09TBILISI908, GEORGIA: EU DISCUSSIONS REGARDING EUMM’S FUTURE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI908 2009-05-12 15:13 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2266
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0908/01 1321513
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 121513Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1554
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0220
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4838
RUEHUNV/UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 4030

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000908 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2019 
TAGS: PREL MOPS KBTS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: EU DISCUSSIONS REGARDING EUMM'S FUTURE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  According to EU Monitoring 
Mission (EUMM) Head of Mission Haber, EU member states do not 
have a clear vision of the EUMM in the future.  The mission 
will almost surely be extended for a year, but some elements 
in the EU would prefer to see it end at that point.  Assuming 
the OSCE's closure, they have a vague notion that the UN 
would then take over monitoring duties for all of Georgia, 
including both Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  Haber suggested 
that EU member states were content to allow the EU itself to 
take the lead on Georgia issues and avoid active bilateral 
engagement with Russia on Georgia, an approach which reduces 
pressure on Russia and consequently on South Ossetian de 
facto authorities.  He said he was pleased to sense that 
Georgia, feeling supported by the EU's continued presence and 
firm non-recognition policy, was less paranoid about Russian 
aggression and more open to creative approaches to 
engagement.  Considering questions about the UN presence and 
the EU's long-term commitment, however, Haber suggested it 
was worth thinking about the long-term structure of 
protecting Georgia's security and territorial integrity.  As 
we think about the way forward, we will need to track all 
these issues closely with the EU itself and individual member 
states.  Interestingly, key EU member state Ambassadors in 
Tbilisi have cautioned us several times that Haber is more 
concerned about the EU's long-term presence that most member 
states.  End summary and comment. 
 
2. (C) In a May 5 meeting with the Ambassador, EUMM Head of 
Mission Hansjoerg Haber raised a number of issues on the 
future of the EU, as well as the overall international 
presence, in Georgia.  He reported that EU High 
Representative Solana had rather abruptly cut off recent 
discussions in Brussels on the topic, as he did not want to 
focus on EUMM's future until after a decision was made on a 
new UN mandate.  Although Haber thought that holding off on 
the discussion until June was acceptable, he warned that 
there was sentiment among some (unnamed) EU members states 
that the EU should extend the EUMM for only one more year, 
then allow the UN to take over.  An assumption underlying 
this attitude is that the OSCE mission to Georgia will close, 
and the UN will somehow be in a position to take over for the 
OSCE in South Ossetia.  Haber said that High Representative 
Solana, who is somewhat under the influence of the EU's 
representation in New York, may also prefer to cede 
leadership on Georgia to the UN.  He said it would therefore 
be important for the EU to engage in a serious conversation 
about the EUMM's future after the UN mandate is resolved. 
 
3. (C) Haber noted that some (again unnamed) EU states were 
also content to cede leadership on Georgia policy to the EU 
and avoid active bilateral engagement with Russia on Georgia. 
 He raised the example of the EUMM's MOU with the Georgian 
Ministry of Defense.  The EUMM has made a series of public 
statements about the MOU, praising Georgia for its consistent 
adherence, while explicitly noting the lack -- and the 
potential usefulness -- of a similar agreement covering the 
other side of the administrative boundaries.  Individual EU 
states, however, have not followed suit.  Haber warned that 
Qstates, however, have not followed suit.  Haber warned that 
this lack of bilateral engagement reduced the pressure on 
Russia -- and by extension on South Ossetian de facto 
authorities. 
 
4. (C) Haber contrasted some of the attitudes within the EU 
with those in Georgia.  He was pleased to note that the 
situation on the ground has improved somewhat, with the 
Georgian government no longer paranoid about additional 
Russian military action.  He also considered Minister for 
Reintegration Yakobashvili's seemingly sincere discussions 
about the possibility of engagement with the breakaway 
regions as positive.  Although the EUMM's lack of access to 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia was a primary issue in the frst 
months of the mission's operation, Haber no longer receives 
constant questions about when the monitors will get in.  He 
thought Georgia had become comfortable with the combination 
of the EU's firm policy of non-recognition of the two 
breakaway regions and its monitoring mission, even to the 
point of not being overly concerned about the OSCE's future. 
He even thought Georgia's tough line in the UN negotiations 
was enabled by its faith in the EUMM.  Nevertheless, this 
attitude on the part of the Georgians assumes that the EUMM 
will be here for the long haul -- and, as Haber pointed out, 
this assumption may not be well-founded. 
 
5. (C) Although Haber admitted that the security environment 
 
TBILISI 00000908  002 OF 002 
 
 
has i
mproved, he suggested that purely military circumstances 
made up only about 60 percent of overall stability -- with 
status issues, which of course remain completely unresolved, 
making up the remainder.  On that note, Haber suggested that 
Russia has adopted the practice of ignoring what it has 
agreed to.  He also reported that Foreign Minister Vashadze 
told him recently that Russia has a consistent strategy of 
moving itself into the position of mediator, rather than 
party to the conflict. 
 
COMMENT, PART 1: NOTHING IS SETTLED 
 
6. (C) Haber requested the meeting with the Ambassador, 
something he rarely does, to deliver the above messages, so 
they are worth taking seriously.  Furthermore, Haber travels 
to Brussels frequently to consult with EU leadership, and his 
sense of the mood there is at least credible.  In addition to 
the uncertain future of the OSCE and UN missions in Georgia, 
according to Haber, the EU is also unsure about a long-term 
commitment to the EUMM in supporting Georgia's territorial 
integrity.  Although, as Haber rightly pointed out, the focus 
right now should be on the OSCE and UN negotiations, it will 
be important to track the EU's attitude closely, especially 
if the OSCE and/or UN missions are blocked.  Whenever Haber 
raises these points in the presence of EU Ambassadors, 
however, as he has done on several occasions at the weekly 
EUMM briefings for the diplomatic corps, several key EU 
Ambassadors have approached us quietly to caution that this 
is a particular concern of Ambassador Haber rather than a 
problem for the EU or EU member states. 
 
COMMENT, PART 2: THE EU HAS ITS ROLE, BUT SO DO MEMBER STATES 
 
7. (C) Haber's comments about the willingness of individual 
EU member states to yield to the EU on Georgia policy -- and 
their consequent unwillingness to tackle Georgia issues 
head-on with Russia -- are especially telling.  Although the 
EU clearly has a very important role to play, especially in 
sponsoring the EUMM, its member states do too.  So far 
Russia, and in turn the Abkhaz and South Ossetians, have 
suffered very little from their ongoing flouting of the 
cease-fire, even with the EUMM, OSCE and UN all providing 
consistent evidence of those violations.  Effective promotion 
of U.S. policy, especially in regard to Russia's role in 
Georgia, will require not only coordination with the EU, but 
encouragement of its component members to engage actively on 
a bilateral basis. 
TEFFT

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