07TBILISI2483, BURJANADZE SPEAKS OUT, OPPOSITION CALLS FOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2483 2007-10-04 13:10 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6742
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2483/01 2771310
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041310Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7830
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002483 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: BURJANADZE SPEAKS OUT, OPPOSITION CALLS FOR 
ELECTIONS, NEW CHARGES AGAINST OKRUASHVILI 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 2437 
     B. TBILISI 2464 
 
1. (U) Summary: In her first comments regarding the 
Okruashvili arrest, Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze 
called Okruashvili's allegations against President 
Saakashvili "absurd" and criticized the Government's 
personnel policy which allowed people such as Okruashvili to 
enter government.  She also called the government's delay in 
reacting to former Defense Minister Okruashvili's wrongdoings 
a mistake.  Burjanadze called for constructive dialogue with 
the opposition.  A new opposition coalition, called the 
United National Council, announced plans to launch a 
nationwide campaign to persuade the GoG to hold early 
Parliamentary elections in April 2008.  The coalition 
announced plans to travel to all regions of Georgia and 
promised a second large rally on November 2.  Over 700 people 
attended an opposition meeting October 3 to discuss the 
coalition's next steps.  Deputy Prosecutor General Gvaramia 
announced additional charges of corruption against 
Okruashvili involving high level Defense Ministry officials 
and Okruashvili's friend Kibar Khalvashi.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
Speaker Burjanadze Breaks Silence, Calls for Dialogue 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
2.  (U) On October 3 in her first comments regarding 
Okruashvili's arrest, Burjanadze called Okruashvili's 
accusations against President Saakashvili "utterly absurd." 
She added the only way to resolve the political uproar is for 
Okruashvili to provide evidence of his claims or be held 
responsible for his own wrongdoings.  Burjanadze also 
criticized law enforcement for not arresting Okruashvili in a 
timely manner.  She stated the GoG needs to reassess its 
personnel policy for making ministerial and other 
high-ranking appointments.  She cited Okruashvili's ability 
to reach high office as evidence the system is seriously 
flawed and requires reconsideration.  Burjanadze also called 
for "serious dialogue" with the opposition to develop 
mechanisms jointly which will strengthen democratic 
institutions and instill trust in the GoG.  She added that 
polarization between society and the authorities is 
unacceptable for the country's interests. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
Opposition Coalesces, Calls for Early Elections 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
3. (U) On October 2, the opposition coalition, now calling 
itself the United National Council and including ten parties, 
called for Georgia to become a "parliamentary republic" and 
for parliamentary elections to be moved to April 2008, as 
formerly scheduled.   Absent from the meetings were the 
Industrialists and the New Rightists (ref B), as well as 
Irina Sarishvili's recently founded Imedi party.  In a 
meeting held October 3 in the Chess Palace, over 700 people 
gathered to hear historian Marika Lortkipanidze argue that 
the Georgian people should hold a referendum to make any 
changes in the government.  Many objected to her remarks, 
including Georgia's Way leader Salome Zourbichvili, who left 
the hall in protest.  The slogan "Georgia without a 
President" was the theme of the rally, reflecting the idea of 
making Georgia a parliamentary republic.  The United National 
Council plans to follow the meeting with visits to all 
regions of Georgia to meet with intellectuals and other 
strata of society that are dissatisfied with the government. 
The opposition plans a rally on November 2 in Tbilisi and 
they hope to surpass the scale of the protest held before 
Parliament on September 28. 
 
------------------------------- 
New Charges Against Okruashvili 
------------------------------- 
 
4. (U) On October 3 Deputy Attorney General Nikoloz Gvaramia 
made public new charges against Okruashvili and several 
former high-ranking Defense Ministry officials, including the 
former Head of Procurements at the MOD, Iason Chikhladze. 
The charges allege the Ministry paid USD200,000 over actual 
cost for aviation fuel purchased from a company co-owned by 
high ranking Defense Ministry officials and their business 
associates.  Gvaramia presented statements from the head of 
security for Okruashvili's close friend, Kibar Khalvashi, and 
Chikhladze.  Gvaramia also outlined further details of the 
purchase of Okruashvili's party headquarters for less than 
fair value. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --------------- 
 
TBILISI 00002483  002 OF 002 
 
 
MP From Ruling Party calls Okruashvili a "Political Prisoner" 
--------------------------------------------- --------------- 
 
5.  (U) Guguli Magradze, was the first MP from Saakashvili's 
National Movement Party to call Okruashvili a "political 
prisoner."  She said she does not claim Okruashvili is 
innocent; it is up to the courts to decide, but she &
#x000A;questioned the timing of the arrest.  She thanked Saakashvili 
for his reform efforts but blamed unspecified members in his 
administration for undermining his efforts to promote 
democracy.  She is the first MP from the ruling National 
Movement to criticize the government publicly for the arrest. 
 
 
------------------------------------ 
More Speculation on Patarkatsishvili 
------------------------------------ 
 
6. (U) Georgian media continues to speculate on the plans of 
Georgian businessman and opposition figure, Badri 
Patarkatsishvili, to enter politics.  David Usupashvili, 
leader of the Republican Party and Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, 
leader of the Freedom party, both commented that 
Patarkatsishvili has always been indirectly engaged in 
politics and his appearance would not be a surprise. 
 
TEFFT

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