07TBILISI2269, STAFFDEL ANAND’S AUGUST 29-SEPTEMBER 1 VISIT TO GEORGIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2269 2007-09-07 12:24 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1079
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2269/01 2501224
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071224Z SEP 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7537
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002269 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: STAFFDEL ANAND'S AUGUST 29-SEPTEMBER 1 VISIT TO GEORGIA 
 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (SBU) Georgian officials gave a four-member staff delegation from 
the House Committee on Foreign Affairs an overview of Georgia's 
ongoing reforms August 30, in areas including rule of law, 
elections, defense, prisons, and the economy.  The officials 
stressed the importance of NATO integration as a tool to push 
through and consolidate reforms.  They expressed great concern about 
Russian pressure, including missile strikes and threats to recognize 
Georgia's separatist regions, and argued that such Russian tactics 
should not be rewarded with a delay in Georgia receiving Membership 
Action Plan (MAP) status in NATO.  On August 31, the delegation 
traveled to Tskhinvali, where a South Ossetian de facto official 
rejected any possibility of dealing with the new, 
Georgian-sanctioned temporary administrative unit headed by former 
de facto official Dmitry Sanakoyev.  Moving on to Kurta, the 
delegation met with Sanakoyev himself, who laid out his vision of a 
South Ossetia with broad autonomy inside Georgia.  From the drive 
through Sanakoyev-controlled territory, it was clear that the 
Georgians are in the midst of a huge building push intended to make 
the area attractive to residents of separatist-controlled areas. 
End Summary. 
 
The Rush to Reform 
------------------ 
2. (SBU) Deputy State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic 
Integration Elene Khoshtaria gave the delegation, which consisted of 
Professional Staff Members Manpreet Singh Anand, Amanda Sloat, Gene 
Gurevich, and Melissa Adamson, a thorough review of Georgia's reform 
progress to date, citing in particular the fight against corruption, 
local government reforms as enshrined with the 2006 local elections, 
and defense reform.  She said that in 2006 the Georgian government 
had made reform of the judiciary and penitentiaries a top priority. 
She tied Georgia's reform steps closely to the NATO integration 
process, and said Georgia had met all objective criteria to achieve 
MAP status by the NATO Summit in Bucharest.  Any further delay, she 
suggested, would be a signal that Russia's confrontational tactics 
had succeeded.  At a lunch hosted by the Ambassador, leading MPs 
Mikheil Machavariani, Giga Bokeria, and Nino Nakashidze echoed these 
themes, noting that Georgia has made great strides in democratic 
development.  The MPs said that Parliament will soon consider a law 
creating jury trials.  Asked about several ongoing court cases that 
had raised human rights questions, the MPs said the trials had met 
international standards, but they acknowledged that the appearance 
of a lack of transparency had hurt Georgia internationally.  In a 
separate meeting, leading think tankers offered a similar 
assessment, arguing that the government had not gotten full 
information about controversial criminal and property rights cases 
out to the international community. 
 
3. (SBU) Deputy Minister of Defense Batu Kutelia told the delegation 
about his Ministry's internal reforms and the planned transition to 
a non-conscript army by 2009, noting that NATO standards were 
driving this process.  He expressed concern that Russia would follow 
through on threats to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and 
South Ossetia if Kosovo declared its independence.  Deputy State 
Minister for Conflict Resolution Dimitri Manjavidze reviewed the 
South Ossetia conflict, arguing that Sanakoyev needed to continue 
economic development projects and his work with local government 
officials.  Manjavidze stressed that a legitimate solution to the 
conflict would require free and fair elections to determine South 
Ossetia's status, and he reiterated Georgia's call for international 
monitors at the Roki tunnel. 
 
South Ossetia's Two Regimes 
--------------------------- 
4. (SBU) In a meeting in Tskhinvali August 31, South Ossetia's 
deputy Joint Control Commission (JCC) co-chair Leonid Tibilov told 
the delegation that the people of South Ossetia would never accept 
or work with Sanakoyev's administration.  Tibilov said that while 
the South Ossetian people were grateful to Russia as their "savior" 
in the war with Georgia in the early 1990s, the South Ossetians' 
policy was to seek recognition as an independent state.  He blamed 
Georgia for the lack of dialogue in the JCC, and said any settlement 
would have to be part of a "unified, joint program" including a 
declaration on the non-use of force or the threat of force. 
Reviewing the donors' economic rehabilitation program and other 
international aid initiatives, he claimed that the South Ossetians 
put no limits on the internationals' work.  Asked about the August 6 
missile incident, Tibilov expressed certainty that it was a "farce" 
staged by Georgian special forces. 
 
5. (SBU) Leaving Tskhinvali, the delegation drove south into 
Georgian-controlled territory, and turned east onto the Georgian 
by-pass road, which allows the Georgians to reach their villages 
north of Tskhinvali, including Tamarasheni, Kurta, and Kekhvi, 
without having to travel through Tskhinvali.  While unpaved and
 
steep, the road was passable, and construction crews were at work 
improving it.  Coming over the mountain -- just past Georgian and 
Russian peacekeeping posts on opposite sides at the summit -- the 
road offered a commanding view of both Tskhinvali and the 
Georgian-controlled Didi Liakhvi Valley.  At the bottom of the 
 
TBILISI 00002269  002 OF 002 
 
 
mountain was a large housing compound under construction for 
officials of the Sanakoyev administration and the population. 
Traveling on to Tamarasheni, the delegation saw more evidence of a 
building boom in the area: a newly completed cinema and amusement 
park, and a hotel and trade center under construction. 
 
6. (SBU) The meeting took place at Sanakoyev's headquarters, a 
recently refurbished building (complete with a shiny podium for 
press conferences and back rooms equipped with cots and showers for 
officials) on the compound of a hospital in Kurta.  Sanakoyev's 
large office was decorated with Georgian, South Ossetian, and EU 
flags, and a sign on the door identified him as "President of the 
Republic of South Ossetia."  After dismissing the large number of 
Georgian journalists who had filmed the delegation's arrival, 
Sanakoyev, accompanied by his Deputy Minister for Integration Zurab 
Antadze, laid out his immediate goals: establishing an autonomous 
South Ossetia in the constitutional framework of Georgia, giving it 
"legal form" (preferably as part of a federal structure), and 
commencing conflict settlement.  He said it was important to 
guarantee to Ossetians the right to develop their culture and to 
speak their native language, which he said should have official 
status in Georgia.   At the same time, he stressed that South 
Ossetia must continue to be a multiethnic region.  He explained his 
own transformation, from a de facto official who had fought against 
the Georgians into an advocate of a future within Georgia, by noting 
his growing concern over militarization and Russian manipulation of 
the region after de facto president Kokoity came to power in 2001. 
His vision of the future, he stressed, was transforming South 
Ossetia into a peaceful, developing part of the modern democratic 
world. 
 
7. (U) Staffdel Anand cleared this message. 
 
TEFFT

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