Monthly Archives: February 2007

07TBILISI401, AMBASSADOR URGES GEORGIA TO AGREE TO JCC MEETING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI401 2007-02-28 14:41 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0426
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0401 0591441
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 281441Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5509
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000401 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/27/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR URGES GEORGIA TO AGREE TO JCC MEETING 
 
REF: SECSTATE 23657 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C)  Ambassador called on Deputy Foreign Minister 
Manjgaladze on February 27 to deliver reftel demarche urging 
the Georgians to agree on a date and time of a meeting of the 
Joint Control Commission (JCC) for South Ossetia.  Noting a 
recent press report on Georgian plans to invest 3.5 million 
USD in Georgian-controlled villages in South Ossetia, the 
Ambassador cautioned against actions which could elicit 
negative comparisons to Russia's unilateral investment in 
South Ossetia.  Manjgaladze responded that the Georgians 
would live up to their commitment to contribute to the OSCE 
Donors' Economic Rehabilitation Projects but defended 
Georgia's right to distribute state funds all over Georgia. 
He claimed that such investment is different from money 
coming into a sovereign country, without consent, from 
another country.  He asked if the U.S. would be providing 
specific comments on Georgia's Memorandum on South Ossetia 
and expressed concern over references to "the right to 
self-determination" when talking about Abkhazia.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) On February 27, Ambassador called on Deputy Foreign 
Minister (DFM) Giorgi Manjgaladze to deliver reftel demarche 
urging Georgia to agree to a date and a time for a meeting of 
the JCC.  Acknowledging that the JCC is stacked against 
Georgia, the Ambassador noted that failure to participate in 
the process would undermine Georgia's - and our - ability to 
gain European support to achieve Georgian goals such as 
broadening the negotiating format.  He noted that the Joint 
Peacekeeping Force (JPKF) Commander had referred the request 
for a checkpoint at Didi Gupta - something we and the 
Europeans had been pushing for - to the next JCC meeting. 
Going to the meeting would result in either moving ahead on 
this issue of vital importance, i.e. stopping the flow of 
weapons and contraband to South Ossetia, or making clear 
Russian and South Ossetian obstructionism. 
 
3. (C) Manjgaladze asked for feedback on the Georgian 
Memorandum on South Ossetia.  Drawing from talking points, 
the Ambassador said that the U.S. found many points in the 
Memorandum positive and consistent with efforts already 
underway but noted that this initiative would have the 
greatest resonance if presented against a backdrop of full 
cooperation on the part of Georgia within the JCC. 
Manjgaladze said he understood from Georgian counterparts in 
Vienna that there would be specific points of feedback; the 
Ambassador agreed to check but based on past exchanges with 
Washington, the U.S. view was overall positive, with the only 
caution from Washington being that the Georgians should be 
careful and flexible on how they deal with the issue of 
Sanakoyev.  He reiterated that this effort will be more 
successful if done in the context of Georgian cooperation 
within the JCC. 
 
4. (C) Noting a recent press report on a Georgian plan to 
invest 3.5 million USD in Georgian-controlled villages in 
South Ossetia, the Ambassador cautioned against actions which 
could elicit negative comparisons to Russia's unilateral 
investment in South Ossetia.  Manjgaladze responded that the 
Georgians would live up to their commitment to contribute to 
the OSCE Donors' Economic Rehabilitation Projects -- the 
first tranche of money was on its way to the OSCE -- but 
defended Georgia's right to distribute state funds all over 
Georgia, including to Georgian villages in South Ossetia.  He 
claimed that such investment is different from money coming 
into a sovereign country, without consent, from another 
country. 
 
5. (C) Turning to Abkhazia, Manjgaladze asked for 
clarification on U.S. statements in New York mentioning 
"territorial integrity" in Abkhazia alongside "the right to 
self-determination."  When pressed, he said that these 
statements were made privately to Georgian representatives in 
New York.  The Ambassador said he would follow-up but assured 
Manjgaladze that the U.S. policy has not changed:  the U.S. 
supports Georgia's territorial integrity within 
internationally recognized borders.  Manjgaladze offered that 
Georgia believes it will be necessary to have a blunt GUAM 
statement on the conflicts that reinforces the point of 
"territorial integrity" after the conclusion of the Kosovo 
process in order to reinforce that the Kosovo case is unique. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

07TBILISI387, SAAKASHVILI DISMISSES ANTI-NATO DEBATE AND

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI387 2007-02-27 06:40 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8455
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0387 0580640
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 270640Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5463
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000387 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG RU
SUBJECT: SAAKASHVILI DISMISSES ANTI-NATO DEBATE AND 
NEUTRALITY 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
 1. (U)  At a February 23 news conference, President 
Saakashvili dismissed as "foolish" the recent public debate 
over whether Georgia's NATO aspirations will prevent it from 
restoring territorial integrity over the separatist regions 
of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The debate began on February 
16, when Traditionalist Party leader Akaki Asatiani stated on 
a popular TV show that the GOG should consider a policy of 
neutrality and abandon its NATO aspirations in order to 
receive unspecified "concessions" from Russia on the 
breakaway regions.  Asatiani was referencing a February 6 
call by Russian Ambassador Kovalenko, for Georgia to become a 
"neutral state." 
 
