Monthly Archives: February 2008

08TBILISI346, CODEL PRICE MEETS GEORGIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI346 2008-02-29 14:16 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1339
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0346/01 0601416
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291416Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8974
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000346 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
H FOR CODEL PRICE, DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM OVIP KDEM GG
SUBJECT: CODEL PRICE MEETS GEORGIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS, 
OPPOSITION 
 
REF: TBILISI 188 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  On February 23-24 members of the House 
Democracy Assistance Commission (HDAC) visited Tbilisi to 
support democratic reform and fair elections.  CODEL Price 
met with ruling National Movement MPs and Parliament staff 
over dinner and, on February 24, met with opposition leaders 
from five parties.  Congressman Price made brief remarks to 
the press on the purpose of his visit.  With both the 
majority MPs and the opposition, Congressman Price reiterated 
the United States' support and encouragement in developing 
democracy in Georgia.  He also stressed the need for a "truly 
free and democratic" parliamentary election this Spring. 
CODEL members encouraged the majority and opposition to 
continue talking and work out their differences in 
Parliament, rather than with street protests.  Finally, Price 
assured both sides that the HDAC would continue its support 
of Georgia's Parliament and would visit again after the new 
Parliament was seated.  End Summary. 
 
------------------- 
Dinner with the MPs 
------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Jemal Inaishvili, 
hosted CODEL Price and the Ambassador to a traditional 
Georgian dinner on February 23.  Additional attendees 
included: 
 
-- MP Mrs. Nino Nakashidze, Chair of the Parliamentary 
Committee on European Integration; 
-- MP Mr. George Tsereteli, Chair of the Parliamentary 
Committee for Healthcare and Social Issues, and Head of the 
Parliamentary Friendship Group with the USA; 
-- MP Mr. George Gegelashvili, Deputy Chair of the 
Parliamentary Committee for Healthcare and Social Issues; 
-- MP Mr. Zurab Davitashvili; 
-- Mr. Temur Murghulia, Deputy Secretary General of the 
Parliament; 
-- Mrs. Nana Chkoidze, Head of the International Relations 
Department of the Parliament; 
-- Ms. Tina Narsia, Head of Division of the Research 
Department of the Parliament. 
 
3. (SBU)  During the dinner, Congressman Price reiterated the 
United States' support and encouragement in developing 
democracy in Georgia.  He reaffirmed HDAC's desire to 
continue working with and strengthening Georgia's Parliament. 
 He said Parliament should be a representative and 
influential body in the Georgian government.  He also 
stressed the need for a truly fair and democratic electoral 
process during this Spring's parliamentary elections.  CODEL 
members encouraged the majority MPs to continue talking with 
the opposition and work out their differences in Parliament, 
rather than protesting on the street. 
 
-------------------------- 
Coffee with the Opposition 
-------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) On February 24, CODEL Price met with five leaders of 
different opposition parties.  Attendees included: 
 
-- MP Mr. David Gamkrelidze, Chairman of the New Rightists; 
-- MP Mr. Zurab Tkemeladze, Chairman of the Industrialists; 
-- MP Mr. Kakha Kukava, Current Chair of Democratic Front 
faction in Parliament, Conservative Party; 
-- Mr. David Usupashvili, Chairman of the Republican Party; 
-- Ms. Sophie Jajanashvili, representing Salome Zourabichvili 
and Georgia's Way party. 
 
(Note: MP Levan Gachechiladze, leader of the United National 
Council of Opposition (UNC) and former presidential 
candidate, was unable to attend.  End Note.) 
 
5. (SBU) Gamkrelidze opened the opposition's presentation to 
CODEL Price.  Gamkrelidze said that some of the united 
opposition's recent demands put forth to the government 
(reftel) are being negotiated, but none are yet solved.  The 
opposition agreed that continued democratic development of 
Georgia depends on the government's response and the results 
of these negotiations.  Gamkrelidze noted "a peaceful 
transfer of power in Georgia's government has never taken 
place as the result of elections."  Consequently, he said, 
people do not trust elections.  The key, according to 
Gamkrelidze, is to ensure "not just free, but fair" 
parliamentary elections this Spring. 
 
6. (SBU) Each opposition leader addressed the congressmen. 
 
