06MOSCOW11729, RUSSIA-GEORGIA: DAS BRYZA CONVERSATION WITH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW11729 2006-10-19 09:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3927
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #1729/01 2920957
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 190957Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4182
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 011729 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2016 
TAGS: PREL MARR PHUM PREF GG RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA-GEORGIA:  DAS BRYZA CONVERSATION WITH 
RUSSIAN DFM KARASIN, OCTOBER 6 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM J. BURNS.  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C) DAS Matt Bryza and Ambassador called on Russian DFM 
Grigoriy Karasin October 6.  Karasin said Russian patience 
with Georgia was at an end, and catalogued Russian views of 
the worsening relations, culminating with the arrest of 
Russian soldiers immediately after NATO offered Georgia 
Intensified Dialogue.  Bryza said the U.S. views the same 
events differently, seeing Georgian attempts at negotiation 
over Abkhazia and South Ossetia stymied, while Russia extends 
its hold over the regions.  Karasin demanded a UNSC 
Resolution condemning Georgia for its July operation in the 
Kodori Gorge.  Bryza rejected this, noting that our blunt 
messages to Saakashvili are best kept private.  Bryza said 
Georgia's frustrations with the peace negotiations are 
understandable, and old formats were not producing results. 
Karasin saw no need for new formats.  Bryza called for 
renewed Russian-Georgian dialogue; "Not today," Karasin 
answered.  End Summary. 
 
Russian Perceptions, U.S. Perceptions 
------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Karasin led off by saying Russia's patience had come 
to an end.  The sanctions imposed thus far were just the 
beginning of Russia's reaction.  He ran through a list of 
perceived Georgian transgressions: 
 
-- a Georgian parliamentary resolution on Russian 
peacekeepers (18 July, follow-up to February's action); 
 
-- Georgia's operation in the Kodori Gorge (23 July), which 
Karasin accepted that the U.S. did not pre-approve, but he 
regretted the lack of international reaction; 
 
Followed, after NATO offered Intensified Dialogue, by: 
 
-- Saakashvili's UNGA speech; 
 
-- Saakashvili's visit to Kodori, renaming it "Upper 
Abkhazia;" and 
 
-- the arrests of Russian officers. 
 
3. (C) Bryza responded that the U.S. views the same events 
differently.  He stressed that the USG and he personally have 
worked hard (and with some success) to moderate Georgia's 
behavior.  With regard to the arrest of officers, such spy 
allegations are common; the U.S. criticized Georgia's 
provocative handling of this case, which should have been 
managed quietly, as is the norm; but the U.S. had not egged 
the Georgians on.   Similarly, it is Georgia's choice to 
pursue both reunification and NATO accession, though Georgia 
must prioritize to ensure that the way it pursues one goal 
does not undermine the other.  Karasin interrupted that 
re-establishment of territorial integrity demands a 
responsible leader and the practice of international norms of 
behavior internally and to neighbors; both are missing in 
Georgia.  By hurrying to resolve the conflicts, Saakashvili 
had "buried" Georgia's territorial integrity.  Karasin 
reiterated that the "cup of Russia's patience has 
overflowed," and future developments depend on Georgia's 
actions. 
 
4. (C) Bryza continued with his response, noting a good 
meeting he had held in November, 2005 with MFA 4th CIS 
Department Director Kelin and Special Negotiator Kenyaikin. 
They asked Bryza to persuade the Georgians to return to the 
3-part structure of a peace plan presented at the 60th UNGA. 
He did.  For one year he had gotten Georgia to shift its 
focus to the first two parts of the plan, on demilitarization 
and economic rehabilitation, leaving a political resolution 
for later, as Kelin and Kenyaikin had requested.  Nothing 
came of this.  PM Noghaideli had tried to present the 
Georgian plan to South Ossetian leader Kokoity, who refused 
to meet Noghaideli.  A Joint Control Commission meeting 
scheduled for Vienna was suddenly shifted to Moscow -- and 
the Georgians felt tricked. 
 