2. (U) Senior ruling party MPs dismissed Asatiani's comments, 
calling them part of an "anti-NATO campaign" implemented by 
"marginalized Georgian political forces," and sponsored by 
the Kremlin.  Givi Targamadze, chair of the defense and 
security committee in Parliament, said this campaign is 
designed to derail Georgia's NATO bid.  He added the campaign 
is based on two false premises: that if Georgia were to give 
up its NATO bid, then Russia would "restore Georgia's 
territorial integrity over Abkhazia and South Ossetia," and 
that NATO integration would make it impossible for Georgia to 
regain the separatist territories.  The National Movement 
called on all political parties to voice their positions on 
Georgia's NATO accession. 
 
3. (C) During a series of meetings with Ambassador, senior 
opposition leaders including Salome Zourabichvili of 
Georgia's Way and David Usupashvili of the Republican Party 
-- who support NATO accession as a national priority -- said 
that although NATO integration remains popular among 
Georgians, the neutrality argument could have some traction 
if it were perceived to lead to the return of the 
territories, particularily Abkhazia.  They underlined that 
the public consistently ranks restoring Georgia's territorial 
integrity as the number one GOG priority. 
4. (C) Comment: Saakashvili's public dismissal of "trading 
Georgia's NATO aspirations for Russian concessions on the 
separatist regions," is a first step to the ongoing public 
information campaign about the benefits and responsibilities 
of NATO membership.  We will encourage the GOG to follow this 
up with continued outreach efforts.  The resonance this idea 
has in some sectors of the public indicates how important 
reclaiming the separatist territories remain in the minds of 
most Georgians.  End Comment. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

07TBILISI384, Georgia Update February 23

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI384 2007-02-26 13:52 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7759
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0384/01 0571352
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261352Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5453
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000384 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: Georgia Update February 23 
 
 
1. This cable contains current items of political, economic, and 
social interest concerning Georgia during the weeks of February 
10-23. 
 
The 81 Richest Georgians? 
------------------------- 
2. The newspaper Georgian Times stirred up considerable public 
interest with its February 15 list of Georgians with estimated 
wealth above USD 10 million.  The list includes 81 persons living in 
or outside Georgia, many of them former or current members of the 
government.  The biggest news was the appearance of the names of 
former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili and Prime Minister Zurab 
Noghaideli on the list, with USD 250 and USD 75 million dollar 
estimated wealth respectively.  Several members of the parliament 
also were alleged to be millionaires.  The newspaper, whose 
credibility has often been questioned, did not explain the precise 
methodology that was used to compile the list, but said that the 
list was based on capital value owned by individuals and on 
information provided by independent experts and the individuals 
themselves. 
 
Parliament Debates Murder Cases 
------------------------------- 
3. On February 16, the opposition proposed creation of a special 
parliamentary commission to investigate the high-profile murders in 
2006 of Sandro Girgvliani and Amiran Robakidze.  Opposition MPs and 
some human rights activists believe that high-level Interior 
Ministry officials were involved in both murders and have yet to be 
held responsible.  The proposal failed, however, with many ruling 
party MPs arguing that such a commission would be a "vote of no 
confidence in the Prosecutor's Office and the judiciary."   Some 
lawmakers from the ruling party, mainly those with close links to 
Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze, voted for the commission. 
Burjanadze, who was visiting Canada at the time of the vote, had 
said in Parliament February 13 that Georgian courts should shed 
light on the Girgvliani murder case "in a way expected by society." 
 
 
Parliament Focuses on Property Rights 
------------------------------------- 
4. The opposition has called for a property rights protection bill, 
keeping the issue front-and-center since the opening of Parliament's 
spring session.  Opposition factions have prepared a draft law that 
would require a court decision for any confiscation of private 
property, limit the time frame for challenging entries in the public 
register, and require the Prosecutor's Office to investigate every 
case of property confiscation.  Responding to the opposition's call 
for a property rights protection bill, Parliamentary Speaker Nino 
Burjanadze suggested lawmakers set up an inter-faction group to look 
into reported cases of property rights' abuse by the authorities and 
to elaborate a bill to provide additional protection.  Opposition 
MPs welcomed this initiative. 
 
Raising Business Awareness of Parliamentarians 
--------------------------------------------- - 
5. An office of the UK-based International Association of Business 
and Parliament (IABP) opened in the Georgian Parliament on February 
13.  The project, sponsored by EU and other donors, is designed to 
support good governance and economic development through building 
transparent and non-corrupt relationship between business and 
legislators.  IABP is expected to facilitate dialogue between 
business and Parliamentarians on business-related issues.  Speaker 
Burjanadze expressed hope that development of the Georgian model for 
business and Parliament could be transferred to other emerging 
economies. 
 