TBILISI 00000346  002 OF 002 
 
 
All focused on the opposition's belief that democratic 
institutions and safeguards on personal liberty are lacking 
in Georgia.  Areas of concern included: 
 
-- The reported lack of true justice and an independent 
judiciary; 
 
-- A perceived inability to influence the government in the 
face of the ruling party's constitutional current 
super-majority; 
 
-- Election issues, including the still unannounced date for 
the election, the proposed "majoritarian" system, and the 
composition of the election commissions at all levels; 
 
-- The alleged use of administrative resources and law 
enforcement to influence the January 5 election with the 
willful conse
nt of President Saakashvili; 
 
-- The forced closure of opposition-oriented Imedi TV in 
November 2007, and alleged government efforts "to co-opt the 
ownership and/or force opposition journalists out;" 
 
-- Alleged wiretaps of all opposition politicians' phone 
conversations by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with no 
judicial or legal recourse; 
 
-- Concern over Saakashvili's recent meeting with Russian 
President Putin at the CIS Summit on February 21, and rumors 
of a "deal" which could threaten Georgia's independence from 
its Northern neighbor; 
 
-- The need (and one of the opposition's demands) for a 
bi-partisan Parliamentary committee for oversight of law 
enforcement activities. 
 
7. (SBU) The opposition leaders agreed "that the elections 
must be done in a just manner."  Usupashvili said this would 
allow Parliament to restore "some influence and balance in 
the government," whereas it is now dominated by the executive 
branch.  Such a development, said Usupashvili, would "help 
Georgia become a real democracy." 
 
8. (SBU) On a different note, Tkemeladze said he believes not 
all of the opposition parties should run as one group (e.g. 
on a single United National Council of Opposition party 
list), nor should they run individually.  Rather, he thinks 
several opposition parties should run together on several 
party lists. 
 
9. (SBU) The phone tapping issue was a main concern of the 
opposition leaders.  Usupashvili told the CODEL that most 
people believe their phones are tapped.  He said the MOIA 
runs the wiretapping program entirely, and the Prosecutor 
General and Ministry of Justice are subject to Minister of 
Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili.  Gamkrelidze alleged that 
the government shows the tapes of opposition politicians' 
conversations on TV "to create a culture of fear among the 
people, so they will do the government's will."  Gamkrelidze 
said no judicial oversight or legal recourse exists regarding 
the wiretaps.  (Note: The Ambassador explained that he has 
spoken with the government about it, and the situation has 
gotten somewhat better since the November political 
confrontation.  End note.)  Gamkrelidze pointed out that the 
opposition's demand for a bi-partisan Parliamentary law 
enforcement oversight committee is designed to address just 
this type of issue. 
 
10. (SBU) In response to the opposition presentations, 
members of the CODEL acknowledged that it is difficult to 
work as the opposition.  Still, they said it is better if 
Parliament, rather than the street, can serve as a forum to 
resolve differences.  The CODEL members agreed that the 
questions of Imedi's ownership, wiretapped conversations, and 
free elections are important to Georgia's democratic 
development.  The congressmen reaffirmed that they are 
committed to working with Georgia's Parliament to strengthen 
and improve it as a representative, influential body.  They 
said the HDAC hopes to visit Georgia in the coming year, 
after the new Parliament is seated. 
 
11. (U) CODEL Price has cleared this cable. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI343, GEORGIA AND RUSSIA CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS TO BREAK

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI343 2008-02-29 14:01 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1316
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0343 0601401
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291401Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8971
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 000343 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC, EEB/TPP/MTA, EUR/RUS 
COMMERCE FOR DANICA STARKS 
STATE PASS USTR FOR PAUL BURKHEAD AND CECILIA KLEIN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ETRD PREL WTO USTR GG RU
SUBJECT: GEORGIA AND RUSSIA CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS TO BREAK 
IMPASSE ON WTO MEMBERSHIP; NEW BIT A POSSIBILITY 
 
REF: 07 TBILISI 3098 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: Econoff met with Deputy Minister of 
Economic Development Tamara Kovsiridze on February 26. 
Kovsiridze said  an agreement has been reached in principle 
with the Russians to allow Georgian officials to staff border 
crossings between Russia and Georgia's breakaway regions of 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  The border crossing issue has 
been the only point of disagreement preventing the Georgians 
from finalizing their bilateral agreement with Russia to 
allow Russia's accession to the WTO to move into the 
multilateral negotiations phase.  However, because of adamant 
refusal by the Abkhaz and South Ossetian de facto governments 
to allow Georgians to operate in those regions to monitor and 
check the transit of goods, people and potentially dangerous 
materials, the GOG insists on a Georgian presence at the 
checkpoints -- with international monitoring, similar to EU 
involvement on the Moldova-Ukraine border.  Unfortunately, 
the Russian MFA issued a press release on February 27, 
stating that no agreement on the border crossings will be 
made without consent of the de facto authorities in Abkhazia 
and South Ossetia.   Kovsiridze also said the Ministry of 
Economic Development has reviewed the new-style U.S. 
Bilateral Investment Treaty model and would be willing to 
discuss signing it during President Saakashvili's visit to 
the United States in March.  End Summary. 
 
