Monthly Archives: April 2007

07TBILISI1001, REPORT: ABKHAZ PRESSURING GEORGIAN STUDENTS TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1001 2007-04-30 10:03 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0986
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6219
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS TBILISI 001001 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: REPORT: ABKHAZ PRESSURING GEORGIAN STUDENTS TO 
CHANGE CITIZENSHIP 
 
 
On April 30, Georgian media reported that Abkhaz officials 
are demanding that 70 ethnic Georgian students attending 
Sukhumi University renounce their Georgian citizenship and 
take Abkhaz citizenship or be expelled from the university. 
The Abkhaz demand reportedly came after Georgian and Abkhaz 
students demonstrated in front of the court building where 
three Georgian students are being tried for illegally 
crossing the Abkhaz-Georgian border on March 1.  Atanas 
Baltov, United Nations Observer Mission to Georgia (UNOMIG) 
Senior Political Officer, said that UNOMIG has been unable to 
confirm the report but that their human rights officer in 
Sukhumi would investigate.  UNOMIG was also unable to confirm 
a separate Georgian media report alleging that Abkhaz 
officials are threatening ethnic Georgians living in 
Ochimchira with eviction from their homes unless they adopt 
Abkhaz citizenship and pay a USD 5,000 fine. 
TEFFT

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07TBILISI996, RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE WITHDRAWAL FROM GEORGIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI996 2007-04-30 06:31 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0674
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FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6214
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000996 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE WITHDRAWAL FROM GEORGIA 
RESUMES 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Russia appears ready to complete its 
withdrawal from its military base in Akhalkalaki and to 
finish removing all heavy equipment from its base in Batumi 
in 2007.  On April 13, the first of five convoys of Russian 
arms and equipment left the Russian military base in 
Akhalkalaki for the Russian 102nd military base in Gyumri, 
Armenia.  According to George Zakarashvili, Director of the 
Russia Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the 
Russians are withdrawing their personnel and equipment ahead 
of schedule, and are on target to close the Akhalkalaki base 
by July 1, 2007.  Withdrawal of 13 trainloads of heavy 
equipment from Batumi to Russia is scheduled to begin in 
mid-May and be completed by August 23, 2007.  Final 
withdrawal of the remaining personnel and equipment from 
Batumi will happen in 2008.  The status of the remaining 
Russian base at Gudauta, in the breakaway province of 
Abkhazia, remains unclear, and Zakarashvili said that 
negotiations between Russia and Georgia on the issue have 
broken off since last year.  End Summary. 
 
Russia ahead of schedule 
------------------------ 
 
2.  (C)  Zakarashvili told Poloff on April 26 that Russia was 
ahead of schedule in its base withdrawal activities. 
Akhalkalaki will be closed by July 1, he said, which is far 
ahead of the stated deadline of October 1.  Three vehicle 
convoys of equipment have already left Akhalkalaki and two 
remain.  He also said that the withdrawal of heavy equipment 
from Batumi will be complete by August 23, which is also 
ahead of schedule.  He said that the one positive outcome 
from the recent tensions between Georgia and Russia has been 
the Russian acceleration of the base withdrawal process. 
 
Gudauta status still unresolved 
------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C)  Zakarashvili said that the GoG does not consider the 
Russian base at Gudauta to be closed, contrary to Russian 
assertions, and wants to have regular, unannounced 
international monitoring trips to the base.  He said the GoG 
was confident that the base at Gudauta was an active military 
base and not a CIS peacekeeping base, and would like an 
international monitoring team to confirm this.  Negotiations 
with Russia over the status of the base broke off last year, 
he said, and have not resumed.  When asked if he thought the 
Gudauta issue could be resolved independently of a political 
solution to Abkhazia, he replied that the closure of Gudauta 
was a Russian obligation under the 1999 Istanbul Commitments 
and thus was a separate issue. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
4.  (C)  Russia appears on track to deliver on its commitment 
to fully withdraw from its base in Akhalkalaki by the end of 
2007 and from its base in Batumi by 2008, however the Russian 
base at Gudauta remains an issue.  It is unclear at this time 
whether recent comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin 
and Foreign Minister Lavrov on Russia's possible withdrawal 
from the Conventional Forces Europe (CFE) treaty will affect 
future withdrawals of Russian equipment and personnel from 
its bases in Georgia.  Except for Gudauta, there remains 
little left to remove. 
 
