07TBILISI489, ABKHAZIA: UN BRIEFS WESTERN FRIENDS ON KODORI

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #07TBILISI489.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI489 2007-03-12 14:27 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2711
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0489/01 0711427
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 121427Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5676
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000489 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR A/S FRIED, DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/13/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: ABKHAZIA:  UN BRIEFS WESTERN FRIENDS ON KODORI 
INCIDENT 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 476 
     B. TBILISI 405 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C)  Summary:  On March 12, UN Special Representative of 
the Secretary General (SRSG) Jean Arnault briefed the Western 
Friends of the Secretary General (FSG) on the alleged rocket 
and missile firing on Georgian villages in Upper Kodori on 
March 11 (reftel).  Arnault said that the Georgians had 
agreed to convene the Joint Fact Finding Group to investigate 
the incident, although he signaled that the investigation, 
like past investigations, may not be conclusive.  Separately, 
Arnault briefed on the results of the Abkhaz elections, which 
he said were a loss for the de facto government of president 
Bagapsh.  On the upcoming renewal of the UN Observer Mission 
in Georgia (UNOMIG), Arnault argued for a substantial 
resolution rather than a technical rollover.  He agreed to 
provide the Western Friends an advance copy of his UN report, 
together with recommendations for elements to include in the 
resolution.  In a separate aside, German Ambassador Flor 
raised concerns about MOIA Merabishvili's approach to 
reforming the police force.  End summary. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
UN TO SEND FACT-FINDING TEAM TO UPPER KODORI 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On March 12, UN SRSG Jean Arnault briefed a previously 
scheduled meeting of the Western FSG called by the German 
Ambassador on the alleged rocket and missile firing on 
Georgian villages in Upper Kodori late on March 11.  U.S. 
Ambassador Tefft, UK Ambassador MacLaren, German Ambassador 
Flor and French Ambassador Le Fort attended.  Arnault said 
that the Georgians had agreed to convene the Joint Fact 
Finding Group (including the UN, CIS peacekeepers, Abkhaz and 
Georgians) to investigate the incident.  There was little 
damage, with most of the missiles entering the ground. 
Because the evidence would have to be excavated and examined, 
he said that the investigation would take some time and, like 
past investigations, may not be conclusive.  He said that the 
CIS peacekeeping force claims that neither it nor the Abkhaz 
have the capability to fly helicopters at night.  Arnault 
said the CIS peacekeepers located closest to Upper Kodori at 
"broken bridge" heard small arms fire and saw flares but did 
not see helicopters, but he had received separate information 
that helicopters were present. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
ELECTIONS APPEAR TO BE A WIN FOR THE OPPOSITION 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
3. (C) On the recent Abkhaz elections, Arnault said that the 
fact that a relatively small number of incumbents were 
re-elected indicates that the elections were a win for the 
opposition and a loss for the de facto government of 
president Bagapsh.  (Note:  Georgian Deputy State Minister 
for Conflict Resolution Abashidze separately told us March 9 
that the Georgians also believed Bagapsh had done worse than 
expected in the first round.  End note.)  A second round will 
take place on March 18.  Still, Arnault was struck that 
despite the setback, members of the de facto government 
expressed confidence that the various political parties would 
be able to work together, in the same way as the current de 
facto government.  He assessed that the outcome speaks to the 
level of discontent in Abkhazia.  In the primarily ethnic 
Georgian region of Gali, he said that one parliamentarian was 
elected, with the other two seats being contested in the 
second round.  Arnault assessed that the UN would not be able 
to make a full assessment until after the second round.  He 
noted that participation was "fairly low," and that the 
campaign to discourage the ethnic Georgians in Gali from 
voting was successful. 
 
