07TBILISI1604, ABKHAZIA: GENEVA-STYLE MEETING IN BONN: SMALL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1604 2007-07-06 11:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4976
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1604/01 1871136
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 061136Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6899
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 TBILISI 001604 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/22/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PBTS KPKO UNSC GG RU
SUBJECT: ABKHAZIA:  GENEVA-STYLE MEETING IN BONN:  SMALL 
STEPS FORWARD 
 
REF: TBILISI 459 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  On June 27 and 28, representatives of the 
Friends of the UN Secretary General (FSG), together with the 
UN, met the Georgian and Abkhaz sides for a Geneva-style 
meeting in Bonn.  Most significantly, the sides agreed to 
resume Quadripartite meetings on law enforcement cooperation 
in July and agreed to a Joint Fact Finding Group (JFFG) 
investigation of the disappearance of David Sigua, an ethnic 
Georgian official from the Abkhaz de facto administration. 
Both sides agreed to explore confidence building measures 
endorsed by UNSCR 1752, including establishing maritime 
communication between Sukhumi and Trabzon, Turkey, with 
appropriate custom controls.  They also agreed to a Steering 
Committee meeting for the EC-funded rehabilitation program in 
Abkhazia during the week of July 2.  Additionally, they 
agreed to continued people-to-people contacts and to continue 
cooperation on threats such as African Swine Fever.  Although 
the Georgians repeated an unconditional offer for a meeting 
between President Saakashvili and de facto "president" 
Bagapsh, the Abkhaz, supported by Russia, insisted such a 
meeting needed advance coordination on a guaranteed outcome 
such as the lifting of CIS economic sanctions or an agreement 
on non-use of force.  The Friends expressed concern about the 
security situation, particularly in Gali, and urged the 
Georgian side to move a Patriotic Youth Camp in the village 
of Gunmukhuri away from the ceasefire line to avoid potential 
mishaps.  To follow-up on these commitments, the UN will work 
to coordinate monthly meetings of the sides in Tbilisi or 
Sukhumi to monitor implementation.  After meetings between 
FSG coordinator Hans-Dieter Lucas with both sides in the 
region during the week of July 2, the UN may consider a 
high-level letter to the sides from New York urging progress 
on the agreed cooperation mechanisms.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) On June 27 and 28, the UN hosted representatives of 
the FSG (U.S., UK, Germany, France, and Russia) in Bonn for a 
Geneva-style meeting with the Georgian and Abkhaz sides.  UN 
Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Under Secretary 
Jean-Marie Guehenno chaired the discussion.  Special 
Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) Jean Arnault, 
together with members of his staff and a representative of 
the UN's Department of Political Affairs (DPA), were also 
present.  Representing the Georgians were State Minister for 
Conflict Resolution Merab Antadze and Deputy Minister of 
Internal Affairs Eka Zguladze, together with Dimitri 
Manjavidze (one of Antadze,s deputies) and Alexander 
Nalbandov (a representative from the MFA).  Representing the 
Abkhaz were de facto "foreign minister" Sergey Shamba and 
Martin Targyl from his staff as well as two German-based 
members of the Abkhaz diaspora, Khibla Amichba and Zeki Kap. 
The FSG were represented by EUR DAS Matthew Bryza, Sir Brian 
Fall (UK), Hans-Dieter Lucas (Germany), Veronique Bujon-Barre 
(France), and Vladislav Chernov (Russian Federation), as well 
as their delegations. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
UN EMPHASIZES SECURITY, DIALOGUE AND CBMS 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) The meetings began with an introduction by Guehenno 
followed by separate presentations from each of the sides. 
Following a dinner consultation the previous evening with the 
Friends, Guehenno emphasized three main points in his 
introduction:  one, that the Friends are concerned about the 
security situation in Abkhazia and would like a commitment 
from both sides to refrain from provocations that would lead 
to an escalation of violence; two, that the Friends urge a 
resumption of dialogue between the sides, especially the 
resumption of regular Quadripartite meetings to discuss law 
enforcement cooperation; and three, that the Friends urge the 
sides to review confidence building measures presented at the 
Geneva meeting in February (reftel) and endorsed by the UN 
Security Council in April, with a view to implementing them 
in order to build trust and move toward a settlement. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
GEORGIANS SUPPORT RE-ESTABLISHING DIALOGUE 
------------------------------------------ 
 
