07TBILISI2413, DIPLOMATS TURN OUT FOR CONFERENCE IN SOUTH OSSETIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2413 2007-09-26 11:54 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8268
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2413 2691154
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261154Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7733
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS TBILISI 002413 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: DIPLOMATS TURN OUT FOR CONFERENCE IN SOUTH OSSETIA 
 
REF: TBILISI 2266 
 
1.  Summary:  On September 21, the Georgian State Ministry 
for Conflict Resolution held a conference for the western 
diplomatic corps in the village of Tamarasheni, a 
Georgian-controlled village in the South Ossetian zone of 
conflict.  The purpose of the conference was to share 
information with diplomats and the population of the conflict 
zone about Georgia's reforms, with a particular focus on the 
European Neighborhood Policy (ENP).  State Minister for 
Conflict Resolution David Bakradze and head of the temporary 
administrative unit of South Ossetia Dimitri Sanakoyev 
co-hosted the conference.  Representatives from all of the 
major western diplomatic missions in Georgia, including the 
British, French, German, Dutch, Italian, and European 
Commission Ambassadors attended. (The Russian Ambassador, in 
contrast, publicly denounced the conference on Georgian 
television and refused to attend.)  The start of the 
conference was delayed when Russian peacekeepers stopped the 
convoy from Tbilisi at a checkpoint along the Georgian bypass 
road to Tamarasheni, claiming that the Georgian government 
had not notified the peacekeepers in advance.  After 20 
minutes, the convoy was allowed to proceed without further 
incident.  South Ossetian de-facto president Eduard Kokoiti 
issued a statement following the conference saying that he 
would not meet with Ambassadors accredited in Georgia who 
traveled to Tamarasheni.  End Summary. 
 
JPKF delay diplomats' access to Tamarasheni 
------------------------------------------- 
 
2.  The convoy of approximately 20 vehicles from the 
diplomatic corps and Georgian government were stopped at a 
Russian JPKF checkpoint on the bypass road leading to the 
Georgian-controlled enclave of Tamarasheni.  The Russian 
commander of the JPKF, Marat Kulakhmetov, reportedly claimed 
that the Georgians had not informed them in advance of the 
trip, and refused to let the convoy pass through the 
checkpoint.  After 20 minutes of negotiations with OSCE 
acting Head of Mission Veselin Nikolaev, the convoy was 
allowed through. 
 
Sanakoyev warmly welcomes ambassadors to conference 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
3.  The Ambassadors and other diplomats, including a U.S. 
Embassy Poloff (attending because the Ambassador was in 
Istanbul at a regional COM conference and the DCM had another 
pressing commitment), were met by Sanakoyev at the front of a 
newly constructed theater, a symbol of the changes that the 
Georgian-backed administration is trying to bring to South 
Ossetia.  (Comment:  all of the major Georgian media outlets 
covered the conference, and made a particular point of 
filming Sanakoyev shaking hands with all the European 
Ambassadors.  End comment).  The conference participants, 
including prominent MPs, Deputy Foreign Minister Manjgaladze, 
and leading NGOs, gave the audience of locals and diplomats a 
broad overview of Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations, 
including closer cooperation with the EU through the ENP and 
Georgia's entrance into NATO.  They discussed Georgia's 
social, legal, and military reforms aimed at bringing Georgia 
in line with NATO standards.  South Ossetian de-facto 
president Eduard Kokoiti issued a statement following the 
conference saying that he would not meet with Ambassadors 
accredited to Georgia who had traveled to Tamarasheni, adding 
that the Ambassadors "shared responsibility for Georgia's 
terrorist policy." 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
4.  Though the conference agenda presented nothing more than 
a broad (and widely known) overview of Georgia's aspiration 
to join western institutions, the attendance of the major 
western Ambassadors and their interaction with Sanakoyev was 
effective in conveying the perception of greater legitimacy 
for the Sanakoyev administration.  The conference also helped 
the Georgian government show the local population that the 
international community is interested in their situation and 
supports the government's path.  It remains to be seen 
whether de-facto president Kokoiti will follow through on his 
threat to refuse to meet with western Ambassadors attending 
the conference.  If so, it will cut him off from nearly all 
major western Ambassadors, including some who often support 
greater engagement with the de-facto authorities. 
TEFFT

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