RUSSIA/WTO 
---------- 
 
2. (SBU) Kovsiridze said that she had met with Russian 
negotiators in Geneva on February 19.  Although the Russians 
have been insisting that the border crossing issue is a 
"political" one, and not a WTO issue, the Secretariat has 
been pushing them to negotiate with the Georgians to keep the 
accession process moving forward.  The February 19 meeting 
was arranged by the Secretariat, Kovsiridze said. 
 
3. (SBU) In November, Georgia presented the Russians with a 
set of principles for resolving the border crossing issue 
(reftel).  Kovsiridze confirmed what Georgian newspapers have 
reported, that an "agreement in principle" with the Russians 
has been reached to allow the Georgians to establish a 
presence by its officials -- in Georgian territory -- at the 
Russian border in Abkhazia and in South Ossetia.  The reports 
were immediately denounced by the Abkhaz and South Ossetian 
de facto governments, who swore they would never allow such a 
thing.  Thus, the Russian agreement offers less than meets 
the eye, since it leaves implementation up to the Georgians 
on what is their sovereign territory, but which they do not 
control.  Therefore, Kovsiridze said, the Georgians are 
insisting on some kind of additional international presence 
at the border crossings, similar to EU-supervised 
arrangements on the Moldova-Ukraine border.  The GOG is 
already asking the EU to consider the idea.  The Georgians 
and the Russians will meet again in early April for further 
discussions. 
 
4. (SBU) At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry has 
denied that its negotiators in Geneva made any concessions on 
the point.  In a February 27 press release, the Russian MFA 
declared that "joint customs control at the Ganitadi-Adler 
border crossing point (in Abkhazia) and at Roki (in South 
Ossetia) depends on the reolution of the Georgian-Abkhaz and 
Georgian Ossetian conflicts and on the consent of Sokhumi and 
Tskinvali."  If that is the case, the Georgia-Russia 
 
SIPDIS 
discussions remain as dealocked as ever. 
 
BIT SIGNING BY MARCH? 
--------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Kovsiridze said that the USG has presented the 
Georgian Embassy in Washington with the newest style 
Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and suggested that it might 
be signed as a deliverable during President Saakashvili's 
visit to Washington in March.  She said that the text has 
been reviewed by Ministry of Economic Development officials 
and they have not raised any major concerns with it.  She 
added that it seems to track other BITs the Georgians have 
with other countries.  She guesses it could be approved by 
the GOG for signature rather quickly.  We understand from the 
Department that while the text of the BIT may not be 
difficult to negotiate, consideration of the Annex of 
excepted sectors would require time to negotiate and it is 
probably not realistic to expect a signature in March in 
Washington. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI339, GEORGIAN RESPONSE ON SOMALIA AND PIRACY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI339 2008-02-29 06:31 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0032
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0339 0600631
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 290631Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8965
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4624

UNCLAS TBILISI 000339 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR AF/E, AF/RSA, IO/UNP, EEB/TRA/OTP, OES/OA, L AND 
EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PBTS PREL UN UNSC IMO KCRM SO GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN RESPONSE ON SOMALIA AND PIRACY 
 
REF: SECSTATE 18101 
 
Per reftel request, Poloff spoke with Merab Manjgaladze, 
Director of the UN Department at the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs.  Manjgaladze said that he was not aware of a 
possible security council resolution on piracy off the coast 
of Somalia, but he agreed to consult with the Georgian 
mission in New York to determine how Georgia could support 
the U.S. position on this issue. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI318, GOG AND OPPOSITION POINTS OF AGREEMENT

08TBILISI304, OPPOSITION POSTPONES HUNGER STRIKE, RESUMES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI304 2008-02-25 14:01 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6391
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0304/01 0561401
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251401Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8945
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000304 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION POSTPONES HUNGER STRIKE, RESUMES 
NEGOTIATIONS 
 
