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WikiLeaks Cable

Reference ID	Created	Released	Classification	Origin
09USOSCE15	2009-02-02 10:51	2011-08-24 01:00	UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY	Mission USOSCE





REF: A. STATE 004933

    ¶B. USOSCE 0010 
    ¶C. BAKU 73 
    ¶D. 08 USOSCE 321 

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Sensitive but Unclassified; please protect accordingly. Not for Internet

¶1. (SBU) Summary: At the January 27 Joint Consultative Group plenary, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia clashed in another round of lengthy dueling statements. This followed charges last week by Azerbaijan regarding Russian CFE Treaty-limited equipment transshipped through Armenia into Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia rejected the Azeri accusations that it had shipped the equipment, and testily declared supporting documents &fake.8 Russia said it has responded to the Azeri Embassy in Moscow and considers the matter closed. Armenia claimed the Azeris were trying to disrupt the Minsk Group process, and raised Azeri Treaty non-compliance issues.

Azerbaijan characterized the Armenian responses as &fairy 

tales.8 NOTE: These exchanges took place against the backdrop of recent high-level OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair meetings January 19-20 in capitals and January 27-28 in Zurich. (See SEC.PR/18/09)

¶2. (SBU) Both JCG meetings so far this session were dominated by the extensive series of interventions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as Russia (the accused TLE supplier). Several areas of non-compliance with the CFE Treaty were mentioned in their statements amidst the ongoing political rhetoric. Many delegations believe both States Parties are in violation of certain Treaty provisions, and that although Azerbaijan is open about it, Armenia is not. Allies remained silent during both rounds. At a meeting on January 26, Quad Allies said they prefer not to engage in the JCG on these allegations of non-compliance. However, they took the point that if the debate continues, Allies may not be able to go on ignoring these cases of non-compliance in the JCG while we repeatedly raising those of Russia. If necessary, they believed a series of coordinated national statements by Allies would be better than a NATO approach as a whole.

¶3. (SBU) On the margins, per Ref A, USDel spoke to the Azeri Ambassador about our concerns that its data declarations clearly show them in violation of certain TLE limits. He acknowledged that was the case, and said it has nothing to hide, unlike Armenia. USDel notes that Ref A guidance was written before the latest exchanges of non-compliance allegations emerged. There may be a need to address the issue in the JCG -- should these bilateral exchanges continue -- if NATO states are to be seen as addressing concerns about non-compliance with the Treaty in a balanced way and not unfairly singling out Russia. USDel welcomes additional guidance on such an approach. End Summary.

Azeri-Armenia-Russia equipment accusations

¶4. (SBU) On January 16, Azerbaijan distributed an unclassified statement to OSCE delegations describing the Russian transfer of 69 types of weapons, ammunition, and combat equipment of approximately 800 million USD to Armenia, including a chart in English and Russian listing equipment and ammunition by type and quantity. (see SEC.DEL/14/09 and 14/09/Add 1 of 16 January) The Azeri statement claims the document gives evidence to the transfer of equipment from the Russian military 102nd base in Gyumri, Armenia. Azerbaijan is deeply concerned that such transfers will significantly strengthen the combat potential of the Armenian faction occupying part of Azeri territory in N-K. Such transfers would be a direct violation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions on the N-K conflict, as well as the UN General Assembly Resolution on &the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan8 adopted on March 14, ¶2008. Comment: Per Ref D, if the Azeri claims are true, then

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Russia, as one of the Minsk Group co-chairs, may have given a military boost to one of the sides in a conflict it is supposed to be mediating. End comment.

¶5. (SBU) At the January 20 JCG plenary, the Azeri Ambassador Ismayilov made a lengthy statement clarifying its concerns regarding the chart disseminated through the media, focusing its remarks on the numbers of CFE Treaty-limited types of equipment with respect to CFE data exchange information provided in December 2008, including battle tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), and artillery over 100 mm. (see JCG.JOUR/684, Annex 3) In the CFE Treaty context of Treaty-limited equipment, the media chart includes information on shipment of: 21 battle tanks, 61 ACVs and 54 artillery systems (100mm and above). The Azeri statement alleges that:

--Armenia has been in breach of the Treaty since its signature, as well as after the Tashkent Agreement of 15 May 1992 (which divided up the ceilings for Soviet Union states);

--Armenia has 40 well-equipped combat units in N-K with up to 350 tanks, 398 ACVs, and 426 artillery units (NOTE: statement does not include the source for these numbers);

--Armenia in its Annual Exchange of Military Information as of January 1, 2009 declares 110 tanks, 140 ACVs, and 239 artillery units;

--Armenia,s limits under Tashkent 1992 are 220 tanks, 220 ACVs, and 285 artillery units;

--Therefore, Armenia is exceeding its CFE Treaty limits as follows: 261 tanks, 379 ACVs, and 433 artillery.