German FM Visits Tbilisi 
------------------------ 
6. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Tbilisi 
on February 19 and met President Saakashvili, Prime Minister 
Noghaideli and Foreign Minister Bezhuashvili.   Talks focused on the 
role of the EU in the resolution of Georgia's separatist conflicts 
and Germany's stance on Georgia's accession to NATO, as well as 
Georgia's European Neighborhood Policy action plan, Georgian-Russian 
relations and issues related to energy security.  Steinmeier said 
publicly that resolution of the conflicts should not be a 
precondition for the country's NATO membership, although he noted 
that the linkage between these two factors "is a difficult issue." 
Steinmeier said any Kosovo precedent could not be considered 
applicable to the conflicts in Georgia, and added that Germany is 
ready to push for conflict resolution issues in Georgia as part of a 
German-Russia dialogue. 
 
Visits Highlight Investment from Kuwait, UAE 
-------------------------------------------- 
7. Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli visited Kuwait on February 17-19, 
saying afterward that the "Kuwaiti government will invest in energy 
and infrastructure development in Georgia."  The Economic 
Development Fund of Kuwait, which has provided USD 18 million for 
rehabilitation of Tbilisi roads this year, will provide an 
additional USD 720 million for construction of the Namaxvanhesi 
hydro power plant on the Rioni river in 2009-2014, the construction 
of a highway in eastern Georgia
 scheduled for 2008, and (with 
 
TBILISI 00000384  002 OF 002 
 
 
co-financing from Turkish investors) the refurbishment of Batumi 
Airport.  During his visit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 
February 15-17, President Saakashvili reportedly discussed the UAE's 
potential investment of USD 817 million in real estate projects in 
Georgia. 
 
Landing Safely in Tbilisi 
------------------------- 
8. Reviews of the new terminal of the Tbilisi International Airport, 
which opened February 7, have been generally positive but a leaky 
roof led to the resignation of the airport's director February 19. 
The new terminal, with an annual capacity of 2.5 million passengers 
and a total area of 24,000 square meters, was built by a Turkish 
consortium over the past year.  In his opening speech, President 
Saakashvili described the airport as one of the best in Europe. 
Nevertheless, a light rain ten days later caused a leakage in the 
terminal's glass roof, which was followed quickly by the director's 
resignation.  The Batumi Airport in western Georgia, being rebuilt 
by the same consortium, is scheduled to open in May 2007. 
 
New Georgian-Turkish Airline to be Launched 
------------------------------------------- 
9. A new Georgian-Turkish airline is expected to start flights by 
the summer of 2007.  The Georgian Industrial Group (GIG) and Pegasus 
Airlines have signed a memorandum to create a joint venture offering 
competitive prices and western-style services.  GIG is a large 
industrial consortium, which owns cement factories, the Azoti 
fertilizer plant, coal mines, and gas infrastructure assets in 
Georgia.  Pegasus is the oldest private airline in Turkey.  It flies 
Boeing 737-400's and Boeing 737-800's to more than 70 countries. 
 
Prospects for Domestic Gas Production 
------------------------------------- 
10. In February Canargo Energy Corporation began exploration of 
natural gas deposits near Kumisi lake south of Tbilisi.  According 
to a memorandum of understanding signed by the Ministry of Energy 
and Canargo in March 2006, the government will buy the whole amount 
of gas discovered in Kumisi.  Canargo, an oil and gas exploration 
and production company with operations in Georgia and Kazakhstan 
expects initial results of the exploration in the summer of 2007. 
Presently Georgia is net importer of gas, mainly from Russia. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

07TBILISI379, PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI SHARES HIS VIEWS ON CASPIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI379 2007-02-26 07:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7300
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0379/01 0570753
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 260753Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5441
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000379 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC AND EB/ESC/IEC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2017 
TAGS: PREL ENRG ECON GG
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI SHARES HIS VIEWS ON CASPIAN 
REGIONAL POLITICS WITH ASSISTANT SECRETARY SULLIVAN 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, reason 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  In a February 12 meeting with Assistant 
Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Daniel 
 
SIPDIS 
Sullivan, Georgian President Saakashvili gave the Assistant 
Secretary a tour d'horizon of Caucasus and Caspian region 
 
SIPDIS 
politics.  He spoke positively of Karim Masimov, the new 
Prime Minister of Kazakhstan.  Kazakhstan and its President 
Nazarbayev are ready to move closer to the West, he said.  He 
believes Turkmenistan's leaders need to be given more 
exposure to the West, and there is an opportunity to bring 
them along in a moment of Russian confusion about the 
direction that country will take.  In Saakashvili's view, 
Turkey is less resistant to Russian pressure than Georgia, 
Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, and he sees a need for intense 
discussion to keep them a team player in the search for 
alternative gas supplies to Europe.  In comparison, 
Azerbaijan's President is a hero for standing up to the 
Russians and refusing to take their gas.  Putin, as the 
autocrat of Russia, in Saakashvili's opinion, was emotional 
and unpredictably dangerous.  Saakashvili spoke with pride 
about Georgia's economic growth, the economic reforms it has 
undertaken, and his intent to tackle reform of health care 
and the judiciary.  He concluded by welcoming the possibility 
of more U.S. investment in Georgia.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C) A/S Sullivan described his visit to the Caspian, the 
South Caucasus and Turkey as opening the next phase of 
Caspian energy development, after completion of the 
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.  He said the USG is looking 
for ways to continue development of a Southern corridor for 
energy.  He told Saakashvili that his meetings with Kazakh 
officials in Astana were positive.  Saakashvili responded 
that in general, the Kazakhs are cautious, and will wait 
until plans for development are sure and real.  They often 
need a push and encouragement.   The new Kazakh Prime 
Minister, Karim Masimov, is a good partner, in his opinion. 
Saakashvili recommended that the USG support Masimov for his 
desired post in the OSCE, which is something he cares about 
and which will encourage him to engage with the United States 
even more. 
 