REF: TBILISI 271 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  Early on February 22, the United National 
Council of Opposition (UNC) voted to postpone a hunger strike 
and street protest scheduled to begin that afternoon 
(reftel).  Following the vote, UNC leader MP Levan 
Gachechiladze wrote and delivered an address explaining the 
opposition's need to resume negotiations following "firm 
guarantees from Speaker Burjanadze" that the government would 
meet the UNC's three preliminary demands within a week: 
releasing those arrested during the November 7 protests and 
replacing both the heads of the Public Broadcaster and 
Central Election Commission.  Not all of the UNC members 
wanted to resume negotiations and some publicly criticized 
Gachechiladze for the decision.  Their main rallying cry has 
been the absence of any concrete examples thus far of the 
government meeting any opposition demands.  Republican Party 
Chairman David Usupashvili told us privately that 
Gachechiladze did a "strong job" of bringing the unwieldy UNC 
mechanism around to this more responsible course of action. 
Still, Usupashvili warned that this "really is the last 
chance" for the government to keep its agreements and exhibit 
some progress.  Otherwise, he said, the radical opposition 
members will likely move to the street in permanent protests, 
regardless of UNC approval.  End Summary. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
UNC Leaders Persuade Return to Negotiations 
------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) On February 22, Usupashvili briefed Poloff on the 
UNC's early morning decision to postpone the hunger strikes 
and street protests scheduled to begin that day until some 
time in March.  Usupashvili said that Gachechiladze "did a 
great job" to persuade the radical parties in the UNC to 
allow negotiations with Burjanadze more time to work. 
Usupashvili said that once Gachechiladze and Salome 
Zourabichvili (Georgia's Way) agreed with the Republicans to 
postpone the hunger strike, those who wanted to protest 
(primarily the Conservatives and Koba Davitashvili's People's 
Party) could no longer force the issue.  Usupashvili said 
this eventuality gave him hope that the opposition radicals 
would support the rest of the UNC in negotiating more 
seriously, with the option of protest now off the table. 
 
-------------------------------- 
"One More Last Chance for Talks" 
-------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Usupashvili stressed that "this really is the last 
chance" for positive development from the negotiations.  He 
said, "If some concrete results are not obtained from the 
talks, Gachechiladze can't hold it together any longer." 
Usupashvili believed that there has already been some 
movement from the government in regard to the opposition's 
demands.  Notably, six persons arrested on November 7, 2007 
during the protests have been freed.  Also, the Director of 
the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Tamar Kintsurashvili, is 
expected to resign before the end of February.  (Note: As of 
now, Post is unaware that the opposition and government have 
agreed on a compromise candidate for Levan Tarkhnishvili, 
Chairman of the Central Election Commission.  Parliament 
Speaker Burjanadze told the Ambassador that the opposition 
has suggested a respected judge but has not provided a 
specific name.  End note.) 
 
--------------------------------- 
What's Next for Republicans, UNC? 
--------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) Usupashvili said much internal debate still exists 
within the UNC regarding party lists for the Spring 
parliamentary elections, how many there should be, and which 
parties - if any - should join together on joint lists. 
According to Usupashvili, Gachechiladze is pressuring the 
Republicans to remain in the UNC (contrary to a prior, 
internal Republican Party vote), because he does not want to 
lead a ticket of which they are not a member.  Usupashvili 
said that Gachechiladze himself is now under more pressure to 
stay, following his speech on February 22. 
 
5. (C) Usupashvili expressed frustration at the cumbersome 
decision-making process in the UNC. He said every party has a 
vote, and a decision requires a "consensus, or consensus 
minus one."  The UNC's goals have changed significantly since 
the group was formed in September 2007 to change the date of 
parliamentary elections in the Constitution, said 
Usupashvili.  If the New Rightists party (led by MP David 
 
TBILISI 00000304  002 OF 002 
 
 
Gamkrelidze) were to join the UNC and allow for multiple 
parties within the UNC to run on separate lists, Usupashvili 
said this would be one of the better scenarios for the 
Republicans.  Although Usupashvili and Gamkrelidze have 
spoken informally about their parties joining forces, 
Usupashvili said the Republicans must see what other parties 
do (e.g. Giorgi Targamadze and his new Christian-Democrats), 
prior to relinquishing any more of his party's autonomy. 
 
-----------
---------- 
An Appeal for Support 
--------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Usupashvili suggested that even if the USG cannot 
mediate talks between the opposition and government, he said 
it would reassure the UNC if someone from the international 
community could be "present" with Burjanadze around the 
negotiations.  Usupashvili believes that this would help hold 
the government accountable to any agreement, as well as the 
opposition.  Usupashvili said that the UNC leadership would 
suggest the same thing to the OSCE at a meeting later in the 
day.  (Note: Poloff told Usupashvili that the Ambassador had 
met with Speaker Burjanadze earlier in the week and continues 
to encourage both sides to negotiate in good faith.  We will 
continue to stay in close touch with both sides, but believe 
a more direct role is not appropriate at this time.  End 
note.) 
 
