Monthly Archives: January 2008

08TBILISI152, REPUBLICANS VOTE FOR SEPARATE PARLIAMENTARY

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI152.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI152 2008-01-31 14:47 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6234
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0152/01 0311447
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 311447Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8769
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000152 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA, AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: REPUBLICANS VOTE FOR SEPARATE PARLIAMENTARY 
ELECTION PARTY LIST 
 
REF: TBILISI 125 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  On January 30, opposition leader and 
Republican Party Chairman David Usupashvili told the 
Ambassador that the Republican party will not join the United 
National Council of Opposition (UNC) on a joint party list 
for the coming parliamentary elections.  Former presidential 
candidate, MP Levan Gachechiladze, asked the Republicans to 
stay with the UNC and join the UNC party list, but the 
Republicans decided to run on their own.  Usupashvili 
acknowledged the risk of the decision.  He expects criticism 
from UNC members and President Saakashvili's supporters 
alike.  In the end, Usupashvili said his party could not 
continue to pursue the one-track agenda put forth by some 
members of the UNC, which consists simply of getting rid of 
Saakashvili.  End Summary. 
 
2. (C) On January 30, opposition leader and Republican party 
Chairman David Usupashvili told the Ambassador that his party 
will not join the UNC on a joint party list for the coming 
parliamentary elections.  Usupashvili said this was a 
difficult, risky decision for his party.  They are not 
severing all of their ties or participation with the UNC. 
However, the Republicans felt they could neither uphold their 
party's values nor pursue its future by being tied to the UNC 
party list during the election.  Usupashvili said his party 
believes the UNC needs stronger leadership.  He said they are 
unsure if UNC leader and former presidential candidate, MP 
Levan Gachechiladze, can "keep the UNC together." 
 
3. (C) Gachechiladze had encouraged the Republicans, and 
specifically Usupashvili, to stay with the UNC.  The UNC 
offered the Republicans 12 spots of the first 50 for the 
UNC's party list.  Usupashvili told the Ambassador that the 
Republicans have around 5 percent support in the country.  In 
a best-case scenario they can reach out to disaffected voters 
that previously supported Saakashvili and win up to 15 
percent of the vote.  Usupashvili said that his party is also 
prepared for the worst, whereby they would not gain 5 percent 
of the vote and lose all representation in Parliament. 
(Note: For the parliamentary election, 100 of 150 seats will 
be assigned by party list.  In a nationwide vote, whereby a 
voter can select one party, the parties which receive more 
than 5 percent of the popular vote will be assigned a 
corresponding number of seats to the percentage they receive. 
 Each party submits a party list in advance, whereby their MP 
candidates are rank-ordered how they will fill seats won in 
the election.  End note.) 
 
4. (C) Usupashvili expects that members of the UNC will 
harshly criticize the Republicans for not running on the UNC 
party list.  He also anticipates the media and ruling 
National Movement (UNM) will present this as a huge split in 
the opposition and use the attention to press the UNM's 
political advantage.  He said some people may explain the 
split by calling the Republicans "a tool" of the USG.  He 
thought that news of the Republican decision may get out 
before he departs for Washington, DC on February 2. 
 
5. (C) In the end, Usupashvili said his party could not 
continue to pursue the one-track agenda put forth by some 
members of the UNC.  Their focus on obtaining two-thirds of 
Parliament and ousting Saakashvili is contrary to his party's 
vision of Georgian government.  Still, Usupashvili 
acknowledged that challenges remain.  He believes that if the 
parliamentary election is truly fair, no party will end up 
with more than 50 seats (of the 150 total.)  Usupashvili 
continues to hope that Parliamentary Speaker Burjanadze can 
develop more independence from the UNM, as this would help 
ease the transition toward a Parliament and government no 
longer dominated by only one party.  However, Usupashvili 
noted that key members of the UNM are threatened by any loss 
of power, and Burjanadze is not strong enough yet to make her 
own way. 
 
6. (C) In a brief update on the status of negotiations that 
he has been leading (reftel) with Burjanadze, Usupashvili 
said that no meetings were scheduled, but he would see her 
the night of January 30.  Usupashvili said it would be clear 
by January 31 which of the opposition's demands the UNM would 
agree to, what they would not, and where there was room for 
negotiation.  Usupashvili said that some negotiations would 
be harder now, due to public rhetoric used by both the 
opposition and the UNM.  He said that the negotiations will 
likely require international help to ensure follow-through. 
He also warned that he expected there to be opposition 
demonstrations beginning on February 15, and would continue 
indefinitely, if the negotiations with the government have 
 
TBILISI 00000152  002 OF 002 
 
 
not concluded. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
7. (C) This is the first (expected) fissure of the UNC.  Time 
will tell whether t
he UNC can survive as an opposition force 
after the departure of one of its largest (and most moderate) 
component parties.  Usupashvili has privately confided to us 
over the past two months the serious misgivings within the 
Republican party (as well as his own) over being so closely 
allied with much more radical parties.  The Republican party 
decision will now force other members of the opposition to 
decide with whom they will ally for the elections.  They will 
no longer be able to ride on the Republicans' coattails as 
many had undoubtedly planned. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

Advertisements

08TBILISI143, DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH OPPOSITION

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI143.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI143 2008-01-30 14:29 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5005
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0143/01 0301429
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301429Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8757
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 000143 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA, AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/22/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG RU
SUBJECT: DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH OPPOSITION 
 
REF: TBILISI 88 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: On January 19, EUR DAS Matt Bryza and 
Ambassador Tefft met with key leaders of the United National 
Council of Opposition (UNC).  The UNC's main contention was 
that Mikheil Saakashvili did not receive 50 percent of the 
vote in the January 5 election.  Consequently, they said they 
and their supporters did not recognize Saakashvili as the 
legitimate President.  The UNC alleged the election was 
falsified through the alteration of election protocols after 
the polls closed.  Although they offered no proof, they 
contended that this was widely known and that the people now 
trust neither Saakashvili nor the system.  The UNC also 
criticized the U.S. for statements which they believed 
legitimized an illegitimate win.  Although they purported to 
be against revolution, each leader underscored the 
seriousness of the current situation.  The leaders alleged a 
rise in anti-Americanism, which they attributed to perceived 
American support for the ruling party.  Bryza responded that 
the U.S. carefully reviewed the findings from its own 
observation teams, compared them with others from the 
international community, and only then did President Bush 
call Saakashvili to congratulate him on his election.  Bryza 
countered that the anti-Americanism was also being fueled by 
some members of the opposition. 
 
2. (C) After the meeting, Bryza met separately with 
Usupashvili.  Usupashvili underscored the seriousness of the 
situation facing Saakashvili and his United National Movement 
party (UNM).  He said the UNC is also working through 
internal dissension, trying to move forward for the 
parliamentary elections.  Bryza then met with presidential 
candidate and New Rightists (NR) Party Chairman, MP David 
Gamkrelidze (not a UNC member.)  Gamkrelidze echoed UNC 
concerns regarding Saakashvili's "illegitimate victory" and 
unjust UNM control of public institutions.  His NR party is 
joining the UNC in protesting the election results.  All 
opposition leaders agreed that truly fair parliamentary 
elections are the only way out of the current situation.  End 
Summary. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
United Opposition Refuses to Recognize Saakashvili Win 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
3. (C) On January 19, EUR DAS Matt Bryza and Ambassador Tefft 
met with key leaders of the United National Council of 
Opposition (UNC), a bloc of eight opposition parties.  UNC 
presidential candidate Levan Gachechiladze, Republican Party 
Chairman David Usupashvili, Georgia's Way Leader Salome 
Zourabichvili, and Conservative MP Kakha Kukava represented 
the UNC.  Gachechiladze alleged that Saakashvili did not win 
over 50 percent of the vote.  He contended that the election 
was falsified through the alteration of election protocols 
after the polls closed.  Although the opposition leaders 
offered no proof, they contended that this was widely known 
and that the people now trust neither Saakashvili nor the 
system. 
 
------------------------------------- 
Private Negotiations, Public Protests 
------------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) Gachechiladze turned to Usupashvili on how the UNC is 
responding to the situation.  Usupashvili said he is leading 
talks with Speaker of Parliament Nino Burjanadze.  He said 
they could not negotiate directly with Saakashvili until 
after the Spring parliamentary elections because of the 
public mistrust.  He said the opposition's concerns are 
focused on the Central Election Commission (CEC), Georgian 
Public Broadcaster (GPB), the courts, and oversight of 
police.  He said the opposition believes that Saakashvili's 
control of these public institutions allowed him to take the 
election, and contends that real opposition influence (as 
opposed to "parity") in each of these public institutions is 
critical to restore public trust in government.  Usupashvili 
said the current imbalance of power in the country cannot be 
corrected without such influence. 
 
5. (C) At the same time, Gachechiladze said the UNC is 
continuing public protests against Saakashvili while they 
formulate their platform for the parliamentary election. 
(Note: An UNC protest was held on January 20 immediately 
after the Presidential Inauguration ceremony.  End note.) 
Gachechiladze expressed concern about being able to rein in 
public fervor against Saakashvili.  Usupashvili said the UNC 
hopes to present good solutions to the public in the coming 
weeks. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000143  002 OF 004 
 
 
---------------------------- 
Fair Elections Only Solution 
---------------------------- 
 
6. (C) The four opposition leaders agreed that only one 
solution exists out of the current gridlock.  First, the USG 
and European partners must hold Saakashvili and the UNM 
accountable to any signed agreement resulting from 
negotiations with Bu
rjanadze.  Second, the coming 
parliamentary election must be truly fair.  This means the 
UNM must be willing to accept defeat at the polls, should 
that happen. 
 