3.  (C) Saakashvili believes there are signals that 
Turkmenistan will be more open after the death of President 
Niyazov.  Its new leaders need more information from the 
outside world, to which they have not been exposed.  He said 
that the Russians are not well informed about the situation 
in Turkmenistan, post-Niyazov.  The West, he said, needs to 
send as many missions as possible to the country, to show 
what advantages will derive from closer relations.  He warned 
that the next President of Turkmenistan, Berdymukhamedov, has 
some vague sympathies toward Iran.  He is someone who needs 
"education" and as many visits to the United States as 
possible.  Saakashvili said the need to focus attention on 
Turkmenistan and its large gas reserves is urgent. 
 
4.  (C) Saakashvili expressed disappointment with the Turks 
and their reneging on Prime Minister Erdogan's promise to 
help Georgia with gas from the Turkish volumes from the Shah 
Deniz pipeline.  One can't believe a Turkish yes or no, he 
said.  He somewhat pityingly mentioned the "open blackmail" 
the Russians are practicing on the Turkish government.  The 
pressure is coming at a sensitive time for Turkey, which he 
said is facing a presidential election soon.  He added that 
Turkey has lots of small companies that do business with 
Russia and can be much more easily manipulated than Georgia 
or Azerbaijan. 
 
5.  (C) At the same time, strong words with the GOT are 
needed, he said, to make them focus on the Nabucco pipeline. 
The U.S. and EU need to look for ways to make Nabucco make 
sense.  In that regard, Saakashvili said, nothing can be 
taken for granted.  The Hungarian attitude toward Nabucco is 
uncertain, although the opposition there dislikes the 
country's dependence on Russian gas.  The Romanians are also 
very worried, he added.  Europe needs to present a united 
front on Nabucco. 
 
6.  (C) Moreover, it is time, Saakashvili said, to talk to 
commercial partners about a Black Sea pipeline.  Ukraine is 
interested in such an idea and there is additionally interest 
in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.  In fact, he said, the 
Kazakhs are better equipped to cope with Russian pressure 
than the Turks, especially if the benefits in sending energy 
southward are clear to them.  President Nazarbayev is careful 
not to anger the Russians, but he is inclined to bide his 
time and will make a move in favor of the West when the time 
is right.  Saakashvili said that Nazarbayev cares deeply 
 
TBILISI 00000379  002 OF 003 
 
 
about his standing with the West and believes his legacy lies 
in that direction.  Masimov's appointmen
t is a signal to the 
West of Niyazov's inclination.  Masimov was appointed for his 
good relationship with Europe and China, and he has 
Nazarbayev's ear, Saakashvili said. 
 
7.  (C) When A/S Sullivan remarked that the Kazakh investment 
now pouring into Georgia is a very positive development, 
Saakashvili said that the investment was a political move at 
first, but now Kazakhstan is seeing that it is getting a good 
return.  According to Saakashvili, Nazarbayev's investment in 
Georgia is a way of showing his rapprochement with the United 
States and the West. 
 
8.  (C) Saakashvili spoke warmly of Azerbaijani President 
Aliyev.  Aliyev's decision to forego Russian gas imports was 
"close to political heroism", he said; neither Ukraine's 
Yushchenko nor the Turkmenbashi ever stood up to Russia as 
Aliyev did.  Aliyev's action was inspired by his meeting at 
the White House, Saakashvili said.  He has seen that a 
Russian embargo "doesn't kill you" and is now inspiring 
Nazarbayev and the Kazakhs. In the Russian view, Azerbaijan 
was not an emotional matter like Georgia, but it is 
strategically significant to them.  The Russians, Saakashvili 
said, thought Georgia would fall and Azerbaijan would 
naturally follow. 
 
9.  (C) Saakashvili spoke approvingly of Defense Secretary 
Gates' speech in Munich, which struck the right tone, in his 
opinion.  A/S Sullivan noted that Putin's talk about an OPEC 
for gas actually helps the United States position vis-a-vis 
the Europeans.  To Saakashvili, Putin's rhetoric underscores 
the importance of stability in Georgia to the Southern 
Corridor.  Georgia needs some years to get on its feet, but 
the Russians are working against that.  Russia needs to 
understand Georgia is on the U.S. and EU radar and is not 
falling off.  Putin talked tough in Munich because he thinks 
the United States commitment in the Caspian, the Caucasus and 
elsewhere is slackening, he said.  In Russia, Saakashvili 
said, the West is dealing with one person, not a big, 
cautious bureaucracy.  Putin's actions depend on his mood, he 
said.  His mood took a bad swing in the fall, then improved, 
then swung back again in Munich.  Saakashvili ventured that 
if Putin feels humiliation in the way the Kosovo issue is 
handled, he might blow up the Caucasus region without regard 
for the consequences, believing the way to win is to overturn 
the table.  Putin must be told not to do so, but the 
Europeans would be "scared to death" in such a situation and 
are unlikely to say it.  Saakashvili suggested that Russia 
may even stir up trouble in Belarus, if Lukashenko becomes 
too independent.  Russia is willing to use any means to 
manipulate the West and "don't let's be manipulated," said 
Saakashvili.  Although Russia is not as powerful as the 
former USSR, it is more arrogant and more willing to take 
risks, he said.  The West must engage Russia and think about 
containment. 
 
