08TBILISI1793, GEORGIA: VIOLENT INCIDENTS UNDERSCORE FRAGILITY;

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1793 2008-09-26 14:41 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2570
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1793 2701441
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261441Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0151
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0116

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001793 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/26/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: VIOLENT INCIDENTS UNDERSCORE FRAGILITY; 
RUSSIAN RESPONSIBILITY 
 
REF: TBILISI 1689 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  Three incidents on September 25 
-- a car bombing in Sukhumi that caused damage to buildings, 
but no injuries, a landmine explosion outside Tskhinvali that 
killed a 13-year-old boy, and the shooting of a construction 
worker on the main road between Tbilisi and Gori -- 
underscore the fragile nature of the cease-fire and the 
continuing importance of highlighting to the occupying 
Russian authorities their responsibility to prevent these 
kinds of incidents.  None of the incidents led to further 
violence, but accusations between Georgian and de facto 
authorities illustrate how any such incident could provoke 
new hostilities.  Little concrete information is available, 
but no matter who the perpetrators were, all three incidents 
argue strongly for increased Russian cooperation in allowing 
international observers, including monitors, into the 
disputed territories.  End summary and comment. 
 
2. (C) UNOMIG and UN sources confirm press reports that at 
3:30 A.M. on September 25, a car bomb exploded on a street 
near the Abkhaz de facto internal security services building. 
 No one was injured, but the de facto building and apartment 
buildings were slightly damaged.  Some de facto officials, 
including "Foreign Minister" Sergei Shamba and Iyuri Ashuba, 
head of the Abkhaz "Security Service," were quoted in the 
press as blaming Georgian special forces, while "National 
Security Council Secretary" Stanislav Lakoba was a bit more 
vague, blaming the act on unnamed terrorists trying to thwart 
the September 27 celebration of "independence."  Georgian 
National Security Council Secretary Kakha Lomaia denied 
Georgian involvement to the press, suggesting that the 
lawless environment in Abkhazia was a contributing factor, 
while Member of the Georgian Parliament Gia Tortladze 
suggested that infighting among Abkhaz clans was to blame. 
Head of the Interior Ministry Analytical Department Shota 
Utiashvili said that the Georgian government has no access to 
information about the incident; head of the Presidential 
Administration Adeishvili appeared surprised when informed by 
the Ambassador about the incident, saying that he had no 
information about it. 
 
3. (SBU) The press reports that on September 25 a 13-year-old 
boy was killed by a land mine in the village of Gujabauri, 
south of Tskhinvali but just inside the administrative 
boundary of South Ossetia.  The South Ossetian de facto 
"Ministry of the Interior" announced it was investigating the 
incident.  Utiashvili said that the government likewise has 
no access to information about this incident. 
 
4. (SBU) Utiashvili and OSCE sources confirmed that a worker 
for the Israeli company Ashtrom (this company is also an MCC 
subcontractor for another project) was wounded slightly by a 
shot in the head while working on a highway project on the 
main east-west highway east of Gori, at the intersection 
leading to Orchosani.  (Note: The administrative boundary of 
South Ossetia is very close to this intersection.  End note.) 
 The worker and six others were attacked by a group of six 
armed Ossetians, who were apparently looking for property to 
steal.  They tried taking a car belonging to one of the 
workers, but it broke down, so the attackers left 
empty-handed.  Utiashvili added that the same group, 
recognized by the workers, later returned, by which time 
journalists from Imedi TV station had arrived on the scene. 
The attackers reportedly took the journalists' car and 
equipment and briefly detained the journalists; they soon 
released the journalists and returned the car, but kept some 
equipment. 
 
COMMENT: A DANGEROUS AND FRAGILE ENVIRONMENT 
 
5. (C) It is unlikely that the full story behind any of these 
incidents will be determined, or that the results of any 
investigation under current circumstances will be widely 
respected.  What is clear, however, is that greater access by 
various international representatives, such as UNOMIG, OSCE, 
and HALO Trust, would both facilitate an objective 
investigation of such incidents and reduce their likelihood. 
Combined with three recent murders of Georgian police 
officers in Karaleti, Ganmukhuri, and Khurcha, these 
incidents underscore the dangerous environment along the 
border of both disputed territories and the real potential 
for escalation of violence, as well as the ultimate 
responsibility of Russian forces as the occupying power in 
all of these areas.  End comment. 
TEFFT

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