07MOSCOW4328, DFM KARASIN ON GEORGIA AND OTHER NEIGHBORS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW4328 2007-09-04 15:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7669
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #4328/01 2471536
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 041536Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3512
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 004328 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/04/2017 
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS OSCE UNGA MD GG RS
SUBJECT: DFM KARASIN ON GEORGIA AND OTHER NEIGHBORS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  Reason:  1.4 (b, d) 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (C) Two contentious issues -- Georgia and the Russian 
charges against the American HOM of OSCE Moldova -- dominated 
the Ambassador's September 4 meeting with DFM Karasin (the 
latter exchange reported separately).  On Georgia, Karasin 
said State Minister Bakradze started off on the wrong foot 
with Russia by adopting tough tones of outrage.  Karasin gave 
a lengthy exposition of the August 6 missile incident along 
familiar lines.  He tied that incident, the August 22 air 
incursion over Kodori, and the detention of peacekeepers in 
both South Ossetia and Abkhazia together as an alleged 
Georgian preparation for military action.  Karasin and the 
Ambassador briefly discussed Karasin's weekend visit to Baku, 
Ukrainian politics, GUAM and controversial remarks by the 
Russian ambassador in Belarus.  END SUMMARY. 
 
Azerbaijan 
---------- 
 
2. (C) Karasin led off with Baku, from which he had just 
returned.  He found the Azeris in a "good mood," eager under 
their "multi-vectored" foreign policy to develop relations 
with Russia.  Use of the Qabala radar station figured in 
discussions, and Karasin said he noted to the Azeris the 
difference in principle between the U.S. and Russian 
approaches, with the U.S. viewing Qabala as a complement to 
its other plans, while Russia viewed it as an alternative. 
 
3. (C) Karasin was not optimistic about progress on 
Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks; he found the Azeri mood 
"grimmer."  The last possible venue for progress before the 
Armenian electoral cycle kicks in will be the October 5-6 CIS 
meeting in Dushanbe.  The Azeris had complained to Karasin 
about OSCE special representative Andrzej Kasprczyk, who had 
angered them by accepting a diplomatic note from the Karabakh 
authorities.  Karasin said he had agreed this was a mistake, 
but Kasprczyk had ten years' experience on the thorny issue; 
replacing him would mean a hiatus of at least a year before 
his successor knew enough to work effectively. 
 
Ukraine 
------- 
 
4. (C) Karasin said Russia is "calm" about the upcoming 
Ukrainian elections.  Russia is not taking sides.  There are 
some "permanent" irritants, such as the Ukrainian harping on 
the Holodomor (1930's collectivization famine) and 
compensation for relatives of victims of Stalin's repression 
-- legal cases Americans are helping Ukrainians prepare. 
Ambassador said the U.S. is also calm about the Ukrainian 
elections. 
 
GUAM 
---- 
 
5. (C) Karasin raised the GUAM proposal to discuss Frozen 
Conflicts at the UN.  He believed no good could come out of 
such a discussion.  He thought the U.S. and Russia should 
agree to the solution adopted last year, and defer discussion 
to the 62nd General Assembly.  Ambassador said Washington was 
considering the issue at present. 
 
Belarus 
------- 
 
6. (C) The Ambassador thanked FM Lavrov for denying 
statements by Russian Ambassador to Belarus Surikov to the 
effect that Russia could consider deploying nuclear weapons 
in that country.  Karasin said that Surikov was expressing 
personal thoughts.  They had been taken out of context and 
blown up by the Belarusan media.  "It is a minor diplomatic 
incident," he said.  "Nothing more." 
 
Georgia 
------- 
 
7. (C) The Ambassador said he had just spoken with A/S Fried 
on the August 6 missile incident in Georgia.  We are not 
trying to politicize the incident.  It is in everyone's 
interest to move back to a process of normalization between 
Russia and Georgia.  Ambassador asked about the August 30 
visit of Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolution 
Bakradze and DFM Manjgaladze. 
 
8. (C) Karasin replied that it was good that the Georgians 
came, but he "personally didn't like" their tone of outrage. 
Karasin had met Bakradze several times before, and found him 
thoughtful and intelligent.  But last week he was "emotional" 
 
MOSCOW 00004328  002 OF 002 
 
 
and "stressed," and not very diplomatic.  Karasin railed -- 
along familiar lines -- against the charges of aggression 
laid at Russia's door by the Georgians after the August 6 
missile incident.  He was "disappointed" that most western 
countries accepted the Georgian version.  He reiterated the 
standard Russian analysis of the incident, concluding that it 
was a Georgian fabrication.  He said that with former DefMin 
Okruashvili returning to politics in opposition to 
Saakashvili from the right, Saakashvili is being forced to 
move right to cover his flank; Karasin implied this was the 
motive behind the alleged fabrication.  Ambassador replied 
that the U.S., despite its opposite view of the incident, is 
not seeking to polit
icize it.  Rather, our aim is to prevent 
a recurrence of such incidents and to get the normalization 
of Russian-Georgian relations back on track.  Karasin had 
related the incident to Georgia's political climate; the 
Ambassador noted that Russia, too, is gearing up for 
elections. 
 
9. (C) Karasin said he believes Georgia is preparing for 
military action in South Ossetia.  He based this conclusion 
on Georgia's defense budget, its military acquisitions, the 
missile incident, another air incident over Kodori at the end 
of August, the arrest of members of the North Ossetian 
peacekeeping contingent, and the detention of members of the 
CIS peacekeeping force in Abkhazia.  He noted that these were 
forced to lie face-down on the ground.  "Some of these 
peacekeepers come from various ethnic groups," Karasin said; 
"and they may decide to take matters into their own hands." 
Karasin continued that the Georgians refuse to sign 
agreements on the non-use of force, and are starting to 
assert that the South Ossetians are not a party to the 
conflict. 
 
10. (C) All of these actions frighten the South Ossetians as 
well as the Abkhaz, Karasin asserted.  Russia is working to 
calm the situation.  It wants the scheduled Joint 
Coordinating Commission plenary on South Ossetia to go ahead 
in Tbilisi this month as scheduled.  Karasin will receive a 
South Ossetian representative on September 5 or 6.  Karasin 
said the U.S. should know that Russia will not change its 
position on the Sanakoyev "alternative government" in South 
Ossetia, and will not meet with him or his organization.  The 
Ambassador replied that Russia must use its influence in 
South Ossetia to tell Tskhinvali in the strongest terms that 
resort to military force is unacceptable.  That is the 
message we are delivering in Tbilisi, and we will continue to 
do so.  The escalation of tensions must stop and 
normalization of relations must be put back on track. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
11. (C) Russian emotion on Georgia has not abated.  Rather, 
the embarrassing August 6 incident has only convinced people 
like Karasin -- who have to defend Russian actions and clean 
up after the armed forces and security services -- that 
anything but the hardest of lines will result in Russian loss 
of face and charges that they themselves are "soft on 
Georgia." 
 
Burns

Wikileaks

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