4. (C) Antadze expressed Georgian concern about the lack of 
dialogue and hoped that the Friends would help to 
re-establish dialogue in existing formats as well as in other 
formats.  Stressing the importance of the return of 
internally displaced persons (IDP)s, Antadze said that the 
Abkhaz were undertaking measures, including legislative 
measures, which were preventing their return.  To address 
these concerns, he suggested resuming the Special Commission 
 
TBILISI 00001604  002 OF 006 
 
 
on IDPs called for in the April 4, 1994 quadripartite 
agreement.  Antad
ze welcomed the creation of a UN human 
rights office in Gali as a first step. He argued that its 
implementation was important for the return of IDPs.  He 
noted the importance of UN Civilian Police and expressed a 
need for a clear, transparent program with clarity on their 
role and mandate.  Antadze said the Georgians have ideas in 
the economic field that could also increase trust and 
confidence among various strata of the population. 
 
5. (C) Antadze said the Abkhaz were blocking direct dialogue. 
 On Georgian presence in the Upper Kodori (or "Upper 
Abkhazia" as they call it), Antadze said that the Georgians 
honored the commitments with regards to transparency that 
they made in Geneva in February, as verified by monitoring 
missions by the UN and CIS Peacekeeping Force.  He said the 
Abkhaz refused to participate in the security dialogue that 
was supposed to follow the Geneva meeting.  He said the 
Abkhaz had also canceled talks planned between Prime Minister 
Noghaideli and the Abkhaz "prime minister" as well as 
discussions planned for energy experts from both sides to 
discuss the Enguri power plant situation.  On the 
disappearance of Sigua, Antadze proposed a JFFG 
investigation.  On the Patriotic Camp near the ceasefire 
line, he proposed that the UN and FSG visit the camp to 
dispel international concerns of its function and purpose, 
which he said was to bring together young people from Georgia 
to participate in sports activities and entertainment 
programs. 
 
6. (C) The Western Friends welcomed the Georgian commitment 
to dialogue and expressed continuing concern over getting to 
the bottom of the Sigua case and about the location of the 
patriot youth camp - not for its activities but for the 
potential of youth to undertake an action that could lead to 
an escalation of conflict.   Bryza urged the Georgians to 
consider relocating the camp to a less sensitive area.  Bryza 
and the other Friends urged the Georgians to review the CBMs 
endorsed by the Security Council and to resume Quadripartite 
meetings.  Striking a different tone, Chernov said the 
Georgian side is continuing to hinder progress toward a 
settlement, despite expressing willingness to move forward. 
He alleged ongoing violations of the Moscow Agreement, 
including overflights; deployment of over 600 police in the 
Security Zone; illegal movements into the Upper Kodori; and 
the illegal presence of armed groups, including two new 
alleged observation points established in Abkhaz-controlled 
areas that Moscow had informed him about that very morning. 
Chernov noted dourly that such actions could lead to the 
activation of military activity in the region and that the 
Georgians could not expect flexibility from the Abkhaz on 
refugee returns in the face of them.  Chernov also attacked a 
recent Georgian MFA statement that the separatist conflicts 
were of a territorial and not an ethnic nature.  He said it 
belied an attitude toward ethnic minorities that was 
counterproductive to the conflict resolution process. 
 
7. (C) Antadze responded that every time there is a meeting 
planned between the Georgians and the Abkhaz, there is a 
provocation from the Russian side which makes dialogue 
difficult.  Zguladze said that the Georgians had appointed a 
Coordinator for the Quadripartite meetings last fall.  She 
said that only two security incidents had taken place in 
Upper Kodori since the Georgians regained control:  a 
military attack against the Minister of Internal Affairs and 
another on March 11 against the government building. 
Zguladze said that UN investigations into both attacks had 
shown that Georgia is not instigating provocations in the 
Upper Kodori.  She expressed disappointment that the final 
report of the JFFG investigation into the March 11 attack had 
not yet been made public and expressed hope that it would in 
the near future.  (Note:  To the FSG, Arnault said that the 
report was in the process of being translated into Russian; 
he hoped that the JFFG members might agree to its findings as 
soon as June 29.  End note.)  She pushed back against 
sensitivities concerning the location of the patriot camp, 
nothing that there was no possible way it could be considered 
a threat to the security situation.  Zguladze continued that 
Georgia exploded all weapons recovered from warlord Emzar 
Kvitsiani and had reduced the number of police to 270 and 
that this was confirmed by CIS PKF and UN monitoring 
missions.  She cautioned that Georgia may have to reassess 
its position on reduction of police based on the results of 
the report on the March 11 attack.  Zguladze acknowledged 
that logistical problems contributed to continuing Georgian 
violations on movements in the Security Zone, but she said 
the violations had decreased and that the notification 
mechanism had improved.  Nalbandov countered Chernov,s 
allegation about the ethnic prejudice in Georgian society by 
reiterating Georgia,s position that the conflicts are 
 