10.  (C) Turning from regional politics to speak of Georgia, 
Saakashvili accepted A/S Sullivan's commendation for 
Georgia's economic reforms.  Saakashvili was proud that 
Georgia's GDP has doubled in the past four years.  He noted 
that it is seeing a huge influx of foreign direct investment, 
and investors are coming from Kuwait, the UAE, Turkey, 
Israel, and significantly, from Georgians fleeing Russia. 
Investors are interested in hospitals which the government 
intends to privatize.  Judicial reform is on the way; tax 
administration has been made simple, and will be 
consolidated; and the government is considering establishing 
free economic zones similar to some that exist in the UAE. 
Transportation is being revolutionized with new airports, the 
Kars-Akhalkalakhi railway and new road infrastructure. 
Kuwait is interested in building a major new hydroelectric 
dam, and Czech investors have recently bought other 
hydroelectric and distribution assets.  Georgia's economy is 
moving rapidly forward, he said, and in four to five years 
could be like Latvia's and Lithuania's.  Saakashvili said he 
is more interested in strong growth than the threat of 
inflation, which ticked up in January of this year.  A/S 
Sullivan noted that inflation, if unchecked, can be very 
detrimental to Georgia's economy.  Nevertheless, Saakashvili 
feels he has adequate support from the people, and that 
tighter money and an appreciated currency may make "nicer 
figures," but he wants growth in the double digits in order 
to make up for lost time since independence under the 
previous government.  He noted that even Georgia's tormentor, 
Russia, with all its oil wealth, is not growing as quickly as 
Georgia.  He hears people talk less about impoverished 
Georgia than they used to, and he claims that Georgia's GDP 
 
TBILISI 00000379  003 OF 003 
 
 
per capita is now higher than Romania's, when Romania began 
its EU membership process. With its economic growth, 
macroeconomic stability, tariff reductions and WTO 
membership, Georgia will welcome more United States companies 
to invest here, he said. 
 
11. (U) Assistant Secretary Sullivan has cleared this message. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

07TBILISI304, SPEAKER BURJANADZE ON RUSSIA, UKRAINE, REFORMS

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI304 2007-02-14 13:43 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7676
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0304/01 0451343
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141343Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5357
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000304 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: SPEAKER BURJANADZE ON RUSSIA, UKRAINE, REFORMS 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
 1. (C) Summary: During a February 9 meeting with Ambassador, 
Speaker Nino Burjanadze was positive on the recent 
rapprochement with the opposition (septel).  She outlined 
steps the Parliament is planning to strengthen property 
rights and offer amnesty for privatization violations 
committed by ordinary citizens in the past.  On international 
affairs, Burjanadze said that although the west had missed 
"numerous chances" to stand up to Russia on energy issues and 
Russia's treatment of its neighbors, she sensed that Europe 
is waking up to the "growing threat from Russia."  Burjanadze 
said the situation in Ukraine is "hopeless," expressing 
disappointment in President Yushchenko's "failure to act." 
She also voiced comments made to her by former PM Timoshenko, 
that Yushchenko had refused "to compromise in any way" with 
her to form an "Orange" government.  Ambassador passed 
Burjanadze a detailed list of recommended reforms identified 
by the Embassy which will help strengthen democratic 
institutions and the rule of law, expand the economy, and 
advance NATO integration.  Burjanadze welcomed the list of 
recommendations (emailed to CARC).  End Summary. 
 
---------- 
Opposition 
---------- 
 
2. (C) During a February 9 meeting with Ambassador, Speaker 
Burjanadze was positive on the February 6 meeting between 
President Saakashvili and the leaders of three opposition 
parties in Parliament.  Burjanadze, who is a champion of 
greater engagement with the opposition on national strategic 
objectives, said the meeting had helped to create a "normal 
dialogue," but stressed it would take work to keep it going. 
Ambassador said that broader cooperation on common issues 
would help Georgia achieve strategic goals such as NATO 
integration and a peaceful resolution of the separatist 
conflicts.  Burjanadze said she would continue to work with 
"reasonable members" of the opposition through her weekly 
outreach sessions with Parliamentary faction leaders. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
Property Rights and Privatization Amnesty 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Burjanadze said clarifying and strengthening property 
rights would be a key legislative priority when Parliament 
returns to session this month.  Burjanadze said she had 
pushed Saakashvili's adviser on economic affairs, former 
Estonian PM Mart Laar, to raise this with the President.  She 
said it is particularly important that the courts be the 
final arbitrator between the government and private citizens 
when property disputes arise.  Ambassador added that clear 
and strong property protections are also important to attract 
foreign direct investment.  Burjanadze added that the 
Parliament would also focus on offering amnesty for murky 
privatization deals carried out in the past.  She said this 
initiative would help protect "ordinary citizens" but not 
government officials who should expect no immunity from the 
GOG's continuing anti-corruption campaign. 
 
