07TBILISI1731, DAVID BAKRADZE TO BE NEW STATE MINISTER FOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI1731 2007-07-20 12:02 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8235
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1731/01 2011202
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 201202Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7072
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001731 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/19/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL GG
SUBJECT: DAVID BAKRADZE TO BE NEW STATE MINISTER FOR 
CONFLICT RESOLUTION 
 
REF: TBILISI 1702 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b)&(d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) Officials in the State Ministry for Conflict 
Resolution have confirmed to us that Minister Merab Antadze 
is departing his post to return to the MFA, and he will be 
replaced by David Bakradze, currently Chairman of the 
Parliamentary Committee on European Integration.  Bakradze is 
a young, talented Saakashvili insider; the Embassy has worked 
well with him in the past.  On other issues, State Ministry 
for Conflict Resolution officials believe we may finally be 
nearing the end of the convoluted water crisis in South 
Ossetia, but they do not believe an acceptable mechanism has 
yet been created to resume (or as the would prefer it, to 
replace) the Quadripartite Meetings (QPMs) on the security 
situation in Abkhazia.  End Summary. 
 
A New Occupant in the Hot Seat 
------------------------------ 
2. (C) In a meeting at the State Ministry for Conflict 
Resolution July 19, Deputy State Minister for Conflict 
Resolution Ruslan Abashidze confided to us that his boss, 
Minister Antadze, would be returning to a position in the 
MFA, and would be replaced by prominent MP David Bakradze. 
Dimitri Manjavidze, the other Deputy State Minister for 
Conflict Resolution, seemed to second this in a chance 
encounter in the hall following the meeting, laughingly 
saying that he and Abashidze had apparently come to the end 
of their assignments.  (Note: It appeared that this news had 
only recently reached the State Ministry, and it is possible 
that Manjavidze and Abashidze do not yet know if they will 
stay on.  End Note.)  Media outlets picked up the story 
shortly thereafter. 
 
Who is David Bakradze? 
---------------------- 
3. (C) A fluent English speaker, Bakradze is an authority on 
NATO accession, the European Neighborhood Policy action plan, 
Russian base withdrawal, and Council of Europe commitments. 
He is considered one of the most active and influential 
pro-government leaders in Parliament, and has often traveled 
with leading MPs such as Giga Bokeria and Nika Rurua on trips 
to the U.S.  In our dealings with him, he has been 
straightforward, honest, and very responsive. 
 
4. (C) On conflict issues, Bakradze has a reputation as a 
voice of moderation.  He was one of the key figures 
responsible for toning down a July 18, 2006 Parliamentary 
resolution calling on the government to withdraw the Russian 
peacekeepers from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, helping ensure 
it was not too radical.  When Speaker Burjanadze has briefed 
the diplomatic corps on the creation of the temporary 
administrative unit in South Ossetia and other issues related 
to the conflicts, Bakradze has typically taken the lead in 
the closed-door portion of the discussion.  Bakradze 
accompanied the head of the temporary administrative unit, 
Dmitry Sanakoyev, on his recent visit to Brussels. 
 
5. (U) Bio of David Bakradze: 
 
DOB: July 1, 1972 
Marital Status: Married with one child 
Languages: Georgian, English, and Russian 
 
Professional Experience: 
 
-- Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on European 
Integration; since April 2004 
 
-- various positions at the National Security Council, 
including Head of Security Office, Head of Foreign Political, 
Security, and Conflicts Department, and Head of Political 
Security Department, 2002-2004 
 
-- various positions at the MFA, including Deputy, then Head 
of the Armament-Disarmament Control Office, and Deputy 
Director of the Military-Political Department, 1997-1998, 
2000-2002 
 
-- Lab Assistant, Georgian Technical University, 1991-1992 
 
Education: 
 
-- PhD in Physics and Mathematics 
 
-- Post-graduate studies, Department of General Physics, 
Technical University of Georgia, 1994-1998 
 
TBILISI 00001731  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
-- Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, Master of Public 
Administration, 1996 
 
-- Georgian Technical University, Department of Physics and 
Engineering, Engineer of Electronic Equipment, 1994 
 
A Light at the End of the Water Pipeline? 
----------------------------------------- 
6. (SBU) On other topics, Abashidze said a joint team of 
engineers had inspected the South Ossetian water pipeline 
July 17 (reftel), and found problems in both the Ossetian and 
Georgian areas.  At Andisi, the northernmost point that the 
South Ossetians permitted to be inspected, the pipe was only 
half-full, suggesting problems in the separatist-controlled 
north near Java.  At the same time, however, the team found 
approximately 15 holes in the pipe near Sveri, in the 
Georgian enclave.  Inspectors also confirmed that an 
irrigation canal near Ossetian-controlled Tbeti had been 
blocked, preventing water from reaching the Georgian village 
of Nikozi and surrounding areas.  Abashidze said the 
Georgians wanted to follow through on agreements to
 allow 
engineers to repair the problems without politicizing them, 
and he expressed frustration that Joint Peacekeeping Force 
(JPFK) commander Kulakhmetov had issued a public statement 
about the holes in the pipe. 
 
7. (SBU) Manjavidze subsequently informed us of a 
just-completed agreement to start repairs of the water pipe 
and the irrigation canal on July 20, with each side's workers 
observed by the other side and the OSCE, without the presence 
of the JPKF.  He expressed hope that this was the beginning 
of the end of the long-running water controversy. 
 
8. (SBU) Abashidze also showed us a huge stack of envelopes 
that he intended to deliver to the de facto authorities -- 
invitations to individuals in Tskhinvali, including South 
Ossetian negotiator Chochiev and other de facto officials, to 
take part in consultations on the details of autonomy for 
South Ossetia. 
 
Problems Remain with Gali Meetings 
---------------------------------- 
9. (C) Abashidze said that the Georgians were not happy with 
the draft terms of reference for the resumption of QPMs in 
the Gali district of Abkhazia, stressing that the terms would 
keep the CIS peacekeepers in a dominant position in the 
talks.  He said the Georgian side was eager to resume 
meetings on the security situation in Gali, but Georgia 
wanted it to be an essentially bilateral format between the 
Georgians and the Abkhaz, not a repeat of the old four-sided 
mechanism.  He said the CIS peacekeepers could still have a 
role, but it would be more in the nature of an expert on 
security matters, rather than as an equal (or leading) party 
on political topics. 
 
Comment 
------- 
10. (C) David Bakradze shares the biography and qualities 
typical of the post-Rose Revolution leadership in Georgia: 
bright, multilingual, and hard-working, he first gained 
attention in the late Shevardnadze period (like Saakashvili 
himself) and then made himself a trusted insider in a new 
government of young men in a hurry to transform Georgia into 
a modern, democratic state.  He should bring real political 
muscle in Tbilisi and an infusion of energy to the conflict 
resolution process. 
 
TEFFT

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