5. (C) Karasin claimed that the shift was one of his first 
acts on becoming deputy foreign minister.  He felt strongly 
that agreed formats must be maintained, which meant "avoiding 
Brussels and Vienna" (i.e., upgrading the EU or OSCE role). 
It also meant not insulting the Russian peacekeepers.  The UN 
report will show just who had violated the 1994 agreement. 
The report would make the debate on UNOMIG renewal 
"interesting."  The U.S. and Russian representatives had been 
unable to agree.  Russia needed a substantive resolution with 
stress on cease-fire violations; a technical rollover or 
 
MOSCOW 00011729  002 OF 003 
 
 
failure to stress Georgian violations would be unsuitable. 
Karasin said he did not understand U.S. reluctance to allow 
Abkhaz "Foreign Minister" Shamba to come to the UN to give 
his point of view. 
 
6. (C) Bryza shifted the conversation back to the way the 
U.S. views the issues.  He has been clear with Saakashvili: 
if Georgia uses force or stumbles into a conflict, 
Saakashvili will find himself alone, blamed by the 
international community for recklessness.  The U.S. wanted to 
foreclose the option of using force and made it clear to 
Saakashvili and hi
s defense team there was no way Georgia 
could succeed in South Ossetia militarily.  But Georgians are 
frustrated.  When -- on Bryza's advice -- the Georgians met 
the Russian requests laid out last November by Kelin and 
Kenyaikin, they got nothing in return but increased 
participation in the South Ossetian "government" by Russian 
officials, unification of South Ossetia's telephone system 
with Russia's, more Russian broadcasts into South Ossetia, 
plans for a new Russian gas line into South Ossetia, more 
Russian passports issued to South Ossetians, and claims that 
Russia was obligated to defend these (instant) Russian 
citizens.  The Georgians viewed their patience as being 
rewarded with Russia trying to grab more in South Ossetia. 
ID was part of an effort to keep Georgia calm on the peace 
processes -- things could have been worse.  Bryza saw his job 
as maneuvering the Georgians psychologically into a better 
place for dealing with the conflicts peacefully.  He cannot 
succeed if all the Georgians see is a brick wall with no hope 
of a solution. 
 
Russia Wants U.S. to Endorse Its Blunt Message to Georgia 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
7. (C) Karasin replied that whatever messages the U.S. and 
Europe had given Georgia in the past, now is the time to be 
more blunt.  Now is the time for responsibility.  There is no 
brick wall -- Russia is prepared to talk, its intentions 
serious.  But all depends on Saakashvili's behavior; dialogue 
does not mean a "simple p.r. campaign" for Saakashvili. 
 
8. (C) Karasin called for "substance" in a UN Security 
Council Resolution extending the UNOMIG mandate in Abkhazia. 
It must condemn the Georgian operation in Kodori, violations 
of the Cease-Fire Agreement of 1994, and any use of violence. 
 Karasin hoped Russia and the U.S. were in the same boat on 
this.  Bryza replied that we were in the same lake.  He 
reiterated that we are trying to calm the Georgians down. 
They have every right not to want foreign troops on their 
soil; the PKF needs to be internationalized.  The Georgians 
need to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  We need to 
unfreeze the conflict. 
 
9. (C) Regarding the UNSCR, Bryza said, the U.S. position 
will not allow criticism of Georgia's police operation in the 
Kodori Gorge in principle; the Kodori is sovereign Georgian 
territory, and according to Moscow's and Washington's own 
policies of supporting Georgia's territorial integrity, 
Tbilisi has a right and an obligation to eliminate organized 
criminal organizations and administer to Georgian citizens in 
the Upper Kodori.  Karasin protested that tomorrow the 
Georgians might apply that same principle to the rest of 
Abkhazia.  Bryza said the cases were different.  Tbilisi had 
been careful to avoid military confrontation with Abkhaz 
forces, and had carried out the operation only in the Upper 
Kodori, which neither Sukhumi nor the 1994 Moscow Agreement 
ever claimed to be under Abkhaz control.  The U.S. and the 
international community would sharply criticize any armed 
actions Georgia might take outside the Kodori.  But the 
Georgian Government made clear it had no intention to 
undertake any such actions, which contrasted with incendiary 
statements that had emanated from Sukhumi.  With regard to an 
Abkhazia settlement, Bryza stressed the need for a political 
compromise that reconciles territorial integrity and 
self-determination.  Bryza said he never tells (Abkhaz 
"President") Bagapsh or ("Foreign Minister") Shamba that they 
have no right to aspire to self-determination, but he does 
stress the need to earn legitimacy, which cannot be won 
through a referendum in which 200,000 to 300,000 Georgian 
IDP's are dislocated and disenfranchised.  The best option, 
Bryza continued, is for Abkhazia to achieve maximal autonomy 
within a unified Georgia.  What is needed in a UNSCR, Bryza 
concluded, is a condemnation of all violations and a call for 
calm and for confidence-building measures. 
 
