06MOSCOW12528, A/S FRIED CONVERSATION WITH RUSSIAN DFM KARASIN,

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06MOSCOW12528 2006-11-20 13:48 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3906
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #2528/01 3241348
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 201348Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5277
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 05 MOSCOW 012528 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/2016 
TAGS: PREL MARR PBTS ETRD GG MD UP RS
SUBJECT: A/S FRIED CONVERSATION WITH RUSSIAN DFM KARASIN, 
NOVEMBER 15 
 
REF: MOSCOW 11941 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM J. BURNS.  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C)  Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried and Russian Deputy 
Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin focused on Georgia, Ukraine 
and Moldova in a two hour discussion November 15.  Karasin 
dismissed Georgian conciliatory steps as cosmetic; Fried said 
they are real and Russia should respond by ending sanctions. 
Karasin decried Georgian "militarization;" Fried assured 
Karasin that the U.S. will not support any use of force to 
resolve separatist conflicts in Georgia.  Karasin recognized 
that the conflicts are taking place "on Georgian territory" 
and guaranteed Russia will be "responsible" with regard to 
South Ossetian and Abkhaz demands for recognition.  Fried 
laid out U.S. proposals for confidence-building measures in 
the two conflicts.  Karasin was not enthusiastic but promised 
to look at them.  Karasin claimed Georgia is not fulfilling 
the mandate of UNSCR 1716 to withdraw armed forces from the 
Kodori Gorge.  Fried answered that our approach to Abkhazia 
and South Ossetia is to rule out the use of force, increase 
internationalization and promote contacts between the 
parties. 
 
2. (C) On Ukraine, Karasin expressed satisfaction that 
political tensions have defused and Ukraine's leaders are 
engaging on real issues, including in relations with Russia. 
He expected a summit in the coming months.  Fried said the 
U.S., too, is prepared to work with the Ukrainian government. 
 On Moldova, Karasin said Russia is trying to promote direct 
Moldovan-Transnistrian contact to move toward settlement and 
stressed the need for a transit protocol.  DAS David Kramer 
blamed Transnistrian negotiator Litskai for refusing direct 
contact at Odessa, and said there is a potential solution for 
the transit protocol issue.  End Summary. 
 
3.  (C) EUR Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried, Ambassador and 
EUR DAS David Kramer met with DFM Grigoriy Karasin for two 
hours November 15.  Karasin was accompanied by 4th CIS 
Department Deputy Director Tarabrin and North America 
Department Deputy Director Vinokurov.  The meeting was 
characterized by sharp give and take on substance, while 
maintaining a friendly atmosphere. 
 
Georgian-Russian Relations 
-------------------------- 
 
4. (C) Karasin stated that the crisis in Georgian-Russian 
relations continues.  The Georgian leadership is not taking 
steps to alleviate Russian concerns.  Despite an agreement by 
FMs Lavrov and Bezhuashvili not to raise emotions, 
Bezhuashvili's subsequent speech in Paris claimed that Russia 
is preparing for war against Georgia. 
 
5. (C) Fried answered that he is sorry to hear that Georgia 
must take further steps before Russia will take any steps to 
improve the situation.  Georgia has already taken significant 
steps.  It reacted responsibly to the October 25 rocket 
attack in Kodori.  President Saakashvili sacked DefMin 
Okruashvili, whom the Russians repeatedly told us they found 
objectionable.  Saakashvili's November 14 speech to the 
European Parliament was responsible and conciliatory, and the 
Georgian response to Gazprom's attempt to double the price of 
gas was restrained.  Russia has seen these steps, which are 
both in action and rhetoric.  It will not do to ignore them 
and demand more.  Russia must make efforts, too. 
 
6. (C) Fried returned to this issue several times during the 
conversation, pressing Russia hard to ease its sanctions 
against Georgia.  Karasin tried to deflect the issue to 
frozen conflicts, but Fried maintained that Georgia-Russia 
relations cannot be separated from these conflicts.  Russia 
needs to build confidence by easing sanctions.  Georgia sees 
that Russia supports South Ossetia and Abkhazia while 
severing economic and transportation links with Georgia. 
Under those circumstances it is hard to convince Georgia to 
reach out to its separatist provinces.  If the Georgians 
believe Russia is trying to destroy their economy, they are 
less apt to listen to the U.S. when it counsels restraint and 
moderation.  Georgia has taken steps and needs to see that 
those steps meet a response.  Under no circumstances will the 
U.S. support Georgian military action to resolve the 
conflicts, but the increased tensions from Russia's economic 
measures leave both Georgia and Russia vulnerable to 
provocations. 
 
