06MOSCOW1435, GEORGIA-RUSSIA: EXPECT SHARP RUSSIAN REACTION TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW1435 2006-02-14 15:32 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO6875
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #1435/01 0451532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 141532Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0727
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001435 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/14/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV ENRG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA-RUSSIA:  EXPECT SHARP RUSSIAN REACTION TO 
GEORGIAN DEMAND TO WITHDRAW PKF 
 
REF: BRYZA/BURNS E-MAIL OF FEBRUARY 14 
 
Classified By: A/DCM Kirk Augustine.  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY.  In the absence of DFM Karasin from Moscow, 
A/DCM spoke with MFA 4th CIS Department Director Andrey Kelin 
to emphasize the efforts the USG has been making to moderate 
Georgian parliamentary action on CIS peacekeepers in South 
Ossetia (per ref e-mail request).  Kelin took careful note of 
the information, said the GOR was receiving "different 
versions" of what action the Georgian parliament would take 
on February 15, and would follow developments closely.  He 
added that the Georgians had been clearly warned about the 
negative consequences of "provocative" actions.  In a 
separate conversation earlier on February 14, MFA Georgia 
Office Director Grigoryev stressed to poloff that the 
Russians would likely come out with a strongly negative 
reaction to what they expect to be in the resolution.  The 
planned February 27-28 visit of PM Noghaideli would be in 
jeopardy.  We stressed that the U.S. has been working hard 
with the Georgians to give the GOG maximum flexibility. 
Grigoryev asked whether the Georgians had any ideas for 
moving forward beyond the resolution.  If the Russians 
themselves have any ideas, neither Kelin nor Kelin shared 
them.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (C)  A/DCM spoke late on February 14 with 4th CIS 
Department Director Kelin, informing him of the efforts 
Ambassador Tefft had been making in Tbilisi to moderate 
Georgian actions.  He noted in particular (per ref e-mail) 
that Amb. Tefft had been pushing for the resolution to give 
the government time and to tie any decision to the South 
Ossetian peace plan, to make a statement on the non-use of 
force, to make a statement on the need to reconcile the 
Georgian and Kokoity's peace plans, and to undertake 
unilateral steps on demilitarization.  A/DCM added that Amb. 
Tefft had been told February 14 that the resolution would not 
call for the immediate removal of the CIS peacekeepers and 
would give the Georgian government time to find a resolution 
to the problem.  A/DCM urged that the GOR avoid 
over-reactions to whatever parliamentary action is taken. 
 
3. (C)  Kelin expressed appreciation for the U.S. efforts, 
which he carefully noted.  He said the GOR would await 
developments in the parliament and especially the reaction of 
the Georgian government.  He noted that he had recently 
returned from Tbilisi, where he had clearly warned his 
Georgian interlocutors about the potential consequences of 
any rash or "provocative" actions.  The GOR was receiving 
"different versions" from Georgian political figures about 
the likely actions of the parliament and government, and it 
could not confirm that no call would be made for the 
immediate removal of CIS peacekeepers from South Ossetia. 
 
4. (C)  In a separate meeting earlier on February 14 (prior 
to the receipt of ref e-mail), a gloomy MFA Georgia Office 
Director Grigoryev told poloff that the Georgian 
parliamentary resolution would surely pass February 15. 
"Then what?" he asked.  "Do the Georgians have a plan beyond 
the resolution?  What do they expect to happen, even if the 
deadline is extended a month?"  Poloff briefed him on U.S. 
efforts with the Georgians to ensure that parliamentary 
action give maximum flexibility to the GOG.  We noted that we 
had pressed the Georgians on ideas discussed by DAS Bryza and 
Russian envoy Kenyaikin in Brussels February 6, including 
statements on the non-use of force, work on demilitarization, 
and progress on a workplan on which both the Georgians and 
South Ossetians can take ownership.  We said Ambassador Tefft 
and other Western Ambassadors had met with DefMin Okruashvili 
and later with President Saakashvili on those issues.  We 
noted that the Georgians had been asking for some sign of 
progress to show that this "frozen conflict" was not, in 
fact, frozen. 
 
5. (C)  Asked about the likely GOR reaction to the expected 
February 15 Georgian parliamentary action, Grigoryev stressed 
that "it would not be positive."  He said Georgian State 
Minister Khaindrava had asked to visit Moscow February 16 and 
would meet with DFM Karasin.  The JCC in Vienna was expected 
to go ahead February 21.  However, the planned visit of PM 
Noghaideli to Moscow on February 27-28 might be in jeopardy, 
though the MFA would recommend that it go ahead as planned. 
There were "certain forces in Moscow," he noted, who wanted 
Russia to "slam the door" and stop all talks with the 
Georgians.  The MFA would resist those forces, though their 
influence might at least limit the agenda for Noghaideli's 
visit. 
 
6. (C)  Grigoryev said that recemt statements by Georgian 
President Saakashvili had "been the last straw" in poisoning 
the atmosphere between Russia and Georgia.  Asked about the 
 
MOSCOW 00001435  002 OF 002 
 
 
exchange of insults between Alksnis and Khaindrava, Grigoryev 
said he had no devotion to Alksnis, and Khaindrava's 
statements were clearly directed at the segment of Russian 
opinion that Alksnis represented.  Asked about t
he 
implication in FonMin Lavrov's oral message to Secretary Rice 
that the Georgians were responsible for the January 
explosions in the Russian gas and electricity lines feeding 
Georgia, Grigoryev noted only that it was a closed message 
and not meant for the Georgians.  Poloff urged that the 
Russians be restrained in all their public statements. 
Grigoryev reiterated that the Russian government had tried to 
be restrained in the last few days, but he expected the 
Georgian parliamentary action of February 15 would only 
worsen the atmosphere. 
 
7. (C)  Comment.  All that the Russians appear able to see in 
the Georgian Parliament's expected action, it appears, is the 
latest in what they regard as a series of Georgian insults to 
Russia, and they are prepared for the worst.  If the 
resolution comes out better than they expect, they will be 
pleasantly surprised, but it will probably be up to the 
Georgians -- starting with Khaindrava on February 16 -- to 
re-focus the GOR on concrete issues, rather than on 
resentment for perceived past wrongs.  If the GOR has any 
concrete plans to turn the situation in a positive direction, 
neither Kelin not Grigoryev hinted at their existence. 
BURNS

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