TEFFT

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07TBILISI992, GEORGIA: DRAFT TIFA DELIVERED TO GOG, RUSSIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI992 2007-04-27 13:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

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FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6210
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000992 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC AND EB/TPP/BTA 
COMMERCE FOR 4231 DANICA STARKS 
STATE PASS USTR FOR PAUL BURKHEAD 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/25/2017 
TAGS: ETRD PREL USTR WTO GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: DRAFT TIFA DELIVERED TO GOG, RUSSIA 
UNRESPONSIVE ON WTO 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, reason 1.4(b) and (d) 
 
TIFA TEXT DELIVERED 
-------------------- 
 
1.  (C) On April 18, Econoff met with Tamara Kovsiridze, 
Deputy Minister of Economic Development, and delivered a copy 
of the draft TIFA approved by the Trade Policy Staff 
Committee and USTR.  Kovsiridze asked for a formal 
transmittal of the text by letter signed by the Ambassador, 
which we delivered to the Ministry on April 25.  Kovsiridze 
said that the text will be circulated to the Ministries for 
comment, seeking possible changes.  She expects the text, 
with modifications, if any, can be returned to USTR within 
two weeks.  She said that the Ministry of Economic 
Development will translate the text in to Georgian so it can 
be considered by the other ministries.  However, she said it 
will be acceptable to the GOG to sign it only in English. 
 
TALKS WITH RUSSIA ON WTO ACCESSION STALLED 
------------------------------------------ 
 
2.  (C) Kovsiridze said that no discussions with the Russian 
government about Russia's WTO accession have been had since 
February when the parties met in Geneva.  She recently sent a 
letter to the Russian negotiators inviting them to talks in 
Tbilisi, with a copy to the WTO secretariat, but has had no 
response.  The letter also seeks an expression in writing of 
the Russians' legal basis for maintaining checkpoints on the 
Russian border with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which the GOG 
considers illegal because there is no agreement with the GOG 
for their existence.  Kovsiridze says she needs this 
information to complete the GOG's brief to the WTO 
secretariat in support of its position.  Resolution of the 
 
SIPDIS 
illegal checkpoints issue remains Georgia's sine qua non for 
permitting Russia's WTO accession process to proceed. 
Kovsiridze continues to point to the situation on the border 
of Transdnistria with Ukraine, with joint control by both 
countries and EU monitoring, as a model for resolution of the 
border checkpoints in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 
 
3.  (C) Kovsiridze said that the GOG has recently been 
informed by the Russian government that the one legal border 
crossing from Georgia into Russia at Upper Lars will remain 
closed until the end of 2008 "because of construction".  The 
border was closed on two day's notice by the Russians in July 
2006. 
 
4.  (C) Comment: Other than Georgia, Russia's bilateral 
negotiations are still active with Cambodia, Vietnam and 
Guatemala.  Despite optimistic sounds from Russia, 
discussions with Georgia are not progressing smoothly.  The 
border checkpoint issue is very important to Georgia, since 
it cuts to the heart of the issue of Georgian territorial 
integrity. 
TEFFT

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07TBILISI932, Ambassador’s meeting with High School of Justice and High

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI932 2007-04-25 12:12 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0002
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RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3910
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA 0293
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0295
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0027
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2118

UNCLAS TBILISI 000932 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC, EUR/RPM, AND DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: Ambassador's meeting with High School of Justice and High 
Council of Justice 
 
 
1.  Summary: Ambassador met with representatives of the Georgian 
High School of Justice (HSOJ) and High Council of Justice to discuss 
the HSOJ's progress on meeting the legislatively imposed deadline 
for launching a fourteen-month training course for newly appointed 
judges.  With less then the six months to go before the October 
deadline, the HSOJ has not yet finalized the curriculum nor retained 
the instructors.  Ambassador Tefft stressed the critical nature of 
meeting the deadline for launching the mandatory course for the 
Georgian Government to demonstrate progress in the area of judicial 
reform to continue along the path to NATO membership.  He also said 
the US government is willing to provide assistance in promoting 
judicial reform efforts.  End Summary. 
 
2.  On April 20, Ambassador Tefft met with the Director of the HSOJ 
David Saakashvili, Deputy Director Shota Rukhadze and the Secretary 
of the High Council of Justice Valeri Tsertsvadze to discuss the 
legislatively imposed deadline for launching the training course for 
newly appointed judges.  According to Rukhadze, the staff of the 
school is still elaborating the curriculum, including by reviewing 
different models from other countries such as Spain, France and 
Latvia.  Because the concept of the HSOJ is based on Western 
European models (predominately the French system) the Council of 
Europe is providing assistance in the development of the curriculum. 
 Rukhadze said the HSOJ asked the French for assistance, but he 
added that the Georgians expect their HSOJ curriculum to most 
closely resemble East European models.  According to Saakashvili, 
the HSOJ will devote two meetings to the issue of establishing the 
curriculum.  One will be held in Strasbourg and the broader one will 
be held in Tbilisi with the participation of donor countries.  The 
HSOJ anticipates that a draft final curriculum will be shared with 
the donor community in late June. 
 