7. (SBU) Usupashvili noted that increased international 
support for the independent, media-monitoring Michnik Group 
would also be helpful.  He said this was important due to the 
complications surrounding Imedi TV (Note: Due to a government 
investigation into owner Badri Patarkatsishvili's plans to 
overthrow the government, Imedi TV's already murky future 
became even less clear following Patarkatsishvili's death on 
February 12.  End note.)  Usupashvili said that both the 
opposition and government still respect the Michnik Group 
enough, that with an increased role and power, it can be 
effective in ensuring balance in the media during the coming 
election.  Usupashvili said that during the January election, 
political ads on Rustavi-2 and Mze (both owned by friends of 
the government), cost 8-10 times more than a commercial ad 
for the same timespot. 
 
------- 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (C) On September 24, five leaders of the opposition met 
with CODEL Price and the Ambassador, including Usupashvili, 
Kukava, and Gamkrelidze (details reported septel).  The 
differences (noted by Usupashvili on February 22) between MP 
Kahka Kukava's Conservatives and the moderates were kept 
under wraps during the meeting.  Rather, the group of 
opposition leaders focused - and generally agreed on - 
genuine areas of concern facing democratic development in 
Georgia: notably, freedom of the press and expression, truly 
independent election administration at all levels, 
wiretapping of opposition members, the lack of a strong, 
independent judiciary, and the need for some type of 
Parliamentary oversight of law enforcement activities 
comprised the main areas of concern. 
 
9. (C) Despite the common front with which the opposition 
addressed the CODEL, centrifugal political pressures are 
clearly growing within the opposition.  The open differences 
voiced publicly after the vote to call off the hunger strikes 
reflected the widening differences between the moderates and 
radicals.  The press reported the vote took place after an 
all-night meeting, in which the press heard violent arguments 
behind closed doors.  Heated exchanges over tactics cover 
more fundamental approaches to democratic governance.  The 
moderates (like Usupashvili) focus on the upcoming elections 
while more radicals simply want to engage in street 
theater/confrontation.  The moderates are also undoubtedly 
hearing a growing chorus of popular disillusionment with the 
tactics and rhetoric of political confrontation, and a public 
desire for compromise. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI299, GEORGIAN RESPONSE TO ADVANCING THE U.S. POSITION

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To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
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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. #08TBILISI299.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI299 2008-02-25 10:00 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0299 0561000
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251000Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8941

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000299 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/CARC AND WHA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL CU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN RESPONSE TO ADVANCING THE U.S. POSITION 
FOR CHANGE IN CUBA 
 
REF: SECSTATE 18317 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 
 
(C)  Acting DCM delivered reftel points to Zviad Chumburidze, 
Head of the Department of Global Affairs at the MFA, an 
February 24. Chumburidze thanked the U.S for the points and 
said he would transmit them to this superiors immediately. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI296, GEORGIA BI-WEEKLY UPDATE FEBRUARY 22

WikiLeaks Link

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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. #08TBILISI296.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI296 2008-02-22 12:39 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4725
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0296/01 0531239
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221239Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8937
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000296 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA BI-WEEKLY UPDATE FEBRUARY 22 
 
 
1. This cable contains current items of political, 
economic, and social interest concerning Georgia during the 
weeks of February 9-22. 
 
Prime Minister Unveils Anti-Poverty Plan 
---------------------------------------- 
2. The Georgian government has presented its long-term plan for 
realization of President Saakashvili's election program "Georgia 
without poverty," as well as a 50-day action plan aimed increasing 
foreign investment, decreasing unemployment, and eliminating 
poverty.  The action plan provides for actions intended to lay a 
foundation for further economic improvement and making the benefits 
of economic reform tangible for ordinary citizens.  Key components 
of the plan include: launching a so-called cheap credit scheme that 
aims at boosting exports; legislative changes to introduce a tax 
rebate for new enterprises over the next ten years; constitutional 
guarantees for property rights; increase of the state pension; 
selling plots of land as part of a "100 new agricultural 
enterprises" program; and distribution of fuel to farmers for spring 
agricultural activities.  Opposition parties were unimpressed by the 
government's plan, and the newly created Christian Democratic 
Movement staged a protest action against it outside the Chancellery. 
 
 
Parliamentary Stalemate on Election Reforms 
------------------------------------------- 
3. On February 19 Parliament failed to reach a quorum that would 
have allowed it to approve three constitutional amendments on the 
agenda.  The amendments -- reduction of the threshold for 
proportional seats in Parliament from 7% to 5%; parliamentary 
elections in spring; and changing the "winner-takes-all" system for 
majoritarian seats -- had long been demanded by the opposition. 
Nevertheless, opposition MPs continued their boycott of Parliament, 
and enough MPs allied with the ruling National Movement were absent 
for a variety of reasons that only 140 MPs were registered as 
present, short of the 157 needed to pass constitutional amendments. 
With the on-again, off-again negotiations between the government and 
opposition seemingly deadlocked, each side blamed the other for the 
lack of a quorum.  Speaker Burjanadze postponed discussion of the 
amendments until next week.  While most National Movement and 
opposition MPs favor the changes, a group of majoritarian MPs, 
apparently hopeful of retaining their seats in the upcoming 
election, have argued against replacing the current majoritarian 
system. 
 
