07TBILISI2170, PEACEKEEPING ACCIDENT SPURS DISPUTE OVER MOSCOW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2170 2007-08-30 13:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4617
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2170 2421357
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301357Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7458
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 002170 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/30/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: PEACEKEEPING ACCIDENT SPURS DISPUTE OVER MOSCOW 
AGREEMENT 
 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C)  SUMMARY:  On August 28, a CIS Peacekeeping Force 
(PKF) contingent collided with a civilian minibus in the 
Georgian city of Khobi.  According to the UN, Georgian police 
responded and detained 14 CIS PKF, 6 of whom the Georgians 
claimed were Chechens armed with silencers.  The Georgian 
police took the PKF to the local police station and after a 
period of detention, released them later that night.  The 
Georgians claim that the PKF violated the Moscow Agreement by 
traveling into the Restricted Weapons Zone (RWZ) without 
prior agreement by the Georgians; the Russians deny this 
although the Office of the Georgian State Minister for 
Conflict Resolution claims that it received a hand-written 
note from the PKF Chief of Staff which apologized for the 
violation and promised to inform of such movements in future. 
 The UN is reviewing whether a violation took place with 
regard to the movement of the PKF.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) At approximately 4:00 p.m. on August 28, a CIS 
Peacekeeping Force GAZ-66 truck collided with a civilian 
minibus in the Georgian city of Khobi.  (Note:  Khobi is on 
the southern edge of the Georgian side of the Restricted 
Weapons Zone.  End note.)  Georgian police responded and 
found 14 PKF in the truck, 6 of whom they claimed were 
Chechens armed with silencers.  The Georgians took the 
peacekeepers to the local police station and detained them 
until around 1200 a.m., at which time the Georgians released 
the detainees.  When asked by the UN for the reason of the 
detention, the Georgians said that the detention was a result 
of the suspicion aroused by the peacekeepers origin and 
armaments.  According to the Georgians, the Chechens could 
not answer even basic questions about the mandate of the PKF. 
 The UN was unable to verify these allegations or press 
reports that the peacekeepers were inebriated because the 
Georgians did not allow UN personnel access to the detainees. 
 
3. (C) Ruslan Abashidze, the Deputy Minister for Conflict 
Resolution, reported to Poloff on August 30 that the PKF 
Chief of Staff sent a hand-written note on plain paper to 
Minister Bakradze which apologized for the violation and 
promised to inform the Georgian authorities of such movements 
in future.  Abashidze claimed that the movements of the PKF 
were a violation of Article 2 of the Moscow Agreement. 
(Note:  Article 2 (f) of the Moscow Agreement requires that 
"the movement of units or subunits of the peace-keeping force 
and of the international observers outside the security zone 
in the relevant areas shall be subject to agreement with the 
parties."  Separately, the UN told Poloff that the UN is 
reviewing whether or not a violation took place with regard 
to the movement of the PKF.  UNOMIG quoted the Protocol to 
the Moscow Agreement which states that the PKF "shall enjoy 
freedom of movement in the security zone and the 
restricted-weapons zone..." which indicated some area for 
interpretation. 
 
4. (C) COMMENT:  As we have seen regarding issues related to 
Upper Kodori, the Moscow Agreement is unclear and open to 
interpretation.  Tensions in Georgia with regard to its 
relations with Russia are heightened following the August 6 
missile incident.  Accidents like these have the potential to 
spiral out of control.  We will urge the UN to work with both 
sides to agree on a common interpretation of the Moscow 
Agreement to prevent future such incidents.  END COMMENT. 
TEFFT

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