7. (C) Karasin responded that he cannot satisfy Fried on this 
issue because the Georgians have not satisfied Russia.  They 
 
MOSCOW 00012528  002 OF 005 
 
 
have taken some cosmetic steps that will not lead to 
relaxation of the measures Russia has taken against Georgia. 
Karasin regretted the anti-Georgian mood that had caused 
Russians of Georgian ethnicity to suffer, but such excesses 
have
 stopped.  Georgia must understand Russia's position and 
think through its policies with regard to Russia.  Karasin 
also warned against the U.S. positioning itself as a 
"mediator" between Russia and Georgia. 
 
Charges of Militarization 
------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Karasin charged that Georgia is acquiring offensive 
weapons and training special units for commando operations 
against South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  Russia has "facts" 
showing U.S., NATO and "post-Soviet" participation in this 
effort.  That could increase Georgian "appetite" for a 
military solution to the conflicts on Georgian territory.  He 
repeated that these conflicts are on "Georgian territory," 
and Fried assured him that he understood Karasin's emphasis. 
 
9. (C) Fried said reform and improvement of the Georgian army 
were a necessity under any circumstances.  Putin himself had 
demanded in 2001 that Georgia gain the capability to police 
and control its territory against movements of insurgents and 
terrorists.  The U.S. has helped increase Georgia's 
capabilities to do that with light infantry.  U.S. military 
experts have assured Fried that there is no evidence that 
Georgia is preparing a military offensive.   We will be happy 
to check out any Russian evidence.  Karasin cited a Georgian 
36D6 air defense radar that peacekeepers had discovered in 
the South Ossetia conflict zone. 
 
Separatist Conflicts:  Use of Force 
----------------------------------- 
 
10. (C) Karasin said that armed conflict would close the door 
to any solution, because reestablishing trust would be 
problematic.  Fried said the U.S. has made its position 
absolutely clear to Georgia:  there are no circumstances 
under which we would support Georgia initiating military 
operations to settle by force the conflicts in South Ossetia 
and Abkhazia.  Karasin asked whether the U.S. still maintains 
this attitude.  "Certainly," Fried replied.  He said he sees 
no circumstances under which that attitude will change. 
 
11. (C) Fried said that the October 25 rocket attack in Upper 
Kodori showed that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are potentially 
explosive.  Actors not under Georgian or Russian (or even 
Abkhaz) control, such as deposed warlord Kvitsiani, can 
provoke crises.  We should not wait for the next crisis, but 
should act now to build confidence.  Though political 
settlements will take time, CBMs will prepare the groundwork 
and are a necessary first step.  Karasin said Russia has 
always maintained that, before any discussion of status, 
Georgia must build trust in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, 
convincing them that they can develop constructive relations. 
 But, he maintained, Georgia is doing nothing along those 
lines. 
 
Separatist Conflicts:  Referendum and Recognition 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
12. (C) Karasin criticized U.S. and EU statements of intent 
not to recognize the referendum in South Ossetia as a "stupid 
policy."  The referendum made clear the course that the 
population will support, and it is offensive to the Ossetians 
to declare that their opinion does not matter.  He asked for 
Fried's comment on the referendum. 
 
13. (C) Fried answered that the Russian MFA had called the 
referendum in South Ossetia "the envy" of democratic 
institutions.  Fried said the U.S. does not envy anything 
about the South Ossetian political order -- he noted that 
Kokoity's income derives in part from counterfeiting U.S. 
currency -- and does not believe Russia seriously does, 
either.  Rather, Russia's open support for South Ossetia and 
Abkhazia is subject to misinterpretation by the separatists, 
who might think it means they can start hostilities.  Russia, 
whose citizens make up a large part of the leadership of the 
South Ossetian army and security services, has a 
responsibility to see this does not happen. 
 
14. (C) In addition to his recognition that the separatist 
conflicts are taking place "on Georgian territory," Karasin 
repeated his October 21 assurance to Fried (Reftel) that, 
despite public sympathy with South Ossetia's appeal to Russia 
to recognize its independence, Russia will act responsibly. 
"I can guarantee that," he affirmed.  Fried thanked Karasin 
for that guarantee.   Later Karasin said that Abkhazia, like 
South Ossetia, has appealed to Russia's Duma for recognition. 
 
MOSCOW 00012528  003 OF 005 
 
 
 He repeated that Russia will act responsibly, but said that 
Georgia's anti-Russian line makes it harder to persuade 
deputies to deny the appeal. 
 
