08TBILISI1810, EU MONITORS ARRIVE IN GEORGIA, PREPARE TO DEPLOY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1810 2008-09-29 15:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3964
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1810/01 2731503
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291503Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0157
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0117

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001810 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR RU GG
SUBJECT: EU MONITORS ARRIVE IN GEORGIA, PREPARE TO DEPLOY 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C/NF) Summary and comment.  At least 200 monitors will be 
in Georgia by September 30 and will start work October 1. 
The headquarters will be in Tbilisi, with satellite offices 
in Poti (30-40 observers), Zugdidi and Gori (70 monitors 
each) and a 25-member rapid-reaction force based in Tbilisi. 
This unarmed civilian mission considers its mandate to be 
"country-wide," to include Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and 
will seek access to those regions.  The observers will wear 
"EU-blue" berets and armbands, have the same diplomatic 
status as OSCE observers, and maintain primary contact with 
the Georgian Interior Ministry.  Although the EU has done 
impressive work to establish a mission of this magnitude by 
the October 1 deadline, many questions remain about the scope 
of the mission's activities and its coordination with the 
other monitoring missions (UNOMIG and OSCE) on the ground. 
The mission will have achieved a major goal if Russian forces 
do depart position in Georgia proper by October 10 as pledged 
in the Sarkozy-Medvedev plan, and its presence can send an 
important political message to the international community 
and investors, but we will need to manage international 
perceptions carefully if the EU monitors are blocked from 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  End summary and comment. 
 
THE EU MISSION: NUTS AND BOLTS 
 
2. (C/NF) A newly arrived political advisor, one of three for 
the new EU mission, provided post with an update on the 
deployment of the mission on September 29.  In accordance 
with the September 8 Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement, 22 of 27 EU 
member states have provided more than 200 monitors, along 
with over 100 support staff.  The monitors began arriving 
over the past few days and will all be on the ground by 
September 30, to start monitoring activities October 1.  The 
mission headquarters will be in Tbilisi; currently co-located 
with the OSCE headquarters, the EU mission is searching for a 
permanent building.  The monitors who have already arrived 
are currently receiving training at a resort in Batalevi, 
near Dusheti, but will deploy to their Poti, Zugdidi and Gori 
postings by October 1.  EU staff are still working on finding 
them suitable accommodations.  The monitors will have the 
same diplomatic status as OSCE monitors; they will have no 
standard uniform, but will wear "EU-blue" berets and armbands. 
 
3. (C/NF) A detailed deployment plan has not yet been 
established, but the monitors will cover sections of Georgia 
corresponding to their geographic location.  The 25-member 
rapid reaction force will be based in Tbilisi but will be 
ready to travel to any location in the country as needed. 
The mission considers its mandate "country-wide" and intends 
to "insist" on access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  As a 
civilian, unarmed mission, the monitors will not be in a 
position to apply anything but diplomatic pressure to gain 
that access, but mission staff told post the monitors would 
persistently seek access even if refused. 
 
4. (C/NF) EU staff and Interior Ministry sources both told 
post the Ministry would be the mission's primary government 
contact, although Foreign Ministry sources suggested other 
agencies would be involved as well, including the Ministry 
for Reintegration.  The Interior Ministry expressed some 
concern that the monitors would be relying heavily on 
Georgian police for security, because their only protection 
would be armored vehicles.  At a September 25 German 
Embassy-hosted meeting with EU mission head Ambassador Haber, 
the Ambassador was impressed by Haber's experience in the 
region and willingness to work closely with his colleagues on 
the ground here in Tbilisi.  Haber also promised to be 
accessible to us and to other missions in Tbilisi in 
providing information about observer activities on the ground 
and reports of specific incidents. 
 
DEPLOYMENT AND COORDINATION PLAN STILL HAZY 
 
5. (C/NF) OSCE sources suggested to post that there has not 
been much coordination of the EU mission's activities with 
the two other international monitoring missions in Georgia 
(the OSCE itself and UNOMIG).  The OSCE briefed elements of 
the EU mission on September 27 about their own activities, 
and it seemed to the OSCE that the EU still had some work to 
do in establishing a plan of its own, not to mention 
coordinating that plan with others.  The Interior Ministry 
was also unsure about what the EU's day-to-day activities 
would be.  The EU itself plans a briefing for the diplomatic 
community on October 2 and may have more detailed information 
at that time.  The Interior Ministry expressed the hope that 
the mission would provide extra support for the areas near 
the Enguri Dam and immediately south of Tskhinvali, because 
it is concerned about Russian intentions regarding the power 
generated by the dam and about the potential for Russian 
 
TBILISI 00001810  002 OF 002 
 
 
mischief south of South Ossetia.
Although UNOMIG and OSCE 
monitors already cover these areas to some extent, the 
Ministry seemed to think that an expanded international 
presence in those particular areas would be very helpful. 
 
COMMENT: THE MONITORS WILL NEED MONITORING 
 
6. (C/NF) The major question facing the EU mission is whether 
it will gain access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  Although 
the details of the mission's day-to-day routine will 
eventually be worked out, its ability to gather information 
about the situation throughout Georgia will clearly depend on 
its physical access.  If the EU mission is ultimately not 
able to enter Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it will be 
extremely important to coordinate closely with UNOMIG and the 
OSCE.  This issue will become more important if and when the 
OSCE deploys 80 additional monitors.  In the long run, 
however, having 200 additional pairs of eyes on the ground 
will probably reduce the likelihood of provocative incidents 
along the administrative boundaries and any escalation from 
incidents that do occur. 
 
7. (C/NF) The mission's rapid deployment may indeed achieve 
the withdrawal of Russian forces from undisputed Georgian 
territory, which itself would be an important accomplishment. 
 In addition, as the Interior Ministry pointed out, its 
presence in Georgia might help reassure the international 
community, and investors in particular, that Georgia is 
getting back to a normal, stable state.  Nevertheless, if the 
mission's 200 monitors find themselves barred from crossing 
the two de facto borders with no opportunity to enter, we 
will need to continue to reinforce the message -- and to 
encourage our European colleagues to do the same -- that the 
lack of access reflects Russian intransigence, not a 
fundamentally changed situation on the ground.  End comment. 
TEFFT

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