3.  However, even if the curriculum is established, the HSOJ has not 
yet identified or retained a sufficient number of qualified 
instructors.  According to Saakashvili, though the Georgians are 
prepared to use judges as instructors, they recognize that most of 
the judges are overwhelmed by their workload and have no time to 
sufficiently prepare to lead the training.  Tsertsvadze added that 
High Council of Justice is trying to simplify the procedures and 
legislation to assist judges.  The Ambassador encouraged the 
representatives of the HSOJ to consider retaining international 
experts and/or hiring permanent staff to promote high quality 
instruction rather than simply relying on judges to provide the 
training.  Saakashvili said he envisages using "permanent teaching 
staff" in the future and is even considering using the Western 
European model of seconded judges as trainers. 
 
4.  The representatives anticipate that the initial class at the 
HSOJ will consist of 25 judges.  They pointed out, however, that 
this is not a sufficient number to fill the over 100 current 
vacancies in the courts.  According to Tsertsvadze, during the last 
two years the High Council of Justice managed to appoint only 
126-128 judges.  In May, the High Council of Justice expects to 
conduct qualification exams and to appoint 20-25 more judges.  In 
addition, after the training starts in the HSOJ, the new judges will 
be appointed as magistrate judges upon the completion of the 
theoretical part of the training, to provide them with practical 
experience and to fill critical vacancies.  However, according to 
current plans, the fourteen-month course will not be conducted on a 
rolling basis.  Therefore, there may be a gap in filling all 
vacancies in the judiciary since new judges must complete the 
fourteen-month training before taking the bench.  The Ambassador 
once again stressed the critical nature of meeting the deadline for 
launching the course. 
 
5.  At the end of the meeting, Ambassador Tefft once again offered 
USG assistance in promoting judicial reform and for that purpose 
asked that the representatives keep the Embassy informed about 
developments and needs. 
 
Tefft

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07TBILISI927, GEORGIAN LABOR UNIONS SEEK DIALOGUE WITH THE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI927 2007-04-25 08:41 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

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DE RUEHSI #0927/01 1150841
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INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000927 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC AND DRL 
COMMERCE FOR 4132 DANICA STARKS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ELAB ECON GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN LABOR UNIONS SEEK DIALOGUE WITH THE 
GOVERNMENT 
 
REF: TBILISI 00873 
 
TBILISI 00000927  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. On April 20, PolEcon deputy and Econoff met with 
approximately 20 trade union delegates to the Georgian Trade 
Unions Confederation (GTUC), representing almost 63,000 
unionized workers from Telasi electricity distribution, 
BatumiTex Textiles, Adjara civil service, EnergyInvest (which 
operates the Azoti chemical plant in Rustavi), Rustavi city 
council, Abkhazia civil servants in exile, and auto 
transport, railway, construction, and subway trades.  Absent 
at the meeting because of a schedule conflict were delegates 
representing over 100,000 teachers, whose union is the 
largest in Georgia.  Most of the trade union delegates 
explained that since the Rose Revolution, their unions have 
grown as they have dismissed corrupt leadership, in tune with 
the government's crackdown on corruption.  Much of the 
unions' growth comes from reactivation of members who were 
disenchanted with widespread corruption at the top of their 
organizations.  Union delegates are participating in a series 
of three-day leadership training workshops, led by Robert 
Fielding of the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center, based in Kyiv. 
Fielding is helping them to train their colleagues in the 
principles of democratic trade unionism, organizing and 
collective bargaining.  Pol/Econ deputy told the delegates 
that the United States Embassy is not only interested in the 
issues of foreign business managers, but also in 
understanding the problems of workers and their unions.  He 
emphasized that democratic trade unions play an important 
role in American politics and are one of the factors that 
helped to build the middle class in America. 
 
2. GTUC President Irakli Petriashvili said the Confederation 
tries its best to defend workers' rights and not let populist 
political parties change the labor movement's goals. 
Delegates expressed strong support for the democratic 
development and economic stability of Georgia -- before even 
discussing economic goals or their problems with the 
Saakashvili government and with employers.  Petriashvili said 
that many union members had asked him if it was a good idea 
to support Shalva Natelashvili's Labor Party's call for a 
nationwide strike to protest the government's new tax 
proposals (reftel).  He said that he discouraged their 
participation because he views the demonstrations as an 
attempt by Natelashvili and others to exploit social issues 
as a way to power, not based on any sincere concern for 
workers.  However, he warned that the government risks 
alienating workers if it ignores their concerns, and that 
workers and their unions could fall for populist appeals such 
as Natelashvili's.  The delegates themselves said they prefer 
to work toward political stability within the current system 
and that they recognize their stake in Georgian democratic 
reforms and the success of business in rebuilding the 
economy.  Their main desire is that the government conduct a 
good faith dialogue with them. 
 
