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2006-10-19 09:57:00
Embassy Moscow
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DE RUEHMO #1729/01 2920957
O 190957Z OCT 06
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 011729 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2016

Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM J. BURNS. Reason 1.4 (b, d)


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 011729



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2016

Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM J. BURNS. Reason 1.4 (b, d)


1. (C) DAS Matt Bryza and Ambassador called on Russian DFM
Grigoriy Karasin October 6. Karasin said Russian patience
with Georgia was at an end, and catalogued Russian views of
the worsening relations, culminating with the arrest of
Russian soldiers immediately after NATO offered Georgia
Intensified Dialogue. Bryza said the U.S. views the same
events differently, seeing Georgian attempts at negotiation
over Abkhazia and South Ossetia stymied, while Russia extends
its hold over the regions. Karasin demanded a UNSC
Resolution condemning Georgia for its July operation in the
Kodori Gorge. Bryza rejected this, noting that our blunt
messages to Saakashvili are best kept private. Bryza said
Georgia's frustrations with the peace negotiations are
understandable, and old formats were not producing results.
Karasin saw no need for new formats. Bryza called for
renewed Russian-Georgian dialogue; "Not today," Karasin
answered. End Summary.

Russian Perceptions, U.S. Perceptions

2. (C) Karasin led off by saying Russia's patience had come
to an end. The sanctions imposed thus far were just the
beginning of Russia's reaction. He ran through a list of
perceived Georgian transgressions:

-- a Georgian parliamentary resolution on Russian
peacekeepers (18 July, follow-up to February's action);

-- Georgia's operation in the Kodori Gorge (23 July), which
Karasin accepted that the U.S. did not pre-approve, but he
regretted the lack of international reaction;

Followed, after NATO offered Intensified Dialogue, by:

-- Saakashvili's UNGA speech;

-- Saakashvili's visit to Kodori, renaming it "Upper
Abkhazia;" and

-- the arrests of Russian officers.

3. (C) Bryza responded that the U.S. views the same events
differently. He stressed that the USG and he personally have
worked hard (and with some success) to moderate Georgia's
vior. With regard to the arrest of officers, such spy
allegations are common; the U.S. criticized Georgia's
provocative handling of this case, which should have been
managed quietly, as is the norm; but the U.S. had not egged
the Georgians on. Similarly, it is Georgia's choice to
pursue both reunification and NATO accession, though Georgia
must prioritize to ensure that the way it pursues one goal
does not undermine the other. Karasin interrupted that
re-establishment of territorial integrity demands a
responsible leader and the practice of international norms of
behavior internally and to neighbors; both are missing in
Georgia. By hurrying to resolve the conflicts, Saakashvili
had "buried" Georgia's territorial integrity. Karasin
reiterated that the "cup of Russia's patience has
overflowed," and future developments depend on Georgia's

4. (C) Bryza continued with his response, noting a good
meeting he had held in November, 2005 with MFA 4th CIS
Department Director Kelin and Special Negotiator Kenyaikin.
They asked Bryza to persuade the Georgians to return to the
3-part structure of a peace plan presented at the 60th UNGA.
He did. For one year he had gotten Georgia to shift its
focus to the first two parts of the plan, on demilitarization
and economic rehabilitation, leaving a political resolution
for later, as Kelin and Kenyaikin had requested. Nothing
came of this. PM Noghaideli had tried to present the
Georgian plan to South Ossetian leader Kokoity, who refused
to meet Noghaideli. A Joint Control Commission meeting
scheduled for Vienna was suddenly shifted to Moscow -- and
the Georgians felt tricked.

5. (C) Karasin claimed that the shift was one of his first
acts on becoming deputy foreign minister. He felt strongly
that agreed formats must be maintained, which meant "avoiding
Brussels and Vienna" (i.e., upgrading the EU or OSCE role).
It also meant not insulting the Russian peacekeepers. The UN
report will show just who had violated the 1994 agreement.
The report would make the debate on UNOMIG renewal
"interesting." The U.S. and Russian representatives had been
unable to agree. Russia needed a substantive resolution with
stress on cease-fire violations; a technical rollover or

MOSCOW 00011729 002 OF 003

failure to stress Georgian violations would be unsuitable.
Karasin said he did not understand U.S. reluctance to allow
Abkhaz "Foreign Minister" Shamba to come to the UN to give
his point of view.