TBILISI 00001604  003 OF 006 
 
 
territorial and drawing on his own Armenian heritage to 
legitimize his claim that Georgia,s constitution and 
international commitments protect minority rights. 
 
---------------------------------- 
ABKHAZ START TOUGH BUT THEN SOFTEN 
---------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Shamba opened with a plea to allow the Abkhaz to 
address the UN Security Council as they are "equal parties in 
the conflict."  He claimed that UN documents describing the 
conflict had changed over time to call it the "conflict in 
Abkhazia, Georgia" and that the UN should go back to the 
original formulation ("Georgia/Abkhazia conflict") which he 
believed gave equal weight to the Abkhaz position.  Shamba 
claimed that the Georgians were conducting ongoing 
provocations that violated UNSCR 1716, the Moscow Agreement, 
and a certain "Gagra Agreement" of 1998 that contained clear 
formulations on the Kodori Valley.  He claimed there were 
more than 1300 police in the Security Zone, whereas only 600 
are allowed.  He also cited the possibility that the patriot 
camp near the ceasefire line could be used as a military camp 
by the Georgians.  Finally, he pointed to what he called the 
kidnapping of Abkhaz officials, including Chakaberia and 
Sigua.  He claimed that witnesses knew that Sigua was killed 
and even where he was buried. After this became public, he 
said the body was exhumed and taken somewhere else.  He 
claimed that Georgia was in violation of the Moscow Agreement 
with an expansion of its presence in Upper Kodori and the 
establishment of two new observation points (in 
Abkhaz-controlled territory.)  He agreed on the need to 
return to dialogue and called for the Georgians to consider 
Abkhaz suggestions in Kodori, including training local police 
to perform the police functions there.  The Abkhaz, he said, 
are ready to discuss establishing relations with the diaspora 
but he cautioned that the Abkhaz could not resume 
negotiations with Georgians until difficult issues were 
resolved.  Nonetheless, he said open lines of communication 
benefited both s
ides. 
 
9. (C) In response, Bryza focused on the goal of the meeting: 
to move beyond recriminations and re-start dialogue.  He said 
the U.S. speaks bilaterally to Georgia and as part of the FSG 
on the importance of avoiding provocative actions in 
Abkhazia, including on the patriot camp.  He said the U.S. 
also raises the Sigua case with Georgian officials.  Bryza 
suggested that the Abkhaz share their information on Sigua 
with the Georgians to try to get to the bottom of the case. 
He asked for clarification from the UN on the number of 
police in the Upper Kodori and the Security Zone.  He 
stressed the importance of implementing CBMs, not just 
talking about them.  On the question of appearing at the UN 
Security Council, Bryza said that such an appearance would be 
symbolic only, as the UNSC members with the exception of 
China, are all represented by the FSG.  He said the U.S. 
could support such a trip after there is something important 
to report, such as direct dialogue with Tbilisi at the 
highest level.  The other Friends supported Bryza's call for 
dialogue, underscored the importance of avoiding 
provocations, and pushed for progress on CBMs.  Softening, 
Shamba responded that the Abkhaz are ready to continue 
dialogue, including resuming the Quadripartite meetings and 
participating in a joint investigation of Sigua.  He said 
that the Abkhaz are ready to discuss CBMs, including the 
opening of maritime communications with UNOMIG and CIS PKF 
controlling the arrival of ships at the port of Sukhumi.  (He 
noted that ships from Georgia arrive regularly in Sukhumi, 
but that they are all, of course, illegal.) 
 