South Ossetia -- CBMs 
--------------------- 
 
15. (C) Fried ran through U.S. ideas on CBMs for South 
Ossetia, noting that he wanted to share them before these 
could come up at the OSCE ministerial in Brussels.  Fried 
said the list is not exhaustive and that we would welcome 
Russian contributions.  He stressed extending OSCE monitoring 
to all of South Ossetia; setting up joint checkpoints and 
monitoring at Didi Gupta and/or Roki Tunnel; accelerating 
OSCE economic rehabilitation plans; and working to establish 
a free trade corridor to link North Ossetia and South Ossetia 
to Georgia's Black Sea ports.  He drew Karasin's attention to 
the absence of demands to change negotiating formats.  He 
asked for Karasin's views. 
 
16. (C) Karasin thanked Fried for sharing the U.S. ideas in 
advance.  After questioning whether Georgian actions in South 
Ossetia -- installing an air defense radar and sponsoring an 
alternative election -- showed a willingness to build 
confidence, Karasin said Russia wants to continue the 
economic rehabilitation process set out in the Brussels 
Donors Conference in May.  He called for facilitating direct 
contacts between the South Ossetian and Georgian leaders. 
Fried said we support both points.  DAS Matt Bryza will be in 
Tbilisi November 17, and will look for ways to facilitate a 
meeting of South Ossetian and Georgian leaders.  Fried 
returned to the package of CBMs to be unveiled at Brussels 
and asked Karasin's opinion.  Karasin said, "I don't want to 
disappoint you with my answer."  His said CBMs should not 
only be technical, but should support an atmosphere of 
confidence among people.  Fried answered that statements are 
important -- Putin has recently made the constructive 
statement that South Ossetia and Abkhazia need to builds a 
common state with Georgia -- but CBMs should not be simply 
rhetorical, either.  They should include actions such as the 
ones we have outlined. 
 
Abkhazia 
-------- 
 
17. (C) Karasin claimed Georgia is not fulfilling the mandate 
of UNSCR 1716 to withdraw all armed formations from Kodori. 
There are still 500 Georgian troops of both Interior and 
Defense Ministries, plus heavy weapons, armor and 
sophisticated weapons systems.  Russia wants regular joint 
PKF-UN
OMIG monitoring of the Kodori Gorge.  The current 
situation in Kodori, including the presence of the 
"Government-in-Exile," does not suit Russia.  Karasin called 
on the U.S. to press Tbilisi to observe 1716.  He said Russia 
is working with the Abkhaz on the idea of police advisors in 
Gali.  He asked about the status of "FM" Shamba's visa to 
visit the UN. 
 
18. (C) Fried answered that the U.S. approach on Abkhazia is 
to stress no use of force, increase the international 
presence on the ground, and promote Georgian-Abkhaz contacts. 
 We have no opposition in principle to a Shamba visit, which 
a better UNSCR would have secured.  We support monitoring of 
Kodori.  Our ideas for CBMs in Abkhazia include promoting 
economic contacts (under UN leadership), de-isolating 
Abkhazia and expanding its economic ties to Europe, 
increasing international presence such as an international 
police force, sending a FSG/SRSG fact-finding mission to 
Gali, returning to the previous Abkhaz agreement to allow 
Georgian language teaching in Gali, seeking a Georgian pledge 
not to use force, and surveying IDP returnees to Gali.  We 
will also recommend that Georgia rename the administrators it 
has sent to Upper Kodori, dropping the "Government-in-Exile" 
title. 
 
19. (C) Fried stressed that we are not interested in changing 
negotiating formats in Abkhazia at this time but in getting 
things done.  Secretary Rice's instructions are to work with 
Russia creatively on CBMs and come back to her if we need 
help.  Karasin (finally) said Russia is willing to work on 
building confidence and will look at the U.S. proposals.  The 
greatest obstacle, however, is that the Abkhaz have no 
confidence that Georgia is willing to consider Abkhaz 
interests and engage in talks on an equal basis, with respect 
and without preconditions.  No one has made an effort to 
prove that Georgia is willing to do so.  One appropriate step 
in getting the Abkhaz to engage was the removal of 
endorsement of the Boden paper from UNSCRs, as this prejudged 
the outcome of status negotiations and led to a dead end. 
 
20. (C) Fried said the U.S. is suggesting the measures he 
 
MOSCOW 00012528  004 OF 005 
 
 
outlined without precondition.  We support Georgia's 
territorial integrity within its existing borders, "and so do 
you."  But it is not the U.S. position that the Abkhaz must 
pledge allegiance to Georgia before discussing anything else. 
 Fried noted that in Cyprus confidence has improved between 
the communities even though the status question remains 
unresolved.  Fried took Karasin's point that the Abkhaz 
believe the Georgians do not respect them, but working with 
Georgians such as UN PermRep Alasania can remedy that. 
 