7. (C) None of the opposition leaders, however, were 
convinced that Saakashvili would allow a UNM parliamentary 
loss.  They gloomily predicted open revolt should Saakashvili 
and the UNM refuse to accept possible defeat and "take the 
election" through extraordinary means. 
 
--------------------- 
DAS Bryza Looks Ahead 
--------------------- 
 
8. (C) DAS Bryza and the Ambassador reiterated that the 
Embassy looked very hard at the election results before the 
USG acknowledged Saakashvili had won.  More than a week 
passed between election day and President Bush's 
congratulatory call.  They said the opposition must 
acknowledge Saakashvili's legitimacy at some point.  Bryza 
said that such a thin victory on January 5 was a strong 
message to Saakashvili (on the need to reconnect with civil 
society and common citizens) and Georgia's neighbors (on the 
legitimacy of a presidential victory with 52 percent rather 
than 65 or 85 percent of the vote.)  Bryza also pointed out 
that despite the opposition's claims, he never made a 
statement legitimizing the January 5 election.  Rather, he 
was careful to note that "if the January 5 election is 
determined to have been free and fair, then all Georgians 
will have an obligation to honor the will of the Georgian 
voter, whether they like the results or not.  But if the 
election is determined to have been neither free nor fair, 
then Georgia would find itself in a situation analogous to 
that of November 2003."  Zourabichvili contended the media 
presented his interview in a manner that led Georgians to 
believe Bryza supported a Saakashvili win.  Bryza responded 
that he could not control the media, and that the opposition 
themselves (i.e. with their "Bryza Museum of Lies" promoted 
by MP Zviad Dzidziguri) also shared some responsibility for 
driving anti-American sentiment.  (Note: Following the 
meeting with Bryza, Zourabichvili castigated the Georgian 
media for twisting Bryza's previous comments on the election 
out of context.  End Note.) 
 
9. (C) Bryza agreed with the group that "much better" 
parliamentary elections are necessary and that the USG will 
strongly support such a push with the GOG.  Bryza pointed out 
that he and the Embassy had been working very hard to restore 
Imedi TV and some balance in Georgia's television coverage. 
He further noted the USG's longstanding message to 
Saakashvili that to strengthen democracy, the GOG needed to 
cultivate - not just tolerate - a loyal political opposition. 
 Bryza also said that Membership Action Plan (MAP) for 
Georgia in NATO is unlikely to be awarded at the Bucharest 
Summit.  Bryza stated that truly fair parliamentary elections 
are key to putting Georgia back on track for MAP. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
Usupashvili: Fractures in UNC; Saakashvili Under Pressure 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
 
10. (C) In a following, private meeting, Usupashvili told DAS 
Bryza that UNC member Koba Davitashvili and his People's 
Party would protest at the Embassy on January 22 (reftel). 
Usupashvili said Davitashvili ignored the will of the rest of 
the UNC, despite a unanimous vote against him.  Usupashvili 
stressed that the UNC does not support any anti-American 
protests.  He said this public division of the UNC is bad for 
its responsible members.  Bryza thanked Usupashvili for the 
advance notice of the protest at the Embassy and acknowledged 
Davitashvili's right to protest in a free democracy. 
 
11. (C) Usupashvili cautioned that there is also division and 
pressure within the UNM.  He assessed that Saakashvili did 
not expect to lose Kakheti or Tbilisi.  Usupashvili said 
Saakashvili had to rely on populist pledges on social 
security and other welfare programs to secure 53 percent of 
the vote.  Usupashvili believed that such promises could not 
be kept.  Usupashvili said it would help if Burjanadze were 
stronger, as she could then exert greater influence via 
Parliament and in the UNM.  Due to these conflicting 
obligations, Usupashvili thought Saakashvili may fear an 
 
TBILISI 00000143  003 OF 004 
 
 
opposition victory in the next election will mean his end. 
If Saakashvili reacts, by cracking down on the opposition for 
example, then it could turn bad in the country.  Usupashvili 
said everyone in the UNC is against recognizing Saakashvili 
as the president.  However, he added that civil disobedience 
is still being debated.  Usupashvili said he is ready to do 
whatever he can to help temper the opposition's response. 
"But it's not easy," he said. "We are trying to calm people 
down." 
 
12. (C) Compounding matters, Usupashvili said that some in 
the UNM oppose ceding any influence at all in the CEC, GPB, 
courts, or police to the opposition.  Usupashvili said the 
people will not trust another election without some oversight 
of the police.  He was unsure whether the public trust can be 
restored at all under Saakashvili.  He thought that even if 
significant personnel changes were made within the Justice 
Ministry and Supreme Court it may not be enough. 
 
13. (C) Usupashvili said his own Republican Party will have a 
committee meeting in two weeks to prepare language and ideas 
for the coming election.  Usupashvili is hoping that the UNC 
can also move forward to the parliamentary elections.  He 
pointed out that truly fair parliamentary elections were his 
party's initial demand last year.  He thought that the people 
would not tolerate another perceived unfair election.  DAS 
Bryza acknowledged the division in society, but agreed with 
Usupashvili that Georgia needs an election now, not a fight. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
Gamkrelidze: Same Fears, Same Problems 
-------------------------------------- 
 
14. (C) MP Gamkrelidze also met DAS Bryza privately on 
January 19.  He echoed that the election may have restored 
Saakashvili's international legitimacy, but it had not 
restored his legitimacy with the Georgian public.  He said 
that most people in the cities don't think Saakashvili won. 
Gamkrelidze said he was unsure whether he could convince his 
supporters that the next elections will be fair. 
 
15. (C) Gamkrelidze appealed to Bryza to support "real 
elections" and not just "international standards." 
Gamkrelidze said that the opposition must have influence on 
policy in the CEC, GPB, and the judiciary.  He suggested that 
possibly a new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or High 
Council of Justice could help restore people's trust in their 
votes.  Gamkrelidze also suggested in a meeting to Burjanadze 
that it might help if Gachechiladze could run in a direct 
election for Tbilisi Mayor.  The Ambassador s
aid Saakashvili 
had already refused this idea.  Gamkrelidze said trouble 
would ensue unless some balance of power is restored in the 
government. 
 
16. (C) Gamkrelidze said he is unsure as to what the NR will 
do regarding the parliamentary elections, whether or not, for 
example, NR may combine with another party.  Gamkrelidze said 
that the NR is supporting the UNC in its public protests, but 
will continue to abide by its long-standing commitment to 
non-violence.  His party also will not support any 
anti-American protests.  DAS Bryza noted that Gamkrelidze has 
always followed his own lead, and that this may be a good 
time to continue doing so.  If the situation continues, 
Gamkrelidze said it would be ripe for exploitation by a 
revolutionary.  He said former Defense Minister Irakli 
Okruashvili (now facing extradition in France) was hoping to 
exploit just such a situation. 
 
17. (C) Gamkrelidze said that Saakashvili brought about the 
current situation.  Because Saakashvili continually weakened 
the reasonable opposition, he said, now only vocal, 
aggressive voices are heard.  DAS Bryza agreed this was 
exactly his point.  Bryza said he would make the same point 
to the government.  Bryza underscored the importance of the 
parliamentary election to Georgia's future.  Gamkrelidze 
responded that Saakashvili must understand and accept that if 
parliamentary elections are truly fair, he won't get a 
majority. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
18. (C) Comment: Usupashvili and Gamkrelidze were both 
apologetic for the recent public vilification directed toward 
DAS Bryza.  Both were somber and serious in their analysis of 
the current situation as quite dangerous.  Usupashvili has 
advised the Ambassador that he is unsure how long the UNC can 
hold together.  Still, the UNC and Gamkrelidze independently 
agreed on the mechanisms (CEC, TV, Courts, and Police) they 
believe the UNM used to control the election outcome. 
 
TBILISI 00000143  004 OF 004 
 
 
Equally noticeable was the opposition's agreement that 
"everything" is dependent on the parliamentary elections 
being truly fair.  If they are not, all parties predicted 
worse trouble will come.  End comment. 
 
19. (U) DAS Bryza has cleared this cable. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI141, IRAKLI BATIASHVILI-BACK IN POLITICS?

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI141.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI141 2008-01-30 13:56 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4980
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0141/01 0301356
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301356Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8754
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000141 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: IRAKLI BATIASHVILI-BACK IN POLITICS? 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C)  In a January 29 meeting with Poloffs, Irakli 
Batiashvili, recently amnestied from Georgian prison on 
January 11, said that he sees his role as a coordinating 
force for the opposition prior to the Parliamentary 
elections, although he has not decided where in the spectrum 
of the opposition parties that he lies. He said that the 
tapes which were used during his trial as evidence of his 
cooperation with rebels in the Kodori Valley were doctored, 
and could present the tapes and the text in its entirety to 
demonstrate this point.  Batiashvili underscored his close 
working relationship with the U.S. government during the 90's 
when he was the Head of the State Security Service and was 
seeking positive dialogue with post to prevent, what he 
alleged was fraud during the Presidential elections. 
Batiashvili portrayed the Saakashvili administration as 
authoritarian, pointing to eavesdropping on private citizens, 
illegal expropriation of property, and failure to engage with 
civil society or other actors.  He assessed that 
anti-Americanism would continue as long as Saakashvili was 
president, although he expressed deep appreciation and for 
the U.S. contributions during Georgia's darkest moments. 
Batiashvili was not surprised that the Public Defender did 
not consider him a political prisoner, saying the Public 
Defender was a government employee and although he may have 
thought differently personally, publicly he could not say 
otherwise.  He was aware that Amnesty International and Human 
Rights Watch had expressed interest in his case and would 
feature information about him in their annual reports, but 
was unsure if they considered him a political prisoner. 
Batiashvili agreed that an opposition lead deadlock in 
Parliament wouldn't be beneficial to anyone, and expressed 
his interest in working on territorial integrity, NATO entry, 
and prevention of terrorism as nonpartisan issues that both 
sides could agree on. End Summary. 
 