Adjara Passes New Draft Constitution 
------------------------------------ 
4. On February 20, the Supreme Council of the autonomous region of 
Adjara approved a new draft of the Adjaran Constitution by a vote of 
23 to 1.  Proponents of the new draft stressed that the previous 
constitution has remained unchanged since 1978, and the new version 
is in full conformity with the Georgian Constitution and is "based 
on democratic principles."   The new draft was not supported by the 
opposition Republican Party, which said it limits the powers of the 
regional government and makes it completely accountable to the 
central government in Tbilisi.  The draft will be submitted to 
Parliament for consideration and approval in a few days. 
 
Controversial Detention Facility to be Demolished 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
5. In a meeting on February 18, President Saakashvili instructed 
Justice Minister Gvaramia to start working on the elimination of 
pre-trial detention facility No. 5 in Ortatchala, central Tbilisi. 
Saakashvili said "The prison in Ortatchala is absolutely unsuitable 
for placement of prisoners and does not meet the minimum 
requirements."  Saakashvili told Gvaramia to transfer all inmates 
from the facility and demolish it within 50 days.  The pre-trial 
detention facility, located in a larger prison complex, currently 
holds 2,650 inmates and according to the Council of Europe's 
Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) 2007 report "in 
pre-trial facility, prison number 5 in Tbilisi, living space per 
prisoner was frequently below 0.5 square meters."   The CPT report 
also pointed out that the provision of health care to prisoners 
remained problematic due to the shortage of staff, facilities, and 
resources. 
 
Georgian Consular Officers Receive TIP Training 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
6. On February 5-6, IOM facilitated a training course for Georgian 
consular officers to raise their understanding of trafficking in 
persons (TIP) and how to assist Georgian victims of trafficking 
abroad.  Georgian anti-trafficking officials provided specific input 
on issues related to Georgian anti-trafficking legislation and 
victim assistance.  The training was attended by fourteen officials 
of the Consular Department of the Georgian MFA, including ten newly 
appointed consuls, who soon will take up consular duties at Georgian 
embassies around the world. Four current Georgian consuls stationed 
in Turkey (Ankara
 and Trabzon), Greece, and Kuwait acted as resource 
persons and shared their experience with the other participants. 
 
Heavy Snow Causes Natural Disaster 
---------------------------------- 
7. Heavy snowfall and strong winds rendered most of western Georgia 
 
TBILISI 00000296  002 OF 002 
 
 
a "natural disaster area" early this week, causing avalanches in 
mountainous parts of the country and leading to at least one 
confirmed death.  Police closed off all roads connecting western 
regions to Tbilisi.  The Georgian Military Highway, which leads 
north from the capital, was also closed February 18-20 because of 
heavy snowfall.  Snow has damaged power lines leaving hundreds of 
households without electricity.  On February 20 a tornado hit the 
port city of Poti, damaging roofs and buildings.  A storm in the 
Black Sea washed ashore a ship carrying fuel oil near the village of 
Makhinjauri, in Adjara.  The government mobilized resources to clear 
the roads and to deliver necessary services to the isolated 
regions. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI287, TBILISI REQUEST FOR TV CO-OP ON POLITICS AND ENDOWMENTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI287 2008-02-20 11:41 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2416
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0287 0511141
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201141Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8930
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 000287 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR EUR/CARC, EUR/PPD AND PA/OBS/BS - GSANTULLI 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OPRC OIIP KPAO GG
SUBJECT: TBILISI REQUEST FOR TV CO-OP ON POLITICS AND ENDOWMENTS 
 
1. SUMMARY: Embassy Tbilisi requests that a TV Co-op on politics and 
secondarily focused on endowments be scheduled for April 2008. The 
timing of this TV Co-op program is especially fortuitous as Georgia 
held highly contested presidential elections in January and will 
hold parliamentary elections in May. 
 
The end product has a guaranteed placement on highly-rated 
commercial TV Company Rustavi 2 which has nationwide coverage which 
will capture diverse audiences to promote U.S. democratic values in 
Georgia. PAS hopes that key messages on different elements of the 
U.S. political culture, such as the role of debates, the importance 
of accepting the results of elections, the role of an ethical and 
professional media - will resonate with the Georgian public and 
encourage discussions between the government and opposition. END 
SUMMARY. 
 