3.  Delegates said there is nothing that approximates the 
European style of tripartite social dialogue in Georgia. 
Although the majority of employees in most of their 
workplaces are unionized, their power is not commensurate 
with their large memberships.  Only a minority of members are 
active in the labor movement.  They believe the new Labor 
Code in Georgia skews the playing field excessively in the 
favor of employers -- mainly by permitting dismissal of 
workers for any reason without notice.  (Note: Although this 
is true in the U.S., it is a departure from European and 
Soviet norms and therefore a shock to Georgian workers.  End 
Note.)  This allows management a free hand; for example, the 
management of the Tbilisi metro cancelled danger pay for 
tunnel workers after the Labor Code was passed and has 
induced more employees to work more than a 40-hour week.  The 
delegates claimed that New Zealand has lost jobs as a result 
of its overly liberal labor code, and said Georgia may 
encounter similar problems.  The delegates told of one 
success, however, when a Georgian judge ruled that the 
Ministry of Education is obligated to engage in collective 
bargaining with the teachers' union, setting a precedent for 
the government as a whole.  They said that Minister of 
Education Kakha Lomaia is reputed to have remarked afterward 
that "Georgia does not need trade unions".  He supposedly 
offered the victorious attorney for the teacher's union a job 
in the Ministry of Education at a much higher salary. 
 
4. COMMENT.  Fielding mentioned that during a recent meeting 
with State Minister for Reform Coordination Kakha Bendukidze, 
he was surprised at Bendukidze's openness to working with the 
 
TBILISI 00000927  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
Solidarity Center and Georgian labor representatives. 
Despite his reputation as a supporter of a free ha
nd for 
business and a self-avowed libertarian, Bendukidze agreed 
that in the end, both the unions and the GoG have the same 
goals of democratic and political stability.  We believe the 
labor unions will maintain their commitment to social 
stability for the time being, but their ability to keep labor 
peace may slowly erode if general economic conditions remain 
hard and the government is seen as continuously indifferent 
to the concerns of workers.  The Embassy will continue to 
report on developments in the trade union movement.  END 
COMMENT. 
TEFFT

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07TBILISI918, GEORGIA RELEASES CHAKABERIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI918 2007-04-24 12:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4971
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0918 1141203
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 241203Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6147
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000918 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA RELEASES CHAKABERIA 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 861 
     B. TBILISI 759 
     C. TBILISI 747 (NOTAL) 
     D. TBILISI 739 
     E. TBILISI 489 
     F. TBILISI 459 
     G. 06 TBILISI 3250 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b)&(d). 
 
(C) Officials at the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) 
told us that the Georgian MFA had informed them that the 
Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs had released Pridon 
Chakaberia early on April 23, and that Chakaberia was on his 
way from Kutaisi to his home in the Gali district. 
Chakaberia, an ethnic Georgian local official in 
Abkhaz-controlled Gali, had been arrested by Georgian 
officials in Zugdidi December 2006 (ref G), and subsequently 
convicted of charges connected to heroin possession and false 
documents.  International observers reported significant 
deficiencies in his trial (ref A).  Georgian officials had 
indicated to the Abkhaz at Geneva meetings in February (ref 
F) that they would be willing to release Chakaberia, as part 
of a sequence in which the Abkhaz released Georgian 
prisoners, but these plans appeared to stall after the Abkhaz 
jailed three Georgian students during a protest along the 
cease-fire line in March (ref E); the trial of these students 
has been postponed but they remain in Abkhaz custody.  During 
his visit in late March, DAS Bryza stressed to a number of 
Georgian officials that releasing Chakaberia could help to 
reduce tensions (ref B, C, and D). 
 
TEFFT

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07TBILISI894, Georgia Bi-Weekly Update April 20

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI894 2007-04-20 11:56 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1953
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DE RUEHSI #0894/01 1101156
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6133
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000894 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: Georgia Bi-Weekly Update April 20 
 
REF: 06 TBILISI 3144 
 
1. This cable contains current items of political, economic, and 
social interest concerning Georgia during the weeks of April 7-20. 
 
Controversy over Border Monastery 
--------------------------------- 
2. A longstanding controversy over the border with Azerbaijan -- and 
specifically over the David Gareji cave monastery complex on the 
Georgian side -- came to the fore during the past week, following 
controversial statements by officials in both countries. 
Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalap Khalapov was quoted 
referring to David Gareji as an Albanian monastery that "Baku would 
not give up."  Then Georgian Minister of Culture Goka Gabashvili 
proposed establishing a "free tourist zone" on the territory of the 
monastery to be shared by both sides.  Khalapov's statement produced 
an angry response from Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili, 
who said Khalapov should "read up on world history."  Gabashvili's 
initiative triggered an equally angry reaction from the Georgian 
Orthodox Church, and led some opposition figures to accuse the 
government of trading a Georgian monument for Azerbaijani gas. 
 
