07TBILISI1213, ANTADZE ON PROSPECTS FOR DIALOGUE WITH ABKHAZIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1213 2007-05-23 09:38 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3752
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1213/01 1430938
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 230938Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6424
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001213 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: ANTADZE ON PROSPECTS FOR DIALOGUE WITH ABKHAZIA 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 861 
 
     B. TBILISI 459 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b)&(d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolution Merab 
Antadze told the Ambassador May 22 that Abkhaz de facto 
officials appeared to have decided to block contacts with 
Georgia at virtually every level of society, rebuffing 
Georgian requests to discuss the security situation in Gali 
and other issues.  He said Georgia strongly opposed inviting 
the Abkhaz to a meeting in New York, saying this invitation 
should be made only after the Abkhaz had taken constructive 
actions.  Antadze responded positively to variety of ideas 
for U.S. initiatives in the separatist regions, including 
American Corners in Gali and Sukhumi, taking a touring 
photographic exhibit to Sukhumi, removal of dangerous 
radioactive sources from Sukhumi, and a concert in South 
Ossetia.  He also responded favorably to the idea of a joint 
investigation with the Abkhaz of the disappearance of de 
facto official David Sigua, saying Georgia favored 
reinvigorating joint investigative mechanisms for a broad 
range of incidents.  On South Ossetia, Antadze said the 
Kokoity regime appeared to be getting conflicting advice from 
the Russian officials inside the South Ossetian 
administration and those in Russia -- suggesting that Russia 
has no clear policy on the region.  End Summary. 
 
Don't Call Me, I Won't Call You 
------------------------------- 
2. (C) Meeting on the eve of the Ambassador's trip to 
Abkhazia, Antadze said that after the Geneva meeting in 
February, the Abkhaz had turned away all Georgian attempts to 
arrange meetings.  He noted that the Georgians had pushed for 
a meeting to discuss the security situation in Gali, as was 
agreed at Geneva, and for a meeting on economic subjects 
between Prime Minister Noghaideli and de facto prime minister 
Ankvab, but these attempts produced no results.  He noted 
that the Abkhaz had also blocked joint study tours and other 
events at the societal level.  Antadze said he believed the 
refusals came on the recommendation of "Russian supporters" 
inside the Abkhaz administration.  He noted that when the 
Georgians had expressed an interest in a meeting between 
President Saakashvili and de facto president Bagapsh, Bagapsh 
had sent a message that such a meeting would be "negatively 
understood by the Russian side and internal forces." 
 
3. (C) Antadze asked for U.S. support for the Georgians' 
newest initiative to re-start dialogue, a call for a meeting 
in Geneva to discuss the return of internally displaced 
persons and security issues.  He said the Georgians strongly 
opposed a meeting with the Abkhaz in New York because they 
feared that the Russians could use it in their propaganda, 
preparing the way for a declaration that Abkhazia is an 
independent state.  The Ambassador stressed that Washington 
had made no decision on a New York invitation, and that the 
decision would depend in part on the restoring of dialogue 
between the two sides. 
 
4. (C) Antadze said Georgia was attempting to restore 
dialogue in other ways as well: trying to arrange a meeting 
of the steering committee for the EC-led economic 
rehabilitation projects in Abkhazia (which the Abkhaz have 
continually delayed for "technical" reasons), and seeking to 
re-start the Quadripartite Meetings (QPMs) in a new format 
that the CIS peacekeepers do not control.  (Note: As noted in 
reftels, UN officials have previously told us the Georgians 
have delayed resumption of the QPMs by failing to appoint a 
representative, as they agreed in Geneva.)  Asked by the 
Ambassador about a possible joint investigation of the Sigua 
disappearance, Antadze said Georgia supported the 
reactivation of a joint Georgian-Abkhaz investigative group 
that had could work on the Sigua case and a variety of 
others.  He added this mechanism, which he said had stopped 
its activity after Russian opposition made it impossible for 
the group to work freely, was one issue he wanted to discuss 
with the Abkhaz in a meeting on the Gali security situation. 
 
Supportive of U.S. Program Ideas 
-------------------------------- 
5. (C) The Ambassador raised a number of ideas for programs 
the USG might support in Abkhazia, and Antadze responded 
favorably to them all.  The Ambassador noted that expanding 
our program of American Corners in Georgian cities to Gali 
and Sukhumi could expose young people in Abkhazia to the U.S. 
 Antadze agreed, saying he personally believed that having a 
"direct source of information" could help break the isolation 
in those areas, and he encouraged the Ambassador to mention 
the idea to the Abkhaz, stressing that it was an expansion of 
 
TBILISI 00001213  002 OF 002 
 
 
programs in Georgia proper.  He added that it might be 
possible to ask the Abkhaz to take some action in exchange 
for the facilities, and stressed the importance of all people 
having free access to them.  Antadze said residents of 
Abkhazia would appreciate being able to see a U.
S.-sponsored 
photographic exhibit that has already toured a number of 
Georgian cities.  He reiterated his support for the removal 
of four radioactive sources in Sukhumi to a facility in 
Mtskheta.  The Ambassador noted that while we had an 
agreement in principle from the sides and a source of 
funding, there had also been talk that the Abkhaz were 
pursuing removal to Russia.  The Ambassador said that Deputy 
Foreign Minister Chechelashvili had recently told DCM that 
the most important thing for the Georgians was to get the 
sources out of Abkhazia, where their security could not be 
assured. 
 
Sanakoyev Slowly on the Rise 
---------------------------- 
6. (C) Turning to South Ossetia, Antadze said he had 
requested a recent visit by Russian envoy Yuri Popov after it 
became clear that Russian-led peacekeepers were not reacting 
to incidents, thereby allowing the situation to escalate.  He 
said that as a result of Georgian demands the peacekeepers 
had finally acted in a few specific cases, although he noted 
that such Georgian interventions should not be necessary.  He 
said that it was clear from recent events that Russia does 
not have a clear position on South Ossetia.  Antadze said 
South Ossetian leader Kokoity was urged by his advisors 
representing Russian special services to escalate tensions to 
a point that the Russian peacekeepers would be brought into 
the equation, perhaps as a justification for increasing the 
number of peacekeepers.  Messages from Russia itself, Antadze 
added, were long-delayed but in the end contradicted the 
advice of Russians based in Tskhinvali. 
 
7. (C) Antadze said the current dynamic was not favorable for 
Kokoity: public opinion is slowly moving toward the 
pro-Georgian Dmitry Sanakoyev, and if the situation remains 
stable this trend will increase, especially as Georgia starts 
serious economic and social development projects in 
Sanakoyev's area and as Sanakoyev gains stature from meeting 
with foreign officials.  The recent "provocations" in South 
Ossetia, Antadze said, were designed to try to stop this 
dynamic.  Antadze was supportive of the idea of staging a 
U.S.-sponsored bluegrass concert in a "neutral" location in 
South Ossetia, where people from both sides could attend.  If 
no appropriate site could be found, Antadze suggested holding 
the concert in one of the Georgian villages. 
 
TEFFT

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