            Tanks        ACVs     Artillery 

N-K forces 350 398 425 AEMI 110 140 239 New transfer 21 61 54 Total 481 599 718

Limits under Tashkent 220 220 285

Armenia,s Excess 261 379 433

--Armenian data exchange information has not changed much since 1996, when it declared 101 tanks, 218 ACVs, and 225 artillery units. However in 1996 Armenia received one billion USD in military equipment from Russia &free of charge8, including 84 tanks, 50 ACVs and 116 artillery units;

--Armenia did not distribute the F22 and F23 Treaty notifications last year required by the Protocol on Notification and Exchange of Information, Section IX, paragraph 1A and B &Information on the entry and removal from service with the conventional armed forces of a State Party of conventional armaments and equipment limited by the Treaty within previous 12 months;8

--No secret that all armaments and equipment which Armenia receives or buys are directly transferred to the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, and kept out of the arms control regime;

--Azerbaijan does not consider the excess Armenia TLE to be so-called UTLE (uncontrolled Treaty-limited equipment). Rather, these TLE belong to one State Party, and have never been declared, counted or limited;

--When speaking about preserving the CFE regime in Europe, we also have to take these violations seriously. This is not just a problem of two States Parties;

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--Azerbaijan has always declared its procurements in a timely manner and made them subject to inspection. Azeris are open and transparent in its actions.

¶6. (SBU) The Armenian Ambassador Hovakimian, obviously prepared for this exchange, also made his own lengthy reply, disputing the authenticity of the document in question and denying any wrong-doing claiming this was yet another propaganda stunt by Armenia to unsettle the Minsk Group peace process. (see JCG.JOUR/684, Annex 4) The Armenian points included:

--Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has denied the veracity of the suspect chart, which could have been prepared by anyone. Also called into question the actions of the Azeri government based on a document found on the internet;

--Not first time Azeri,s have accused Armenia of not fulfilling its arms control obligations, and all previous cases have been proven false;

--Perhaps another attempt to justify its own (Azeri) unprecedented military expenditures and transfers of combat equipment;

--Azeri misrepresentation of nature of UNSCR on N-K conflict ) its assertions that this is an inter-state conflict are distortions aimed at misleading the international community;

--Azeri one-sided policy bias led co-chairs of Minsk Group to vote against the UN General Assembly resolution that it proposed;

--Regret lack of coherence from Azeri delegations at negotiations versus proceedings held elsewhere.

¶7. (SBU) Russia (Ulyanov) said it has already discussed the subject bilaterally with the Azeris, and agrees with Armenia that the document in question is most likely a fraud perpetrated with the intent of interfering with the political process. Turkey expressed concerns that the issue could have a negative impact on the security of the Caucuses.

¶8. (SBU) Azerbaijan reiterated that the main issue is the alleged transfer of weapons by one of the mediators and co-chairs of the Minsk process to the state occupying Azeri territory. There are many agreed mechanisms that all have signed up to that call for refraining from the use of force. It called on Russia to investigate this case.

¶9. (SBU) Armenia noted that it has now been accused a second time of violating the CFE Treaty, however it is not Armenia that has openly bought and exceeded its Treaty holdings (i.e., Azerbaijan left unsaid). The Azeris do not declare all the Objects of Verification (OOVs) required by the Treaty, and there is a long list of other violations. There is no way to check the numbers of equipment present in N-K, it is a black hole and a convenient way for the Azeris to hide UTLE. Azerbaijan should check its own levels of declared equipment.

¶10. (SBU) Azerbaijan responded again by noting it has provided all necessary information and clarified that inter-state references in the UNSCR mean conflicts between states. It signed the Moscow Declaration of November 2008. Armenia replied that if the Azeri logic applied, then Armenia and Russia would have signed as well.

&Armenian Fairy Tales8

¶11. (SBU) On January 27, Russia (Ulyanov) recalled that at the previous meeting it responded to the Azeri statement by noting the chart in question is not in line with reality. Moscow studied the document and determined that it contains

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at least 15 grammar and substantive mistakes ) which means the document is clearly fake. Following receipt of the Azeri note verbale, Moscow has since sent a reply note verbale to the Azeri Embassy in Moscow condemning the document as anti-Russian in nature, noting that it does not help mutual relations, is a fraud, and that Russia considers the matter closed.

¶12. (SBU) The Azeri Ambassador confirmed receipt of the reply note from the Russian Federation and said it is under study in Baku. However, a wide range of issues needs to stay open, and requested that all facts be studied. Azerbaijan is ready for a constructive dialogue, and will inform the JCG of any new details.

¶13. (SBU) Despite claiming that it was not planning to speak on the topic, Armenia (Papikyan) proceeded to read from a prepared, 3-page statement in response to some of the Azeri remarks from the prior week. (see JCG.JOUR/685, Annex) Specifically, Armenia disputed the Azeri claim that it had not provided the F22 notification data TLE entering into service during the previous 12 months, and provided the CFE notification number (CFE/AM/08/0013/F22/O). He expressed hope that all States Parties would join the OSCE Communications Network so as to ensure all messages are received properly.

