07TBILISI1139, SOUTH OSSETIA CONTINUES BLOCKADE OF TRANSCAUCASIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1139 2007-05-15 13:48 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5709
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1139 1351348
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151348Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6354
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001139 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/16/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: SOUTH OSSETIA CONTINUES BLOCKADE OF TRANSCAUCASIAN 
HIGHWAY 
 
REF: TBILISI 1120 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (SBU)  Summary:  On May 15, OSCE Ambassador Roy Reeve 
told Ambassador that the South Ossetians continue to block 
the Transcaucasian Highway north of Tskhinvali, but all of 
the other side roads have been re-opened.  Reeve said that 
de-facto president Kokoity has returned to Tskhinvali and the 
OSCE representative in Tskhinvali met with him to raise OSCE 
concerns about the restrictions the South Ossetians had 
imposed on JPKF and OSCE monitors' freedom of movement, 
particularly in the area around the Georgian village of 
Avnevi.  Reeve said Russian envoy Popov will arrive in 
Tskhinvali on May 15.  The South Ossetian de-facto foreign 
 
SIPDIS 
minister Murat Jioev sent a letter to a group of western 
Ambassadors inviting them to meet with Kokoiti in the third 
week of May.  On May 14, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister 
Valeri Chechelashvili told DCM that at the May 15 JCC, the 
Georgian side would continue to welcome direct talks with 
Kokoity.  He also said the Georgians were disappointed with 
the response of the Russian Joint Peacekeeping Forces (JPKF) 
to the fighting and said the Russian government should press 
their peacekeepers to actively enforce their mandate.  End 
Summary 
 
South Ossetia continues Transcaucasian Highway blockade 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
2.  (SBU)  OSCE Ambassador Reeve told Ambassador that the 
South Ossetians continue to block the Transcaucasian Highway 
north of Tskhinvali.  The road has been blocked with concrete 
barriers, he said, preventing free passage, but the Ossetians 
have re-opened all of the side roads.  He hinted, however, 
that the blockade may be affecting the South Ossetians as 
much as the Georgian villages to the north, joking that 
Tskhinvali was starting to run out of tomatoes and cucumbers. 
 
SIPDIS 
 
Kokoity back in Tskhinvali 
-------------------------- 
 
3.  (SBU)  Reeve also told Ambassador that de-facto president 
Kokoity has returned from Moscow.  He said that the OSCE 
representative in Tskinvali met with Kokoity to raise OSCE's 
concerns about the South Ossetians restricting access to all 
areas in the Zone of Conflict (ZOC), particularly the area 
around the Georgian village of Avnevi, where large groups of 
armed Ossetian militia have been reported (reftel).  Reeve 
said Kokoity told the OSCE representative that he would 
discuss the issue with the leaders of his security forces. 
Reeve added that Russian envoy Popov would be arriving later 
in the day. 
 
4.  (SBU)  On May 14, Deputy Foreign Minister Chechelashvili 
told DCM that at the May 15 JCC, the Georgians would continue 
to request talks with Kokoity.  He said that the Georgians 
were disappointed with the way the Russian JPKF responded to 
the fighting over the weekend.  It would be helpful, he said, 
if the Russian government pushed their peacekeepers to more 
actively enforce their mandate, which includes conducting 
patrols and establishing temporary posts when fighting breaks 
out.  He added that when the Russian peacekeepers play an 
active role, they can be effective in restraining South 
Ossetian forces. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
5.  (C)  Currently the situation in the ZOC is quiet, though 
until the JPKF and OSCE are allowed safe and unhindered 
access to all areas in the ZOC, including the area 
surrounding the Georgian village of Avnevi, tensions will 
remain high.  As Embassy DAO has reported separately, 
(septel) the Georgian army has not gone on alert during the 
crisis, and the GoG reaction to date has been calm in the 
face Ossetian provocations.  In response to Jioev's 
invitation to meet with Kokoity, we will coordinate with 
other western Ambassadors to see how we might usefully 
promote a scaling back of the confrontation between the 
sides.  Preliminary discussion with European Ambassadors 
indicated a preference for a written reply urging 
disengagement and demilitarization but no, repeat no, visit 
to Tskhinvali. 
TEFFT

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