06TBILISI3406, BILATERAL MEETING BETWEEN GEORGIAN AND ABKHAZ

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06TBILISI3406 2006-12-27 11:16 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4468
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #3406 3611116
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 271116Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4989
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4530

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 003406 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/27/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM GG
SUBJECT: BILATERAL MEETING BETWEEN GEORGIAN AND ABKHAZ 
OFFICIALS HELPS COMMUNICATION 
 
REF: TBILISI 3250 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Mark X. Perry, reason 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Georgian Deputy State Minister for Conflicts 
Resolution Ruslan Abashidze returned December 21 from leading 
a GoG delegation at the Conciliation Resources-organized 
discussions in London with an Abkhaz delegation.  He briefed 
Charge about the results of the meeting.  The Georgian 
delegation included a representative of the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs, Eka Zguladze, MFA officials, and members of 
the Abkhaz government-in-exile now based in the Kodori Gorge. 
 The Abkhaz delegation included Gari Kupalba, de-facto deputy 
minister of defense, Daur Kove, de facto deputy minister of 
foreign affairs, Dmitri Shamba, economic advisor to de facto 
president Bagapsh, a representative of the Abkhaz political 
opposition and a member of the Armenian community in 
Abkhazia.  The Abkhaz governor of the Gali region, Ruslan 
Kishmaria, was supposed to attend but cancelled because he 
had his hands full at home with the aftermath of the 
Chakaberia arrest (reftel). 
 
2.  (C) Abashidze characterized the discussions as 
constructive, honest and helpful.  He said the Russian shadow 
was obvious and caused Abkhaz reticence, but with moments of 
illumination.  According to Abashidze, the discussion 
included the following elements. 
 
-- Kodori Gorge:  The delegations spent most of two days 
discussing Kodori.  The Abkhaz admitted that the August 
operation to seize Kodori was "well done" by the Georgians. 
However, the Kodori situation is still a hot issue in Abkhaz 
politics and the opposition is putting a lot of pressure on 
Bagapsh to do something about it.  As the campaigns for the 
February/March Abkhazia parliamentary elections heat up, the 
pressure will intensify on the de-facto government to take 
stronger action against the Georgian presence Kodori, even to 
the extent of using military force.  The Abkhaz are firmly 
against the Tbilisi-sponsored Abkhaz government-in-exile 
based in Kodori Gorge.  Regarding monitoring visits to the 
Gorge, the Georgians proposed replacing the Russian PKF 
members with Abkhaz observers.  The Abkhaz were not prepared 
to answer this proposal. 
 
-- Return of Refugees:  The Abkhaz representatives support 
the return of IDPs, but gradually.  In contrast, the 
representative of the Armenian community spoke against the 
return of IDPs. 
 
-- NATO:  The Georgians proposed sending representatives of 
the Abkhaz de facto government on a study tour to Brussels to 
learn more about NATO, its objectives, and what Intensive 
Dialog is all about.  The idea is to counter Abkhaz 
misperceptions and help them see why moving toward NATO 
membership is a good policy.  The Abkhaz were not prepared to 
give a response. 
 
-- Economic Rehabilitation:  The Georgians proposed the same 
format for economic rehabilitation as is now being used in 
South Ossetia, with a joint plan and a donor steering 
committee.  The Abkhaz agree that the focus should be on 
economic development, but were not prepared to discuss format. 
 
-- Existing Negotiating Mechanisms:  The Georgians explained 
why they would like to emphasize direct bilateral 
negotiations and international involvement in the solution to 
the conflict and providing guarantees.  The Abkhaz 
understood, but said it is important to keep the Russians 
involved and protect Russian equities.  In their view, 
internationalization is not possible at this stage. 
 
3.  (C) Comment:  We believe direct meetings such as these, 
outside the formal UN framework, are useful to keep the 
dialog going and build trust.  In this case, neither side 
seemed to be bent on scoring points either in the meeting or 
in the media, but rather building a means of direct 
communication about problems.  Although no breakthroughs 
occurred, the Abkhaz side was able to speak with a bit more 
freedom than when Russian diplomats are present. 
MXPERRY

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