¶14. (SBU) Armenia said it is not worth commenting on Azeri claims from the 1990,s ) &How can we look at what occurred in the 1990s, and anticipate a dialogue on that matter with a State Party when it blatantly and unapologetically violates the Treaty today?8 &The record of Azerbaijan,s compliance with the Treaty,s provisions during the past years, in extent and essence, and the scope of the threat to the Treaty,s integrity, at least in our region, makes it totally inappropriate and meaningless to examine what happened in the past.8

¶15. (SBU) Regarding the Azeri comment that Armenia has purchased only a modest amount of TLE, Armenia believes its numbers are similar to those of other States Parties and modest compared to the imports by Azerbaijan in the last three to four years, including: 164 tanks, 151 artillery units, and 21 aircraft. In the JCG in 2006, when Armenia raised questions about Azerbaijan exceeding its maximum levels of holdings, Azerbaijan claimed it was in the process of modernizing its armed forces. Since then, Azerbaijan has reported that only 5 ACVs and 7 artillery pieces have been removed from service.

¶16. (SBU) Armenia noted that as of today, Azerbaijan is exceeding its allowed holdings of TLE by 161 tanks (maximum 220 allowed) and 119 artillery pieces (maximum allowed 285).

Azerbaijan claims that the transfers took place 

transparently, as if the Treaty allows violations of ceilings if they take place openly. Why was it done openly ) because under the United Nations information exchange on Conventional Arms Transfers both the exporter and importer have to report, e.g., if the exporter reports the transfers then Azerbaijan must report the import. Armenia is glad the information on exports and imports has been reported, but it that does not mean all armaments have been covered. Comment: Per Ref C, after studying the 2009 CFE annual exchange of information we reported that Azerbaijan is over its Treaty limits by 161 tanks and 119 artillery pieces. End comment.

¶17. (SBU) With respect to verification mechanisms, Armenia criticized the Azeri record of compliance with the Treaty listing the following comments:

--Azerbaijan fails to specify the geographic location information for 9 of its units, thus making it impossible to verify the information on TLE stationed there. Rather Azerbaijan justifies this shortcoming by claiming their peacetime location has been changed. The case of the 9 Azeri

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units creates a black hole in the area of application, giving Azerbaijan a convenient opportunity to conceal its TLE;

--The Treaty is very clear, Article 14 stipulates the right of the States Parties to conduct, and the obligation to accept, inspections. Paragraph 2 (A) defines the purpose of the inspections as being &to verify, on the basis of the information provided pursuant to the Protocol on Information Exchange, the compliance of States Parties with the numerical limitations(.8 - which is impossible in the case of Azerbaijan;

--Section 5, paragraph 1, of the Protocol on Notification and Exchange of Information commits all States Parties to provide information specifying its OOVs and enumerating its declared sites, including each site,s designation and location, geographic name and co-ordinates;

--Further, Section II, paragraph 1, of the Protocol on Inspection commits States Parties to facilitate inspections for the purpose of ensuring verification of compliance with the Treaty;

--Nothing in the Treaty allows parties to stop providing information on the location of units and/or to continue to notify on the previous location of the unit if it has been moved to a new place;

--Annex B, paragraph 11, of the Final Document of the first Review Conference requires notification of any creation of, or relocation of, an OOV at least 42 days advance.

--Considering that a ceasefire has been in place, why did the number of units increase from 8 to 9 in 2002, although these units have allegedly been relocated. Further, Azerbaijan does not allow inspection of those units for &security reasons8 ) an artificial reason unless the TLE is on the line of contact. If the TLE is on the line of contact this means only one thing ) resumption of the armed conflict.

¶18. (SBU) The Azeri Ambassador had the last word by saying the Armenian statement is just a repeat of its June 2008 FSC/PC statement. It is ridiculous to comment on the Armenian statement as it merely represents words by an aggressive country occupying my country. Azerbaijan has many reasons to cease implementation of the CFE Treaty, but is resisting that course of action. He hopes no one believes these Armenian fairy tales any more, and reserves the right to reply in the future.

U.S. Conversation on Margins with Azerbaijan


¶19. (SBU) On the margins, USDel (Neighbour) spoke to the Azeri Ambassador on January 27 per Ref A instructions about U.S. concerns that its data declarations clearly show them in violation of certain TLE limits. Ismayilov acknowledged that was the case, and said it has nothing to hide, unlike Armenia. We also sought clarification on whether his statement that Azerbaijan also has reasons to suspend its observation of the Treaty was based on those made last year or on some new policy development. Ismayilov assured us that there is no new position in that direction, and his comment was based on those made previously.