Armenian Language and Election Draw Crowds 
------------------------------------------ 
3. Protesters in Akhalkalaki, an area with a large ethnic Armenian 
population, called April 14 for the Armenian language to receive the 
status of administrative language of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, 
which would permit all official business to be conducted in 
Armenian.  The protest was reportedly organized by local nationalist 
parties Javakhk and Virk.  At the same time, several candidates in 
May's Armenian parliamentary elections visited Akhalkalaki to 
underline their family roots in the area and to promote their 
candidacies among locals with relatives in Armenia. 
 
Conservative Party Calls for New National Day 
--------------------------------------------- 
4. Conservative Party leader Zviad Dzidziguri called for April 9 to 
be designated Georgian independence day, replacing the current date 
of May 26 -- the day Georgia proclaimed its independence in 1918. 
April 9 is the date of Georgia's 1991 independence declaration, 
under Zviad Gamsakhurdia, and was also the date of a 1989 massacre 
in which Russian troops killed 20 demonstrators in Tbilisi.  The 
date is associated with Gamsakhurdia in the public mind, and 
Dzidziguri, a former Gamsakhurdia ally, may have been appealing to 
residual public support for Georgia's first president.  In response 
to the proposal, Speaker Burjanadze noted that people are accustomed 
to celebrating on May 26. 
 
Batumi Booming 
-------------- 
5. Economic development in Batumi continues to boom.  During an 
April 6-9 visit, Poloff stayed in the comfortable and renovated 
Intourist Hotel, noted the opening of many new restaurants and cafes 
in the last year, and saw an increased use of the newly refurbished 
boardwalk along the coast -- which was peppered with walkers, 
joggers, and tourists.  The improvement continues with the visible 
construction of a line of hotels along the coast as well as freshly 
(and colorfully) painted buildings in town.  As Poloff heard from a 
local artist working on a mural at the hotel, employment remains an 
issue, but the signs of improvement and economic growth seem more 
visible here than any other part of the country except perhaps 
Tbilisi. 
 
Foreign Direct Investment Skyrockets 
------------------------------------ 
6. According to the government's newly released foreign direct 
investment (FDI) statistics, Georgia made impressive progress over 
the past year.  FDI more than doubled in 2006, reaching USD 1.14 
billion, up from USD 450 million in 2005.  The U.K., the U.S. and 
Kazakhstan were the top three investors with USD 182 million, USD 
181.9 million and USD 152 million respectively, followed by Turkey, 
Norway and Azerbaijan.  Russia with USD 27.8 took eleventh place in 
the list, much lower than in 2005 (USD 38.7).  Prime Minister Zurab 
Noghaideli said FDI was expected to reach USD 1.5-1.7 billion in 
2007.  The new figures raised the eyebrows of many analysts, who 
questioned the reliability of the data, especially with regard to 
the U.S. and U.K. numbers.  In fact, we understand that the U.S. 
investment figures were inflated by the USD 130 million stock 
offering by the Bank of Georgia on the London Stock Exchange.  The 
market maker for the stock was a New York bank, hence the investment 
was counted in favor of the United States. 
 
Products from the Conflict Zone 
------------------------------- 
7. On April 17, the Parliamentary Commission on Territorial 
Integrity, chaired by MP Shota Malashkhia, gave a presentation on 
the current status of a proposal to spur economic develop in the 
South Ossetia conflict zone (reftel).  The project, called "Product 
from the Conflict Zone," envisages support for income-generating 
activities in the conflict zone and creation of a special market 
both inside and outside the zone for manufactured products.   The 
overall goal is to promo
te peaceful resolution of the conflict 
through economic cooperation between the Georgian and Ossetian 
 
TBILISI 00000894  002 OF 002 
 
 
sides.  According to Malashkhia, the program would be piloted in the 
Georgian-controlled territories, where specially designed small 
plants could process raw material -- fruit, timber, mineral water -- 
into a finished product. 
 
Energy Regulator to be Abolished 
-------------------------------- 
8. Acting on the recommendation of State Minister for Economic 
Reforms Kakha Bendukidze, the government has submitted legislation 
to Parliament that would transform the independent State Agency for 
Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources (SAROGR) into a sub-departmental 
body under the Energy Ministry.  The Agency was set up in 1999 with 
USAID support to administer oil and gas legislation and to exercise 
authority in the granting and enforcement of agreements with 
investors.  Under the draft law, responsibility for agreements would 
be assigned to Georgia's Oil and Gas Corporation, and other 
functions would be allotted to different governmental structures. 
 
