Viewing cable 06VILNIUS952
Title: LITHUANIAN FM ADVOCATES PATIENCE TO GEORGIA, MAKES

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS9522006-10-18 13:41:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO2967
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0952/01 2911341
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 181341Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0684
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0069
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000952 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2016 
TAGS: PREL LH GG EUN
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN FM ADVOCATES PATIENCE TO GEORGIA, MAKES 
GEORGIA'S CASE TO EU 
 
REF: VILNIUS 938 
 
Classified By: Pol/Econ officer Rebecca Dunham for reasons 1.4 (b) and 
(d) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary.  Lithuania's Foreign Minister Vaitiekunas 
visited Georgia October 12 to pitch the Georgians on a 
strategy of de-escalation in order to garner international 
support for their positions in territorial conflicts while 
easing current tensions with Russia.  Vaitiekunas relied on 
his trip to pitch Georgia's case to EU Foreign Ministers in 
Luxembourg October 17 in an effort to elicit strong EU 
conclusions on Georgia-Russia relations.  End Summary. 
 
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Lithuanian FM pitches strategy to Georgia 
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¶2. (C) Vaitiekunas traveled to Tbilisi October 12 to present 
the Georgians with "a three-point strategy" (about which he 
had previously consulted with us and EU Commissioner 
Ferrero-Waldner) to garner international support and ease 
current tensions with Russia.  He was the first EU Foreign 
Minister to visit the Georgian capital since the onset of the 
current Russian-Georgian showdown.  Head of the MFA's 
Russia/CIS Department Arunas Vinciunas accompanied the 
Minister and debriefed us October 17 on Vaitiekunas's 
meetings with President Saakashvili, Parliamentary Speaker 
Burjanadze, PM Noghaideli and FM Bezhoushvili, among others. 
Vinciunas said the Georgians seemed willing to listen, but 
did not necessarily agree with Lithuania's call for patience. 
 Vaitiekunas urged all of his interlocutors to follow a 
"three-point strategy": 
 
-- Be patient.  Time is on Georgia's side.  Calmer rhetoric 
about territorial disputes and a focus on reforms in Georgia 
will attract European and world opinion to Georgia's side in 
the face of ongoing Russian provocations. 
 
-- Use CIS formats to intensify dialogue with Russia's other 
neighbors.  Vaitiekunas recommended that Georgia reach out to 
CIS chair Kazakhstan to make its case. 
 
-- Engage with Turkey to increase economic ties. 
 
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Saakashvili: "Time is not on our side" 
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¶3. (C) Vinciunas said that Saakashvili appeared calmer than 
on past visits.  Saakashvili listened to Vaitiekunas's 
points, but had, in Vinciunas's opinion, already made his 
decision about a course of action.  "Time is not on our 
side," Saakashvili reportedly replied to Vaitiekunas's 
advice.  Vaitiekunas told Saakashvili that it would take two 
to three months to shift opinion in the EU.  "Too long," 
Saakashvili reportedly said.  Saakashvili told the Minister 
that Russia is pressuring the Abkhaz leader to take military 
action in the Kodori Gorge, and that if they do, Georgia will 
retaliate.  Vinciunas said that he personally believed 
Saakashvili's threat of retaliation, but that Lithuanian 
Ambassador to Georgia Richardas Degutis thought that 
Saakashvili was just delivering that talking point but would 
not, ultimately, retaliate and open the door for a war with 
Russia. 
 
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Georgians skeptical of CIS formats 
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¶4. (C) Georgian interlocutors were skeptical of Vaitiekunas's 
suggestion to use CIS formats to garner support for Georgia's 
cause among Russia's neighbors.  Vaitiekunas suggested that 
Georgia engage CIS chair Kazakhstan to make sure that other 
CIS states understand Georgia's position.  The Georgians 
replied that they have been engaging Kazakhstan: FM 
Bezhuashvili recently met with the Kazakh FM in Brussels and 
will travel to Kazakhstan soon.  The Georgian interlocutors 
were nonetheless downbeat about using the CIS format to try 
to build support for Georgia's claims.  Bezhuashvili 
reportedly explained that Georgia feared that if it raised 
discussion of Georgia-Russia relations, other CIS countries 
would ultimately be forced not to support Georgia, and the 
result would be a counterproductive and discouraging show of 
support for Russia.  Vaitiekunas made the case that a 
negative reaction could also benefit Georgia by showing 
Europe that the CIS mandate is useless.  Lithuania could use 
such a result to put pressure on those EU member states that 
believe that Georgia-Russia relations are not their business. 
 
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VILNIUS 00000952  002 OF 002 
 
 
Georgia seeking economic engagement with Turkey 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Vinciunas told us that the Minister was preaching 
to the choir on the third point suggesting engagement with 
Turkey.  Georgian Minister for European Integration Baramidze 
had recently talked with Barroso as part of his efforts to 
persuade the EU to allow Turkey to enter a free trade 
agreement with Georgia. 
 
--------------------------------- 
Pitching Georgia's case to the EU 
--------------------------------- 
 
¶6. (C) While preaching calm to Georgia's leaders, Lithuania 
was pushing its EU colleagues to take a stronger stance in 
support of Georgia.  The MFA's EU office told us that the 
Minister wanted to visit Georgia before the October 17 
General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) so 
that he could report on the situation to the Council and 
raise Lithuania's credibility as it negotiated Council 
Conclusions on Georgia.  Lithuania found little support among 
EU colleagues for its language, which called Russia's actions 
"disproportionate" and called on Russia to cease sanctions 
against Georgia (reftel).  Several of Lithuania's points 
nevertheless survive in the ultimate GAERC conclusions. 
Vinciunas told us that Lithuania successfully defended 
against the French position to kill the conclusions 
altogether and a "surprise" effort by Greece to insert 
"Russian language" about relying on the existing negotiating 
framework (i.e., the Joint Control Commission) for the 
disputes, which Vinciunas dismissed as "bull." 
 
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Lithuania's position 
-------------------- 
 
¶7. (C) Lithuania's strong advocacy for Georgia has broad 
support throughout the GOL.  Lithuania's parliament 
overwhelmingly passed a resolution on October 17, calling on 
Russia to drop all sanctions against Georgia, and lift the 
suspension of transport and communication ties.  It calls 
Russia's actions "disproportionate" and urges both parties to 
resume political dialogue to find a means for peace and 
stability in the South Caucasus that recognizes Georgia's 
"sovereignty and territorial integrity." 
 
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Comment 
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¶8. (C) The Foreign Ministry prepared for this trip with great 
care, starting with the Foreign Minister's discussion with 
Ferrero-Waldner and meeting with the Ambassador before the 
trip to preview trip themes. 
CLOUD