2. TIMEFRAME: April 2008 
 
3. JUSTIFICATION: Embassy Tbilisi asks for support for a Rustavi-2 
crew to cover the primary election process in the U.S., 
attend/observe and report on primaries with a focus on the U.S. 
electoral process and the democratic culture of American elections. 
The U.S. is widely perceived in Georgia as primary strategic partner 
and the Georgian public closely watches U.S. political life. This 
co-op will help the Georgian public get a better understanding of 
the political culture in the U.S. which will facilitate the process 
of enhancing public awareness of the democratic election processes 
in Georgia. The timing is also perfect for highlighting these topics 
as Georgia gets ready for parliamentary elections in the spring of 
2008. While the U.S. is seen as an ardent supporter of Georgia's 
democracy some Georgians are uncertain in case the next U.S. 
president is a democrat if he/she will continue to support Georgia. 
This TV co-op will also dispel these fears and emphasize U.S. 
foreign policy's bipartisan nature. 
 
The crew will also benefit professionally from working with an FPC 
producer.  PAS expects the experience gained in the U.S. to serve as 
a tutorial for covering the Georgian parliamentary elections. 
 
Rustavi-2 crew's interviews with U.S. political figures, could also 
focus on federal, state, local, primary, general and election, as 
well as ancillary topics such as polling, exit polling, vote 
tabulation, etc.  All the above will contribute to creating a 
political culture within Georgian communities.  The Georgian 
opposition still questions the legitimacy of President Saakashvili, 
if only as a political tactic, even though international observers 
qualified the January 5th Presidential election as complying with 
essential western democratic standards. 
 
4. As a secondary topic Embassy Tbilisi suggests a focus on 
endowment practices in the U.S.: Georgia does not have an endowment 
law.  Educational, cultural and civil society organizations must 
depend on Western donor or on limited Georgian Government financing. 
To educate the Georgian public on what an endowment is, and to 
develop public support for the introduction of an endowment law in 
Georgia, PAS Tbilisi proposes a TV Co-op dealing with endowments as 
a secondary theme. Co-op reporters could visit a U.S. university 
such as Georgetown to speak to university administration and 
financial officers about their endowment, and film footage of 
buildings or facilities supported through an endowment.  The 
reporters could also visit a premiere U.S. cultural institution such 
as the Smithsonian Institute or the Kennedy Center to discuss 
financial planning for cultural institutions and also film footage 
of exhibits or performances supported through endowment funds. 
 
5. NOMINEES: Embassy Tbilisi nominates three persons for the TV 
co-op: 
David Kikalishvili, anchor of Post Scriptum, weekly TV magazine, 
Rustavi 2, DOB: 16 March,1968 
Arkadi (Aka) Jorbenadze, cameraman, Rustavi 2, DOB: 31 Dec, 1979. 
PAS Staff member Khatuna (Hatia) Jinjikhadze, DOB: 24 Dec, 1966. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI277, GEORGIA RESPONDS TO KOSOVO’S INDEPENDENCE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI277 2008-02-19 10:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1189
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0277/01 0501028
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 191028Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8905
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000277 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG RU
SUBJECT: GEORGIA RESPONDS TO KOSOVO'S INDEPENDENCE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  Following Kosovo's unilateral declaration 
of independence on February 17, most Georgian leaders, from 
President Saakashvili to the Patriarch, stated publicly that 
Kosovo does not constitute a precedent that can be followed 
by other breakaway regions, including Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia.  All voices warned Moscow against taking advantage 
of the situation in the conflict regions.  No public calls 
were made to recognize Kosovo's independence.  The opposition 
demanded the government not recognize Kosovo, adding this 
item to other demands on the government.  FM David Bakradze 
advised the Ambassador that Georgia fears Russia may begin a 
"devastating creeping annexation" of Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia.  One hour after Secretary Rice's press release from 
the Department on February 18, Embassy Tbilisi released its 
statement on Kosovo.  End Summary. 
 
---------------------------------- 
Kosovo no Precedent, Russia Warned 
---------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) Georgian leaders were united in opposing Kosovo as a 
precedent for recognition of Abkhazian and South Ossetian 
independence: 
 
-- President Saakashvili stated that he will give an "active 
response" to any steps toward recognition of Abkhazian and 
South Ossetian independence following the situation in 
Kosovo.  He said, "I want our people and the international 
community to understand that we have the power" to respond to 
any such recognition in this context.  Saakashvili continued, 
"We shall eradicate any provocation, therefore we do not 
advise anyone to exacerbate relations with us in the issue of 
Georgian territorial integrity.  We want to resolve all 
issues peacefully -- we do not need any unrest now -- but 
Georgia will not step back." 
 