New Head of Georgian National Investment Agency 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
9. Irakli Beraia, the new head of the Georgian National Investment 
Agency (GNIA), told us April 19 that he plans to restructure the 
agency to attract foreign investors to local industrial, tourism, 
agriculture and forestry sectors.  Beraia admitted that, in some 
cases, foreign investors face unfair treatment due to the lack of an 
independent judiciary.  He believes that foreign investors in 
Georgia should have stronger guarantees for their rights and should 
enjoy equal opportunities during privatization process.  Beraia 
expressed readiness to support the development and implementation of 
the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), and was quite 
interested in U.S. programs administered by OPIC, USTDA, and Ex-Im 
Bank.  Prior to his appointment, Beraia worked as a head of the 
Western Georgian Office of the Red Cross and then completed studies 
at a diplomatic academy in the U.K. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

07TBILISI855, DEMARCHE REPLY: GEORGIA LOOKS FOR USG SUPPORT TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI855 2007-04-18 13:26 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9347
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0855 1081326
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181326Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6090
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITY

UNCLAS TBILISI 000855 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
EUR/CACEN, IO/T FOR GUINNEVERE ROBERTS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SENV TPHY WMO GG
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE REPLY: GEORGIA LOOKS FOR USG SUPPORT TO 
UPDATE WEATHER SERVICE 
 
REF: SECSTATE 047359 
 
1. On April 17, Econoff delivered reftel talking points as a 
non-paper and solicited GoG views on the World Meterological 
Organization (WMO) Congress.  Econoff met with Ramaz 
Tchitanava, head of the Hydrometeorological Department of the 
Ministry of Environment Protection, Irakli Machitizdze of the 
MFA America's desk, and Zurab Dvalishvili, the Department of 
Global Affairs Deputy Director.  When Econoff asked if 
Georgia plans to provide extrabudgetary support for the 
proposed WMO conference, Tchitanava appeared amused and said 
Georgia can hardly pay its required dues and has lost its 
voting rights because of its WMO debts.  He expressed hope 
that Georgia could start to repay its debts this year in 
order to regain voting privileges.  Regarding the German 
proposal for convention change, Tchitanava said the Germans 
have not approached Georgia for support. 
 
2. Tchitanava sees the WMO as a useful venue to improve the 
Georgian weather service.  He expressed interest in US 
support for a WMO proposal to establish a Caucasus Center 
Against Desertification, which he said would be similar to a 
regional center in Slovenia.  During the May WMO Congress in 
Geneva, he will discuss plans for the center with his 
Azerbaijan and Armenia counterparts.  He then asked if 
Georgia might receive the second-hand technlogical equipment 
that the U.S. and other wealthier countries no longer need. 
He reasoned that since Georgia is using decades-old 
equipment, two- and three-year old equipment would be warmly 
welcomed in Georgia. 
TEFFT

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07TBILISI826, SOUTH OSSETIA: LAW ON RESTITUTION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI826 2007-04-16 13:33 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6846
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0826/01 1061333
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161333Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6069
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000826 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC, DRL, PRM ETTA TOURE 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PREF GG
SUBJECT: SOUTH OSSETIA: LAW ON RESTITUTION 
 
REF: TBILISI 602 
 
1.  Summary:  On January 1, 2007, a new Georgian restitution 
law entered into force, authorizing the GoG to provide 
compensation for the approximately 60,000 Ossetian refugees 
(90% of whom fled to North Ossetia) and Internally Displaced 
Persons (IDPs) who lost their homes during the 1990-92 war. 
The law calls for the establishment of a nine-member 
Restitution Commission, to be formed by May 31, which will 
review all refugee property claims over a period of nine 
years.  According to the law, three international experts 
will be appointed to the Commission, and these experts will 
then choose three representatives each from the Georgian and 
Ossetian sides.  Valerie Marchand, OSCE Rule of Law Advisor, 
told Poloff on April 11 that Zinaida Beststaeva, State 
Minister for Civil Integration is in charge of forming the 
Commission.  Beststaeva just recently sent out letters to the 
international community asking for assistance in finding 
international experts for the Commission.  MP Shota 
Malashkhia, Chairman of the Temporary Commission for the 
Restoration of Territorial Integrity, told Poloff on April 4 
that the de-facto authorities in South Ossetia have refused 
an invitation to participate in the Commission.  He said the 
GoG will propose that the Commission consider representatives 
from Dimitry Sanakoyev's alternate government to represent 
the South Ossetian side.  He also said that the GoG has not 
yet allocated any money in the budget for claims, but were 
looking at a number of ways to compensate refugees, including 
property swaps and assistance from international donors. 
USAID is providing USD 270,000 over two years to the NGO 
"Association for Protection of Landowners Rights" (APLR) to 
establish a property database, implement an information 
sharing campaign for refugees in North Ossetia, and collect 
property claims for submission to the Commission.  End 
Summary. 
 
