09TBILISI1285, GEORGIA DENIES FLYING DRONES IN ABKHAZIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1285 2009-07-09 14:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0863
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1285 1901403
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 091403Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1889
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0257
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001285 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA DENIES FLYING DRONES IN ABKHAZIA 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D 
 
1. (C) De facto Abkhaz authorities have publicly accused 
Georgia of flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) over 
Abkhazia on July 7.  The de facto foreign ministry claims 
that two Georgian UAVs flew over the village of Saberio in 
Gali district and Khukhun in Tkvarcheli district.  The 
Georgian MFA issued a statement saying that these reports are 
"pure disinformation aimed at misleading the international 
community" and accused the Russian side of increasing their 
own flights of UAVs in Georgia.  The MFA also used the 
opportunity to highlight the need for a strong international 
monitoring mission with access to all of Georgia.  At dinner 
on July 8, both the Minister of Defense Vasil Sikharulidze 
and Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Nalbandov stressed to 
the Ambassador that the Abkhaz claims were completely false 
and that Georgian planes had not overflown Abkhazia. 
Sikharulidze added that he had received a preliminary report 
of a Russian UAV sighted by Georgian armed forces flying over 
the town of Khoni earlier in the day. 
 
2. (C) The EUMM noted at a weekly brief on July 9 that, since 
mid-June, there has been an increase in the number of reports 
of UAV flights by both sides.  The monitors are physically 
unable to assess if the Abkhaz claims are true, however, 
because they have no access to Abkhazia.  While they have not 
yet observed Russian UAVs within Georgia, monitors will be 
stationed along the administrative boundary line at about 
21:00 each evening to watch for them. 
 
3. (C) Comment.  With the Russian veto of UNOMIG monitoring 
operations in Abkhazia and a continued denial of EUMM access 
to Abkhazia, such claims can no longer be either verified or 
refuted.  All sides can make these types of accusations 
regarding incidents in the disputed territories secure in the 
knowledge that there are no observers present to disprove 
them.  Such allegations will only build upon an already tense 
situation, and the necessity of unhindered access for the 
EUMM to be able to confirm or deny charges will become even 
more vital. End comment. 
TEFFT

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