The Man and his Past 
-------------------- 
 
2.  (C)  Batiashvili introduced himself by citing his work as 
a dissident in the 80's and his involvement with the National 
Liberty Movement to fight for Georgia's independence against 
the Soviet totalitarian empire.  During the Shevardnadze 
period, he was appointed Head of the State Security Forces, 
and described his relationship then with the U.S. as a close 
and productive one.  He went on to talk about the reform of 
the Georgian intelligence services and his role in revamping 
aged tactics and weaponry through the U.S. train and equip 
program.  Batiashvili said as a result of this collaboration, 
the elite Omega "spetznaz" Unit was created.  (Comment:  He 
most likely is referring to paramilitary forces which were 
assigned to the State Security Service.  End Comment.) 
Batiashvili portrayed himself as a strong proponent of NATO, 
citing his subsequent advocacy work with the Georgian 
Parliament to oversee Georgia's movement toward NATO. 
Batiashvili described the Abkhazia war as a very difficult 
time in Georgia's history, but as a result of this time, he 
established contacts within the Kodori Valley.  These are the 
same contacts, he maintains, that he was in communication 
with when he was arrested. 
 
His Trial and Tribulations 
-------------------------- 
 
3.  (C)  Batiashvili said that his arrest and imprisonment 
were not legal and that Georgian society knew this.  He 
described his contact with Enzar Kvitsiani in the Kodori 
Valley which led to his arrest as an attempt to find a 
peaceful solution to a difficult problem.  Batiashvili said 
during the 90's, he often made trips to the region, and knew 
the people and the situation there very well.  It would not 
have been unusual, he contended, to meet and talk with 
figures in seeking a peaceful solution.  Batiashvili was 
against using the army in the Kodori Gorge from the 
beginning, and if more moderate forces had prevailed (he 
stated Burjanadze) then mediation would have diffused the 
situation quite quickly.  He went on to say that the tapes 
which were used against him in his trial were doctored, and 
that the government admitted as much in an official letter to 
him.  Batiashvili expressed willingness to produce the tapes 
and transcripts of the five conversations in their entirety 
should Post want to review them.   He said that prison 
authorities and other prisoners never harmed or abused him 
while he was incarcerated, as they had respect for him. 
Batiashvili stated that all judicial proceedings with his 
case are finished.  He was initially sentenced to 24 years, 
under two different articles, and several times he had been 
offered a plea bargains and other deals, which he steadfastly 
refused. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000141  002 OF 002 
 
 
4.  (C)  Batiashvili respected the Public Defender and 
appreciated his efforts on his behalf.  He was not surprised 
that the Public Defender did not consider him a political 
prisoner, saying how could a government employee publicly say 
otherwise.  Batiashv
ili was aware that Human Rights Watch and 
Amnesty International was studying his cases, but was not 
aware at this point whether they classified him a political 
prisoner. Upon his release, he said the Georgian Patriarch, 
and Nino Burjanadze asked him not to attend the opposition 
protest on January 13, but said not to have would have looked 
like fear and attended anyway.  Batiashvili described his 
reception at the protest as unexpectedly warm and supportive. 
 
His Current Role 
---------------- 
 
5.  (C)  While Batiashvili would not confirm that he was 
running for office in the Parliamentary Elections, he saw his 
raison d'etre as a coordinating force for the United 
Opposition.  He attributes his activism to a deep seated 
skepticism of the Saakashvili regime and portrayed it as 
authoritarian, asserting the government's tapping of 
telephones as something indicative of a totalitarian regime 
afraid to lose its grip on power. He said incidents of phone 
tapping and kidnapping (he cited Koba Davitashvili 
specifically) instill a sense of fear in the populace and in 
this culture of intimidation, democracy cannot flourish. 
Batiashvili said that the spring would be tense in Tbilisi, 
due to elections and that in general, spring "is an emotional 
time for Georgians."  If 100,000 people showed up to protest 
in November, he speculated with warmer weather and milder 
conditions, would this mean 300,000 people would turn out? 
Batiashvili said he has no desire for another revolution and 
wants the Parliamentary Elections to be conducted in a 
peaceful atmosphere. 
 
Anti-Americanism-Tied to Saakashvili 
------------------------------------ 
 
6.  (C)  Batiashvili said that Anti-Americanism will continue 
as long as Saakashvili is president, and could possibly grow 
during his next five years in office.  He realized that the 
U.S. government position was the support of democracy as an 
institution, rather than an individual person or party, but 
some Georgians are ungrateful and have already forgotten what 
the U.S. has done to assist Georgia in its darkest hours. 
PolEcon Chief expressed appreciation for his comments but 
concern that the opposition does not fuel the 
anti-Americanism as a tool to increase its own popularity. 
Batiashvhili said this anti-American sentiment was not 
widespread among Georgians, who see their future as part of 
NATO and welcome U.S. assistance towards this end. 
 
His Future Plan 
--------------- 
 
7.  (C) PolEcon Chief encouraged Batiashvili to consider 
areas of mutual interest in which the opposition can work 
with the government, such as NATO integration.  She also 
cautioned on the importance of continuing reforms, even if a 
new Parliament has many more members of the opposition. 
Batiashvili agreed for Georgia to move ahead, both sides must 
forge a multi-party state. One of his biggest criticisms of 
the current government was the lack of a check on executive 
power.   Although there are large areas of disagreement 
between both sides, he did concede that three nonpartisan 
areas which could unite both groups were territorial 
integrity, fight against terrorism, and entry into NATO. He 
specifically noted that he appreciated the positive role of 
the U.S. in promoting dialogue to resolve the status of 
disputed territories, an issue which he considered close to 
his heart and for which he was ready to fight. 
 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8.  (C)  Batiashvili considers himself a sharp, fit opponent 
of Saakashvili, and attributes his release to one of the 
opposition's initial demands to release political prisoners 
in November.  Behind the scenes, the Georgian Orthodox 
Patriarch, who depicts itself as apolitical, appears to have 
been influential in Batiashvili's release and political 
participation, indicating we believe the concern the 
Patriarch has about the actions of some radical elements that 
are coming out of the opposition. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI136, DAS BRYZA’S JANUARY 19 MEETING WITH ACTING

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI136.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI136 2008-01-29 13:25 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3942
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0136/01 0291325
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 291325Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8733
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000136 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: DAS BRYZA'S JANUARY 19 MEETING WITH ACTING 
PRESIDENT NINO BURJANADZE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John Tefft, reason 1.4(b), and (d). 
 
 1. (C) Summary: Acting President Nino Burjanadze told DAS 
Matthew Bryza at a January 19 meeting that she planned to 
continue talks with representatives of the opposition and 
also pledged to take steps to improve election procedures 
prior to the spring 2008 parliamentary elections.  Burjanadze 
was critical of some members of the opposition, whom she 
called "irresponsible," but remained guardedly optimistic 
about the prospects for the further democratic development of 
Georgia. She concluded that with careful, measured steps by 
both the government and the constructive members of the 
opposition, it would be possible to use the events of the 
fall and the elections to strengthen Georgian democracy. End 
Summary. 
 
Analysis of Presidential Election 
--------------------------------- 
2. (C) In a January 19 meeting with DAS Bryza and Ambassador 
Tefft, Burjanadze promised to address all concerns about 
irregularities during the presidential election.  She argued 
that it was difficult to know which problems were genuine and 
which were exaggerated, adding that even Georgian NGOs had 
conceded that the violations they had uncovered would not 
have changed the outcome of the election. Burjanadze also 
thanked the United States for its statement supporting the 
outcome of the election. 
 
3. (C) Burjanadze admitted surprise that Saakashvili got only 
53 percent of the vote, despite heavy campaign efforts, and 
disappointment that United Opposition candidate Levan 
Gacheciliadze got 25 percent without putting forward a 
realistic program for the country. She also said she was 
somewhat upset that seven percent of Georgians voted for 
oligarch Badri Patarkatsishvili even after revelations that 
he was plotting the overthrow of the government. She agreed 
with Ambassador Tefft's assessment that most votes for the 
opposition candidates were "protest" votes against President 
Saakashvili and did not necessarily reflect popular support 
for the opposition. 
 
Prognosis for Talks With the Opposition 
-------------------------------------- 
4. (C) Burjanadze accused the opposition of planning in 
advance to proclaim the presidential election fraudulent. She 
similarly complained that it would prove difficult to sustain 
a productive political dialogue about the country's future 
until opposition leaders acknowledge the legitimacy of 
President Saakashvili's re-election.  DAS Bryza noted that 
the President's willingness to participate in dialogue with 
the opposition would also be a key factor. Burjanadze agreed 
that there were limits to what she alone could accomplish in 
discussions with the opposition; a more productive dialogue 
would require the direct engagement of President Saakashvili. 
 
