06MOSCOW5532, RUSSIAN DFM KARASIN’S REPLY TO LETTER FROM U/S

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW5532 2006-05-25 13:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7694
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #5532/01 1451337
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251337Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6430
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 005532 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/25/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR OSCE GG RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN DFM KARASIN'S REPLY TO LETTER FROM U/S 
BURNS ON SOUTH OSSETIA 
 
REF: A) STATE 80906 B) MOSCOW 5458 C) MOSCOW 5375 
 
Classified By: Minister Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) The Russian MFA on May 25 passed to us without comment 
a written reply from DFM Grigoriy Karasin to the May 19 
letter U/S Burns sent him on South Ossetia (Ref A).  The 
letter echoes the principal arguments Karasin made during his 
May 23 conversation with the Ambassador (Ref B).  We 
understand from the MFA that the text of the letter will also 
be delivered through the Russian Embassy in Washington.  An 
unofficial Embassy translation follows in para 2. 
 
2. (C) Begin text: 
 
Dear Nicholas, 
 
Thank you for your communication of 19 May, in which you 
share your concerns with regard to the state of affairs in 
the Georgian-Ossetian resolution and the role of Russia in 
that process. 
 
On the whole, our goals and approaches coincide in the desire 
to facilitate the creation of conditions that would secure a 
peaceful, non-violent resolution of conflict situations and 
prevent new bloodshed in the Transcaucasus.  Toward that end 
we are prepared for constructive cooperation with all 
partners, including the United States. 
 
I think it unfortunate that, as one may infer from your 
letter, there is a tendency in Washington to rely on 
assessments based on one-sided and often distorted 
information.  It appears that in the State Department a quite 
influential lobby is making itself felt, at whose instigation 
an algorithm of actions aimed at the unambiguous -- and 
uncritical -- support of "its people" in Tbilisi is taking 
shape. 
 
I will not get into polemics on the whole list of charges 
brought up in your message, as that would require a more 
thorough discussion.  I want, however, to make some comments. 
 
Assistance to South Ossetia in the socio-economic sphere by 
the North Ossetian region is in complete conformity with the 
Russian-Georgian Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation 
and Reconstruction of the Economy in the Zone of the 
Georgian-Ossetian Conflict and Return of Refugees of 23 
December 2000. 
 
It (the Agreement) provides specifically that Russia and 
Georgia will support the initiative of 
administrative-territorial institutions, enterprises and 
organizations to assist the South Ossetian side. 
 
The rebuke with regard to the participation of Russian 
citizens in the government of South Ossetia is, in my view, 
groundless.  Russian citizens have the right to work where 
they desire as, incidentally, do citizens of other democratic 
states, including the U.S.A. 
 
Our people would not understand the Government of Russia, if 
it -- in the era of democracy -- dictated to citizens where 
to live and work.  One would think that a similar ban on the 
part of our partners in the West would justifiably be subject 
to criticism.  As far as I know, many members of the South 
Ossetian government who came from Russia possess in one way 
or another roots or kinship relations with the Ossetian 
people who, by the way, do not divide themselves along 
geographical lines. 
 
Residents of South Ossetia are in fact acquiring Russian 
citizenship and, accordingly, document themselves with 
Russian passports.  However, this process did not begin only 
recently, but rather immediately after the withdrawal of 
Georgia from the USSR, i.e., fifteen years ago.  Moreover, 
many South Ossetians acquired Russian citizenship during the 
military phase of the conflict between Tbilisi and 
Tskhinvali.  I would stress that the acquisition by residents 
 
SIPDIS 
of South Ossetia of Russian citizenship took place and is 
taking place in strict accordance with relevant Russian 
legislation. 
 
It struck me as somewhat strange that the letter contained no 
recognition of the clear progress that has been achieved in 
recent months on a Georgian-Ossetian resolution.  I have in 
mind above all the significant results of the two recent 
sessions of the Joint Control Commission (JCC) in Vladikavkaz 
and Tskhinvali (incidentally, you also did not favor the JCC 
itself with a mention). 
 
 
MOSCOW 00005532  002 OF 002 
 
 
We evaluate the work of the Commission positively, and that 
evaluation is shared by Georgia, the OSCE and EU.  In 
particular, it is a positive sign that in Tskhinvali working 
groups of the JCC were formed for the elaboration of a joint 
program of action to resolve the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, 
and a list of projects was agreed for the socio-economic 
rehabilitation of the zone of conflict, which will be 
presented for consideration at the Donors' Conference in 
Brussels. 
 
Incidentally, I would like to draw your attention to the fact 
that the Georgian side stubbornly refuses to adopt, jointly 
with the South Ossetian side, a declaration in which might be 
fixed mutual security guarantees and obligations on the 
non-use of force (the initiative for such a document was, as 
is well known, promoted by the OSCE).  I am convinced t
hat 
such a declaration, signed at a high level, would be an 
important confidence-building factor between the sides, and 
would facilitate the creation of the psychological and 
political context necessary for real progress in a 
resolution.  I suppose that our colleagues in Washington 
might wish to recommend to their Georgian partners a more 
constructive and flexible approach to this issue. 
 
Such a document on the non-renewal of hostilities is highly 
relevant and applicable to the Georgian-Abkhazia resolution, 
where we have also noticed positive steps as a result of the 
session of the Coordinating Council held on May 15.  Apropos 
of the potential for Russian-American cooperation on the 
problems of the conflicts in the Transcaucasus, the unity of 
our approaches is symbolized in the issue of the prospect for 
prolonging the mandate of the UN Secretary General's Special 
Representative for Georgia H(eidi) Tagliavini. 
 
In conclusion, I would like to stress the following.  We are 
convinced that Russia and the U.S.A. are capable of joint 
efforts to make a substantial contribution to reinforce 
peace, stability and security in the Transcaucasus.  However, 
we must act in that direction in conditions of positive 
mutual understanding, and not through mutual rebukes and a 
negative tone.  As you may be able to imagine, we, too, have 
our own issues with the United States and its not entirely 
impartial policies in the region (for example, Washington is 
hardly unaware of deliveries of weapons to Georgia by some of 
its NATO allies). 
 
With regard to the agenda of the G8, I would like to say that 
as far as I am aware, there are no plans to touch in this 
format on issues of Transcaucasian conflicts with the 
exception of Nagorno-Karabakh.  In that regard I was 
extremely surprised that this question was raised in your 
letter. 
 
I think, Nicholas, that we have accumulated enough themes for 
a detailed discussion in Moscow in early June.  Let us 
resolve to seek mutually agreeable approaches based on 
objectivity and taking each other's interests into account. 
 
With respect 
/s/ 
G. Karasin 
 
End text. 
BURNS

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