Restitution claims on hold until Commission forms 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
2.  One of the key provisions of the restitution law calls 
for the establishment of a tri-partite Restitution Commission 
that will oversee the restitution process and adjudicate all 
property claims.  Malashkhia told Poloff on March 28 that the 
law "isn't working" primarily because representatives from 
the de-facto South Ossetian government have refused to 
participate on the Commission.  According to the OSCE's 
Marchand, however, the Commission cannot even be formed until 
three international experts have been appointed, and these 
experts in turn choose the Georgian and South Ossetian 
members.  Marchand said that the GoG recently sent out 
official letters asking for support from the international 
community in finding these experts, adding that the GoG's 
late start makes it unlikely that the Commission will be 
formed in time for the May 31 deadline (Note:  The law can, 
and likely will, be amended to extend this deadline.  End 
note).  Marchand said that members of the international 
community are reluctant to participate because the law is not 
clear about who will pay for these experts, what their role 
will be, and who will provide support staff. 
 
GoG to recommend Sanakoyev's representatives for Commission 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
 
3.  Since the South Ossetian de-facto officials refuse to 
participate, Malashkhia said that the GoG would support the 
inclusion of any party willing to take responsibility for the 
Ossetian refugees, including representatives from Sanakoyev's 
alternate government.  He added that he hoped representatives 
from Sanakoyev's government would join the commission "soon," 
but acknowledged that that nothing would move forward prior 
to the appointment of the international experts to the 
Commission.  Malashkhia also said that the restitution law 
was passed too late to include it in the GoG budget for FY07. 
 Funds for restitution claims would likely be included in the 
FY08 budget, he said, but the GoG was also looking at other 
approaches, such as property swaps, that would not require 
much funding.  The GoG also hoped to organize a donors 
conference, he said, to help generate funds to cover 
restitution claims. 
 
Majority of refugees prefer to remain in North Ossetia 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
4.  The law is intended to benefit all refugees and IDPs, 
regardless of where they fled, whether it was North Ossetia, 
Georgia, or anywhere else. Marchand said, however, that many 
of the refugees who fled to North Ossetia were skeptical that 
they would receive any compensation from the Georgian 
government.  She said the majority of these refugees prefer 
to remain in North Ossetia, where they have lived for over 13 
years, and receive cash compensation for their lost property 
 
TBILISI 00000826  002 OF 002 
 
 
(Note:  the law guarantees the return of the refugee's 
original property or suitable 'immovab
le substitute', 
allowing for cash compensation only in the event it is 
impossible to provide an adequate substitute residence.  End 
note).  She said they did not want to return to their 
original residences, nor did they want a comparable 
'immovable substitute.'  She said all the refugees now have 
Russian citizenship, many have children who speak only 
Russian, and either have no desire to return to Georgia or 
are afraid of what will happen when they return. 
 
APLR begins property database inventory 
--------------------------------------- 
 
5.  APLR, in conjunction with the Ministry of Refugees and 
financed with a USD 270,000 USAID grant, has started to 
inventory houses and land parcels abandoned by Ossetians who 
fled Georgia during the war.  According to David Giorgadze, 
director of APLR, approximately 6,000 homes and an equal 
number of land parcels in 260 villages were abandoned by 
Ossetians fleeing Georgia.  Once its inventory and database 
of the properties are complete, and the Restitution 
Commission is formed, APLR will conduct outreach activities 
to refugees in North Ossetia, informing them of the program 
and beginning to collect individual claim information. 
 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
6.  While the passage of the restitution law marks an 
important first step toward providing compensation for 
Ossetians who lost their property during the war, the GoG 
still needs to address some key issues as it moves forward. 
Ambiguities in the law concerning the finance and operation 
of the Restitution Commission will require further 
clarification before securing international donor support. 
The GoG must also work closely with APLR on outreach to North 
Ossetian NGOs and the refugees to build trust in the program. 
 The GoG must also balance this project with several of 
large-scale, government-initiated projects targeting refugees 
and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), including the 
Ministry of Refugees' "My House" project (reftel) and its new 
National Strategy for IDPs.  All of these projects require 
large amounts of outside donor funds necessitating a moderate 
approach to avoid donor fatigue.  We will keep encouraging 
the GoG to take these steps. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

07TBILISI817, GOG LOOKS TO IMPROVE AI COOPERATION WITH ABKHAZIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI817 2007-04-13 12:59 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4183
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0817/01 1031259
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131259Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6060
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000817 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL TBIO GG
SUBJECT: GOG LOOKS TO IMPROVE AI COOPERATION WITH ABKHAZIA 
 
