06MOSCOW5375, LETTER FROM U/S BURNS TO DFM KARASIN ON SOUTH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW5375 2006-05-19 14:23 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO0970
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHMO #5375 1391423
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 191423Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6186
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNOSC/OSCE POST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 3752
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 6718
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 005375 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/19/2016 
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS OSCE GG RS
SUBJECT: LETTER FROM U/S BURNS TO DFM KARASIN ON SOUTH 
OSSETIA 
 
REF: STATE 80906 
 
Classified By: Minister Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) PolMinCouns delivered reftel letter May 19 to MFA IV 
CIS Director Andrey Kelin.  Kelin said he would immediately 
pass the letter to DFM Karasin and DFM Kislyak.  The latter 
needed to see it because, Kelin said, the letter makes an 
"overstatement" in asserting that "the G8 has decided to 
include" discussion of Belarus and frozen conflicts on the 
agenda for the G8 Ministerial.  "There has been no G8 
decision on this," he said flatly.  PolMinCouns questioned 
him closely on the issue, saying that the U.S. believed it 
was clear such a decision had been taken at the April G8 
Political Directors Meeting in Moscow.  Kelin stuck to his 
denial, saying that the agreement had been only to put 
Nagorno-Karabakh on the agenda, and only if there was 
progress when the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents meet on 
June 5.  He added that letters from the various G8 members 
did not support the U.S. position.  (Note:  Kelin 
acknowledged that he is not responsible for G8 issues and 
cannot speak authoritatively for the GOR on them.  He 
expected, however, that Kislyak would be "very surprised" by 
the U.S. assertion.  End Note.) 
 
2. (C) On South Ossetia, Kelin said he was "surprised" and 
"disappointed" at the "one-sided" position of the U.S.  The 
letter indicated, he said, that the U.S. had "taken sides" 
with Georgia against Russia.  He found it "strange" that the 
letter makes no mention of the recent JCC in Tskhinvali and 
its achievements, which he enumerated and emphasized.  Since 
the letter mentioned similar U.S. concerns on Abkhazia, he 
also found it strange that there was no mention of the 
"breakthrough" meeting of the Coordinating Commission in 
Sukhumi May 18.  PolMinCouns said the U.S. was well-informed 
about both meetings. 
 
3. (C) Kelin largely dismissed the letter's charges on 
Russian activities in South Ossetia as a "compilation of 
press statements from the Georgian MFA," and disputed their 
accuracy.  Initially, he said he would not comment on the 
charge that Russian officials have posts in the "government" 
of South Ossetia; that was "just a reproduction of the 
Georgian line."  Later, he said none of the named "officials" 
concurrently hold Russian posts, although he did not dispute 
that they might be Russian citizens.  He claimed the economic 
projects listed in the letter were decided in a public 
meeting of the North and South Ossetian governments in March, 
who have "every right" to engage in such cooperation, which 
was "no secret."  PolMinCouns noted that at that very meeting 
an assistant to Russian PM Fradkov had said he looked forward 
to the unification of North and South Ossetia in Russia. 
Kelin replied that the official had "apologized profusely" 
for his "imprudent statements," and that Russia had no 
intention of incorporating South Ossetia. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
4. (C) Kelin's immediate reaction after a quick reading of 
the letter -- stressing that it was "one-sided," disputing 
the accuracy of some of its specifics, downplaying others, 
and ignoring  the rest -- is not a definitive GOR response, 
which will come from Karasin (and perhaps Kislyak).  We 
expect, however, that Kelin probably accurately foreshadowed 
the contours of what we will hear from higher GOR levels. 
BURNS

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