07TBILISI674, ABKHAZIA: PRELIMINARY REPORT ON KODORI ATTACK

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI674 2007-03-29 14:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9040
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0674/01 0881415
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 291415Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5868
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000674 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR A/S FRIED, DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/28/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: ABKHAZIA:  PRELIMINARY REPORT ON KODORI ATTACK 
 
REF: TBILISI 585 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
 
1. (C)  In a March 29 meeting of the Friends of the Secretary General 
(FSG), UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) Jean 
Arnault and UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) Commander General 
Khattak briefed the FSG on the preliminary findings of the Joint Fact 
Finding Group's (JFFG) investigation into the March 11 attack on Upper 
Kodori.  Khattak said that there were 18 impact points, 17 of which wer 
most likely the result of GRAD missiles and one of which was most likel 
the result of an anti-tank missile fired from a helicopter.  He said th 
attacks came from a southerly direction, although could not specify the 
distance they traveled.  Khattak, who was careful in his remarks, said 
that he could not speculate on the timing of the release of the JFFG's 
report. Arnault and Khattak plan to be in New York April 5 to brief 
Missions of the FSG.  End summary. 
 
JFFG TIMELINE 
------------- 
 
2. (C) In a March 29 meeting of the FSG called by German Ambassador 
Flor, SRSG Arnault and UNOMIG Commander Khattak briefed on the 
preliminary, confidential findings of the JFFG's investigation into the 
March 11 attack on Upper Kodori.  Mark Perry (U.S.), Ambassador MacLare 
(UK), Ambassador Le Fort (France), and Vassily Korchmar (Russia) 
represented the FSG. Khattak gave a brief summary of the timeline of th 
JFFG's actions, noting that all sides have been cooperative and 
forthcoming in the investigation. He said the JFFG made two trips to 
Upper Kodori to examine the evidence, one from March 13 to 15 and 
another from March 23 to 25.  During the two trips, the group examined 
all the impact sites. 
18 IMPACT SITES, 17 LIKELY GRAD ROCKETS, 1 ANTI-TANK ROCKET 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
 
3. (C)  Khattak confirmed that there were 18 impact sites, 17 of which 
"in all likelihood" were craters of projectiles from artillery rockets. 
 He said the parties of the JFFG - the Abkhaz, Georgians, CIS 
Peacekeeping Force and UNOMIG - generally agreed that the projectiles 
were likely GRAD rockets.  He said the Georgian Government building in 
Chkhalta was probably hit by an anti-tank guided missile of the kind 
normally launched by a helicopter.  He noted that more investigation 
needs to be done on the kind of rocket fired at the building -- some of 
which, he said, can be fired from a helicopter and some of which cannot 
-- but said that the building was hit by an anti-tank rocket. 
 
AGREEMENT ON NUMBER OF IMPACTS, TYPE OF ARTILLERY, DIRECTION OF FIRING 
--------------------------------------------- ------------------------- 
 
4. (C) Khattak said that he brought in artillery and aviation experts 
to provide expert opinion to the JFFG.  On artillery, he said there is 
agreement in the JFFG on the number of craters (17, 9 of which indicate 
the kind of weapon used), that artillery was used, and that the 
ammunition used was BM-21.  Although the JFFG agreed that the attacks 
came from a southerly direction (all the craters are on the northern 
side of the Kodori Valley), there is no agreement on where exactly they 
came from or what distance they traveled.  He said there was no evidenc 
of small arms fire. 
HELO ROUTE FROM NORTH REQUIRES EXPERTISE AND EQUIPMENT 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
5. (C) On aviation, although he did not believe witness reports of 
identifying a particular type of helicopter, he said that there were 
enough reports of seeing and hearing a helicopter to believe that at 
least one helicopter was present.  Khattak said that any helicopter pat 
from the north would require a pilot both experienced in night flying 
and with night vision equipment due to the difficulty of the terrain. 
 Although he could not say with 100 percent certainty, he noted again 
that it looked like there was at least one helicopter which hit at leas 
one site. 
 
NO SPECULATION ON TIMING OF RELEASE OF REPORT 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) In response to questions, Khattak would not speculate on the 
timing of the release of the JFFG's report.  He noted that the 
investigation continues and that they would like the report to be as 
certain as possible, with the understanding that time is not unlimited. 
 He said it would be possible to have a report with a split opinion.  H 
noted that the artillery impacts were clustered at two points that were 
close together.  When asked if the firings could have been done in a wa 
to avoid casualties, he said that artillery has an impact zone which is 
determined by a number of factors including weather, distance and gun 
barrel size, all of which make exact targeting difficult. 
 
7. (C) As an aside, Arnault said the UN report would be released on 
April 3, and it will ask for appropriate time for the JFFG to complete 
its report. He said that he and Khattak would personally brief FSG 
Missions in New York on the JFFG's preliminary findings on April 5. 
 
 
TBILISI
00000674  002 OF 002 
 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8. (C) Khattak was extremely cautious in his remarks, prefacing all of 
comments with "highest probability" or in "all likelihood."  Although 
he tried not to rule out any possibility, he conveyed what we had heard 
from SRSG Arnault earlier (reftel), namely, that there was at least one 
helicopter involved, the weapon used in the attack on the Chkhalta 
Government building was an anti-tank rocket (likely fired from a 
helicopter), and there were 17 other impact craters make by BM-21 
rockets fired from a southerly direction. 
TEFFT

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