5. (C) Burjanadze predicted, however, that the United 
Opposition would soon split, with many of its leaders 
adopting a more constructive approach to political dialogue 
with the government. She singled out Republican Party leader 
David Usupashvili as such a constructive force and credited 
him with helping defuse the tension that had flared right 
after the presidential election. 
 
Heading Toward the Parliamentary Election 
----------------------------------------- 
6. (C) Burjanadze admitted that one cause of the current 
political crisis in Georgia was the large majority the ruling 
National Movement holds in the sitting parliament, which led 
the government to sometimes ignore legitimate concerns of the 
opposition. The challenge in the spring parliamentary 
election, she said, would be for the National Movement to 
retain a stable bloc in parliament, while the opposition 
gains enough seats to give it a substantial voice. She also 
expressed concern that Georgia avoid a return to the 
fractionated and ineffective parliaments of the 1990s, where 
a number of small parties held seats and blocked forward 
movement on many issues. 
 
7. (C) To achieve a positive outcome in the parliamentary 
elections, Burjanadze suggested changes in the election code 
to allow more transparent and neutral dispute resolution. The 
current election commissions, divided six-to-six between the 
National Movement and the opposition, are ineffective and 
should be professionalized, she said.  She cautioned that not 
much could be done before the parliamentary elections, but 
pledged to take some steps in this direction quickly. 
 
8. (C) Burjanadze noted that the highly polarized political 
environment would hamper efforts to improve election 
procedures. It would be nearly impossible to find people to 
 
TBILISI 00000136  002 OF 002 
 
 
implement them who would be regarded as sufficiently 
independent and politically acceptable by all sides. 
Burjanadze cited the example of Kublashvili, the Chairman of 
the Supreme Court. Some opposition leaders regard him as 
insuffic
iently independent. When asked, however, these same 
leaders cannot name a more acceptable candidate. Ambassador 
Tefft suggested that an influential Georgian recently 
returned from an extended stay in Europe or the United States 
might be viewed as an independent and neutral arbiter by all 
parties. 
 
9. (C) Comment: Burjanadze's steady leadership and 
willingness to engage in dialogue with the opposition played 
a key role in helping Georgia negotiate the difficult period 
since November 7. As she noted, however, there are limits to 
what she can achieve alone. The opposition has told us it 
could not meet President Saakashvili directly until after the 
parliamentary elections. It will be important that the 
government use the time until the parliamentary elections to 
fix as many problems as possible that were uncovered by the 
OSCE, ODIHR, and other election monitoring missions. End 
Comment. 
 
10. (U) DAS Bryza has cleared this message. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI125, PUBLIC DEMANDS, INTERNAL RIFTS IN GEORGIA’S

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI125.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI125 2008-01-28 13:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3060
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0125/01 0281345
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 281345Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8681
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000125 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA, AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/22/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: PUBLIC DEMANDS, INTERNAL RIFTS IN GEORGIA'S 
OPPOSITION 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: On January 28, opposition leaders laid out 
the United Council of Opposition's (UNC) demands for 
electoral and political reforms to the international 
diplomatic corps.  The joint memorandum, to be signed by 
three opposition presidential candidates and the leaders of 
12 opposition parties, is to be presented to Speaker of 
Parliament Nino Burjanadze on January 29.  The demands 
include 17 points and focus on: overcoming the 
"non-legitimate results" of the January 5 election, ensuring 
political freedom, ensuring freedom of speech, and holding 
fair parliamentary elections.  The UNC cautioned that these 
points do not constitute "ultimata," but rather a basis for 
negotiations with the government.  In a separate meeting with 
Poloff on January 25, Republican leader David Usupashvili, 
who has been leading the negotiations with Burjanadze, said 
he is anxious to reach an agreement with her, in writing, 
that can be supported quickly and publicly by the Embassy and 
other international organizations.  He also said the UNC is 
facing serious internal division and assessed that Burjanadze 
also faces "certain challenges" within her ruling National 
Movement (UNM).  Usupashvili reiterated that if the coming 
elections are not held freely, the situation could be very 
dangerous.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------------- 
Opposition Lays Out Demands 
--------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On January 28, the leaders of the United Opposition 
Council (UNC) called a meeting with the international 
diplomatic corps to present an advance copy of a statement 
(faxed to EUR/CARC) they will present to the Georgian 
government on January 29.  The UNC is joined in their 
statement by the New Rightists/Industrialists and Labor 
Party.  The statement calls for further investigation into 
alleged violations during the January 5 presidential 
elections, the release of political prisoners, electoral code 
reform, and greater transparency and balance in the media. 
It also calls for the resignation of Minister of Internal 
Affairs Vano Merabishvili and the Prosecutor General, and the 
restructuring of both agencies.  (Note: It appears the 
demands were written prior to the exit of former PG 
Adeishvili.  End note.)  During the meeting, the UNC stressed 
that the statement constitutes a basis for discussion with 
the government and is not an ultimatum.  They are committed 
to a peaceful and constitutional resolution of the crisis, 
they said, and would resort to further protests only if 
dialogue fails.  They also said they welcomed guidance and 
input from the international community as the talks proceed. 
The Republican Party's David Usupashvili said he hoped a 
political agreement could be reached on all issues by 
February 15, but acknowledged that practical, fundamental 
changes, such as electoral code reform, would require more 
time. 
 
------------------------- 
UNM Faces Internal Cracks 
------------------------- 
 
3. (C) In a separate meeting on January 25, Republican Party 
Chairman David Usupashvili, who is leading the negotiations 
with Burjanadze, told Poloff that he is anxious to reach an 
agreement with Burjanadze, in writing, that can be supported 
quickly and publicly by the Embassy and other international 
parties.  He said that the UNC is facing serious internal 
divisions between the more radical groups and the moderates. 
Usupashvili noted that his own party may separate from the 
UNC if the unity maintained until now does not continue. 
(Note: The joint presentation January 28 in Parliament 
indicated that the moderates may be gaining the edge over the 
more radical elements of the UNC.  End note.) 
 
4. (C) Usupashvili also said that Burjanadze is also facing 
dissension within her ruling National Movement (UNM) party in 
Parliament, due to a disagreement over the makeup of the 
UNM's party list for the Spring parliamentary elections. 
Consequently, although Burjanadze remains hopeful regarding 
the outcome of negotiations, she has her own internal 
challenges as well. 
 
------------------------- 
NDI Looks Ahead, and Back 
------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Country Director for the National Democratic 
Institute, Mary O'Hagan, briefed Poloff and USAID on January 
28 that she and the OSCE are both helping mediate the current 
negotiations between the opposition and UNC.  (Note: NDI has 
 
TBILISI 00000125  002 OF 002 
 
 
a large USAID funded program designed to strengthen 
Parliament.  End note.)  O'Hagan is also cautiously 
optimistic regarding the coming, formal negotiations.  The 
negotiations will likely include three MP's from each side. 
She is planning to hold the meetings this week at a neutral 
site, perhaps the Tbilisi Marriott. 
 
6. (C) O'Hagan also advised that her staff has data analysis 
experts who continue to crunch the outcomes of the January 5 
elections.  Although they are not yet finished, O'Hagan
says 
they have identified some trends of concern.  One example is 
that the voters lists were unable to match a high number of 
the names to an address (likely due to people having left 
their village and perhaps even the country.)  This 
information will be mapped geographically and compared to 
those precincts which experienced extremely high turnout. 
O'Hagan is working with the Central Election Commission to 
identify these problems in order to avoid them in the next 
election. 
 
7. (C) O'Hagan said that in reviewing the parliamentary 
election system, the UNM is still working to keep a 
constitutional majority, even if they only win 55 percent of 
the vote.  If the UNM were to use their current advantage to 
ensure such a majority after the Spring election, O'Hagan and 
Usupashvili were concerned that this could force people back 
into the streets in protest. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI123, PM GURGENIDZE SUBMITS NEW CABINET TO PARLIAMENT

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI123.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI123 2008-01-25 14:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1281
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0123/01 0251445
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251445Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8675
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000123 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PINR GG RU
SUBJECT: PM GURGENIDZE SUBMITS NEW CABINET TO PARLIAMENT 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (U) On January 24, Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze held a 
press conference and announced President Saakashvili's 
nominations for his new cabinet of ministers.  Gurgenidze 
submitted the list of nominees to the Georgian Parliament on 
January 25.  Gurgenidze said that the new nominees are 
inclusive, as they represent "three generations." 
Saakashvili is attempting to counter allegations that his 
governing circle is small and out of touch with Georgian 
society.  Gurgenidze said the ministers were nominated based 
purely on their professionalism and "there was no 
consideration of party affiliation in the selection." 
Parliament will have 10 days in which to review and approve 
the nominees.  Both opposition factions in Parliament, the 
Democratic Front (which includes the Conservatives and 
Republicans) and the New Rightists/Industrialists, have 
announced they will boycott the nomination hearings.  The 
opposition parties continue to insist that Saakashvili did 
not win the January 5 election and his administration 
constitutes an "illegitimate government." 
 
Minister of Foreign Affairs: Davit Bakradze 
------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Gela Bezhuashvili is leaving government entirely and 
will probably go into business in the private sector. 
Bakradze moves over from State Minister of Conflict 
Resolution.  Bakradze was campaign manager for Saakashvili 
and has ready access to the President.  Bakradze has a 
background in security issues, having worked on the Georgian 
National Security Council, and is familiar to Europeans from 
his chairmanship of the Parliament's Committee on European 
Integration. 
 
Minister of Economy: Yekaterina (Eka) Sharashidze 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
3. (C) Like Bezhuashvili, Giorgi Arveladze is joining the 
private sector and has extensive business interests.  His 
replacement, Eka Sharashidze, is a dual Georgian-American 
national, and was the Chief of Staff to President Saakashvili 
beginning in 2007.  She holds a Master's Degree in Public 
Policy from Harvard and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute 
of Technology.  She is tough-minded and has a reputation for 
stubbornness.  Like Bakradze she is a close advisor of 
Saakashvili. 
 
Head of State Chancellery: Kakha Bendukidze 
------------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Bendukidze leaves his post as State Minister for 
Coordination of Economic Reforms.  That position was 
abolished.  In his new role, Bendukidze will have much less 
public visibility, while allowing PM Gurgenidze and the 
President to have his advice.  Bendukidze was unpopular 
publicly for the free-market economic reforms he promoted, 
connections to Russian business interests, and desire to 
privatize as many state assets as possible. 
 
State Minister for Diaspora Affairs: Iulon Gagoshidze 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
4. (C) Gagoshidze is a complete newcomer to the cabinet and 
politics.  This new position apparently is dedicated to 
relations with Georgians living abroad and integrating them 
into Georgian life and economy. 
 
State Minister for Reintegration: Temur Iakobashvili 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
5. (C) This position was formerly the State Minister for 
Conflict Resolution and was renamed to reflect the GOG's new 
focus on "Reintegration" of the separatist regions. 
Iakobashvili was an Executive Vice-President of the 
USG-funded Georgian Foundation for Strategic and 
International Studies, the most well-known think tank in 
Tbilisi.  He was a World Program Fellow at Yale in 2002 and 
attended an Executive Security Program at Harvard in 2004. 
He is one of the two Jewish members of the cabinet along with 
Defense Minister Kezerashvili. 
 
State Minister for Refugees and Accommodation: 
Koba Subeliani 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
6. (C) Subeliani will remain in the same ministry.  However 
this position has been re-designated as State Minister, 
rather than Minister. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000123  002 OF 003 
 
 
State Minister for Regional Policies: 
Davit Tkeshelashvili 
------------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Tkeshelashvili was formerly the Minister of Healthcare 
and Social Issues.  This new position will oversee the nine 
regional governors who represent the Presidential 
administration in the regions.  It reflects the increasing 
importance of local and regional governments in the more 
decentralized structure of the government. 
 
Minister of Healthcare and Social Issues: 
Alexandre (Sandro) Kvitashvili 
----------------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Kv
itashvili is a cabinet and political newcomer.  He 
was a USG Muskie Fellow at New York University in 1992-1993, 
where he received a Master's degree in Public Policy.  He is 
a close friend of PM Gurgenidze and was living and working in 
New York until this appointment.  He was a fellow at the 
East-West Institute in New York. 
 
Minister of Education and Science: 
Gia Nodia 
---------------------------------- 
 
9. (C) Nodia is the head of a local NGO, the Caucasus 
Institute for Peace, Democracy, and Development.  Nodia has 
studied on multiple programs (not USG-funded) in the U.S. and 
is a widely-known analyst of Georgian political affairs.  He 
has been considered an independent voice. 
 
Minister for Environmental Protection: 
Zaza Gamtsemlidze 
-------------------------------------- 
 
10. (C) Gamtsemlidze is a cabinet and political newcomer. 
Post is unaware of Gamtsemlidze having ever studied in the 
U.S. 
 
Minister of Justice: Nika Gvaramia 
---------------------------------- 
 
11. (C) Gvaramia is currently a Deputy Prosecutor General and 
the PG's spokesperson.  He has been the government's point 
man in investigations of former Defense Minister Irakli 
Okruashvili and Badri Patarkatsishvili, appearing frequently 
on television.  Gvaramia is not known to have studied in the 
U.S. 
 
Prosecutor General: Eka Tkeshelashvili 
-------------------------------------- 
 
12. (C) Eka Tkeshelashvili became the Minister of Justice in 
September 2007 and before that was Chief Justice of the 
Tbilisi Court of Appeals.  She was a Muskie Fellow at the 
University of Notre Dame Law School, where she received an 
L.L.M. in International Human Rights Law.  She is smart, 
capable, and dynamic.  She was a Deputy Minister of Justice 
and before that she held a number of positions focusing on 
human rights issues.  She has actively promoted judicial 
reform.  Tkeshelashvili speaks fluent English and just gave 
birth to her first child. 
 
Minister of Culture and Sport: Nika Vacheishvili 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
13. (C) Vacheishvili was formerly the Deputy Minister in the 
same ministry.  He participated in a USG-funded International 
Visitor Program on historical preservation and planning in 
2005. 
 
Head of President's Administration: Zurab Adeishvili 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
14. (C)  Adeishvili has been the Prosecutor General since 
2004.  He is a close advisor to President Saakashvili.  Like 
Bendukidze, the intention of moving him to the Presidential 
Administration seems to be to remove him from the spotlight 
while keeping him in the government. 
 
Other Ministries 
---------------- 
 
15. (C)  Other ministers remain in their positions.  David 
Kezerashvili is Minister of Defense, Vano Merabishvili is 
Minister of Internal Affairs, Alexander Khetaguri is Minister 
of Energy, Nika Gilauri is Minister of Finance, Petre 
Tsiskarishvili is Minister of Agriculture. 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
TBILISI 00000123  003 OF 003 
 
 
Abolished Ministerial Position 
------------------------------ 
 
21. (C) The position of State Minister for Civil Integration 
Issues, formerly held by Zinaida Bestaeva, was abolished. 
Bestaeva was not nominated for another ministerial position. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI122, FIVE EASY PRESENTATIONS – AMERICAN FILM DIRECTOR BOB

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI122.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI122 2008-01-25 12:09 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1176
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0122/01 0251209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251209Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8673
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000122 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR ECA/PE/C/CU - SCOHEN AND EUR/PPD - SALTMAN-WINANS 
 
E.O.12958: N/A 
TAGS: SCUL KPAO GG
SUBJECT: FIVE EASY PRESENTATIONS - AMERICAN FILM DIRECTOR BOB 
RAFELSON IN TBILISI 
 
 
1. SUMMARY: Bob Rafelson was an ECA Cultural Envoy par excellence, 
representing the United States at the 8th Tbilisi International Film 
Festival from December 3-10, 2007. Mr. Rafelson is one of American 
cinema's leading figures, having distinguished himself over the past 
three decades as a director, writer and producer of a unique 
collection of award-winning and ground-breaking films. His films had 
a particular following during the Soviet period, when aficionados 
watched bootleg videos of his films in closets or in peoples' 
basements, and he was seen as a free, independent and uncompromised 
artist. Within the framework of the Festival, Rafelson's films "Five 
Easy Pieces," "The Postman Always Rings Twice," and "The King of 
Marvin Gardens" were screened. Rafelson also presented a master 
class and a public lecture with Q&As, and was the guest of honor at 
a reception hosted by the Ambassador. But perhaps the greatest value 
in Rafelson's attendance at the Film Festival was in his daily 
interactions, even mentoring, with Georgian and other filmmakers, 
actors, and directors, both young and old, to talk shop and discuss 
the ins and outs of film tradecraft. END SUMMUARY 
 
THE PROGRAM 
----------- 
 
2.  Rafelson attended the opening and closing of the Film Festival 
as a distinguished guest; was the guest of honor at a reception 
hosted by the Ambassador and attended by the Minister of Culture; 
presented a master class, "Confessions of a Filmmaker," with a 
discussion of his film work based on a series of short video 
sequences; and gave a public lecture following the screening of his 
film, "Five Easy Pieces." He met, informally, with a number of 
Georgian and international film producers, directors and actors, 
both young and old, and was received by the renowned Georgian 
theater director, Robert Sturua, and by Georgian movie director and 
scion of an important Georgian film family, Giorgi Shengelaia. 
 
RESULTS 
------- 
 
3.  Because of the overwhelming interest in Mr. Rafelson's master 
class, "Confessions of a Filmmaker," the venue was moved from a 
30-seat to a 150-seat theater. Even this proved to be too small, as 
late-comers poured into the auditorium, blocking the aisles. The 
master class came to an end two and a half hours later, but only 
because Festival organizers needed the auditorium to screen a film. 
Several students in the audience followed Mr. Rafelson out of the 
auditorium and onto the street, peppering him with questions. More 
and more young people in Georgia are getting interested in 
filmmaking, and this was the first time a Georgian audience was able 
to meet an American filmmaker of this caliber. The public lecture 
that followed the screening of his movie "Five Easy Pieces" was 
another great event, with another packed hall and question after 
question until the Festival organizers had to clear the hall for 
another screening. 
 
4.  Rafelson has an uncanny ability to connect directly with people, 
and the level of discourse in the master class and lecture 
immediately moved to a very deep level. The honest and thoughtful 
way he shared his experience and professional tips was an 
inspiration to aspiring and experienced filmmakers alike, and his 
deep interest in and respect for the culture of Georgia came through 
throughout his visit.  Audience members felt honored to be in his 
presence and to hear his analysis and insights into his work. 
 
5.  Bob Rafelson's visit significantly raised the Embassy's public 
profile among the general public and art community in Georgia. His 
visit was particularly reassuring to the Georgian public since it 
occurred during a period of political turmoil, after street 
disturbances and a state of emergency in early November, and in the 
lead up to snap presidential elections in early January. His 
presence at the Film Festival in Tbilisi helped reassure Georgians 
of U.S. engagement in their country. 
 
6.  Nino Anjaparidze, the Tbilisi International Film Festival 
Director, credited Bob Rafelson's appearance with putting the 
Festival in the spotlight and hopes this will make it easier to 
market the Festival worldwide in the future. She appreciated the 
tips on Film Festival management which Mr. Rafelson gave her during 
his visit, as well as his promise to serve as an informal consultant 
on future engagements. 
 
7.  COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC: 
 
- "Bob Rafelson's visit was very inspiring for us.  It reminded me 
all over again of the 1980's when we used to watch his films in 
closets or somebody's basement. He inspired me to make movies then, 
and he is an inspiration to me now. I think I could live without 
caviar (i.e. luxuries) for a whole year if I could start making 
movies again." Ukraine-based Georgian film director Levan Kitia, who 
supports himself by making commercials and soap operas. 
 
- Beso Odisharia, a Georgian filmmaker, expressed his hope that this 
 
TBILISI 00000122  002 OF 002 
 
 
one encounter wi
th Mr. Rafelson would "infect" the younger 
generation with a real zest to make worthy movies. 
 
-  Georgian film producer, Levan Korinteli, said, "People like Bob 
Rafelson remind us that great movies can be made on a very low 
budget." An increasing number of young professionals are interested 
in filmmaking, but poor economic conditions in the country and the 
lack of investment in the movie industry are discouraging. Mr. 
Rafelson's message that it is possible to make art movies on a low 
cost budget was very reassuring. 
 
-  "Did you go to Rafelson's master class yesterday," was the 
question of the day at the Tbilisi State Theatre and Film 
University, said Olga Zhguenti, a University professor. 
 
- "Tskheli Shokoladi" (Hot Chocolate), a new high-quality arts and 
culture glossy magazine in Georgia, called the  festival  "the 
Milestone Event of the Year" and categorized the visit of the 
"legendary" American film director Bob Rafelson as the highlight of 
the year. 
 
MEDIA 
----- 
 
8.  Rafelson's program generated a number of television feature 
stories. Rustavi-2 Television focused on Bob Rafelson's career in 
the Saturday night primetime top-rated "Post Scriptum" (potential 
viewers: 70% of Georgia's population). The anchor called the 
American director "the gem" of the festival. Mr. Rafelson was also 
featured during Georgia Public Broadcaster's daily primetime 
newscasts. (potential viewers 80% of Georgia's population). The 
channel dedicated most of its Saturday "Moambe" news program to Mr. 
Rafelson's visit and called his master class and public lecture the 
"highlight" of the 8th Tbilisi International Film Festival. The 
Sunday cultural primetime program "Cultural Mzera" on Mze Television 
(potential viewers 60% of Georgia's population), also concentrated 
on Bob Rafelson's master class and public lecture and stressed that 
the organizers of the festival had to move the audience to a bigger 
hall to fit in everyone eager to attend. An interview taped by the 
Georgian high-profile art critic, Gogi Gvakharia, will be the 
central piece of the January issue of "Tskheli Shokoladi" (Hot 
Chocolate), the best quality, glossy cultural magazine in Georgia. 
Radio Liberty Radio Free Europe's Georgian Service broadcast also 
broadcast this same interview with Mr. Rafelson in its entirety on 
December 10. 
 
THANKS 
----- 
 
9.  AmEmbassy Tbilisi would like to thank ECA/PE/C/CU, and 
especially Susan Cohen of the Feature Film Service at ECA for an 
excellent program. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI117, GEORGIA IMPROVES ITS RATING IN HERITAGE FOUNDATION’S

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI117.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI117 2008-01-24 12:50 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0283
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0117/01 0241250
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241250Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8670
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000117 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC, EEB/CBA, EEB/IFD/OIA AND EEB/TPP/BTA 
COMMERCE FOR 4231 DANICA STARKS 
STATE PASS USTR 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON EINV PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA IMPROVES ITS RATING IN HERITAGE FOUNDATION'S 
ECONOMIC FREEDOM REPORT 
 
 
1. Summary:  Georgia has improved its standing in the 
Heritage Foundation's annual Index of Economic Freedom.  In 2008 it 
has moved up from 35th to 32nd out of 163 countries surveyed 
throughout the world.  According to the conservative think tank's 
report, which measures countries' performance on ten different 
factors, Georgia scores highly in business freedom, fiscal freedom, 
freedom from government, investment freedom and labor freedom. 
Improvement is needed in the areas of property rights protection and 
corruption.  End summary. 
 
---------------------- 
Economic Freedom Index 
---------------------- 
 
2. The Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage 
Foundation is a tool for policymakers and investors and is aimed at 
developing a systematic, empirical measurement of economic freedom 
in countries throughout the world.  The Heritage Foundation is a 
well-known conservative think tank whose stated mission is to 
formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the 
principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual 
freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. 
 The Foundation's 2008 Index of Economic Freedom measures 162 
countries across 10 specific factors of economic freedom, such as 
Business Freedom, Trade Freedom, Fiscal Freedom, Freedom from 
Government, Monetary Freedom, Investment Freedom, Financial Freedom, 
Property Rights, Freedom from Corruption, and Labor Freedom. 
 
3. The average economic freedom score worldwide is 60.6 percent. 
Scores approaching 100 represent higher levels of freedom. 
Countries with higher than an 80 percent index are classified as 
'free', from 70 to 79.9 as 'mostly free', from 60 to 69.9 as 
'moderately free', followed by 'mostly un-free' (50-59.9 percent) 
and 'repressed' (below 50). 
 
--------------------- 
Georgia Scores Highly 
--------------------- 
 
4. According to the 2008 Economic Freedom Report Georgia's economy, 
at 69.2 percent free, is above the world average of 60.3, making it 
the world's 32nd ranked economy and qualifying it in the category of 
'moderately free'.  With this score, Georgia is in the company of 
Spain, Austria, Norway, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and El 
Salvador.  Georgia is ranked 18th out of 41 countries in the 
European region, and its overall score is above the European 
regional average of 66.8. 
 
5. Out of ten factors evaluated, Georgia scored extraordinarily well 
in business freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, investment 
freedom and labor freedom.  The report concludes that business 
operations are simple and not hampered by red tape.  A very low top 
income tax rate complements the low corporate tax rate, and 
government tax revenue is relatively low as a percentage of GDP. 
Georgia is strongest in labor freedom, according to the Heritage 
Foundation, because its labor market is highly flexible and far 
freer than those of most advanced economies. 
 
6. The report concludes that only two categories remain 
significantly below the world average: protections of property 
rights and freedom from corruption.  Property rights are not 
adequately protected by the courts because of inefficiency and 
persistent corruption.  The report recognizes that thousands of 
civil servants and police have been fired and high-level officials 
arrested for corruption, but finds the government still faces a 
significant challenge in controlling the problem.  Georgia's score 
for freedom from corruption is only 28 percent. 
 
7. Georgia's Business Freedom Index is 85 percent compared to last 
year's 78.9 percent.  The report states that starting a business 
takes an average of 11 days, compared to the world average of 46 
days. Obtaining a business license and closing a business are 
relatively simple, and overall freedom to start, operate, and close 
a business is relatively well protected by the national regulatory 
environment.  Obtaining a business license requires less than the 
world average of 19 procedures and 234 days. 
 
8. Fiscal Freedom is 90.7 percent (compared to 94.2 percent in 
2007), as Georgia has low tax rates.  Freedom from Government is 
ranked at 81.3 percent (91.3 percent in 2007).  The change is due to 
increasing government spending for consumption and transfer 
payments.  In the most recent year, government spending equaled 25 
percent of GDP.  Progress in privatizing state-owned enterprises has 
been substantial.  Trade Freedom is 71 percent.  Georgia has made a 
significant progress towards liberalizing its trade regime, but 
agricultural subsidies, an inefficient customs process and other 
barriers continue to add to the cost of trade.  Monetary freedom is 
71.4 percent.  Inflation is relatively high, averaging 8.7 percent 
 
TBILISI 00000117  002 OF 002 
 
 
between 2004 and 2006.  Rel
atively unstable prices explain most of 
the monetary freedom score.  Georgia's score would have been 10 
percentage points higher if not for governmental measures that 
distort domestic prices.  Investment freedom is 70 percent and 
financial freedom 60 percent.  Georgia together with Denmark leads 
the world in labor market freedom.  The labor market operates under 
highly flexible employment regulations that, according to the 
Heritage Foundation, enhance employment and productivity growth. 
 
9. As a transforming post-Communist economy, Georgia still has much 
to improve.  Trade freedom, property rights, and freedom from 
corruption remain below desirable levels, and an inefficient 
bureaucracy burdens many commercial sectors.  According to the 
report, non-tariff trade barriers are relatively high, and property 
rights cannot be guaranteed because of inefficiency and persistent 
corruption in the courts.  With regard to property rights 
protections, Georgia scores a 35 percent, low compared to its other 
scores.  The report states that many in Georgia doubt the judicial 
system's ability to protect private property and contracts.  It 
singles out weak enforcement of laws protecting intellectual 
property rights for criticism. 
 