------ 
Russia 
------ 
 
4. (C) Burjanadze said that although the west had missed 
"numerous chances" to stand up to Russia for mistreating its 
neighbors and for using energy resources for political gain, 
she believes "Europe is finally waking up."  In a recent trip 
to France, for example, she said officials were increasingly 
focused on "the growing threat from Russia."  She said 
Russia's recent call for Georgia to be a "neutral country" 
was ridiculous, adding that Russia still fails to acknowledge 
Georgia as an "independent country."  Until it does so, 
relations will likely remain poor. 
 
------- 
Ukraine 
------- 
 
5. (C) Burjanadze said the situation in Ukraine was 
"hopeless" expressing disappointment in President 
Yushchenko's "failure to act."  She added that Saakashvili 
told her that during a recent three day meeting between 
himself and Yushchenko, that Yushchenko refused to engage and 
talk about politics.  Burjanadze also voiced comments made to 
her by close confidante and former PM Timoshenko, that 
Yushchenko had refused "to compromise in any way" with 
Timoshenko to form an "Orange" government.  Burjanadze said 
this was a dire mistake as Timoshenko had been the "main 
player" behind the Orange Revolution. 
 
------------------- 
 
TBILISI 00000304  002 OF 002 
 
 
Recommended Reforms 
------------------- 
 
6. (C) Acknowledging the progress of the last three years, 
Ambassador passed Burjanadze a detailed list of recommended 
reforms developed by the Embassy that will help strengthen 
Georgia's democratic institutions and the rule of law, expand 
the economy, and advance NATO integration.  Burjanadze 
welcomed the list and looking through it, agreed that each 
step was necessary and achievable.  She noted that several 
were already in the process of implementation.  Burjanadze 
asked Ambassador to share the list with other high-level 
members of the GOG.  She said specific recommendations from 
the U.S. were importa
nt to GOG reform efforts and encouraged 
the Ambassador to continue to share reform priorities 
identified by the Embassy. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

07TBILISI303, OSCE PROVIDES SNAPSHOT OF SOUTH OSSETIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI303 2007-02-14 13:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7650
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0303/01 0451337
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 141337Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5355
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000303 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/09/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID OSCE GG
SUBJECT: OSCE PROVIDES SNAPSHOT OF SOUTH OSSETIA 
 
REF: A. (A) TBILISI 0219 
 
     B. (B) TBILISI 0194 
     C. (C) TBILISI 0078 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b)&(d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) OSCE officials shared with us several interesting bits 
of news and analysis about South Ossetia during a recent 
visit to Tskhinvali.  Head of Mission (HOM) Roy Reeve said 
Russian officials had told him in Moscow that the South 
Ossetian decision to declare Georgian Deputy State Minister 
for Conflict Resolution Ruslan Abashidze "persona non grata" 
-- in response to Abashidze's visit to the headquarters of 
the pro-Georgian "alternative government" -- was "foolish." 
Reeve was confident that the South Ossetians, under pressure 
from the Russians, would soon lift the ban on Abashidze. 
OSCE officials suggested that Sanakoyev was making some 
in-roads in the separatist-controlled parts of South Ossetia, 
having gained popularity at the expense of the Tskhinvali 
authorities in a recent dispute over mandarin orange 
shipments.  Reeve also suggested that the Joint Peacekeeping 
Force (JPKF) commander was making more of an effort to be 
even-handed, largely thanks to the helpful presence of the 
new Georgian peacekeeping battalion commander.  End Summary. 
 
The "De Factos" vs. "The Alternatives" 
-------------------------------------- 
2. (C) Accompanying a USAID visit to Tskhinvali February 8 
for meetings with OSCE, de facto authorities, and others 
(assistance-related information from the visit will be 
reported septel), Poloff learned from Reeve that Russia was 
pressing the South Ossetians to lift the travel ban on 
Abashidze.  Reeve said Russian officials had called the ban 
"foolish" (Duratskii) in meetings during Reeve's visit to 
Moscow February 3-4.  Reeve said the South Ossetians were 
currently looking for a face-saving way to lift the ban, 
which he noted had been imposed in a "fit of pique" because 
Abashidze had visited "alternative government" leader 
Sanakoyev in Kurta following a meeting with de facto 
officials in Tskhinvali (ref B).  Reeve said that as soon as 
Abashidze was free to travel, the next meeting of the 
Steering Committee for the donors' economic rehabilitation 
projects would be held in Tskhinvali. 
 
