07MOSCOW2966, GEORGIA-SOUTH OSSETIA: POPOV PLEADS FOR ROY REEVE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW2966 2007-06-19 14:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO9516
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #2966 1701408
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 191408Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1392
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 002966 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2017 
TAGS: PREL PBTS MARR OSCE GG RS
SUBJECT: GEORGIA-SOUTH OSSETIA:  POPOV PLEADS FOR ROY REEVE 
 
REF: 6/15 TRAUB E-MAIL 
 
Classified By: PolMinCouns Alice G. Wells.  Reason:  1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) Summary:  Russian Ambassador-at-Large for South 
Ossetia Yuriy Popov pled with us to ensure that Roy Reeve is 
extended as OSCE Head of Mission in Georgia until December. 
He said Reeve is a key brake against armed conflict.  The 
emergence of Sanakoyev has made Kokoity hard to control and 
prone to resorting to force.  Popov hoped the June 19 
Chochiyev-Antadze meeting would resolve the water issue, but 
another set of issues -- roads, roadblocks and trenches -- 
remains before real negotiations can recommence.  End Summary. 
 
2. (C) Fresh from his appearance before the OSCE Small Group 
in Vienna (ref.), Popov made an emotional plea to us June 19 
to persuade Georgia to allow the OSCE to extend Roy Reeve as 
HoM until December.  He praised the work the OSCE is doing in 
the conflict zone.  He said Reeve's toughness, experience, 
and the credibility he has built are essential to get through 
the summer without hostilities.  In the current atmosphere of 
raised tensions, there are armed stand-offs every day.  Popov 
thought Reeve's departure would remove one of the few brakes 
on armed conflict. 
 
3. (C) Popov asked about Terhi Hakala, the Finnish nominee. 
We replied that she is sharp, knowledgeable, and will be as 
hard to push around as Reeve.  Popov was happy to hear that, 
but said she would need time to acquaint herself with the 
issues and the cast of characters.  The ideal time for a 
transition, he said, would be in January, after the Finns 
take over the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office.  Until then, 
Reeve's presence will be essential.  Popov noted that a 
6-month extension for Reeve is the first choice of the U.S., 
Russia, Spain, and even the Finns.  Only the Georgians are 
against it.  He pled again for the U.S. to persuade Georgia 
to reverse its stance. 
 
4. (C) The situation is so unstable, Popov said, because the 
introduction of Sanakoyev has made Kokoity insecure, 
unpredictable, and hard to control.  Popov said it appears 
that the Georgians, heedful of U.S. admonitions not to start 
hostilities, appear to be trying to provoke Kokoity into 
starting hostilities for them.  We disagreed; the Georgians 
are only following Russian and U.S. advice to try to make 
themselves more attractive to the Ossetians.  The Georgians 
believe that Sanakoyev will simply win over the Ossetian 
population.  Popov said, "That will take five years and fifty 
million dollars," which he believed the Georgians did not 
have. 
 
5. (C) On the current water crisis, Popov said he had 
brokered a deal for the Ossetians to re-open the irrigation 
pipes in exchange for monitoring of repairs on the drinking 
water pipe, which is still only delivering 30 percent of the 
normal flow to Tskhinvali.  The Georgians, he said, had 
broken the deal by imposing further demands afterwards. 
Popov suspected that the Georgian repair crew may have left a 
certain amount of irrigation taps in exchange for bribes from 
farmers.  Popov hoped the June 19 Chochiyev-Antadze meeting 
would resolve the issue. 
 
6. (C) When the current crisis is resolved, Popov said, an 
earlier standoff remains before real talks can recommence: 
the tangle of roadblocks, bypass road excavations, and 
defensive trenches that both sides have undertaken in recent 
weeks.  Popov viewed Reeve's proposal to double the number of 
monitors from eight to sixteen, and put the new monitors in 
the Georgian enclaves, as a good confidence-building measure 
that might help disentangle the set of tit-for-tat 
constructions and deconstructions. 
BURNS

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