07TBILISI2075, GEORGIA MISSILE INVESTIGATION UPDATE — AUGUST 17

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2075 2007-08-17 12:55 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3202
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2075/01 2291255
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 171255Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7349
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA IMMEDIATE 0025
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 0079
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA IMMEDIATE 0016
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA IMMEDIATE 0015
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA IMMEDIATE 0010
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA IMMEDIATE 0015
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE 0011
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA IMMEDIATE 0012

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002075 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA MISSILE INVESTIGATION UPDATE -- AUGUST 17 
 
REF: TBILISI 2062 
 
Classified By: Charge Mark X. Perry for reasons 1.4(b&d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) Additional international experts are arriving in 
Georgia to provide further, more specific analysis following 
up on the International Group of Experts (IGE) report 
released August 15 (reftel).  An OSCE delegation led by 
former Croatian Foreign Minister Zuzul is also expected in 
Tbilisi August 20.  The Georgians want to allow "momentum to 
continue to build" in the investigation before a UN Security 
Council hearing or statement on the incident, and would like 
to see IGE members take part in a meeting at OSCE in Vienna 
after Zuzul returns.  The Georgian Ministries of Defense and 
Internal Affairs have confirmed to us that even after this 
incident and the March 11 attack in Kodori, their rules of 
engagement for intruding aircraft have not changed: the 
Georgians will not fire first.  End Summary. 
 
A New Wave of Experts 
--------------------- 
2. (C) British and Estonian experts arrived in Tbilisi August 
17, a Polish expert is expected August 18, and plans are in 
the works for French and German experts to arrive soon as 
well.  The purpose of this second wave of experts, as agreed 
by Western ambassadors and charges, is to strengthen the IGE 
report by providing a higher degree of analysis and 
addressing specific questions on the evidence.  In 
particular, it is hoped that the new experts can confirm that 
all Georgian SU-25 aircraft have been inspected, provide 
their assessment of the validity of the Georgian radar data, 
and clarify that the missile evidence was properly preserved 
by the Georgians before they exploded the warhead in 
accordance with prudent disposal practices.  Thus 
strengthened, the IGE report would be an even more effective 
rebuttal to theories spread in the Russian media (and likely 
to be spread further once the recently arrived planeload of 
Russian investigators announces its conclusions) accusing 
Georgia of causing the incident.  The Embassy issued a 
Washington-cleared statement August 16 supporting the IGE 
report, and other Western embassies agree with us on the need 
to support the IGE process in public statements and in 
providing experts to help answer remaining questions.  We are 
working with other embassies to arrange for IGE experts to 
brief the Zuzul delegation on the evidence and their 
conclusions. 
 
Building Momentum 
----------------- 
3. (C) Charge spoke with Foreign Minister Bezhuashvili August 
17, and the two agreed on the importance of the Georgian 
government continuing to speak with a clear, unified, and 
reasonable voice on this issue, and avoiding an accusatory 
and bickering tone from Georgian officials.  They also agreed 
on the importance of countering disinformation by getting the 
truth out on the responsible ways the Georgians conducted the 
warhead disposal and (contrary to Russian claims of a delay) 
welcomed the Russian delegation that arrived August 16. 
Regarding the UN, Bezhuashvili said that at this point he 
favored allowing momentum to continue to build in the 
investigation before pushing for a Security Council hearing 
or statement.  Regarding OSCE, he said it would be useful if 
there could be an opportunity for the IGE experts to 
participate in a meeting in Vienna after the Zuzul delegation 
returns and issues its report. 
 
No Change in Georgian Rules of Engagement 
----------------------------------------- 
4. (C) Embassy has confirmed with the Georgian Ministries of 
Defense and Internal Affairs that even after the missile 
attacks in the Kodori Gorge March 11 and in Tsitelubani 
August 6, the Georgian "rules of engagement" have not 
changed.  The opposition has criticized the government for 
failing to prevent these incidents, but the standing Ministry 
of Defense order for air incursions and the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs order in the Upper Kodori Gorge continues to 
be that the Georgians will not fire first but will defend 
themselves if fired upon. 
 
Comment 
------- 
5. (C) We will continue to work with the Georgians and our 
 
TBILISI 00002075  002 OF 002 
 
 
other partners to maintain the momentum built by the initial 
IGE report, and to try to make sure the real story of this 
incident gets out. 
 
PERRY

Wikileaks

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