Georgia Human Rights 
-------------------- 
 
21. (C) Fried signaled that there would probably be a written 
response to the letter Karasin sent to Under Secretary Burns 
on November 13.  Fried said there is an answer for every 
point in the letter, whose arguments he characterized as 
weak.  He would not insist on going into detail in this 
meeting, but had the overall comment that if Russia is 
concerned for the welfare of the Georgian people as the 
letter claims, it should not be trying to impoverish them 
with economic sanctions. 
 
Ukraine 
------- 
 
22. (C) Karasin briefed on his recent trip to Kyiv, where he 
found the political atmosphere less tense.  Leaders are 
engaging on real issues.  To be sure, there is friction, but 
no side is monochromatically black or white.  All agree on 
the need to work together to resolve problems.  Karasin had a 
productive conversation with FM Tarasyuk.  The 
"sensationalism" has been removed from many issues such as 
border questions, the Black Sea Fleet and working out joint 
approaches to new challenges and terrorism.  In his meeting 
with Yushchenko, Karasin was reassured that Ukraine does not 
look at the Great Famine (Holodomor) as genocide against 
Ukrainians.  The Russian-Ukrainian bilateral commission's 
groups are working in phases -- Lavrov-Tarasyuk on 
international affairs, Yanukovich-Fradkov on the economy, as 
well as the security and human dimension groups.  The work 
will lead to a summit. 
 
23. (C) Fried said the U.S. approach is simple:  Yanukovich 
was democratically elected and we will work with him.  He 
will be in Washington in early December, hosted by Vice 
President Cheney.  We are relaxed about such issues as NATO 
membership and welcome the improvement in Russian-Ukrainian 
relations.  We are more focused on Ukrainian WTO accession. 
Fried was on his way to Kyiv, where he will meet with 
Yushchenko, Yanukovich and opposition leader Tymoshenko. 
Yanukovich appears to be thinking of Ukraine's place in the 
world for the first time.  Like us, Poland also seems 
prepared to work with the Ukrainian leadership.  Karasin 
attempted a question as to whether Poland now thinks of 
itself as Ukraine's elder brother; Fried replied that Ukraine 
has already  many types of elder brother. 
 
Moldova 
------- 
 
24. (C) Karasin said Russia is "activating" its relations 
with Moldova and broadening them beyond the Transnistria 
conflict.  On Transnistria, Russia's main thrust is promoting 
contact between Moldova and Transnistria.  Some elements from 
the 2003 Kozak memo can be used to give a push toward 
resolution.  Karasin was impressed by Voronin's flexibility. 
Meanwhile, Transnistrians are looking for the way forward. 
Russia hopes Ukraine will begin to play a more active role in 
the conflict.  Karasin endorsed the 5 plus 2 negotiating 
format. 
 
25. (C) Fried said the U.S. supports direct contacts. 
Moldovan territorial integrity remains our starting point. 
Fried said we were surprised by the cancellation of train no. 
47 and asked why it should stop in Tiraspol and not Chisinau. 
 Kramer added that the Moldovans and Transnistrians could 
have talked earlier in the month at Odessa, but Litskai 
refused.  Russian negotiator Nesterushkin did not give 
sufficient encouragement to direct contact.  Karasin said 
that a transit protocol for the Transnistrians would be an 
important next step.  Kramer said Voronin had told him that 
Chisinau was willing to turn a March Moldovan declaration on 
the issue into a protocol; the language of the declaration 
was acceptable to Transnistria but because of the lack of 
trust Tiraspol has for Chisinau, it needed to be signed by 
others in the 5 2.  This should allow negotiations to resume. 
 Kramer said the Transnistrians at present feel no pressure 
to move towards a settlement; he hoped Russia can convince 
them to work with the Moldovans. 
 
 
MOSCOW 00012528  005 OF 005 
 
 
Karasin Trip to Washington 
-------------------------- 
 
26. (C) Fried proposed December 15 or 19 for Karasin's 
long-promised trip to Washington.  Ka
rasin said he would get 
back on dates, but proposed taking a number of directors with 
him, including MFA 3rd CIS Department Director Peshkov to 
participate in Karasin's talk with Assistant Secretary 
Boucher about Central Asia. 
 
 
27. (U) A/S Fried and DAS Kramer have cleared this message. 
BURNS

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