----------------------------------------- 
GETTING SIDES TO COMMIT TO SPECIFIC STEPS 
----------------------------------------- 
 
10. (C) During a consultative meeting among the FSG and the 
UN, Arnault reported that UNOMIG and the CIS PKF were 
currently undertaking joint verification of armed personnel 
in the Security Zone.  He agreed with Shamba that the 
Georgians likely have more than the 600 police allowed in the 
Security Zone, which encompasses the Gali and Zugdidi 
regions.  Arnault estimated the number to be around 1000. 
However, he said that Georgian law enforcement personnel in 
Upper Kodori numbered 283 police and 100 Svan border guards. 
Arnault agreed with the Abkhaz that the number of police 
should be rationalized but noted that the March 11 attack had 
&muddied the waters8 and made this more difficult.  The UN 
passed out a map of Abkhaz and UN sightings of unidentified 
personnel in Abkhaz-controlled areas, along with pictures of 
a group of seven unidentified personnel sighted by the UN in 
an Abkhaz-controlled area north of Upper Kodori.  Arnault 
later said it was impossible to know who these people were 
 
TBILISI 00001604  004 OF 006 
 
 
after Bryza pointed out that it was unfounded to assume they 
were Georgians (as was presupposed by some of the captions on 
the map).  Led by Guehenno, the FSG representatives agreed on 
the need to press for concrete mechanisms and commitments by 
the two sides.  They drafted a page of written questions for 
each side to respond to at their meetings later in the day. 
 
--------------------------------- 
GEORGIANS AGREE TO SPECIFIC STEPS 
--------------------------------- 
 
11. (C) In a follow-on meeting, the Georgian delegation went 
through the list provided to them point by point, starting 
with security issues and moving to CBMS: 
 
-------- 
SECURITY 
-------- 
 
-- On the question of the presence of reportedly Georgian 
personnel in the lower Kodori, Zguladze said categorically 
that there are no Georgian movements or deployments in lower 
Kodori.  She said she had just checked this information again 
today and that the official response from the Ministry is 
that Georgia is also worried about these elements which are 
in an area controlled by the Abkhaz and patrolled by the UN 
and CIS Peacekeeping Force.  She offered Georgian cooperation 
to help the UN identify these groups. 
 
-- On the number of personnel in the Security Zone, Zguladze 
said there are 600 personnel in the Security Zone and offered 
that the UN could verify this claim. 
 
-- On the reQeployment of the patriotic camp, Zguladze 
suggested that the FSG visit the cap and assess whether it is 
a security risk. 
 
-- On the appointment of a Coordinator for the Quadripartite 
meetings, Zguladze confirmed that a Coordinator had been 
appointed and is the Head of Division of the Department of 
Constitutional Security.  His name is Zurab Logua. 
 
-- On agreement to hold a Quadripartite meeting in July, 
Zguladze said the Georgian side is ready to participate. 
 
-- On rationalizing forces in Upper Kodori, Zguladze said 
that the Georgians had already reduced the presence in Upper 
Kodori from 800 to 270 and that although further decreases 
could be considered the threat assessment following the March 
11 attack indicates that this is the number needed to keep 
the population safe.  She said that about 35 percent of the 
police in Upper Kodori are locals. 
 
---- 
CBMS 
---- 
 
-- On allowing contacts between the Abkhaz and diaspora in 
Turkey, Antadze contended that this was not an issue raised 
in the last Geneva meeting and that there are contacts which 
are informal and ongoing. 
 
-- On opening maritime communications between Sukhumi and 
Trabzon, Turkey, Antadze said that Georgia supports this 
provided that there is a process developed with Georgia to 
resolve issues regarding customs procedures. 
 
-- On encouraging contacts between Georgians and Abkhaz, 
George Mangivadze said that there were no cases where the 
Georgian side prevented such contacts.  He said Georgia had 
no conditions on such contacts. 
 
-- On combating African Swine Fever, Antadze said that 
Georgia is already cooperating with the Abkhaz in this and 
other areas but it is not public at the request of the Abkhaz 
side.  All agreed for the UN to give each side a list of 
concrete steps it could take and ask for a response. 
 
To follow-up on these commitments, Antadze proposed that the 
UN convene monthly meetings with the sides and the FSG in 
Tbilisi and Sukhumi in order to monitor their implementation. 
 