3. (C) OSCE's Ryan Grist, who as coordinator of the economic 
rehabilitation project spends much of his time in Tskhinvali, 
said it was his sense that South Ossetian society was divided 
on Sanakoyev, with some people emphasizing that he had fought 
bravely in the war against the Georgians, while others 
claimed he had taken his recent pro-Georgian stance because 
of gambling debts.  Vakhtang Dzhigkaev, an Ossetian expert 
with the OSCE's USAID-funded Economic Development Center, 
said that while he had initially thought Ossetians would 
never support a pro-Georgian alternative power structure, 
people's attitudes were now changing because of the de facto 
authorities' mistakes. 
 
4. (C) Most notable, Dzhigkaev said, was the dispute over the 
truckloads of mandarin oranges blocked from entering Russia 
(ref C).  As Dzhigkaev explained, the incident began late 
last year when some truckers successfully transported 
mandarins, falsely labeled as being from Abkhazia but in 
reality from Ajara in government-controlled Georgia, into 
Russia via South Ossetia, thereby evading the Russian ban on 
Georgian agricultural goods.  Learning of this, many more 
South Ossetian truckers bought large quantities of mandarins, 
and paid export "fees" to South Ossetian authorities, only to 
be stopped at the Russian checkpoint when Russia began 
enforcing the ban more strictly in November.  Some truckers, 
who had gone heavily into debt to buy the oranges, remained 
with their trucks near the Roki tunnel in protest, but they 
received no sympathy from de facto president Kokoity, who 
criticized them even though his subordinates had taken money 
from them.  It was in this atmosphere that Sanakoyev offered 
to buy all the mandarins at approximately half value.  Six 
truckers accepted the offer, and all were promptly jailed by 
the authorities.  (Comment: Everyone assumes Sanakoyev got 
the funds to make this offer from either the Georgian 
government or wealthy individuals allied with it.  End 
Comment.)  Dzhigkaev said Sanakoyev had taken the oranges he 
bought to a processing plant in Georgia. 
 
5. (C) Reeve said that although OSCE was avoiding contact 
with Sanakoyev's administration, he understood that uniformed 
individuals had been seen in Georgian-controlled areas 
wearing new badges -- apparently police forces of the 
"alternative government."  Reeve added that Georgia had 
always had a free hand in managing these areas. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000303  002 OF 002 
 
 
A Lull in Shootings 
------------------- 
6. (C) OSCE military monitors expressed relief that there had 
not been a recurrence since February 3 of the nightly &#x0
00A;shootings that had recently erupted near Tskhinvali (ref A). 
Reeve and the observers noted that for the first time they 
had established which side had started one of the shootings: 
two JPKF peacekeepers (one Georgian, one Russian) confirmed 
that the South Ossetians had started an exchange of fire near 
Nikozi.  Reeve suggested the revelation of this information 
was part of a pattern of increasing even-handedness by the 
JPKF, whose Russian leadership has long been criticized as 
pro-Ossetian.  Reeve indicated that Georgian and 
international complaints about the JPKF's ineffectiveness may 
be having some effect on the commander, General Kulakhmetov. 
Even more important, he said, was having the new Georgian 
peacekeeping battalion commander on the ground, where he 
could exert some influence on the JPKF.  The previous 
Georgian commander, who Reeve described as a close associate 
of former Defense Minister Okruashvili, had been barred from 
the area because the South Ossetians accused him of "war 
crimes" in a previous post in 2004. 
 
The Georgian Radar 
------------------ 
7. (C) OSCE military observers briefed the group on 
violations in the zone of conflict, noting that the majority 
occurred on the South Ossetian side.  They gave some 
background on one of the more notable cases involving 
Georgia, explaining that the radar installation near Gori is 
not a violation in itself -- because it is not a weapon -- 
but the 5 or 6 armed individuals guarding it constitute a 
violation. 
 
Comment 
------- 
8. (C) The Russians' negative reaction to the South Ossetian 
PNGing of Abashidze suggests their support for Kokoity may 
not be unflinching.  We are beginning to suspect there may be 
some significance in Russia's silence regarding Sanakoyev, 
which contrasts sharply with Kokoity's strident reaction to 
him.  Time will tell, but for the moment it appears Kokoity's 
position is weakening at home -- and perhaps in Moscow as 
well.  End Comment. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

07TBILISI263, SOUTH CAUCASUS SUMMIT ENERGY RESULTS DISAPPOINT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI263 2007-02-09 14:42 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3339
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0263/01 0401442
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 091442Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5311
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000263 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC AND EB/ESC/IEC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/28/2017 
TAGS: ENRG PREL GG TU AJ
SUBJECT: SOUTH CAUCASUS SUMMIT ENERGY RESULTS DISAPPOINT 
GEORGIA 
 
REF: TBILISI 240 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, reason 1.4(b) and (d) 
 
