08TBILISI1152, ANOTHER BLAST ON BORDER, ABHKAZIA DECLARES STATE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1152 2008-07-02 14:44 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8289
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1152 1841444
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021444Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9715
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 001152 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: ANOTHER BLAST ON BORDER, ABHKAZIA DECLARES STATE 
OF EMERGENCY 
 
REF: TBILISI 1141 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: An additional explosion occurred in 
Georgian-controlled territory near the administrative 
boundary with Abkhazia on July 2.  No injuries were reported. 
 Abkhaz separatist leaders declared a state of emergency on 
July 1, following earlier blasts (reftel).  Georgian leaders 
blamed the explosions on "criminal elements" in Abkhazia and 
are investigating this latest incident.  The Abkhaz are 
blaming the blasts on Georgian efforts bent on scaring away 
foreign tourists.  Separately, a Russian ferry company has 
begun transporting Russian citizens between Sochi and Gagra. 
End summary. 
 
2. (SBU) UNOMIG confirmed press reports that a small-scale 
blast occurred on a road along the Abkhaz de facto border 
between CIS Peacekeeping Forces (PKF) checkpoint 301 and a 
Georgian police checkpoint near Zugdidi on July 2.  The blast 
occurred between 0700 and 0730, in Georgian-controlled 
territory near the S12 Inguri river crossing.  No injuries 
are reported.  The type of explosives is unknown, but UNOMIG 
said plastic is suspected.  UNOMIG said a car was observed 
passing the Georgian police checkpoint and it turned around 
approximately 80 meters before the PKF post.  The explosion 
was heard on the road seconds later.  A UNOMIG patrol and 
Georgian law enforcement officials were present at the site 
at 1130.  The MOIA confirmed to Poloff that Georgian forensic 
investigators were investigating the blast. 
 
3. (U) Following explosions on June 29 and 30, Abkhaz 
separatist leaders announced a state of emergency in 
Abkhazia, following their decision to close the border and 
Inguri river crossings on July 1 (reftel).  The decision 
forbids Georgian residents of the Gali district in Abkhazia 
to cross the administrative boundary to Zugdidi.  Ruslan 
Kishmaria, head of the Gali Abkhaz administration, said the 
state of emergency would remain in effect until the 
perpetrators of blasts in Sokhumi and Gagra (reftel) are 
arrested.  De facto Abkhaz President Sergey Bagapsh blamed 
the blasts on the Georgians.  He and other Abkhaz leaders 
have indicated the attacks are aimed at disrupting Abkhazia's 
tourism industry.  He said the state of emergency would 
remain in place for the entire summer.  According to the 
Georgian press, the state of emergency will also require Gali 
residents as young as 14 years old to serve in the Abkhaz 
armed forces. 
 
4. (U) Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze publicly 
decried the state of emergency as "archaic, irresponsible, 
and absurd."  He said the ban on travel only hurts the 
residents of Abkhazia and offers them no better economic 
alternative.  Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili 
told the press that residents of Abkhazia are "hostages" of 
Russia, which is controlling everything in Abkhazia.  She 
also blasted reported Russian Foreign Ministry plans to open 
a representative office in Abkhazia.  In other press reports, 
Georgian NSC Secretary Alexander Lomaia blamed the June 29 
and 30 blasts on "criminal Russian businesses" in Abkhazia. 
He alleged the blasts were the result of power struggles 
between these "illegitimate" Russian businesses. 
 
5. (U) Additional press reports on July 1 quoted Ganmukhuri 
Youth Camp supervisor Levan Meskhia as saying Russian Mi-8 
and Mi-24 helicopters had flown over the disputed camp near 
the Abkhaz border on June 30 for 15-20 minutes at a low 
altitude.  Meskhia alleged the helicopters acted on behalf of 
the PKF and were filming the camp with cameras.  UNOMIG 
confirmed they received a complaint about the flights from 
the Georgians.  UNOMIG personnel did not observe the 
helicopters. 
 
6. (U) Georgian press also reported that a Russian transport 
company announced it was opening a ferry service between 
Sochi (in Russia) and Gagra (in Abkhazia) on July 2.  The 
company "Olympia Line" reportedly brought its first 
passengers to Gagra aboard a 200-passenger, sea-going vessel. 
 It said it would make the 40-minute run four times per day, 
and the only identification required is a Russian passport. 
Georgian officials have cited this ferry service as 
additional evidence of Russia's intentions to increase 
economic links to Abkhazia and to further undermine Georgia's 
territorial integrity. 
TEFFT

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