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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1998 2007-08-10 05:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

DE RUEHSI #1998/01 2220508
P 100508Z AUG 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001998 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/28/2017 
Classified By: CDA Mark X. Perry, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
1.  (C)  Summary:  In a July 27 meeting with DAS Bryza, OSCE 
Ambassador Roy Reeve said that the Georgians have rejected a 
Spanish proposal to allow Reeve to continue on as "Acting" 
Head of Mission until his successor is found.  Reeve said his 
last day as OSCE Ambassador to Georgia will be Tuesday, July 
31.  Reeve also told Bryza that the situation in South 
Ossetia has been calm, though the atmosphere remains tense. 
OSCE monitors have found new holes in the water pipeline that 
supplies drinking water to Tskhinvali and the city was once 
again without water.  Reeve said he feared South Ossetian 
defacto president Kokoiti would retaliate by cutting off 
water to Georgian villages in the next few days unless water 
to Tskhinvali was restored. (Note:  an OSCE official told us 
on July 31 that the Georgians had repaired the holes and 
water was flowing to Tskhinvali. End Note.)  The economic 
rehabilitation projects are going well, though Reeve said one 
of the challenges for OSCE will be to coordinate with the 
unilateral projects Georgia is funding through Sanakoyev. 
The next Joint Control Commission (JCC) meeting will be 
August 9-10 in Tbilisi, and Reeve said the OSCE will try to 
get the sides to agree on demilitarization steps within the 
conflict zone.  He said Georgia has been building 
professional trenches with mortar platforms and JPKF patrols 
have discovered anti-personnel mines around the Georgian 
village of Avnevi.  Reeve noted that the recent initiatives 
by the Georgian government to determine autonomous status for 
South Ossetia within a united Georgia were good, but they 
needed to slow the process down and ensure they include 
ethnic South Ossetians.  End Summary. 
Reeve leaving Mission on July 31 
2.  (C)  Reeve said the Georgian government rejected a last 
minute push by the Spanish to extend Reeve's term as OSCE 
Ambassador, informing a Spanish delegation on July 26 that 
there was no flexibility in Georgia's position and Ambassador 
Reeve would have to leave when his term ends on July 31. 
Reeve said that President Saakashvili had already informed 
OSCE Chairman-in-Office (CIO) Moratinos this prior to the 
attempted Spanish intervention, but the Spanish delegation 
apparently did not receive the message.  Interviews for his 
replacement will begin in early September, and Deputy HoM 
Veselin Nikolaev will serve as Acting Head of Mission until 
Reeve's successor arrives. 
South Ossetia calm...but tense 
3.  (C)  The situation in South Ossetia has been calm over 
the past two weeks, Reeve said, though the atmosphere remains 
tense.  Tskhinvali was once again without water on July 27, 
due to newly punctured holes in the Georgian portion of the 
water pipeline, and Reeve said he feared the defacto 
authorities would cut off water to Georgian villages unless 
water to Tskhinvali was restored within the next two days. 
DAS Bryza asked what obstacles to solving the water problems. 
 Reeve said that the main questions concerned organizing and 
managing the water system.  Both sides have been "playing 
games" with the water, the repairs were not well done and 
there is no supervision of the pipeline.  He characterized 
the water issue as a public relations opportunity missed by 
Sanakoyev, who could have repaired them well the first time 
and claimed credit for keeping the water flowing.  Reeve said 
that there would be an August 2 Steering Committee meeting in 
Tskhinvali to discuss both short and long-term solutions to 
the water issue. 
4.  (C)  Reeve said the economic rehabilitation projects were 
going well, with a lot of activity on the ground.  Reeve said 
that the problem was coordinating OSCE's projects with the 
unilateral projects Georgia is funding through Sanakoyev. 
Sanakoyev wants to build a hospital in Kurta, he said, but 
OSCE is already renovating the Tskhinvali hospital, and the 
region does not need two.  Reeve estimated that the Georgians 
have already given 7,000,000 Euros to Sanakoyev for projects 
in the Georgian-controlled villages.  Both the Georgians and 
the Russians have given 50,000 Euros each to the OSCE 
projects.  Russians gave 3,000,000 Euros to the defacto 
authorities last year in the run-up to South Ossetian 
elections, but Reeve said the Russians were not happy with 
the projects, and he believed they would be less inclined to 
fund unilateral projects in the future.  He added that the 
new South Ossetian bypass road was impressive, five lanes 
wide, capable of transporting heavy equipment through the 
hilly terrain, and clearly Russian built. 
JCC in Tbilisi August 9-10 
5.  (C)  Reeve said that the sides have agreed to a JCC 
TBILISI 00001998  002 OF 002 
meeting at OSCE's premises in Tbilisi August 9-10, and the 
OSCE will try to get the sides to agree on demilitarization 
steps and keeping the bypass roads free of blockades.  The 
last road blockade around Avnevi by
the JPKF was "very tense" 
according to Reeve, and could have easily escalated.  The 
Georgians have strengthened their position around Avenvi, 
building professional trenches, with platforms for mortars, 
and laying anti-personnel mines.  Reeve said he thought 
Avnevi would likely be the "flashpoint" for any future 
confrontation between the South Ossetians and Georgians, as 
it was in 2004, but noted that unlike 2004, any armed clash 
would quickly spread to other areas within the zone of 
conflict.  Reeve said that an agreement on placement of 
additional OSCE observers, which he hoped would come soon, 
would double OSCE's capacity to monitor the conflict zone. 
Reeve added that they will also bring OSCE one step closer to 
a permanent monitoring post at Didi Gupta. 
6.  (C)  DAS Bryza asked Reeve if it was time for 
negotiations to move into the third phase of political 
settlement.  Reeve replied that it was, but the problem would 
be the inclusivity of the process.  He said that the 
Georgians have to slow down.  They have made the right moves 
so far, but cannot resolve the issue in the next two months. 
He said the Georgians have not done enough to engage the 
ethnic South Ossetian communities, which will not be easy and 
requires more time.  He believed support for Sanakoyev is 
limited primarily to the Georgian-controlled villages. 
Because he is closely identified with the Georgian government 
in Tbilisi, Reeve said, it is easy for Kokoiti to discredit 
7.  (U)  DAS Bryza cleared this cable. 


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