1. (C) Summary: IN a February 8 meeting with DCM Mark X. 
Perry, Valeri Chechelashvili, Deputy Minister of Foreign 
Affairs of Georgia expressed strong disappointment that the 
February 7 meeting of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, 
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian President 
Saakashvili, along with meetings of Energy and Trade 
Ministers of the three countries, did not produce better 
results in terms of securing gas supplies for Georgia. 
Turkey insisted on supplying its promised gas before July 1, 
2007, and pushed for ambiguous language about securing the 
rights of the Turkish oil company BOTAS.  The three countries 
finalized an agreement for constructing the Kars-Baku 
railway, despite some Georgian reservations about its impact 
on its Black Sea ports and relations with Armenia.  The 
leaders' meeting resulted in "The Tbilisi Declaration on a 
Common Vision for Regional Cooperation" that is long on 
generalities and short on specifics.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C) During the meeting, Saakashvili, Erdogan and Aliyev 
signed an agreement confirming construction of the 
Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway (reftel).  Chechelashvili said 
the project was signed by Georgia despite the GOG's concerns 
about the impacts on Georgia's Black Sea ports.  The project 
is important to Georgia's number one and two trade partners, 
Turkey and Azerbaijan, and so it will go forward, he said. 
Georgia is well aware of Armenia's opposition to the project, 
and before the deal was signed, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Bezhuashvili talked to the Armenian Foreign Minister to allay 
his fears.  President Saakashvili publicly mentioned 
Georgia's interest in good relations with Armenia in the 
presence of both Erdogan and Aliyev, Chechelashvili said. 
Saakashvili was quoted in reports of the event as saying 
Georgia does not want any country of the region to be 
isolated from regional cooperation.  Chechelashvili said that 
Georgia wants to do what it can to help Armenia have 
transport capacity.  For the past year, Georgia has allowed 
Armenian trucks to use its roads free of transit fees, 
although this gesture lost importance when the Russians 
closed the only legal border crossing into Russia in 
mid-2006.  Armenia has reciprocated for Georgian truckers but 
free transit through Armenia is not especially useful to 
Georgia, Chechelashvili said.  The GOG hopes the project will 
have positive impact on the impoverished region of 
Samskhe-Javakheti, where many Armenian people live.  The 
exchange facility from European to CIS gauge railroad track 
is located in the region and will create jobs.  Improved 
electricity connections to Turkey are expected to help the 
area as well.  Chechelashvili mentioned the $200 million, 25 
year, 1% interest loan with no state guarantee required that 
Azerbaijan is providing to Georgia to fund the railroad 
project. 
 
3.  (C) Chechelashvili was deeply disappointed in the Turkish 
approach to the energy problems in the region.  He said that 
Turkey had essentially repudiated its promise to supply gas 
to Georgia in 2007 by attaching conditions to it that make it 
useless to Georgia.  He said that in preparatory meetings, 
Turkish Energy Ministry staff presented proposed language for 
the declaration that the Georgians found acceptable. 
However, during the meeting of the Energy Ministers in 
Tbilisi, Turkish Minister Guler pulled that version and, with 
the help of a stern and uncooperative representative of BOTAS 
attending the meeting, wrote a new one.  Guler's new version 
called for "securing the interests of BOTAS" and would 
postpone commencement of Turkey's obligation to take Shah 
Deniz gas until July. 
 
4. (U) This new language was not agreed to and the 
Declaration states: 
 
"Together, we agree to establish long-term and predictable 
mechanisms that ensure the energy security of all three 
nations through the reliable, timely and commercially based 
provison of gas and electricity based on the infrastructure 
projects referenced herein. (Note: This refers to the 
Baku-Ceyhan, Baku-Supsa and Shah Deniz pipelines.)  Taking 
into consideration the energy needs of our countries we 
appreciate the start of exploitation of Shahdeniz (sic) gas 
condensed field located in the Azerbgijan sector of the 
Caspian Sea.  We agree to continue to cooperate in order to 
meet mutual needs for reliable and sustainable gas supplies." 
 
5. (C)  Chechelashvili said that forcing Georgia to receive 
its gas before July 1 is useless to Georgia, since it has no 
 
TBILISI 00000263  002 OF 002 
 
 
storage capability and no real need for gas in the summer. 
He said the economic shock of the increase in the price of 
Russian gas will impact Georgia most strongly in 2007 and by 
next year the economy will have adjusted for the most part. 
Also, more hydropower capacity w
ill be coming on line over 
the next few years, reducing the need for gas. 
Chechelashvili said he got the feeling that Turkey simply did 
not want to share its Shah Deniz gas, and that Georgia had 
been wasting its time in negotiations with the Turks since 
October or November.  As a result, Georgia will have to plan 
for continued reliance on Russian gas for the next three or 
four years.  In his opinion, the Turks' short-term object is 
simply to avoid penalties for being unable to receive gas 
before July 1.  He added that the Turk's negotiator, a Mr. 
Uman (possibly Resit Uman) admitted that the GOT is under 
pressure from Russia has to take its interests into account. 
Chechelashvili felt that the way the Tbilisi meeting and 
negotiations were handled by Turkey indicates that Erdogan's 
political capacity is more limited than previously thought. 
 
6.  (C) Asked what support Azerbaijan had given Georgia in 
the discussions with Turkey, Chechelashvili said they had 
been helpful.  Apparently this was not sufficient to 
influence the Turks, however. 
 
7.  (U) Chechelashvili said there was no detailed discussion 
of free trade with Turkey but he fears that achieving an FTA 
may become more difficult.  The Declaration announces 
agreement to support construction of a new electicity 
transmission line from Azerbaijan, through Georgia and into 
Turkey. 
TEFFT

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