-- In a sermon on February 17, Patriarch Ilia II of the 
Georgian Orthodox Church slammed Russia's rhetoric regarding 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  He said, "Everyone in Georgia is 
united on this issue.  Georgia has been and should remain a 
unified state.  I have told the Russian authorities several 
times that separatism is like a transmittable disease and 
everyone should remember this." 
 
-- Speaker of the Parliament Nino Burjanadze said that Kosovo 
cannot serve as a precedent for the Georgian conflict areas, 
because "there was ethnic cleansing and genocide in Kosovo." 
Any comparison is "groundless and unacceptable."  She added 
that Russia should be aware that its actions would backfire, 
damaging its own interests. 
 
-- On February 18, MP Giga Bokeria, an influential 
Saakashvili insider, said "Georgia has no plans to recognize 
Kosovo's independence."  Senior MPs from the majority party 
concurred with Bokeria's statement. 
 
----------------------------------- 
Opposition Calls for No Recognition 
----------------------------------- 
 
3. (U) The United National Council of Opposition (UNC), and 
the opposition New Rightists and Labor parties, also jointly 
demanded the government refuse to recognize Kosovo's 
independence on February 18.  UNC leader Levan Gachechiladze 
said Georgian recognition of Kosovo's independence "would be 
disastrous for Georgia."  This consensus view was added to 17 
other pending UNC demands of the government (regarding 
parliamentary elections), driving this issue into internal 
Georgian politics.  The UNC also said that should the U.S. 
request Georgia recognize Kosovo in exchange for Georgia's 
membership in NATO, the request should be denied.  UNC leader 
Kakha Kukava said Abkhazia and South Ossetia are "priceless." 
 He continued, "If Russia recognizes Abkhazia's independence, 
hostilities will start in Georgia as well.  It makes no 
difference who will be the first to start." 
 
-------------------------------- 
FM Bakradze and Ambassador Speak 
-------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) On February 18, the Ambassador spoke with FM David 
Bakradze and told him Embassy Tbilisi would issue a statement 
following Secretary Rice's statement on Kosovo.  In light of 
Russian comments regarding their relations with the conflict 
regions, Bakradze told the Ambassador that Georgia fears 
Russia may begin a "creeping annexation" of Abkhazia and 
South Ossetia.  Bakradze said this approach would avoid an 
immediate Russian "blowup" with the West and Georgia, but it 
could be "equally devastating for Georgia." 
 
TBILISI 00000277  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
----------------------------------- 
Embassy Tbilisi Statement on Kosovo 
----------------------------------- 
 
5. (U) At local time 2145, approximately one hour after 
Secretary Rice's statement on Kosovo was released, Embassy 
 
SIPDIS 
Tbilisi released the following Statement on Kosovo: 
 
Today the United States recognized the independence of 
Kosovo.  The United States has long held that each separatist 
conflict any
where in the world is unique.  Indeed, the 
situation in Kosovo is a special case and does not serve as a 
precedent for other regions, including the Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia regions of Georgia. 
 
The unusual combination of factors involved in Kosovo 
includes a specific UN Security Council Resolution 
envisioning a status process and an extended period of 
transitional UN administration.  UNSC Resolution 1244 was 
intended to help determine Kosovo's future status through a 
political process that contemplated the possibility of 
independence.  This makes the Kosovo case fundamentally 
different from all other existing cases. 
 
In sharp contrast, UN Security Council Resolutions on Georgia 
that have been issued on a regular basis since 1993, 
including most recently UNSCR 1781 of October 2007, reaffirm 
the commitment of the United States, Russia, the United 
Kingdom, France, China, and all Security Council members to 
the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of 
Georgia within its internationally recognized borders.  The 
United States reasserts the importance of resolving the 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflicts through peaceful 
negotiations and within a unified Georgia in accordance with 
the above principles. 
 
In the wake of these latest developments in Kosovo, we call 
on all members of the international community to avoid any 
public statements that could undermine the chances for 
peaceful, negotiated settlements of the Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia conflicts.  Any attempt to resolve these conflicts 
other than through a negotiated compromise risks undermining 
peace and stability throughout the Caucasus.  Instead, we 
urge all state to reaffirm their support for Georgia's 
sovereignty and territorial integrity within its 
internationally recognized borders, consistent with the 
repeated resolutions of the UN Security Council. 
TEFFT

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08TBILISI271,

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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. #08TBILISI271.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI271 2008-02-15 14:43 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9613
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0271/01 0461443
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151443Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8898
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE


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