09TBILISI1057, GEORGIA: PEREVI — STILL COMPLICATED

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09TBILISI1057.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1057 2009-06-08 15:02 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3263
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1057/01 1591502
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 081502Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1688
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0236
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4854

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001057 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/08/2019 
TAGS: PREL MOPS KPTS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: PEREVI -- STILL COMPLICATED 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 0808 
     B. TBILISI 0674 
     C. 08 TBILISI 2413 
     D. 08 TBILISI 2111 
     E. 08 TBILISI 1988 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  Russian forces still occupy the 
small village of Perevi, which is located in undisputed 
Georgian territory and outside South Ossetia -- a fact even 
the Russians do not dispute in private.  The EUMM reports the 
Russians may be preparing finally to withdraw, thereby 
resolving an unambiguous violation of their ceasefire 
commitments, although the EUMM has been saying this for 
months.  The Georgians have also heard about a possible 
withdrawal, but intend to downplay it if it happens, 
concerned lest the Russians turn such a long-overdue move 
into a public relations victory.  Meanwhile the OSCE reports 
Perevi villagers are concerned about the recent arrival of 
South Ossetian militia in villages near Perevi, where some 
ethnic Georgians have reportedly been robbed.  The U.S. and 
other international partners may be in the best position to 
encourage a resolution of the situation without handing 
Russia undeserved recognition.  End summary and comment. 
 
ARE THE RUSSIANS FINALLY LEAVING? 
 
2. (C) On June 4, Head of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) 
Hansjoerg Haber told Tbilisi-based diplomats that Russian 
Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin told him during the 
May 18-19 Geneva talks that the Russians are getting ready to 
pull out of Perevi.  Haber has since followed up with various 
Russian contacts, including General Proshkin, who 
participated in the Geneva talks and the first Incident 
Prevention Meeting in Ergneti (ref A); Proshkin said the 
Russian military would continue activities until June 15, at 
which point they would undertake a handover.  It was not 
clear to Haber, however, to whom such a handover would be 
made: the Georgians, the South Ossetians, or even the 
Russians' own Border Guards.  Russian officials, such as 
Russian Ambassador to the EU Chizhov, have given Haber 
promises of an imminent departure before (ref B); Karasin and 
Chizhov have both admitted to Haber that Perevi is outside 
South Ossetia.  The Russians have explained to Haber that 
they intend to leave, but they want to avoid a repeat of 
their aborted departure in December 2008, when they claim the 
arrival of large number of Georgian special forces forced 
them to return.  The Russians also want to avoid a public 
declaration of victory by the Georgian side, such as the 
statement President Saakashvili made on December 12.  The 
EUMM's position has been to agree to the Russian terms of a 
quiet handover in order to facilitate a rapid departure. 
 
3. (C) Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria told the 
Ambassador on June 5 that he had heard the Russianswere 
looking to depart Perevi soon.  He said the Georgian 
government would of course welcome such a move, but would 
avoid giving the event too high of a profile.  Since the 
Russians should have departed Perevi last October, he 
explained, and since the Russians admit that Perevi is 
outside South Ossetia, then the Georgian government would not 
want the Russians to get too much credit for something they 
should have done long ago.  Furthermore, Bokeria said that a 
withdrawal from Perevi would have minimal impact on the 
Russians' larger, ongoing violations of the ceasefire; he 
would not want the Russians to get away with casting this 
action as a major, or even the final step in fulfilling its 
Qaction as a major, or even the final step in fulfilling its 
commitments. 
 
MEANWHILE, LIFE IN PEREVI IS STILL PRECARIOUS 
 
4 (SBU) The OSCE, the EUMM, and almost all other 
international organizations have not had access to Perevi for 
months; except for December 12-13, 2008, the Georgian 
government has not had access since the war.  On June 4, OSCE 
monitors observed World Food Programme (WFP) personnel 
distributing food aid to Perevi villagers; WFP remains one of 
the only organizations that can still enter the village.  On 
the same day, OSCE monitors also observed a Russian military 
helicopter flying along the administrative boundary. 
 
5. (SBU) On June 8, the OSCE received reports from villagers 
in Perevi that South Ossetian militia had moved to nearby 
villages just across the administrative boundary inside South 
Ossetia: 300 in Sinaguri, just north of Perevi, and 50 in 
Karzmani, just east of Perevi.  Those in Karzmani reportedly 
robbed some ethnic Georgians of such property as cattle.  The 
Perevi villagers expressed serious concern to OSCE about the 
presence of these militia and said they would consider 
leaving if the militia remained so close.  Because of their 
 
TBILISI 00001057  002 OF 002 
 
 
lack of access to Perevi or South Ossetia, the OSCE cannot 
confirm these reports. 
 
COMMENT: LONG O
VERDUE -- BUT NOT ENOUGH 
 
6. (C) Although of little strategic importance, Perevi 
remains one of the most conspicuous examples of Russia's 
ongoing violations of the ceasefire.  If Haber's reports are 
accurate, even the Russian MFA is embarrassed by the Russian 
military's presence there and would prefer to withdraw.  The 
community of several hundred that live in Perevi face real 
hardships and fears, and a Russian withdrawal would resolve 
those concerns immediately (although not those of the ethnic 
Georgians across the boundary inside South Ossetia).  At the 
same time, DFM Bokeria's concerns are valid: a withdrawal 
from Perevi is a minuscule, if important, step toward the 
fulfillment of Russia's commitments, and it should not be 
portrayed in any other way.  Georgia finds itself in the 
peculiar position of not pushing too hard for a withdrawal 
from Perevi to avoid giving Russia a potential public 
relations victory, or a bargaining chip in the Geneva 
discussions or elsewhere.  The U.S. and our other partners 
may have the most leverage to press Russia to do the right 
thing without having to trade something else away. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: