09TBILISI1519, GEORGIA: UNEASY CALM AS WAR ANNIVERSARY COMES AND

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. #09TBILISI1519.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1519 2009-08-10 12:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8689
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1519/01 2221245
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 101245Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2010
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0269
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001519 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/07/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: UNEASY CALM AS WAR ANNIVERSARY COMES AND 
GOES 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 1427 
     B. TBILISI 1407 
     C. TBILISI 1358 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  August 5 and 6 were uneasily calm after 
several days of incidents and allegations, followed by five 
Georgians being kidnapped and returned unharmed on August 7. 
On August 3, Georgian and South Ossetian forces traded 
allegations of an attack near Plavismani and Otrevi, and on 
August 4 a teenager was injured by an explosive device in the 
nearby town of Tkviavi.  The EUMM increased its risk 
assessment along the administrative boundaries to high, and 
on August 1 the EUMM began running patrols around the clock 
to deter incidents and increase their own visibility.  Both 
the EUMM and EU issued statements calling for restraint on 
all sides.  Nevertheless the EUMM has seen no indications of 
heightened activity or alert by Georgian forces, including 
along the boundaries; the one exception is increased security 
at such sensitive installations as bridges and railroads. 
End summary. 
 
CALM, BUT TENSE 
 
2. (SBU) After a series of incidents between July 22 and 
August 4 (reftels), the last couple days have seen fewer 
incidents.  Georgia, Russia, and the de facto regimes have 
continued to trade public accusations of intentions to 
undertake provocations and escalate the situation, however. 
On August 6, for example, Georgian Foreign Ministry released 
a statement criticizing Russian government statements as a 
"disinformation campaign" consisting of "distorted facts, 
demagoguery and blatant lies," and the atmosphere remains 
tense, especially along the administrative boundaries.  In 
its August 6 weekly briefing for diplomatic colleagues, 
Deputy Head of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) Gilles 
Janvier said that the EUMM raised its risk assessment for the 
areas along the boundaries to "high," the highest of three 
levels.  The EUMM also implemented round-the-clock patrolling 
on August 1 in an effort to deter incidents and increase its 
visibility.  Following its August 1 press release calling for 
restraint in the midst of recent incidents, the EUMM released 
another one August 6 noting the establishment of relative 
calm, but again calling for restraint. 
 
3. (C) On August 3 the Swedish presidency of the EU released 
a similar statement noting recent accusations of attacks and 
calling on both sides to show restraint.  The statement was 
careful to note that the EUMM had "seen no evidence so far to 
confirm mutual accusations of shellings."  In the August 6 
briefing, however, EUMM officials noted that one of its 
patrols had heard the explosions that Georgian officials said 
were directed at the Georgian checkpoint in Plavismani the 
evening of August 3 (a few hours before the EU statement was 
released).  South Ossetian de facto authorities accused 
Georgian forces of firing mortars at their positions in 
Otrevi, just across the boundary.  On August 4, however, EUMM 
monitors returned during daylight to search the area, but 
could find no physical evidence of the attack.  (They were 
unable to access the South Ossetian side of the boundary.) 
In a separate conversation, EUMM Political Advisor Rosaria 
Puglisi (please protect) said that in that location, the 
Georgian checkpoint is at the bottom of a hill, a South 
Ossetian position is at the top of the hill, and a Russian 
position is at the bottom on the far side.  According to 
Puglisi, it seemed to the EUMM monitors that some explosions 
QPuglisi, it seemed to the EUMM monitors that some explosions 
were first directed from the top of the hll toward the 
Georgian position, then others were directed from the top of 
the hill toward the Russian position.  Georgian press 
reported that local villagers made similar allegations of 
South Ossetian forces firing at both Georgian and Russian 
positions in an effort to provoke a direct Georgia-Russia 
clash. 
 
4. (SBU) The most recent significant incidents along the 
South Ossetian boundary occurred on August 4 and August 7. 
On August 4 a 14-year-old boy was injured by an explosive 
device in a tree just outside Plavi, on the road toward 
Tkviavi (on undisputed Georgian territory).  EUMM arrived at 
the scene shortly after the explosion incident, and reported 
that the device was a booby trap consisting of an RPG-7 
connected to a detonator.  Janvier said the exact location of 
the IED, in a tree that was uprooted in a very recent storm, 
suggested that it could only have been placed since the 
storm.  Some observers speculated that the attacks of August 
3, which occurred nearby, could have been designed as a 
diversion in order to enable the placement of the device.  On 
August 7, five Georgian shepherds from the village of Koshka 
 
TBILISI 00001519  002 OF 002 
 
 
were abducted and returned hours later unharmed.  According 
to the EU
MM, the shepherds were kidnapped by three S. 
Ossetians.  There are conflicting reports, however, to the 
identity of the Ossetians.  The EUMM heard first that the 
abductors were uniformed, and later that the kidnappers were 
not uniformed but were just civilian S. Ossetians involved in 
some kind of criminal activity. When news of the kidnapping 
reached EUMM they activated the Incident Prevention and 
Response Mechanism hotline.  Russian forces got involved, and 
the villagers were released by about 2230 that evening. 
 
NO SIGNIFICANT HEIGHTENED ALERT OR TROOP MOVEMENTS 
 
5. (SBU) At the August 6 briefing, Janvier said that the EUMM 
had detected no evidence of a state of heightened alert by 
Georgian forces.  The number of forces along the 
administrative boundaries remains the same, for example, and 
the forces on duty have not changed their stance in any way. 
The one exception is that the EUMM observed an increase in 
security at the most sensitive infrastructure facilities, 
such as railways and bridges.  Also, the EUMM continues to 
undertake unannounced inspections of Ministry of Internal 
Affairs facilities, and has found no mortars in these 
inspections.  The EUMM has not seen any evidence or heard any 
reports of unmanned aerial vehicles in recent days either. 
Although South Ossetian de facto "president" Eduard Kokoity 
was quoted in the press as saying that he would seal the 
boundary of the Akhalgori Valley, Janvier reported that EUMM 
monitors had not seen evidence of any additional restrictions 
on movements in and out of Akhalgori. 
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: