07TBILISI1278, SOUTH OSSETIA WATER STANDOFF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1278 2007-05-31 14:44 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1400
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1278 1511444
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 311444Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6502
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001278 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/31/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL OSCE GG
SUBJECT: SOUTH OSSETIA WATER STANDOFF 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b)&(d). 
 
1. (C) As of May 31, the South Ossetian "capital" of 
Tskhinvali has been without water for a week, producing a 
 
SIPDIS 
tense political standoff.  As OSCE officials have described 
it to us, the problem started when residents of the Georgian 
enclave north of Tskhinvali drilled holes in the water 
pipeline to use for irrigation.  This has happened in 
previous years as well -- with South Ossetians long 
complaining about Georgian theft of water intended for 
drinking -- but it was especially acute this year because a 
second irrigation pipe ceased to work in 2006, leaving the 
main pipe to Tskhinvali as the Georgian farmers' only source 
for water.  The incident escalated when Georgian officials on 
the de facto border refused to allow Ossetian repair crews to 
enter the Georgian enclave to repair the pipe, telling OSCE 
monitors that they would not permit the crews in without an 
order from Georgian-backed administrative chief Dmitry 
Sanakoyev. 
 
2. (C) OSCE has facilitated discussions between Georgian 
State Minister for Conflict Resolution Merab Antadze and his 
South Ossetian counterpart Boris Chochiev, but thus far 
without success.  De facto president Eduard Kokoity has 
threatened publicly to cut off the water supply even farther 
north, in separatist-controlled territory, which would deny 
water to the Georgian enclave as well as to the large 
Georgian city of Gori south of South Ossetia.  OSCE reports 
that the South Ossetians carried through on this threat May 
31, but after three and a half hours of no water OSCE 
convinced them to reopen the pipe, at least temporarily.  We 
have stressed to the Georgians the need to find a resolution 
to the impasse. 
 
TEFFT

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