------------------------------ 
ABKHAZ AGREE TO SPECIFIC STEPS 
------------------------------ 
 
12. (C) In a separate meeting with the Abkhaz, Shamba also 
responded to the UN paper (tailored for the Abkhaz) point by 
point: 
 
 
TBILISI 00001604  005 OF 006 
 
 
-------- 
DIALOGUE 
-------- 
 
-- On resuming Quadripartite meetings, he said the Abkhaz are 
ready to start the work in July. 
 
-- On allowing a JFFG investigation into Sigua, he said the 
Abkhaz are ready to participate and start immediately, 
perhaps even re-starting the Quadripartite meetings with the 
Sigua case. 
 
-- On participating in a meeting of the EC-funded Steering &
#x000A;Committee, Shamba said the Abkhaz are ready to participate in 
a meeting scheduled to take place in a few days. 
 
-- On a meeting at the leadership level, Shamba reiterated 
that a meeting without an outcome would have a negative 
impact and that the Abkhaz would be prepared to participate 
in a carefully prepared meeting which has the outcome of a 
signed document on the non-use of force or the lifting of CIS 
economic sanctions. 
 
---- 
CBMS 
---- 
 
-- On supporting contacts between Georgians and Abkhaz, 
Shamba said that the Abkhaz support contacts and pointed to a 
recently convened meeting on NATO in Istanbul by the Heinrich 
Boell Foundation.  He noted that this included some Abkhaz 
officials.  (Note:  When asked privately whether this might 
mean the Abkhaz would now support a joint trip to NATO with 
Abkhaz and Georgian officials, Shamba clarified that the 
Abkhaz could support contacts between non-officials but not 
between officials.  End note.) 
 
-- On cooperation on combating African Swine Fever, Shamba 
said the Georgians and Abkhaz already cooperative on both 
Avian Flu and African Swine Fever. 
 
-- On supporting the ICRC initiative on missing persons, 
Shamba said that the Abkhaz are ready to cooperate. 
 
13. (C) In a final consultative meeting of the FSG and the 
UN, all agreed that the German coordinator, who would be 
traveling to Georgia the week of July 2 would reinforce the 
points of the meeting to Tbilisi and Sukhumi.  The FSG also 
agreed that the UN may consider following-up with a 
high-level letter to the sides from New York urging progress 
on the agreed cooperative mechanisms.  Finally, the FSG 
agreed on a press statement to be released following a final 
meeting of the sides together to review the draft.  In 
response to a request by EU Special Representative for the 
South Caucasus Peter Semneby, conveyed by Germany, to include 
the EU in future Geneva meetings, the FSG decided the 
question bore further consideration by capitals, but that it 
did not rise to the level of a formal request.  Guehenno 
warned against changing an effective format.  Chernov noted 
that such a decision would require a decision at a very high 
level in Moscow.  Bujon-Barre said she had not discussed the 
issue with Semneby in Paris, as Semneby had apparently 
suggested to Lucas.  In a private sidebar, Fall approached 
the U.S. team with even more words of warning:  he said 
Semneby,s request was just one exploratory "tentacle" of an 
EU that wanted to supplant member states in such formats, 
noting that -- taken to its logical conclusion -- the EU 
would want to replace its member states at the UNSC.  He 
further warned that, contrary to the most predictable 
analysis, Russia might actually accept the EU as a member of 
the FSG, if only to use that development in the months that 
followed to weaken its effectiveness. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
14. (C) More came out of this Geneva meeting than could have 
been expected, considering the heightened tensions in 
Abkhazia which are partly due to the fact that all Abkhaz 
eyes remain on Kosovo.  The resumption of the Quadripartite 
meetings is a significant and important step.  These meetings 
between law enforcement officials have not taken place since 
last October.  Although they will not stop potential 
incidents, they can diffuse them by creating a forum in which 
to discuss them.  The trick will be implementing the 
commitments made by each side.  We believe that Antadze's 
idea to hold monthly meetings to oversee implementation is a 
good one and it will help to keep the sides' feet to the 
fire.  End comment. 
 
TBILISI 00001604  006 OF 006 
 
 
 
15. (U) DAS Bryza cleared this message. 
TEFFT

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