09TBILISI1096, GEORGIA: UNOMIG MONITORS IN SUKHUMI AND ZUGDIDI ON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1096 2009-06-15 15:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9046
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1096 1661528
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151528Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1733
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0050
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4862

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001096 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/15/2019 
TAGS: PREL MOPS KBTS UNSC UNOMIG GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: UNOMIG MONITORS IN SUKHUMI AND ZUGDIDI ON 
THE FUTURE OF THE MISSION 
 
REF: TBILISI 1073 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D 
 
1. (C) Summary.  UNOMIG military monitoring officers (MMOs) 
in Zugdidi and Sukhumi are frustrated with the application of 
the current UNOMIG mandate and strongly feel that another 
full technical rollover would be futile.  The two main 
problems they face, according to the MMOs themselves, are 
lack of freedom of movement and the presence of Russian heavy 
military equipment in the zone of conflict.  Abkhaz de facto 
"vice foreign minister" Maxim Gundjia weakly expressed 
support for the continued presence of UNOMIG.  The monitors' 
views coincide with those of the Georgian government, which 
is not prepared to compromise a principled stand on 
territorial integrity for the sake of an ineffective mission. 
 End Summary. 
 
UNOMIG MONITORS' MISSION HINDERED 
 
2. (C) During a recent visit by poloff to western Georgia, 
including Abkhazia, MMOs in Zugdidi and Sukhumi expressed 
frustration with the conditions of their operations. 
Specifically, they complained that the Russians and Abkhaz 
severely restrict their freedom of movement by forcing UNOMIG 
to apply for permission for every patrol.  MMOs also 
mentioned frustration at the increasing number of hostilities 
directed at them.  One example of this can be seen in the 
Kodori Valley, where the Abkhaz have decided that UNOMIG can 
only patrol once per month.  During these monthly patrols, 
Abkhaz and/or Russian "support" to UNOMIG is seen by the MMOs 
merely as a way to obstruct and stall their patrols.  The 
MMOs condemned the presence of Russian heavy military 
equipment in the zone of conflict.  The MMOs said that in the 
current operating environment - a technical extension since 
February 15 - it has been difficult to effectively carry out 
their mission, and, in their view, another full technical 
rollover would be just as futile.  They stated that a strong 
mandate requiring their freedom of movement and forcing the 
Russians to remove their heavy military equipment from the 
zone of conflict is necessary to carry out their mission 
effectively.  They acknowledged, however, that reaching such 
an agreement with the Russians is unlikely. 
 
DO THE ABKHAZ WANT THE UN IN ABKHAZIA? 
 
3. (C) The MMOs noted that while the Abkhaz de facto 
authorities say publicly that they want the UN presence to 
continue in Abkhazia, they are only weakly motivated to 
maintain a UN presence.  In a meeting with de facto "vice 
foreign minister" Gundjia, poloff observed the same.  Gundjia 
stated that the de facto authorities are unhappy with the 
European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), which they consider 
biased towards the Georgians.  He said that it is 
unacceptable that the EUMM mandate covers only Georgia and 
not "independent" Abkhazia and also noted EUMM failure to 
publish reports as a key mark against them.  (Note:  Although 
the EUMM's mandate covers the entire territory of Georgia, 
including Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Abkhaz, South Ossetian 
and Russian forces have not allowed them to enter the 
separatist territories.  End note.)  When questioned on 
Abkhaz desire for a new UNOMIG mandate, Gundjia rather 
half-heartedly stated that they do want UNOMIG to remain. 
However, he said that a new mandate should incorporate more 
capacity building and focus on reforms and economic 
development. (Note: While Gundjia did not specify to poloff 
Qdevelopment. (Note: While Gundjia did not specify to poloff 
any conditions on the name of a new UN mandate, de facto 
"foreign minister" Sergey Shamba was quoted in Interpress 
News on June 15 saying that the Abkhaz would not allow a new 
mandate if the name uses "Abkhazia, Georgia."  End note). 
 
COMMENT 
 
4. (C) Although the monitors' comments reflected frustration 
with the inherent weakness of a technical rollover, they also 
reinforced a basic message the Georgian government has been 
making over the course of the UNOMIG negotiations (reftel). 
Even with a UN mandate, a mission on the ground is only as 
effective as the Russians will allow them to be.  The 
monitors' opinions lend strong support to the government's 
strategy of not compromising its principles for the sake of a 
potentially ineffective mission. 
TEFFT

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