08TBILISI2085, GEORGIA: GUIDANCE REQUESTED ON REMOVAL OF

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2085 2008-11-07 13:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0023
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #2085 3121303
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071303Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0375
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 8217
RUEHUNV/UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 002085 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/24/2018 
TAGS: KNNP PARM PGOV PREL GG GR
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: GUIDANCE REQUESTED ON REMOVAL OF 
RADIOACTIVE SOURCES FROM SUKHUMI 
 
REF: A. STATE 117568 
     B. 07 STATE 170386 
     C. 07 TBILISI 2088 
     D. 07 TBILISI 1240 
     E. 07 TBILISI 846 
     F. 07 STATE 4780 
     G. 06 STATE 186211 
     H. 06 TBILISI 2931 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for Reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1. (U) This is an action request.  Please see paragraph 5. 
 
2. (C) Summary and Comment: In spite of the August conflict 
and loss of official Georgian access to the Abkhazia 
separatist region, MFA officials continue to seek U.S. 
assistance to develop a plan to remove four high-level 
radioactive sources which remain in an inadequately secured 
facility in Sukhumi in the territory of Abkhazia, Georgia. 
Agreements between the governments of Russia and Georgia 
stalled in 2007, and previous approaches have now been 
overtaken by the events of August 2008, when the Russian 
Federation invaded Georgia and subsequently recognized the 
territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent 
states.  Because neither the Government of Georgia nor the 
USG currently has access to Abkhazia, the way forward is not 
clear.  The use of a middleman, such as the IAEA, will likely 
be necessary; another direct USG approach to Russia is also a 
possibility. 
 
PREVIOUS PLANS FOR REMOVAL DISRUPTED 
 
3. (C) For more than two years, Post has sought to facilitate 
the removal of four high-level radioactive sources from 
Sukhumi due to inadequate security.  Although an agreement in 
principle was obtained in 2006 to remove the sources to a 
U.S.-funded storage facility in Mtskheta, this process later 
stalled when Abkhaz de facto authorities said that the 
director of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency 
(ROSATOM) had agreed to fund a storage facility in Abkhazia. 
The ROSATOM director later informed Embassy Moscow that 
ROSATOM had not in fact agreed to this, but would remove the 
sources to the Russian Federation at its own expense, rather 
than leave them in Georgia. Embassy Moscow demarched the 
Russians in 2007, encouraging them to officially propose the 
removal of the high-level radioactive sources to the Russian 
Federation to the Georgians through a formal letter (ref B). 
It appears that such a letter was never delivered to the 
Government of Georgia, but, regardless, this approach has now 
been overtaken by the events of August 2008. For full 
background details, see refs B and C. 
 
GEORGIAN OFFICIAL EXPRESSES CONCERN 
 
4. (C) In a meeting in September 2008 with PolOff and on the 
margins of the Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative (NSOI) 
meeting on October 16, Nikoloz Rtveliashvili, Director, 
Security Policy and Euro-Atlantic Integration Department, 
MFA, queried U.S. officials on the status of the removal 
process and plans for moving forward.  Rtveliashvili 
indicated that Georgia seeks resolution of the issue, and he 
sought U.S. guidance.  He will likely seek a reply during a 
November 19 meeting between NSOI and Georgian 
non-proliferation experts. 
 
5. (U) Action Request.  Post seeks guidance on how to respond 
to the Georgia query in preparation for the November 19 
meeting.  Embassy POC for this issue is Nicole O,Brien, 
Political/Economic Officer. 
LOGSDON

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