1.  Summary:  On March 23, Russian and Georgian press reports 
claimed an Avian Influenza (AI) outbreak had occurred in 
Abkhazia.  On March 28, Deputy Minister of Health Levan 
Jugeli told Poloff that the GoG was ready at any time to work 
with the Abkhaz de-facto officials on AI or other health 
issues, although he added that cooperation had decreased 
somewhat recently.  He said that the GoG is ready to send 500 
USAID-provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) suits to 
Abkhazia, and is also willing to establish a satellite lab in 
Abkhazia and send lab specialists to help collect specimen 
samples for diagnosis.  He said he would ask State Minister 
for Conflict Resolution, Merab Antadze, to raise the Georgian 
offer of cooperation between their health and veterinary 
departments with the Abkhaz.  He also said that the GoG has 
purchased 100,000 units of Tamiflu, new ventilators for 
hospitals, and is updating its AI action plan.  On April 4, 
Poloff met with Abkhaz de-facto minister of health Zurab 
Marshanya to raise the issue of cooperation between Georgia 
and Abkhazia on AI and to verify whether there was an 
outbreak of AI in birds in Abkhazia.  Marshanya said that the 
Abkhaz have a governmental commission responsible for 
investigating all suspected cases of AI and their 
investigation found no evidence of AI.  United Nations 
Observer Mission to Georgia (UNOMIG) doctors said they agreed 
with the results of the investigation, although they noted 
that it was not in their mandate to investigate possible AI 
cases.  Marshanya said he would take into consideration the 
Georgian proposals for assistance and cooperation on 
AI-related issues.  End Summary. 
 
GoG upgrading preparedness plan, seeks cooperation with Abkhaz 
--------------------------------------------- ----------------- 
 
2.  On March 28, DM Jugeli told Poloff that the GoG was ready 
to cooperate with the Abkhaz de-facto health officials to 
help them prepare for potential outbreaks of AI.  Jugeli said 
that they have 500 USAID-provided PPEs and hundreds of AI 
prevention brochures in Abkhaz and Russian that they are 
ready to give the Abkhaz.  He said the Ministry of Health can 
also send laboratory specialists and sample collectors, and 
can even establish a satellite laboratory in Abkhazia if the 
Abkhaz are willing.  He expressed his willingness to talk 
with de-facto health and agriculture officials to discuss AI 
monitoring plans as well, and said he would ask State 
Minister Antadze to raise this with the Abkhaz.  Currently, 
he said, the GoG is updating its AI preparedness plan that 
will further elaborate the responsibilities of each Ministry 
and department in the event of an AI outbreak.  He said the 
GoG has purchased new ventilators with money from the World 
Bank and has a stockpile of 100,000 treatment courses of 
Tamiflu.  He said they also plan to purchase stocks of 
regular flu vaccine. 
 
Abkhaz claim prevention measures in place, no truth to report 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 
 
3.  De-facto minister of health Marshanya told Poloff on 
April 4 that the Abkhaz have a working governmental 
commission, led by the de-facto deputy prime minister, that 
monitors AI and enforces preventative measures.  He said 
Abkhazia has several rapid reaction groups that respond to 
reports of bird die-offs in the region, and quickly 
quarantine suspect areas.  When suspect birds are found, he 
said, they are sent to a lab in Krasnodar, Russia, for 
testing.  Following recent AI outbreaks in birds in Russia, 
Abkhazia has stopped all poultry imports from Russia and 
banned the hunting of wild birds, he said.  Poloff delivered 
several of the GoG-produced AI prevention brochures in Abkhaz 
and Russian to Marshanya, and outlined the steps the GoG was 
willing to take to increase Georgian-Abkhaz cooperation on 
AI.  Marshanya thanked Poloff for the brochures and the 
message and said he would think about it. 
 
4.  During the meeting, Marshanya also said there was no 
truth to the March 23 report of an AI outbreak in birds north 
of Gaudauta, calling the report "propaganda designed to keep 
tourists away."  (Comment:  Marshanya's statement is 
plausible.  The report was released - only in Russian - by a 
California-based medical company called Ramaz Mitaishvili 
Global Health.  Mitaishvili is an Abkhaz-born Georgian who 
fled Sukhumi during the war, and based on his biography and 
other articles on his website, has a strong anti-Abkhaz bent. 
 End Comment).  He said that the village was investigated and 
the birds tested negative for AI.  He said that there have 
been similar reports in the past, usually from the Gali 
region of Abkhazia, and all have proven false.  UNOMIG's 
medical staff, in a separate meeting with Poloff, said that 
while monitoring AI was not in their mandate, they 
nevertheless stay in close contact with the de-facto 
officials and CIS peacekeepers on this issue.  They said that 
there was no evidence to support the reports' claims of an AI 
outbreak. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000817  002 OF 002 
 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
5.  The GoG continues to take appropriate steps toward 
strengthening its AI prevention program, and remains vigilant 
against future outbreaks.  Cooperation with the Abkhaz 
de-facto officials remains the weak link in Georgia's 
preparedness and prevention programs.  Despite their 
assurances to the contrary, it is not clear how well the 
Abkhaz could respond to an outbreak of AI in either birds or 
humans.  Closer coordination between the GoG and the Abkhaz 
on prevention measures, information exchange and technical 
assistance would go a long way toward ensuring that any 
future outbreak of AI would be quickly identified and 
contained.  Such cooperation would also help the GoG limit 
the spread of rumors and unconfirmed reports of AI in 
Abkhazia.  We will continue to encourage both sides to work 
together. 
 
 
TEFFT

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