----------------------------------- 
MARCH 1 STUDENT PROTEST AT SHAMGONA 
----------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) Arnault briefed on the results of the UN investigation 
into the March 1 Georgian student protest at Shamgona.  He 
said that students from Zugdidi - possibly pushed by the 
media - organized a protest against the Abkhaz elections in 
which they crossed the Inguri River into Abkhaz-controlled 
territory and then crossed back and gave an interview to 
local media.  The students then returned back to 
Abkhaz-controlled territory - in what Arnault believes was an 
attempt to appear to be ethnic Georgians from Abkhazia - and 
when they reached the bank three were arrested by Abkhaz 
militia.  A fifteen minute exchange of fire ensued in which 
no one was hurt.  Arnault said he had no reason to believe 
 
TBILISI 00000489  002 OF 002 
 
 
that the protest was not a genuine student protest.  Still, 
he planned to tell the Georgians and the Abkhaz that although 
the UN does not want to stifle free speech, it will 
discourage political actions which are likely to lead to 
ceasefire violations, such as protests along the ceasefire 
line.  He said he did not rule out additio
nal spontaneous 
activities as the second round of elections approaches. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
UN PREFERS SUBSTANTIAL UNOMIG RENEWAL RESOLUTION 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
5. (C) On the upcoming UNOMIG renewal resolution, Arnault 
said that he preferred a substantial renewal, which would put 
down next steps for the parties, rather than a technical 
rollover.  He suggested that any resolution should not offer 
new requests but simply reiterate previous requests including 
a meeting between Saakashvili and Bagapsh.  He updated on 
progress in pushing the sides to complete a series of steps 
before the UN report is submitted at the end of the March 
(reftel B).  On the Abkhaz side, he said that there would be 
an UN Human Rights sub-office in Gali, the formalization of 
an UN Civilian Police contingent, and, he hoped, a public 
statement by de fact president Bagapsh that there would be no 
forced passportization of Gali residents.  He said the school 
issue is more sensitive.  Arnault said that Abkhaz policy is 
to require all schools to teach in Russian but that the 
Abkhaz do not have the capacity to implement the policy.  As 
a result, only 4 of the 15 to 19 schools in Gali teach 
exclusively in Russian.  He offered to check whether the 
Abkhaz commitment to start funding schools as of January 1 
would require that that those schools teach in Russian. 
 
6. (C) On the Georgian side, he said that there was a joint 
UN-CIS peacekeeping patrol of Upper Kodori last week, which 
uncovered no new heavy weapons or serious violations.  He 
said that the Georgians have no offensive capability in Upper 
Kodori.  He noted that the heavy weapons left by warlord 
Kvitsiani remained, although they were stored in one place 
and not hidden.  He said that the number of police, according 
to the Georgians, is now 283, and that the Georgians have 
committed to bring the number in line with the ratio of 
police to citizens in the rest of the country.  Arnault said 
the Georgian intention is to be able to hold for 24 hours 
against any attack, which UNOMIG Commander Khattak believed 
could be done with a smaller force.  All agreed that this may 
be made more difficult by the March 11 incident.  Arnault 
said that the issue of notification and verification of all 
vehicles going into Upper Kodori remained unresolved.  He 
said the UN would meet with the Ministry of Interior today to 
try to improve the procedure. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
GERMAN RAISES CONCERN WITH MOIA APPROACH TO POLICE REFORM 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
7. (C) In a private aside after the meeting, German 
Ambassador Flor conveyed to Ambassador Tefft her concern 
about MOIA Merabishvili's approach to police reform.  She 
said that a German police expert attended and presented at a 
recent conference in Bakuriani for local police, where 
Merabishvili made two statements of concern.  On the issue of 
combating drugs, Flor reported that Merabishvili directed 
police to "criminalize and target the addicted" by depriving 
them of their jobs and denying them the ability to 
participate in normal life.  Of more concern, she said, was 
Merabishvili's alleged directive on the police mandate, which 
he reportedly said was to create dossiers on "fools" -- the 
mentally ill, the opposition, and prostitutes and their 
clients.  This, she said, sounds like the old KGB.  She said 
that Merabishvili talked openly, in the open presence of a 
German police officer.  She said that this would be a 
throwback to the old days and not an example of moving toward 
European and American standards.  The Ambassador agreed. 
(Note:  We intend to follow-up with Merabishvili.  End note.) 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: