FOR WHA/CEN KRAAIMORE
DEPT FOR EUR/RUS
DEPT FOR USOAS
STATE PASS TO USAID/LAC -- CARDENAS AND BATTLE
COMMERCE FOR SEC GUTIERREZ
NSC FOR FISK AND GARCIA
SOUTHCOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/03/2018
TAGS: MOPS PREL RU GG NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA RECOGNIZES INDEPENDENCE OF SOUTH OSSETIA AND ABKHAZIA

REF: A. MANAGUA 1112 (NOTAL)
B. SECSTATE 91894
C. SECSTATE 89769

Classified By: Ambassador Robert Callahan for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) SUMMARY: On September 2, during a late night speech to
commemorate the 29th anniversary of the Nicaraguan Army,
President Daniel Ortega declared that Nicaragua would back
the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, and recognize the
independence of Georgia's separatist enclaves of South
Ossetia and Abkhazia. He accused the U.S. and NATO of
seeking to "encircle" the Russian Republic. He also called
Georgia's recent military action "pre-meditiated" and
compared it to a Nazi blitzkreig. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) During a 45-minute, late night speech on September 2,
marking the 29th Anniversary of Nicaragua's Army, Daniel
Ortega announced that, "The Government of Nicaragua
recognizes the independence of the Republics of South Ossetia
and Abkhazia, and we are in full agreement with the
Government of Russia,s position that the conflict can be
ended through dialogue with European countries." Ortega then
launched into an attack against the U.S. and NATO, stating
that, "the member countries of NATO are interested in closing
a military circle around the Russian Republic," and that "the
peace of the world has been threatened by the power-hungry,
hegemonic politics that have arisen since the Soviet Union
disappeared." Ortega then asserted that NATO had "used
Georgia in a military operation for a premeditated,
lightning-fast attack typical of the kind launched by the
Nazi army." Finally, Ortega emphasized that Georgia's attack
had left thousands dead and wounded, but this had not been
reported by "the mass media dominated by global capitalism."

3. (C) COMMENT: According to international media reporting,
Nicaragua is the first country, after Russia, to recognize
the "independence" of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Ortega's
action comes less than a week after we delivered the
demarches on the Georgia-Russia conflict to the Foreign
Ministry (REFS B & C) that had urged against such a step.
Ortega's declaration is disappointing, but not unexpected,
given the nostalgia for Cold War rhetoric and politics on his
part. This contrarian and unhelpful stance may also be a
harbinger of what is in store from incoming UNGA
president-elect and former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Miguel
D'Escoto, who likely shares this world view and mindset.
CALLAHAN

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