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Cablegate: Quad Demarche On Georgian Ship Seizures

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #4922 2542312
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 112254Z SEP 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0000
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0000
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0000
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 0000

UNCLAS STATE 094922

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR PGOV PREL GG RS
SUBJECT: QUAD DEMARCHE ON GEORGIAN SHIP SEIZURES

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 2.

2. (SBU) Summary and Action Request: Recent ship seizures by
Georgian authorities in international waters off the coast of
Abkhazia have provoked strong rhetoric from both Russian and
Abkhaz de-facto officials. Quad members (U.S., France,
Germany, and the UK), while not yet in total agreement on the
legal issues surrounding the interdictions, all agree that
Georgia's actions are legally highly questionable as well as
that further actions of this nature by Georgia could
destabilize the region. Tbilisi is requested to deliver the
points in paragraph 3 at the Ambassadorial or Charge level,
together with your Quad counterparts, before COB September
16. Moscow is requested to deliver the points in paragraph 4
at an appropriate level, also in conjunction with Quad
counterparts, no later than COB September 16. Quad members
have all approved the following language.

3. (SBU)

BEGIN POINTS FOR EMBASSY TBILISI

-- Expressly reiterate support for Georgia's sovereignty and
territorial integrity within its internationally recognized
borders.

-- Express concern about Georgia's recent actions in
arresting in international waters non-Georgian flag ships
that are coming from or heading for ports in the Georgian
region of Abkhazia.

-- According to our evaluation the legal grounds for the
Georgian practice are highly questionable. We have very
serious doubts regarding the seizure of foreign-flag vessels
in international waters on the bases cited by Georgia.

-- More importantly, and apart from the legal situation, we
consider the Georgian actions to be politically problematic
and have the potential for escalation. The actions have
already provoked strong rhetoric from the Russian and the
Abkhaz side, and may provoke responses that lead to renewed
military confrontation, destabilize the region and prove
highly detrimental to international efforts of conflict
settlement. Legal action taken against crew members of these
ships has also endangered Georgia's relationships with some
of its international supporters.

-- Express relief that the previous cases did not provoke
violent incidents, but urge Georgia strongly to refrain from
such actions in the future and discuss the problem within the
international fora established for the conflict ) especially
in the framework of the Geneva talks - as well as within the
Incidents Prevention and Response Mechanism.

-- We continue to recognize Georgia's rights as an
independent and sovereign state. We underscore our continued
support for Georgia's territorial integrity.

-- We offer our support and expertise to Georgia in order to
find solutions to the many serious practical problems which
arise from the difficult political environment.

END POINTS

4. (SBU)

BEGIN POINTS FOR EMBASSY MOSCOW

-- Express concern at the potentially dangerous developments
regarding the arrest of ships in the Black Sea that come from
or are heading towards Abkhaz ports.

-- We consider that this situation has a high potential for
political escalation that could further destabilize the
region.

-- We are urging all parties, including the Russian
Federation, to exercise restraint and discuss the matter
within the international fora established for the conflict -
especially Geneva - as well as within the Incidents
Prevention and Response Mechanism.

-- Encourage you to use your influence with the Abkhaz side
to urge calm.

-- We are also bringing our concerns directly to the
attention of Georgian authorities regarding the importance of
observing the provisions of international maritime law and
the need to avoid action that might prove highly detrimental
to regional stability and international efforts of conflict
settlement.

END POINTS
CLINTON

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