------------------------------ 
Georgia vs. Former Soviet Union 
------------------------------ 
 
10. For comparison, Georgia's neighboring states received much lower 
scores, except Armenia, which came in at number 28 in the world, 
four places ahead of Georgia.  Russia is ranked as 134th (120th in 
2007), Azerbaijan 107th, and Turkey 74th.  As for the other former 
Soviet republics, Georgia lags behind Estonia (12) and Lithuania 
(26), but scored better than Latvia (38), Kazakhstan (76) and 
Ukraine (133).  Georgia even topped some European economies such as 
Norway (34), Portugal (53), France (48) and Italy (64). 
 
11. Georgia's progress to date has also been reflected in 
Transparency International's Anti-corruption in Transition report 
and the World Bank/IFC's Doing Business survey.  The latter found 
Georgia to be the 18th easiest country in which to do business. 
Georgia may move further up in the next Heritage rating, if it can 
improve those areas, such as the fairness and impartiality of the 
judicial system, that are holding it back. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI116, DAS BRYZA’S JANUARY 19 MEETING WITH GEORGIAN PRIME

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI116.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI116 2008-01-24 12:46 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0762
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV
DE RUEHSI #0116/01 0241246
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 241246Z JAN 08      *ZUI RUEHTI SVC #8282 0241456 RESENDING*
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8667
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000116 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC, EEB/ESC/ISC AND INL 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV ETRD ENRG KCRM USTR GG RU
SUBJECT: DAS BRYZA'S JANUARY 19 MEETING WITH GEORGIAN PRIME 
MINISTER GURGENIDZE 
 
REF: TBILISI 3098 
 
TBILISI 00000116  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, reason 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (S) Summary: In a January 19 meeting with Georgian Prime 
Minister Lado Gurgenidze, EUR DAS Matthew Bryza said that 
following Embassy Tbilisi's extensive review, the USG did not 
agree with opposition claims that massive fraud occurred or 
skewed the outcome of the January 5 presidential election, 
but did find there were serious irregularities which should 
be corrected before the parliamentary elections this spring. 
Gurgenidze promised the GOG will make improvements in 
election procedures.  The Prime Minister expressed concern 
about Russian recognition of Abkhazia's independence after 
Kosovo's independence is recognized by the United States and 
other countries.  He agreed with Bryza that vigorous 
diplomacy is needed to demonstrate to Russia it would be 
isolated were it to recognize Abkhazia.  Bryza suggested that 
in any event, the focus of Georgia's friends in their 
Abkhazia diplomacy should shift to the bigger question of how 
to resolve the conflict.  Gurgenidze said that Georgia is 
going to change its energy policy, and to reserve use of 
cheaper gas it receives for pipeline transit from Azerbaijan 
and Russia to supply residential customers and power 
generation.  Industrial customers will have to pay the price 
demanded for gas, and the economy will have to absorb the 
shock.  He expressed concern about the security implications 
of the upcoming transfer from Georgia of an Iranian arms 
dealer to the United States for prosecution.  He also told 
Bryza that Georgia intends to pursue Badri Patarkatishvili 
and his assets, wherever they are, based on charges of 
treason.  He alluded to the GOG's uncovering of still another 
failed coup plot involving Patarkatsishvili after the January 
5 election.  While U.S. company News Corporation may be 
interested in buying Imedi television, he said that it would 
be better for News Corp to establish an entirely new station 
on a different frequency if it is interested in doing 
business in Georgia, rather than seek to revive Imedi.  End 
Summary. 
 
TOWARD A BETTER PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 
-------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) DAS Bryza congratulated Gurgenidze for President 
Saakashvili's impending inauguration.  Gurgenidze promised 
his government would improve election procedures further in 
advance of the Spring parliamentary elections.  Bryza agreed, 
saying this is crucial for Georgian democracy and for its 
NATO membership aspirations.  He told Gurgenidze the USG 
view, following Embassy Tbilisi's extensive review of fraud 
claims, is that there were some serious election 
irregularities, but not massive fraud as alleged by the 
opposition.  The U.S. Embassy and OSCE, as well as DAS Bryza 
himself, had brought the irregularities to the attention of 
the government, which had provided explanations, and 
expressed willingness to improve.  Bryza said that in his 
meetings with opposition leaders, they seemed to be beginning 
to understand the opportunity they now enjoy to win real 
power in Parliament, if they focus on developing and selling 
electoral platforms to voters rather than remaining focused 
on claims of fraud in the presidential election.  Bryza told 
Gurgenidze that opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze seems 
worried that the radical elements of the opposition cannot be 
controlled.  At the same time, Gachechiladze seems willing to 
move on, despite his refusal to admit the legitimacy of the 
Saakashvili government.  Gurgenidze agreed the opposition has 
a good chance to succeed in the parliamentary elections, if 
they can articulate a message that is attractive to the 
voters.  The National Movement knows it has its work cut out 
for it, he said. 
 
KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE AND RUSSIAN 
RECOGNITION OF ABKHAZIA 
------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Gurgenidze expressed deep concern about the impending 
declaration of independence by Kosovo and recognition of it 
by the U.S. and EU.  He sought clarification about when this 
might happen, and Bryza said that it may occur after 
elections in Serbia.  Gurgenidze said he hopes it will take 
place after February.  Bryza said that although previously it 
seemed that the Government of Russia was aware what a 
Pandora's box recognition of Abkhazia's independence would 
be, hard-liners in the Kremlin seem to be gaining strength. 
A Russian recognition may be becoming more likely, he said. 
Therefore, it is important to deploy a plan to isolate Russia 
on this issue, including vigorous diplomacy around the world. 
 Gurgenidze said that Georgia is already working hard to 
secure a non-recognition pledge from European governments. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000116  002 OF 003 
 
 
4. (C) Regarding the UN Friends pr
ocess on Abkhazia, Bryza 
expressed regret that the international community is focusing 
solely on minutiae, such as the number of civilian police or 
a no first use of force pledge by Georgia, rather than on the 
urgent need for a political resolution of the Abkhazia 
conflict.  There are tensions between Moscow and Sukhumi that 
offer opportunities, he said.  Gurgenidze observed that 
tension would be exploitable only if Russia refuses to 
recognize Abkhazia's independence.  Bryza said that a Russian 
recognition would change the rules of the game in the region, 
generating a new level of instability.  The Abkhaz do not 
want to be absorbed by Russia, he said, and we need to 
determine whether the authorities in Sukhumi could in fact 
accept a confederation, or some other solution, but not get 
stuck on technicalities.  Abkhaz de facto president Bagapsh 
is a pragmatist, with a Georgian wife, he noted.  Gurgenidze 
worried that the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will bring a lot 
of money to Abkhazia that no pragmatist could resist.  Bryza 
suggested that Moscow's desire for a secure environment for 
the Olympics may deter recognition.  Georgia and the 
international community need to play to the desires of the 
Abkhaz who do not want to be part of Russia and offer an 
alternative vision of economic cooperation with Georgia 
related to the Olympics. 
 
HOW TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA? 
------------------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Gurgenidze told Bryza that for him, it is hard to say 
what, if anything, Georgia can do to make recognition harder 
for Russia.  He finds Russian overtures to end the wine ban 
disingenuous, although it is good there is a semblance of 
dialogue.  In fact, he said, he does not care about or need 
the Russian market anymore, given Georgia's reorientation of 
its trade relationships.  Russia's WTO accession is a card in 
Georgia's control, he said, and Georgia has not changed its 
position (reftel).  The ball is in Russia's court to respond 
to Georgia's proposal to solve the deadlock.  He said that if 
Russia does not respond to the proposal by the end of 
November, he himself may attend the next Russia WTO accession 
working group meeting in Geneva.  Georgia will use the time 
remaining before Kosovo's independence to try to find ways to 
improve bilateral relations with Russia, but there is little 
to work with beyond the wine and WTO issues.  Bryza told 
Gurgenidze that senior Russian Foreign Ministry officials had 
recently acknowledged that South Ossetian de facto president 
Kokoity's days are numbered, and seem to be looking for a way 
forward, though Kremlin hard-liners may think differently. 
The Sochi Olympics might offer some prospects, he said, 
because Putin's personal reputation depends on their success. 
 Gurgenidze summed up by saying that Georgia is ready to 
improve Russian relations and move forward. 
 
CHEAP GAS FOR HOUSEHOLDS AND POWER ONLY 
--------------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) Gurgenidze announced a change in Georgian policy on 
natural gas imports.  He said that the government had been 
paternalistic toward the market, trying to maintain a low 
overall blended price of gas for all consumers.  Now it will 
reserve cheaper gas received in return for pipeline transit 
for household heating and power generation, and require 
industrial customers to buy gas at any price they can from 
Gazprom or Azerigaz.  He predicted that Georgia will not need 
its thermal generating plants as much if its plans for more 
hydroelectric power production are realized in the near 
future.  "The government will no longer go begging around the 
region for gas supplies," Gurgenidze said.  He expects that 
the new policy will cost the Georgian economy about 2 percent 
of GDP, a blow the economy will be able to absorb, in his 
opinion.  He reported that Georgia's attempts last year to 
persuade BP to be more flexible about supplying "reinjected 
gas" to the Azeri government had gone nowhere, but he 
understood BP's reasons for refusing to do so. 
 
