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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1418 2007-06-13 13:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

DE RUEHSI #1418/01 1641321
O 131321Z JUN 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001418 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/13/2017 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (a), (b) & (d). 
1. (C) Summary.  The Friends of the Secretary General (FSG) 
delivered a demarche, as agreed in capitals, to the Georgian 
Government on June 4 and to the Abkhaz de facto authorities 
in Sukhumi on June 8.  The demarche pressed both sides to 
calm tensions, re-engage in dialog, implement confidence 
building measures, and participate in a Geneva format meeting 
to discuss further steps.  The Georgian side responded that 
they are open to all forms of dialog without pre-conditions. 
However, the Georgians would not participate in a Geneva 
format meeting in New York and offered no indication that 
they would close or move the Patriot Camp located near the 
conflict zone.  The Abkhaz side responded that they will not 
participate in any meetings until the Georgians remove the 
Government-in-Exile from the Upper Kodori Gorge (UKG) and 
convert the police there to local hire.  End Summary. 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
The Georgians Want to Meet Without Preconditions 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
2. (C) The Friends of the Secretary General (FSG), 
represented by the German, French and U.S. DCMs and the 
Russian Ambassador, delivered the demarche as agreed to in 
FSG capitals to the Georgian Government on June 4, 
represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Manjgaladze and Deputy 
State Minister for Conflict Resolution Abashidze. 
Manjgaladze reiterated the Georgian position that they are 
ready to meet with the Abkhaz at any time and at any level 
without pre-condition, including a meeting between President 
Saakashvili and de facto president Bagapsh, and that the 
Georgians remain committed to the confidence building steps 
agreed to at the Geneva meeting in February (reftel).  But 
Manjgaladze said that the Abkhaz have shut down all dialog, 
adopting a new strategy of total non-engagement.  He 
mentioned as a latest example the Abkhaz refusal to attend a 
meeting with the EC even though the time and place had been 
agreed.  He pressed the FSG to encourage the Abkhaz to return 
to talks without pre-conditions.  Regarding the UKG based 
Government in Exile, Manjgaladze said it is not in exile any 
more and would not be removed.  He restated that Georgia has 
a responsibility to provide civil administration in the UKG 
and any Abkhaz concerns about treaty violations should be 
properly applied to the UN. 
3. (C) Regarding the disappearance in February of local 
Abkhaz election official David Sigua, Manjgaladze said the 
Georgians had nothing to do with it and are just as 
interested to learn what happened.  He said that the Georgian 
side proposed to the Abkhaz to conduct a joint investigation 
but the Abkhaz have not responded.  The FSG pressed 
Manjgaladze on the need to name a coordinator for law 
enforcement cooperation, as agreed in Geneva, and Abashidze 
replied that they were waiting for UNOMIG to provide a 
document defining the framework and rules under which this 
cooperation would work. (Comment: The FSG position is that 
cooperation on law enforcement does not require a UNOMIG 
document. In a separate meeting on 6/11, Special 
Representative to the Secretary General Arnault said he hoped 
that he could convince both sides to restart the 
Quadrapartite Meetings on law enforcement cooperation by the 
expected June meeting in Geneva.  End Comment.)  The FSG 
pointed out that the Patriot Camp opened near the conflict 
zone can be perceived as a provocation and encouraged the 
Georgians to move the camp.  Manjgaladze responded that it is 
a children's camp and he cannot understand how the Abkhaz can 
claim it is some kind of threat.  He said the camp was opened 
there as an effort to provide attention and normalcy to a 
neglected area.  He offered no indication that the Georgians 
would move or close the camp. 
4. (C) Manjgaladze said that the Georgian side supports a 
Geneva format meeting with the Abkhaz but would not agree to 
participate in a meeting in New York.  He said the Abkhaz 
would use a NY meeting for propaganda reasons and to take 
another step on the path to legitimacy, but would not engage 
in any substantive discussions.  He asked why we would want 
to hold the meeting in NY: what benefit does that offer over 
Geneva?  Manjgaladze said that Shamba had a central role in 
the ethnic cleansing that took place in Abkhazia in 1994 and 
it would be immoral to give him a bigger stage in NY.  He 
pointed to a disturbing law recently passed by the de facto 
parliament as an attempt to legalize the ethnic cleansing and 
deprive the IDPs of any property rights in Abkhazia. 
Manjgaladze concluded by stating that the Georgian side is 
still expecting a final report on the Joint Fact Finding 
Group investigation into the March 11 attack on the UKG. 
TBILISI 00001418  002 OF 003 
Abkhaz Heels Are Dug In 
5. (C) The Friends of the Secretary General (FSG), 
represented by the German and Russian Ambassadors and the 
French and U.S. DCMs, delivered the demarche the Abkhaz on 
June 8, represented by de facto president Bagapsh and de 
facto foreign minister Shamba.  Bagapsh appeared angry and 
belligerent as he railed against President Saakashvili and 
Georgian duplicity, citing the disappearance of Sigua, the 
Patriot Camp near the conflict zone and Saakashvili,s media 
hype over the Abkhaz release of 3 Georgian students last 
month.  He said the Abkhaz will not meet with the Georgians 
again until the UKG issue is resolved.  He wanted to see the 
Government-in-Exile removed, an agreement reached on the 
number of police, the police converted to local hire, and 
UNOMIG and the PKF given a permanent presence in the UKG.  He 
saw no value in meetings because the Georgians won,t deal 
with Abkhaz concerns such as ending the economic embargo or 
non-use of force guarantees and there is no one sensible in 
Tbilisi with whom to talk. 
6. (C) Bagapsh was clearly angry that Saakashvili responded 
to the release of the Georgian students in May with a media 
spectacle, pinning medals on their chests on national TV, 
rather than by calling Bagapsh to thank him for the release. 
He said he released the students because of a direct appeal 
from the Russian MFA, but he wouldn,t have agreed if he knew 
how the Georgians would respond. 
7. (C) Bagapsh said that locating a Patriot Camp near the 
conflict zone is a clear provocation by the Georgians.  He 
predicted trouble, said he has moved more Abkhaz militia to 
the area and requested that UNOMIG and the PKF monitor the 
situation.  The FSG told him that escalating the situation 
and increasing tensions helps nobody.  Bagapsh claims that 
the FSG mention was the first he heard of the Georgian offer 
of joint investigation into Sigua,s disappearace.  When 
pressed by the FSG, he said he might consider a Joint Fact 
Finding Group investigation. 
8. (C) Bagapsh said the Abkhaz would not participate in a 
Geneva format meeting because there have been no results from 
the last Geneva meeting in February.  When the FSG said we 
would recommend to USG Guehenno that he issue the invitations 
to such a meeting and encouraged the Abkhaz to attend, 
Bagapsh would make no commitment. 
9. (C) During the two hour meeting, Bagapsh dominated the 
talking with bombast and threats.  Among the threats:  he 
would block all movement across the Enguri Bridge, install 
mines and barbed wire along the border, shoot down any 
Georgian helicopters that go to UKG, build an Abkhaz camp 
adjacent to the Georgian Patriot Camp.  He said that Abkhazia 
would never return to Georgia even if no one recognizes 
Abkhaz independence.  He seemed bothered to have to meet with 
the FSG at all. 
10. (C) The Russians orchestrated a bold media sham at the 
meeting.  At one point during the meeting the lone television 
camera set up to film only the Russian Ambassador, ignoring 
the rest of the FSG.  On cue, the Russian Ambassador 
announced that he was speaking for the FSG and reiterated 
that the FSG told the Georgians to close the Patriot camp, to 
be forthcoming with information about Sigua,s disappearance, 
and to implement the confidence building measures provided by 
the FSG. 
11. (C) The FSG took the opportunity to inform the Abkhaz 
about the serious threat posed by the spread of African Swine 
Flu (ASF) in Georgia, which was first detected in the Zugdidi 
area near the Abkhaz border.  Both Bagapsh and Shamba said 
they have never heard of ASF and they are not aware of any 
pig deaths.  The Embassy has encouraged the Georgian 
Government to share information about ASF with the Abkhaz. 
12. (C) Comment:  The lack of coordination between Bagapsh 
and Shamba was notable.  For example, Bagapsh was unaware 
that the U.S. Ambassador had discussed with Shamba the idea 
of a joint Sigua investigation during his visit May 23, or 
that Georgian State Minister Antadze had called Shamba about 
it.  Twice when Bagapsh appeared to consider meetings with 
the Georgians, Shamba interrupted to say that meetings would 
not be possible until the UKG and other issues are worked 
diplomatically first, via an exchange of documents. Bagapsh 
was also surprisingly uninformed about Georgia.  He declared 
that conditions in Georgia are so bad that if its neighbors 
opened their borders to Georgian emigration, 30% of 
TBILISI 00001418  003 OF 003 
Georgia,s population would stream out looking for work.  The 
German Ambassador responded that we live in Georgia and it,s 
now a very different place than he imagines.  Bagapsh said 
that,s because of the limited, rich circles we associate 
with; he had been to Georgia before and he assured us that we 
are misinformed.  End comment. 


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