10. (C) Karasin reiterated that a UNSCR cannot be a 
"toothless" rollover.  He said all must listen to what the 
Abkhaz and South Ossetians have to say.  Karasin demanded 
that NATO consider the conduct of a prospective member, and 
demanded that NATO's Riga Summit issue some type of criticism 
of Georgian behavior in the Kodori Gorge, absent which, "we 
will draw the necessary conclusions."  Noting that this 
 
MOSCOW 00011729  003 OF 003 
 
 
sounded like a threat, Bryza asked what those consequences 
would be.  Karasin replied the Russians would "need to think 
about that." 
 
Dialogue:  "Not Today" 
---------------------- 
 
11. (C) Bryza urged the Russians to talk with Georgia. 
Karasin rejected "contact for the sake of contact."  That is 
why a UNSCR must take a blunt position that would be a "cold 
shower" to Saakashvili.  Bryza said there is a right way and 
a wrong way to be blunt, and a UNSCR is the wrong way. 
Karasin replied that such a resolution would make Georgia 
understand that the international community is united in 
demanding responsible behavior from Georgia.  Bryza 
reiterated that Georgia cannot be left to feel as though the 
international community is sitting idly by while Russia is 
taking steps to draw Abkhazia and South Ossetia further into 
its orbit.  We need to find a way to make progress together. 
For example, the JCC on South Ossetia is not designed to 
negotiate a political settlement.  It is useful for the first 
two parts of the Georgian peace plan the Russians had asked 
Bryza to embrace (e.g., demilitarization and economic 
rehabilitation), but not for the third part, (a political 
settlement) -- a new mechanism is needed for that.  In 
Abkhazia, the CIS PKF performs a useful function.  But its 
mandate is not to fight crime, and reducing crime in the Gali 
District of Abkhazia is essential to allowing for the return 
of Georgian IDP's.  For this reason, the Western Friends were 
calling for an international police force in Gali. 
 
12. (C) Karasin replied that he saw no need to create new 
mechanisms, which might destroy what has been accomplished so 
far.  Georgian negotiator Antadze had laid it on the table: 
the Georgians want to destroy the JCC and replace it with a 
new mechanism.  Bryza said that we should not destroy what is 
useful, but we need a mechanism to achieve what the current 
format is not designed to do.  Russia could help by backing a 
special economic zone connecting North and South Ossetia to 
the Black Sea via the Roki Tunnel and Georgia's regions of 
Mingrelia and Guria -- this should calm many of their fears. 
Karasin said we could the idea of such a zone opened, and 
build on the momentum of the OSCE's Donors Conference for 
South Ossetia in Brussels last June. 
 
13. (C) Bryza reiterated a call for Russian-Georgian dialogue 
at perhaps the level of Prime Ministers.  "Not today," 
Karasin replied.  "It all depends on Georgian behavior -- 
Georgia needs to th
ink twice in the future."  Bryza said the 
Russians have made the Georgians nervous; "We're not calm 
ourselves," Karasin replied.  Bryza asked whether we could 
choreograph some steps to pull Georgia and Russia back from 
their confrontation.  "We'll think about it," Karasin said, 
"But not today." 
 
Shamba Visa and Next Steps 
-------------------------- 
 
14.  (C)  Karasin pressed a second time for the U.S. to issue 
Abkhaz "Foreign Minister" Shamba a visa to attend an 
Arria-format discussion of Abkhazia at the UN.  Bryza 
suggested that Russia and the U.S. consider Shamba's 
appearance at the UN in the context of a possible UNSCR that 
reflects the text agreed by the Friends of the Secretary 
General the previous week in Berlin, without a condemnation 
in principle of Georgia's operation in the Kodori Valley, but 
with criticism of specific Georgian (and Abkhaz) violations 
of the 1994 Moscow Agreement.  Karasin indicated he was 
willing to consider this suggestion. 
 
15.  (C)  Karasin warmly concluded the meeting by asking 
Bryza to remain in direct contact with him (Karasin), even 
while consulting with Russian ambassadors-at-large for 
conflict management while in the Caucasus. 
 
16. (U)  DAS Bryza has cleared this message. 
BURNS

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