07TBILISI2773, BURJANADZE REACHING OUT TO OPPOSITION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2773 2007-11-07 14:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0406
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2773 3111421
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 071421Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8127
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 002773 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/07/2017 
TAGS: PGOV GG
SUBJECT: BURJANADZE REACHING OUT TO OPPOSITION 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, reason 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) The Ambassador met privately with Nino Burjanadze, 
Speaker of Parliament, on November 6.  The meeting took place 
at the Parliament and about 2000 demonstrators were outside 
the building.  Burjanadze said that she had been talking to 
more moderate members of the opposition leadership, including 
Kakha Kukava and Davit Usupashvili.  She felt that some 
progress had been made with these opponents on electoral 
reform.  Burjanadze said that the government is prepared to 
change the "winner-take-all" system for choosing MP's from 
multi-seat electoral districts to a proportional regional 
system.  Although she sees no possibility of changing the 
makeup of the Central Electoral Commission, as sought by the 
opposition, she does think that opposition representatives 
can be added to regional and local election commissions.  She 
said that when the opposition talks about political 
prisoners, they are referring to Irakli Batiashvili, jailed 
for assisting the warlord Kvitsiani in the Kodori Gorge, 
before the GOG retook control in 2006.  She has promised 
Kukava and Usupashvili she will do what she can to obtain his 
release.  She said that the Patriarch has asked President 
Saakashvili to pardon Batiashvili, but that this requires a 
formal request and process to accomplish.  The Ambassador 
thanked her for her efforts to resolve the political crisis 
and urged her to continue. 
 
2.  (C) Burjanadze was particularly concerned about the role 
played by oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili in the protests. 
Patarkatsishvili is playing for keeps, she said.  She alleged 
he is paying protesters 15 lari per day and doing all he can 
to keep the demonstrations going.  His reason is that he 
knows if the opposition loses, he is finished in Georgia. 
The problem Patarkatsishvili poses, Burjanadze said, is that 
even if a deal can be reached with the moderate opposition, 
it will not end the political uproar that serves 
Patarkatsishvili's ends.  It is hard for her to see a way 
out, with the moderates increasingly being pushed to the side 
and an overarching struggle going on between 
Paatarkatsishvili and President Saakashvili. 
 
3.  (C) Later that day, in a speech to Parliament, Burjanadze 
confirmed that the government is ready to negotiate on three 
of the four demands of the opposition, leaving aside only the 
holding of early elections.  The election date was 
established to avoid Russian provocations in the election 
period, Burjanadze said, and she hopes at least some of the 
people not protesting will understand this.  She acknowledged 
the social problems that motivate many of the protesters and 
the population at large.  She promised the government will 
work to solve those problems.  As an example of one of the 
mistakes the government has made, she counted making 
Okruashvili a minister and allowing him to remain in the 
government. 
TEFFT

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