Several latest releases of classified U.S. diplomatic cables, posted on WikiLeaks website on November 29, contains references to Georgia in particular during the U.S.-French strategic dialogue earlier this year, as well as one Chinese diplomat’s “unusually blunt language” while talking about President Saakashvili.
(Summary of documents in which Georgia is referred and which were released on November 28, is available on this link)
In Department of State’s secret readout of the U.S.-French Strategic Dialogue, held in January 2010 in Washington, a French diplomat is quoted speaking about how Georgia’s issue was impeding any potential progress over some issues in respect of relations with Russia.
According to this readout Jacques Audibert, director for strategic affairs, security and disarmament at the French Foreign Ministry, told U.S. Under Secretary of State William Burns and Defense Under Secretary Michele Flournoy, that Moscow-proposed treaties on European security architecture were “unacceptable” and “mere provocations”.
He, however, said Paris wanted to use these proposals by Moscow to engage with Russia on new approaches towards issues like crisis management and Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
But Audibert, according to the readout, said that these issues will continually be bogged down over the situation in Georgia, which he saw as “intractable as Russia will never ‘derecognize’ the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia while also never recognizing Georgian sovereignty over its territory, including the two enclaves.”
Chinese Diplomat: Saakashvili "Not a Mature Statesman’
In a June, 2009 dispatch from the U.S. embassy in Kazakhstan, which details a conversation over dinner between U.S. ambassador in Astana Richard Hoagland and his Chinese counterpart Cheng Guoping, the latter is quoted saying that he thinks Russia will use force to overthrow President Saakashvili.
The cable describes the Chinese ambassador’s remarks about the Georgian President as “unusually blunt language” in which he said that Saakashvili "is not a mature statesman.” The Chinese ambassador is also quoted saying that Saakashvili “overreacted to Russian provocations and gave Russia the opportunity to take Abkhazia and South Ossetia."
“Clearly, Russia baited and cheated Georgia,” he was quoted.
Cheng Guoping, who was Chinese consular in Georgia in 1997-2001, also suggested in conversation with his U.S. counterpart, that former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's July 2008 trip to Georgia, before the August war, might have indirectly encouraged Saakashvili to take military action. According to the cable, Guoping said his understanding was that Saakashvili briefed Secretary Rice on his plans to mobilize Georgian armed forces and when she did not directly object, Saakashvili mistook that as a sign of U.S. support.
According to the same cable, the Chinese ambassador described Georgia’s ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, Nino Burjanadze, as “much more mature than Saakashvili”, who might become Georgia’s next President. Guoping, according to the cable, predicted last year that Saakashvili “won't stay long" as the President.
Cheng Guoping, who was Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan in 2008-2009, is now an assistant to the Chinese Foreign Minister.
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