6. (C) Bryza shifted the conversation back to the way the
U.S. views the issues. He has been clear with Saakashvili:
if Georgia uses force or stumbles into a conflict,
Saakashvili will find himself alone, blamed by the
international community for recklessness. The U.S. wanted to
foreclose the option of using force and made it clear to
Saakashvili and his defense team there was no way Georgia
could succeed in South Ossetia militarily. But Georgians are
frustrated. When -- on Bryza's advice -- the Georgians met
the Russian requests laid out last November by Kelin and
Kenyaikin, they got nothing in return but increased
participation in the South Ossetian "government" by Russian
officials, unification of South Ossetia's telephone system
with Russia's, more Russian broadcasts into South Ossetia,
plans for a new Russian gas line into South Ossetia, more
Russian passports issued to South Ossetians, and claims that
Russia was obligated to defend these (instant) Russian
citizens. The Georgians viewed their patience as being
rewarded with Russia trying to grab more in South Ossetia.
ID was part of an effort to keep Georgia calm on the peace
processes -- things could have been worse. Bryza saw his job
as maneuvering the Georgians psychologically into a better
place for dealing with the conflicts peacefully. He cannot
succeed if all the Georgians see is a brick wall with no hope
of a solution.

Russia Wants U.S. to Endorse Its Blunt Message to Georgia
-------------- --------------

7. (C) Karasin replied that whatever messages the U.S. and
Europe had given Georgia in the past, now is the time to be
more blunt. Now is the time for responsibility. There is no
brick wall -- Russia is prepared to talk, its intentions
serious. But all depends on Saakashvili's behavior; dialogue
does not mean a "simple p.r. campaign" for Saakashvili.

8. (C) Karasin called for "substance" in a UN Security
Council Resolution extending the UNOMIG mandate in Abkhazia.
It must condemn the Georgian operation in Kodori, violations
of the Cease-Fire Agreement of 1994, and any use of violence.
Karasin hoped Russia and the U.S. were in the same boat on
this. Bryza replied that we were in the same lake. He
reiterated that we are trying to calm the Georgians down.
They have every right not to want foreign troops on their
soil; the PKF needs to be internationalized. The Georgians
need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. We need to
unfreeze the conflict.

9. (C) Regarding the UNSCR, Bryza said, the U.S. position
will not allow criticism of Georgia's police operation in the
Kodori Gorge in principle; the Kodori is sovereign Georgian
territory, and according to Moscow's and Washington's own
policies of supporting Georgia's territorial integrity,
Tbilisi has a right and an obligation to eliminate organized
criminal organizations and administer to Georgian citizens in
the Upper Kodori. Karasin protested that tomorrow the
Georgians might apply that same principle to the rest of
Abkhazia. Bryza said the cases were different. Tbilisi had
been careful to avoid military confrontation with Abkhaz
forces, and had carried out the operation only in the Upper
Kodori, which neither Sukhumi nor the 1994 Moscow Agreement
ever claimed to be under Abkhaz control. The U.S. and the
international community would sharply criticize any armed
actions Georgia might take outside the Kodori. But the
Georgian Government made clear it had no intention to
undertake any such actions, which contrasted with incendiary
statements that had emanated from Sukhumi. With regard to an
Abkhazia settlement, Bryza stressed the need for a political
compromise that reconciles territorial integrity and
self-determination. Bryza said he never tells (Abkhaz
"President") Bagapsh or ("Foreign Minister") Shamba that they
have no right to aspire to self-determination, but he does
stress the need to earn legitimacy, which cannot be won
through a referendum in which 200,000 to 300,000 Georgian
IDP's are dislocated and disenfranchised. The best option,
Bryza continued, is for Abkhazia to achieve maximal autonomy
within a unified Georgia. What is needed in a UNSCR, Bryza
concluded, is a condemnation of all violations and a call for
calm and for confidence-building measures.

10. (C) Karasin reiterated that a UNSCR cannot be a
"toothless" rollover. He said all must listen to what the
Abkhaz and South Ossetians have to say. Karasin demanded
that NATO consider the conduct of a prospective member, and
demanded that NATO's Riga Summit issue some type of criticism
of Georgian behavior in the Kodori Gorge, absent which, "we
will draw the necessary conclusions." Noting that this

MOSCOW 00011729 003 OF 003

sounded like a threat, Bryza asked what those consequences
would be. Karasin replied the Russians would "need to think
about that."

Dialogue: "Not Today"

11. (C) Bryza urged the Russians to talk with Georgia.
Karasin rejected "contact for the sake of contact." That is
why a UNSCR must take a blunt position that would be a "cold
shower" to Saakashvili. Bryza said there is a right way and
a wrong way to be blunt, and a UNSCR is the wrong way.
Karasin replied that such a resolution would make Georgia
understand that the international community is united in
demanding responsible behavior from Georgia. Bryza
reiterated that Georgia cannot be left to feel as though the
international community is sitting idly by while Russia is
taking steps to draw Abkhazia and South Ossetia further into
its orbit. We need to find a way to make progress together.
For example, the JCC on South Ossetia is not designed to
negotiate a political settlement. It is useful for the first
two parts of the Georgian peace plan the Russians had asked
Bryza to embrace (e.g., demilitarization and economic
rehabilitation), but not for the third part, (a political
settlement) -- a new mechanism is needed for that. In
Abkhazia, the CIS PKF performs a useful function. But its
mandate is not to fight crime, and reducing crime in the Gali
District of Abkhazia is essential to allowing for the return
of Georgian IDP's. For this reason, the Western Friends were
calling for an international police force in Gali.

12. (C) Karasin replied that he saw no need to create new
mechanisms, which might destroy what has been accomplished so
far. Georgian negotiator Antadze had laid it on the table:
the Georgians want to destroy the JCC and replace it with a
new mechanism. Bryza said that we should not destroy what is
useful, but we need a mechanism to achieve what the current
format is not designed to do. Russia could help by backing a
special economic zone connecting North and South Ossetia to
the Black Sea via the Roki Tunnel and Georgia's regions of
Mingrelia and Guria -- this should calm many of their fears.
Karasin said we could the idea of such a zone opened, and
build on the momentum of the OSCE's Donors Conference for
South Ossetia in Brussels last June.

13. (C) Bryza reiterated a call for Russian-Georgian dialogue
at perhaps the level of Prime Ministers. "Not today,"
Karasin replied. "It all depends on Georgian behavior --
Georgia needs to think twice in the future." Bryza said the
Russians have made the Georgians nervous; "We're not calm
ourselves," Karasin replied. Bryza asked whether we could
choreograph some steps to pull Georgia and Russia back from
their confrontation. "We'll think about it," Karasin said,
"But not today."

Shamba Visa and Next Steps

14. (C) Karasin pressed a second time for the U.S. to issue
Abkhaz "Foreign Minister" Shamba a visa to attend an
Arria-format discussion of Abkhazia at the UN. Bryza
suggested that Russia and the U.S. consider Shamba's
appearance at the UN in the context of a possible UNSCR that
reflects the text agreed by the Friends of the Secretary
General the previous week in Berlin, without a condemnation
in principle of Georgia's operation in the Kodori Valley, but
with criticism of specific Georgian (and Abkhaz) violations
of the 1994 Moscow Agreement. Karasin indicated he was
willing to consider this suggestion.

15. (C) Karasin warmly concluded the meeting by asking
Bryza to remain in direct contact with him (Karasin), even
while consulting with Russian ambassadors-at-large for
conflict management while in the Caucasus.

16. (U) DAS Bryza has cleared this message.