CONCERN ABOUT TRANSFER OF AN IRANIAN CRIMINAL 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
7. (S) Gurgenidze said that the GOG is very concerned about 
Iran's reaction to the upcoming transfer of Iranian arms 
trader, Amabeli, to the United States for trial.  "It could 
get very nasty," Gurgenidze said.  The Ambassador told 
Gurgenidze that the transfer would take place very fast to 
minimize dangers surrounding it.  After that, he said, the 
Iranians may not make their objections public or follow 
through on their threats, in order to avoid further damage to 
their reputation.  Gurgenidze was only partially reassured, 
saying that in some measure the Iranian reaction depends on 
how the USG plays the matter.  He asked for a U.S. statement 
underlining our strong support for Georgia, both on this 
 
TBILISI 00000116  003 OF 003 
 
 
matter and in general. 
 
PATARKATSISHVILI STILL PLOTTING, 
IMEDI NOT WORTH PURSUING BY NEWS CORP 
------------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Bryza told Gurgenidze that the head of News 
Corporation's European operations, Martin Pompadour, is 
interested in working out a deal with the Georgian government 
to take control of Imedi Television from its owner Badri 
Patarkatsishvili, who admitted to offering USD 100 million to 
a senior Ministry of Interior official in a possible coup 
plot.  Gurgenidze said that he had been speaking to Pompadour 
every day until recently, but had not heard from him in the 
past few days.  It seemed to Gurgenidze that Patarkatsishvili 
is not interested in selling the station.  Pompadour had 
suggested to Gurgenidze that a deal could involve getting 
Patarkatsishvili out of Imedi and out of Georgian politics, 
while allowing him to retain some of his assets.  However, 
Gurgenidze continued, Imedi has very few assets, and he 
thinks News Corporation would be better off bidding for a new 
television frequency and starting afresh.  Such a deal would 
contradict Georgia's intention to pursue Patarkatsishvili on 
criminal charges of treason and subversion wherever he is. 
Gurgenidze said the government has evidence of a failed plot 
involving Patarkatsishvili and internal security officials 
which occurred even after the January 5 elections. 
Patarkatsishvili needs relatively small amounts of money to 
continue such subversion and that is why the GOG wants to tie 
up as many of his assets as possible around the world, 
Gurgenidze said.  Bryza emphasized that the USG does not want 
to interfere with the rule of law or a Georgian prosecution 
of Patarkatsishvili. 
 
9. (U) This telegram has been cleared by DAS Bryza. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI114, DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH SRSG ARNAULT

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI114.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI114 2008-01-24 12:14 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9964
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0114/01 0241214
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241214Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8663
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000114 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR DAS BRYZA, EUR/CARC, IO AND DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNOMIG KPKO GG
SUBJECT: DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH SRSG ARNAULT 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  In a January 19 meeting with Special 
Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) Jean Arnault, 
DAS Bryza discussed the current situation in Abkhazia and 
progress on the self-assessment of the United Nations 
Observer Mission to Georgia (UNOMIG) operations.  Arnault 
told Bryza that the past three months have been quiet in 
Abkhazia, aside from a few minor, isolated incidents, but 
noted an "amazing" level of propaganda coming from the 
Georgians on Abkhazia, which could destabilize the situation. 
 Contrary to Georgian media claims, he said, there was no 
Abkhaz interference with Georgian voters living in Gali that 
prevented them from going to the polls, although he 
acknowledged that statements made by de-facto foreign 
minister Shamba raised fears among the ethnic Georgian 
population.  Arnault said the UN review of the Friends 
process would focus on two main issues: the ineffectiveness 
of the current strategy to resolve the conflict by pursuing 
CBM's and other grassroots cooperation; and the limitations 
of the current negotiating format. He doubted that the review 
would produce a radically improved strategy.  He said that 
UNOMIG is still reviewing the issue of establishing an 
artillery radar in Upper Kodori, but said that unmanned 
aerial vehicles (UAVs) would likely be a more practical and 
inexpensive solution.  Bryza said that regardless of the 
outcome of the review, he thought that there were several 
underlying issues the Friends could explore to move the peace 
process forward in a decisive way: improved Georgian-Russian 
relations, de-isolation of the Abkhaz by increasing their 
economic ties to Georgia and sources of information, and the 
2014 Sochi Olympics.  End Summary. 
 
Abkhazia:  a quiet three months 
------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C)  Arnault characterized the situation in Abkhazia as 
quiet, with no major incidents between the Georgians and 
Abkhaz for over three months.  He noted, however, that there 
had been an "amazing" amount of propaganda about Abkhazia 
coming from the Georgian media and said that with a decision 
on Kosovo coming soon, it will be necessary to work with the 
Georgians to tone down their rhetoric.  He was particularly 
critical of Georgia's Rustavi 2 television stations and said 
his staff was weary of chasing down untrue reports of Abkhaz 
provocations.  Bryza asked if the Abkhaz had responded in 
kind and Arnault said no, adding that these kinds of scare 
tactics work against Georgia by scaring their own people. 
Although he acknowledged that statements by de-facto "Foreign 
Minister" Shamba to the effect that Georgians living in Gali 
who wanted to vote in the election should move to Georgia 
raised fears among the ethnic Georgian population, he said 
there has been no truth to recent Georgian media reports of 
Abkhaz burning Georgian houses in Gali, harassing Georgian 
journalists, or interfering with Georgian voters going to the 
polls on January 5. 
 
3.  (C)  Bryza asked Arnault about UNOMIG's proposal to 
establish UAV patrols over the Upper Kodori Gorge and whether 
these UAVs would be equipped with infrared sensors.  Arnault 
said yes, the UAV's would be equipped with infrared sensors, 
and therefore would able to determine the direction from 
which artillery fire occurred even several minutes after such 
attacks.  Arnault added that UNOMIG was still evaluating the 
feasibility of establishing an artillery radar, but thought 
that UAV patrols would be more cost efficient and potentially 
more effective than the radar.  Arnault said that UNOMIG will 
make its pitch to the Georgians on the UAVs soon and should 
have them in place by spring. 
 
Friends Review 
-------------- 
 
4.  (C)  Arnault said that the UN review of UNOMIG and the 
Friends process would focus on two main issues: the 
ineffectiveness of the current peace strategy of pursuing 
CBM's and other grassroots cooperation rather than focusing 
on a political settlement; and the limitations of the current 
negotiating format.  The current strategy of focusing on 
resolving simple disputes and building on them to resolve 
larger issues has not been working, he said.  The Georgians 
believe that taking a bottom-up approach hinders progress on 
the larger goal of resolving the conflict, while the Abkhaz 
argue that this approach prevents their long term goal of 
independence.  Both sides have come to the conclusion that 
confidence building measures will not work to achieve their 
ends, he said, which is a cause for real concern because it 
has been at the center of UNOMIG's conflict negotiation 
strategy since 2003.  Still, he said he was not sure whether 
the review would produce a comprehensive new conflict 
resolution strategy. 
 
TBILISI 00000114  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
5.  (C)  The review also needs to evaluate all of the 
negotiation mechanisms currently in place, he said, and 
determine ways to rein
vigorate the process.  Arnault 
characterized the Geneva meetings between the sides and the 
Group of Friends of the Secretary General as not the most 
vibrant means of getting the parties together.  The Georgians 
continue to view negotiations negatively, he said, because 
they feel that time is against them.  There is a sense among 
the Georgians that with each passing day the Abkhaz become 
more integrated into Russian economic and social systems and 
the sentiment for independence in Abkhazia only becomes more 
entrenched.  If all the Georgians have to offer the Abkhaz 
are long term confidence building measures, he said, it will 
not be enough to persuade the Abkhaz to reunite with Georgia. 
 
 
6.  (C)  On the other hand, Arnault noted that the Abkhaz 
also realize that Russian social and economic initiatives are 
not aimed at building ties between two independent states. 
He said he thought Abkhaz de-facto president Bagapsh realizes 
that joining a confederation with Georgia is likely to be 
their best option.  Bryza agreed with Arnault's assessment of 
Abkhaz sentiment toward Russia, saying that he does not think 
the Abkhaz want to be absorbed into Russia.  He asked Arnault 
if he thought there would be a way to exploit Abkhaz fear of 
integration into Russia.  Arnault replied that the Russians 
have told him that they constantly tell the Georgians that 
they (the Georgians) know what to do to resolve the 
situation.  Arnault said he did not know what the Russians 
wanted, but suspected it was Georgia renouncing its NATO bid. 
 Bryza asked if it was now possible to propose this idea of 
confederation or if it was premature.  Arnault said that it 
was too early, particularly with Kosovo independence looming 
and the Georgian parliamentary elections coming in May.  The 
Abkhaz were disappointed with the results of the January 5 
elections and the weakening of Saakashvili, which, he said, 
opens up the potential for renewed Georgian-Russian ties, 
believing that this undermines their quest for independence. 
 
7.  (C)  Bryza agreed with Arnault that the current strategy 
for resolving the conflict was not working and raised three 
issues that, if built upon, may help reinvigorate the peace 
process.  Following his January 18 meeting with FM 
Bezhuashvili, Bryza noted a renewed Georgian focus on taking 
concrete steps to improve Georgian-Russian relations that 
could lead to a bilateral breakthrough and a warming of ties. 
 Bryza also suggested that it was time to de-isolate the 
Abkhaz and start integrating their economic interests with 
Georgia and raised the issue of the 2014 Sochi Olympics as a 
potential lever for negotiations with the Russians.  Arnault 
said that the issue of Abkhaz isolation is tied to larger 
issues and would not be feasible unless Georgian-Russian ties 
improved, but agreed that it needed to be done.  He also 
thought that the Russians must be thinking of an end game in 
Abkhazia well ahead of the 2014 Olympics, but did not 
speculate on how it might play out. 
 
8.  (U)  DAS Bryza cleared this cable. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks