Monthly Archives: April 2008

08TBILISI720, GEORGIA FREEZES NEGOTIATIONS WITH RUSSIA ON WTO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI720 2008-04-30 13:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2091
PP RUEHBW RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0720 1211357
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301357Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9364
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000720 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC AND EEB/TPP/MTA 
STATE PASS USTR FOR PAUL BURKHEAD AND CECILIA KLEIN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/30/2018 
TAGS: ETRD PREL WTO USTR GG RU
SUBJECT: GEORGIA FREEZES NEGOTIATIONS WITH RUSSIA ON WTO 
MEMBERSHIP 
 
REF: TBILISI 343 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, reason 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) On April 28 the GOG issued a statement to the members 
of the working party on the accession of the Russian 
Federation to the World Trade Organization (WTO) wherein it 
announced that it is temporarily halting its bilateral 
negotiations with Russia until Russia rescinds the 
instructions issued by President Putin on April 16 to 
"interact" with the de facto regimes in Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia, "including organizing cooperation in the trade, 
economic, social and techno-scientific fields." 
 
2. (C) Up to now, the Georgians have insisted that only one 
issue must be resolved with Russia, that is an agreement on 
the application of Georgian law to the presently unauthorized 
border crossing points between Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 
The Georgians have told us that the Russian side had agreed 
in principle to the establishment of Georgian checkpoints 
there in a proposal put forth in Geneva in February by the 
Russian Ministry of Trade.  Although that fact was later 
denied by the Russian MFA in a press statement, the Georgians 
have showed us the Russian proposal in writing (reftel).  Up 
to April 16, the Georgian side was working with the Russians 
to elaborate that agreement, especially as regards the status 
and safety of Georgian officials who might be stationed on 
the border. 
 
3. (C) The Georgians now are insisting in their statement 
that Russia has an obligation under GATT article X to publish 
trade related rules.  The Russians have not yet revealed the 
actual text of Putin's instructions, providing only a 
statement from the Russian MFA that gives the gist of them. 
They also contend that special new rules for South Ossetia 
and Abkhazia violate WTO obligations to treat all parts of 
Georgian customs territory equally.  It is difficult to 
evaluate to what extent Putin's instructions comply with GATT 
article X and XXIV until they are made public.  The GOG also 
notes that any special treatment of Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia, as part of Georgia, will have to be extended to the 
United States and other WTO member states, which they say is 
of systemic concern to all WTO members. 
 
4. (C) The same day Russia issued a statement by its 
delegation to the WTO working party that it does not consider 
it necessary to notify the new rules to the WTO and that the 
MFA's April 16 statement is sufficient for all purposes.  It 
expressed its willingness to continue the bilateral 
negotiations with the Georgians. 
 
5. (C) Georgia's acting Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, 
has approached the Ambassador seeking USG support for its 
position in this matter.  We suggest that Russia should make 
clear the substance of Putin's instructions and any changes 
to its trade regime, or any of its policies toward South 
Ossetia and Abkhazia, for that matter -- whether or not they 
are required to do so by the GATT.  The latter point we leave 
to WTO experts.  The WTO Secretariat has made it clear that 
Georgia is within its rights to insist on a resolution of the 
border crossing issue, and to withhold its assent to the 
accession process moving to the multilateral phase until that 
is accomplished.  We believe the Georgians' concern that the 
vague intentions expressed in the April 16 MFA statement 
could seriously complicate its trade relationship with Russia 
in general, and the border crossing issue in particular, 
merit serious consideration.  A temporary halt to the 
bilateral negotiations would seem to be reasonable and 
justifiable in that light. 
TEFFT

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08TBILISI718, GEORGIA REACTS TO RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING INCREASE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI718 2008-04-30 13:54 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2086
OO RUEHBW RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0718/01 1211354
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301354Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9361
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000718 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA & EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/30/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA REACTS TO RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPING INCREASE 
 
REF: A. A. TBILISI 536 
     B. B. TBILISI 714 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b&d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1.  (C)  On April 29, acting Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze 
told ambassadors and charges from the U.S., U.K., Germany, 
France, and the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) that 
the increase in strength of the Russian peacekeeping force 
was the latest in a series of Russian steps intended to draw 
Georgia into an armed conflict.  Vashadze emphasized that 
Georgia would not take military action nor would ask the 
Russian peacekeepers to leave, but cautioned that the current 
situation was in a "dangerous stage" as Russia continued to 
strengthen its control over Abkhazia.  Minister for 
Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili made a public statement 
calling the Russian increase "illegal," because the move was 
not agreed to by the Georgian side.  UNOMIG estimates that 
the CIS PKF is increasing its strength by approximately 500 
personnel, which would bring the total number of peacekeepers 
to 2,500 - about 500 short of the maximum allowed by the 1994 
CIS Decision establishing the peacekeeping force.  President 
Saakashvili gave a televised address directed explicitly to 
the populations in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, offering them 
a "hand of friendship" and outlining his proposals for Abkhaz 
and South Ossetian autonomy and representation in the 
Georgian government.  Separately, two U.S. experts arrived in 
Georgia April 30 to join an international fact finding group 
organized by the Georgian Ministry of Defense to investigate 
the April 20 shootdown of a Georgian unmanned aerial vehicle 
(UAV) over Abkhazia.  End summary. 
 
Vashadze Objects Strongly, Says Georgia Will React Rationally 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 
2. (SBU) Georgia's acting Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, 
told ambassadors and charges from the U.S., U.K., Germany, 
France, and UNOMIG April 29 that the increase in the strength 
of the Russian peacekeeping force (announced, he claimed, 
with the help of five Russian public statements in one day) 
was the latest in a series of Russian steps intended to draw 
Georgia into an armed conflict.  Vashadze said that in normal 
circumstances Georgia would not object so strongly to the 
additional peacekeepers, but over the last two months, Russia 
has been carrying out a concerted policy to gain firmer 
control over Abkhazia by changing the "situation on the 
ground," while Georgia has been playing catch-up with 
statements in response.  He called the current situation a 
"dangerous stage." 
 
3. (C) Vashadze made it clear that Georgia would not do 
"something stupid" by taking military action.  He said 
Georgia would not even ask the Russian peacekeepers to leave. 
 He said Georgia would, however, like to see its western 
friends signal to the Russians in a concrete way, not just 
through statements, that we disapprove of Russian actions. 
For example, he suggested, why not give Georgia a NATO 
Membership Action (MAP) immediately, to show the Russians we 
will not accept their policy?  Vashadze agreed with the 
Ambassador that there had been strong signs of international 
support recently, including the joint statement by Western 
countries in New York April 23.  He also expressed 
satisfaction with the international response to Georgia's 
request for experts to review the evidence of the April 20 
shootdown of a Georgian UAV (Note: two U.S. experts arrived 
in Georgia on April 30 to participate in this international 
fact finding group.  End note).  The French Ambassador noted 
that a French expert analysis (the text of which is currently 
classified) indicated the plane responsible for the shootdown 
was a MIG-29 or an SU-27, both planes that could 
realistically only be operated by Russia. 
 
UNOMIG: Russia increasing PKF to 2,500 
-------------------------------------- 
4. (C) According to unofficial UNOMIG estimates, the Russians 
are increasing the troop strength of the CIS PKF by 
approximately 500 personnel, which would bring the total 
number of peacekeepers to 2,500.  This is within the maximum 
3,000 personnel allowed by the 1994 CIS Decision establishing 
the peacekeeping force, although Minister for Reintegration 
Yakobashvili has denounced any increase without the agreement 
of the Georgian side to be illegal (Comment:  the 1994 CIS 
Decision is vague on this point, though one passage states 
that "the plan of operations on deployment of the collective 
force shall be approved by the conflicting sides in 
compliance with the (1994 Moscow Agreement,)" which implies 
the need for Georgian approval.  End comment).  According to 
UNOMIG, 12-13 BMP armored vehicles arrived to the Zone of 
Conflict on April 27, with an additional trainload of 25 BMP 
armored vehicles, nine armored personnel carriers, eight 
 
TBILISI 00000718  002 OF 002 
 
 
trucks and their associated personnel arriving April 29. 
UNOMIG officials told us that UNOMIG typically receives 
written notification with specific da
tes and details in 
advance of any CIS PKF troop rotations.  In this instance, 
UNOMIG did not receive written notification of the increase 
until April 29, after much of the military hardware had 
already been moved into Abkhazia. 
 
5. (C) As justification for the Russian increase in PKF troop 
levels, the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed in a statement 
on April 29 that Georgia, in violation of the 2000 Gali 
protocol, had stationed more than 1,500 personnel in the 
Upper Kodori Gorge and claiming Georgia was "concentrating" 
its forces on the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia 
(Note:  the 2000 Gali protocol limits the number of police to 
600 inside the Zone of Conflict, though either side can 
exceed this number with prior notification to UNOMIG.  The 
Upper Kodori Gorge is outside the Zone and neither the Gali 
protocol nor the 1994 Moscow agreement places limits on the 
number of police in Kodori.  End note).  UNOMIG, which has an 
observation post in the Upper Kodori Gorge, confirmed to us 
that despite these Russian claims, there has been no 
significant buildup of Georgian troops either within the Zone 
of Conflict or in the Upper Kodori Gorge.  A UNOMIG official 
acknowledged to us that the Georgians have increased their 
numbers slightly in Kodori to about 800 personnel, but 
estimated these forces did not have the capacity to carry out 
an offensive action. 
 
Saakashvili Reaches Out to Abkhaz, Ossetians 
-------------------------------------------- 
6. (U) President Saakashvili gave a televised address April 
29 directed explicitly to the populations in Abkhazia and 
South Ossetia, encouraging them to "stand together" with 
Georgians against an "outrageous and irresponsible force" 
(meaning Russia) that threatens their security and denies 
them a better life.  He stressed that Georgia offers the 
Abkhaz and South Ossetians peace, a "hand of friendship," 
better living conditions built by working together, and 
specific proposals for autonomy and representation in the 
Georgian government.  Life with Georgia, he said, would mean 
"life without corruption...opportunities for free and legal 
business activities...an open economy and borders, rule of 
law and order," as well as freedom to choose leaders 
democratically.  He pledged that no one would be allowed to 
question the existence of the Abkhaz and South Ossetian 
nations, whom he called brothers and sisters.  He 
acknowledged the "difficult conditions" of life in the 
separatist regions, created by criminal ruling groups imposed 
from outside.  Saakashvili said Abkhaz and Ossetians needed 
"protection, care, and development," not an outside force 
making decisions for them and trying to engage them in 
conflict with Georgia for its own purposes. 
 
Comment 
------- 
7. (C) Senior Georgian officials, despite increasing Russian 
pressure, are remaining calm and continuing to push President 
Saakashvili's plan for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts 
(ref A).  The Georgians continue to publicly and privately 
express their willingness to solve the conflicts peacefully, 
a position that we will continue to encourage.  This latest 
Russian move, however, coming so closely on the heels of the 
April 16 "Putin instructions" and the April 20 downing of the 
Georgian UAV has only reinforced Georgian fears of an 
accelerated annexation of Abkhazia by Russia. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI714, RUSSIA INCREASING NUMBER OF PEACEKEEPERS IN ABKHAZ

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI714 2008-04-29 14:23 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0826
PP RUEHBW RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0714/01 1201423
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291423Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9357
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000714 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/30/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: RUSSIA INCREASING NUMBER OF PEACEKEEPERS IN ABKHAZ 
CONFLICT ZONE 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  On April 29, the commander of the CIS 
peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia, Sergei Chaban, sent a letter 
to Georgian Minister of Defense David Kezerashvili informing 
him that the CIS PKF will increase the size of its 
peacekeeping contingent in the Abkhaz conflict zone.  In the 
letter Chaban expresses his support for the peaceful 
resolution of the conflict and draws attention to recent 
Georgian violations of the 1994 Moscow agreement, including 
continued presence of Georgian troops in the Upper Kodori 
Gorge and overflights of Georgian UAVs.  Chaban concludes the 
letter by saying that "to ensure stability in the region the 
CIS CPF Command has made the decision to increase (the number 
of) the peacekeeping contingent in the conflict zone in 
Abkhazia, Georgia, within the limits defined by the Decision 
of the Council of the Heads of CIS States signed on August 
22, 1994."  That agreement calls for a peacekeeping force 
composed of "2-3 thousand people, as well as military 
observers."  UNOMIG estimates the current CIS PKF strength to 
be 1,800 personnel in the Security Zone plus an additional 
200 stationed in Sukhumi and Gaudauta.  President Saakashvili 
told the Ambassador that the Russians would bring an 
additional 1,000 troops, which he saw as a further attempt at 
Russian annexation of Abkhazia.  An additional 1,000 
peacekeepers would bring Russia at or near the upper limit of 
the 1994 CIS agreement.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (U)  Letter from Chaban to Kezerashvili 
 
Begin text: 
 
Collective Peacekeeping Forces in the Conflict Zone 
Unified Staff of the Peacekeeping Group in the Zone of 
Georgia-Abkhazia Conflict 
 
Sukhumi, No. 536 
April 29, 2008 
 
To Minister of Defense of Georgia 
D. Kezerashvili 
 
Dear Mr. Minister: 
 
First of all please allow me to express my respect to you and 
the hope for regulation of the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict. 
 
I deem necessary to assure you that the CIS CPF Command 
supports the idea of solving all disputed issues between the 
Georgian and Abkhaz sides solely by peaceful ways at a 
negotiation table. 
 
A significant stabilizing role of the CIS CPF, (and) 
effectiveness of their cooperation with UNOMIG was noted 
again in Resolution 1808 adopted by the UNSC on April 15, 
2008. 
 
At the same time, the Georgian side is continuing voicing 
groundless claims against the Russian peacekeepers.  The 
commitments of the Moscow Agreement "On Cease-fire and 
Separation of Forces" of May 14, 1994, are not fulfilled and 
the UNSC recommendations are ignored.  In the upper part of 
the Kodori Gorge, which according to the agreements, should 
be a demilitarized zone, is still located a grouping of the 
Georgian power structures.  Near the line of separation of 
the sides along the Inguri River in the Security Zone and in 
the Kodori Gorge as well, contrary to the UNSC 
recommendations, are continuing functioning the patriotic 
camps, on the basis of which a rather serious armed grouping 
may be deployed. 
 
Besides that, recently above the security zone have been 
frequently flying UAVs and combat air forces of Georgia, this 
is something that menaces the CIS CPF activity. 
 
Our concerns are caused by the fact that Georgia does not 
agree to sign with the de-facto Abkhaz authorities the 
protocol on non-use of force and continues the buildup of its 
military potential in the Kodori Gorge, in Western Georgia, 
near the line of separation of the conflict sides.  This fact 
is violation of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the "Moscow Agreement 
on Cease-fire and Separation of Forces" of May 14, 1994, 
which states that in the Security Zone should be located no 
armed forces of the conflicting sides, as well as Paragraph 2 
of the "Gali Meeting of the Georgian and Abkhaz Sides 
concerning the Issues of Stabilization of the Situation in 
the Security Zone", according to which the personnel of armed 
groupings in the Security Zone should not exceed 600 men. 
 
Against the Russian peacekeepers is waged a campaign of 
 
TBILISI 00000714  002 OF 002 
 
 
slander, provocations and threats.  Contrary to the UNSC 
Resolution No. 1808, which calls to the conflicting parties 
to ensure proper security and freedom of movement of the CIS 
CPF, are taking place the facts of restriction of the CIS CPF 
servicemen in the armament restriction zone and in separate 
parts of the Southern Security Zone. 
 
The power cut-off of the posts in the Southern Security Zone 
with no prior notification demonstrates disregard by the 
Georgian side of Article 7 of the Protocol "On the Status of 
the Group of Military Observers and Collective Peacekeeping 
Forces" adopted by the Council of Heads of CIS on May 15 1992. 
 
Such actions by the Georgian leadership are causing grounded 
concerns over the process of peaceful regulation of the 
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. 
 
To ensure stability in the region the CIS CPF Command has 
made a decision to increase (the number of) the pe
acekeeping 
contingent in the conflict zone in Abkhazia, Georgia, within 
the limits defined by the Decision of the Council of the 
Heads of CIS States signed on August 22, 1994. 
 
I draw your attention to the fact that when making this 
decision the CIS CPF Command has been guided solely by the 
intention to preserve peace and not to allow casualties on 
the part of the sides to the conflict, as well as the CIS CPF 
servicemen and UNOMIG personnel. 
 
With respect, 
 
Commander of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces in the 
Conflict Zone in Abkhazia, Georgia 
 
S. Chaban 
Major-General 
 
End text. 
TEFFT

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08TBILISI713, SANAKOYEV’S HOPES AND FEARS FOR SOUTH OSSETIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI713 2008-04-29 13:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0782
OO RUEHBW RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0713/01 1201358
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 291358Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9355
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000713 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA & EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/28/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: SANAKOYEV'S HOPES AND FEARS FOR SOUTH OSSETIA 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b&d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) Dmitry Sanakoyev outlined for Washington and Embassy 
representatives April 21 his achievements in his first year 
as leader of the Georgian-recognized Temporary Administrative 
Unit of South Ossetia, and laid out his vision for a future 
in which young men in the region have other opportunities 
besides a career carrying a gun.  Sanakoyev expressed great 
concern that Russian President Putin's recent decision to 
expand ties with Georgia's separatist regions might mean new 
Russian customs posts and economic unification with the 
separatist-controlled part of South Ossetia.  This would 
resemble "true annexation" by Russia, Sanakoyev said, and 
would isolate the areas he controls.  He called on the 
international community to support Georgia's opposition to 
Russia's steps, and called on Georgia to move ahead with 
plans to define precisely what South Ossetian autonomy would 
mean.  End Summary. 
 
Successes and Challenges 
------------------------ 
2. (C) Sanakoyev began the meeting in his Kurta headquarters 
by outlining for EUR/CARC Conflict Resolution Advisor Michael 
Carpenter and Poloff his own transformation from someone who 
had fought the Georgians and served in the de facto 
administration into someone who believed that autonomy within 
Georgia was the only way to secure a better, more democratic 
future for South Ossetia.  Sanakoyev said that since the 
election of Eduard Kokoity as de facto president in 2001, the 
separatist leadership had intentionally stoked ethnic hatred, 
and the Russians had brought in large amounts of money and 
arms in order to use South Ossetia for their own purposes of 
opposing NATO.  Sanakoyev, who won unofficial elections in 
November 2006 and then received official Georgian sanction in 
May 2007, said he had already overseen considerable 
improvements in his region's infrastructure, including 
natural gas networks, roads, heating of schools, an 
electricity network delinked from Russia, sports facilities, 
and economic development projects.  He stressed that Kokoity 
had responded by blocking the road connecting Sanakoyev's 
area with the separatist-controlled area, and had arrested 
multiple people inside the separatist region who supported 
Sanakoyev's work.  While the Georgian government had set up a 
state commission to define South Ossetia's autonomy, 
Sanakoyev noted, Kokoity had forbidden anyone in his area 
from taking part.  Sanakoyev identified one of his main 
challenges as communicating his vision of an autonomous and 
democratic South Ossetia to the closed society in Tskhinvali. 
 
Russia's Dangerous Game 
----------------------- 
3. (C) Sanakoyev said it appeared to him that Russia was 
using the pretext of Kosovo independence to "legalize its 
policies" in the separatist regions, as reflected in Putin's 
April 16 instructions to the Russian government.  Sanakoyev 
said it was his "personal opinion" that, aside from the 
United States, the West had failed to speak strongly against 
these Russian actions and had left Georgia "unprotected." 
Carpenter noted there had been some recent European 
statements critical of the Russian decree, but Sanakoyev 
reiterated his view that Russia and Kokoity had largely been 
given "carte blanche" to change the status quo to their 
advantage.  He noted that Russia's policy was to divide the 
U.S. and the Europeans, knowing that in such circumstances it 
could act with impunity.  Sanakoyev said he was particularly 
concerned that Russia would increase its already considerable 
economic support to the Tskhinvali regime.  In the short run, 
he said, the greatest dangers were that Russia would 
establish customs posts in the separatist region and would 
integrate the region into the Russian banking system.  These 
steps would create huge hardships for the population in his 
area, Sanakoyev said, and drive the separatist-controlled 
villages even further into the Russian orbit. 
 
Pressure Increasing in the Separatist Region 
-------------------------------------------- 
4. (C) Sanakoyev said a spate of bombings in the separatist 
area in the last few months served Russian and separatist 
purposes by making the region look more unstable in the eyes 
of internationals and by increasing fear in the population as 
a justification for tougher measures internally.  Sanakoyev 
said power struggles inside the separatist region were hard 
to predict, but he thought numerous recent arrests there -- 
some for corruption and others for alleged support of 
Sanakoyev -- would increase discontent and could possibly 
lead to further "terrorist actions."  Sanakoyev said 
Kokoity's regime was entirely dependent on Russian patronage 
and its internal support was limited to pensioners and young 
people who had grown up after the early 1990s conflict. 
 
TBILISI 00000713  002 OF 002 
 
 
These young people, Sanakoyev said sadly, knew only the 
profession of the soldier; firing a rifle had become a 
central part of their psychology.  Sanakoyev said his own 
vision was a South Ossetia tied into the Georgian eco
nomy in 
order to create other opportunities for people.  For this to 
happen, he noted, there would have to be a customs regime at 
the Roki Tunnel border crossing with Russia and a change in 
the separatist regime's insistence on blocking connections 
with the Georgians. 
 
Comment 
------- 
5. (C) With Georgian financial support, the Temporary 
Administrative Unit has managed to make considerable 
improvements in the area it controls.  One example is the 
steep bypass road through Eredvi, which we took to Kurta.  It 
is still unpaved, but it has been considerably improved since 
last year, and has been partially re-routed so that it no 
longer runs past the Russian peacekeeping post "Pauk."  This 
road is especially important because it is the region's only 
lifeline as long as the de facto authorities continue to 
block the highway that runs through Tskhinvali.  But despite 
this and other accomplishments, Sanakoyev's mood was not 
especially optimistic; he was clearly worried about what 
steps the Russians would take in South Ossetia to implement 
Putin's new instructions, and he was dismayed that the West 
(Europe especially) had not spoken out against these 
instructions more strongly.  At the same time -- in a remark 
seemingly aimed at the Georgian officials present in the 
meeting as well as at us -- he noted the Georgians should 
move ahead with the work of the state commission to define 
South Ossetia's autonomous status.  Sanakoyev seemed to 
understand what some Georgian officials may not intuitively 
grasp: that to reintegrate the separatist regions, Georgia 
will have to communicate its vision of autonomous democratic 
and economic development directly to the local population. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI712, SEEKING INDEPENDENCE, ABKHAZ GET CLOSER TO RUSSIA

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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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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI712 2008-04-29 13:56 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0778
OO RUEHBW RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0712/01 1201356
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 291356Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9351
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 000712 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA & EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: SEEKING INDEPENDENCE, ABKHAZ GET CLOSER TO RUSSIA 
 
REF: TBILISI 658 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b&d). 
 
Summary 
------- 
1. (C) During an April 18-20 visit to Abkhazia, we found 
Abkhaz de facto officials in an uncompromising mood, 
reiterating that they will never agree to be reintegrated 
into the Georgian state nor permit return of Georgian 
internally displaced persons (IDPs) under current conditions. 
 They were pleased by recent Russian decisions to end 
sanctions and to expand interaction, but they also frankly 
admitted to fears of being dominated and annexed by Russia. 
They blamed the West for giving them "no choice" but a closer 
alliance with Russia and predicted that, if Russia annexes 
them, they will fight the Russians as they did the Georgians. 
 There are scattered signs of new investment in Abkhazia, but 
the Abkhaz expect much greater growth in the coming years, 
leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in nearby Sochi, 
Russia.  The pressure on the ethnic Georgian population of 
Abkhazia's Gali district remains palpable, as we observed on 
a UN patrol, and the Abkhaz have just begun a campaign to 
require public employees in Gali to accept Abkhaz "passports" 
and to sign statements renouncing their Georgian citizenship. 
 The de facto authorities have prevented UN human rights 
officers from using the new NGO-run Human Rights Center in 
Gali for meetings with local residents.  Nevertheless, the 
increasing capacity of Gali NGOs is one bright spot in Gali, 
together with reports of Georgian workers being employed by 
local businesses throughout Abkhazia.  End Summary. 
 
Shamba: No Interest in Georgian Proposals 
----------------------------------------- 
2. (C) In a meeting with visiting EUR/CARC Conflict 
Resolution Advisor Michael Carpenter and Poloff April 18, 
Abkhaz de facto foreign minister Sergei Shamba rejected out 
of hand Georgian President Saakashvili's recent proposals to 
give the Abkhaz wide autonomy in a united Georgia.  Shamba 
also rejected talk of federation or confederation, and said 
the time had passed when the Abkhaz would accept a solution 
based on anything short of independence.  Shamba repeated the 
Abkhaz line that they will not talk with the Georgians until 
they agree to pull out of the Upper Kodori Gorge, although at 
other points in the conversation he suggested he would be 
willing to talk to the Georgians. 
 
3. (C) Carpenter told Shamba that the recent unilateral 
Russian steps were destabilizing and should be reversed to 
avoid precipitating a crisis.  Shamba countered that the CIS 
sanctions had been starving the Abkhaz people, and he was 
very upset that the Europeans had condemned Russia's 
withdrawal from the sanctions.  Carpenter said we were most 
concerned with the military portion of the sanctions, noting 
that Russia's withdrawal undermined military transparency in 
the region and was destabilizing.  He added that if Abkhazia 
continued to allow itself to be integrated with Russia, it 
could soon find itself a part of Russia.  Shamba paused and 
said "You're giving us no alternative; who else can we turn 
to?"  Pressed further on Russian penetration of Abkhazia, 
Shamba said that if the Russians ever tried to overtly annex 
the region the Abkhaz would take up arms against them, joined 
by allies from the North Caucasus.  Shamba said Russia had 
decided not to recognize Abkhazia after Kosovo's independence 
because the Abkhaz did not give in to the Russian 
leadership's insistence that they agree immediately to 
absorption into Russia.  In a separate meeting, Shamba's 
deputy Maxim Gunjia confided to us that Shamba had genuinely 
expected Russia to recognize Abkhazia's independence after 
Kosovo, and had been very disappointed when it did not. 
 
4. (C) Carpenter suggested to Shamba that the Abkhaz should 
at minimum agree to resume a dialogue with the Georgians on 
some of the economic confidence-building measures (CBMs) 
discussed at the Geneva meeting of the UN, Group of Friends 
of the Secretary General, and Georgian and Abkhaz sides in 
February, including the maritime connection between Sukhumi 
and Trabzon, Turkey.  Shamba said he was interested in the 
Trabzon link and would consider the idea of Georgian 
immigration/customs officials checking the ships in Trabzon 
if Georgia accepted CIS, UN, and Abkhaz inspection in 
Sukhumi.  Shamba expressed some skepticism that Turkey would 
agree to such an arrangement, and Carpenter replied that the 
idea should be given a chance to work. 
 
5. (C) Pressed on the issue of IDPs, Shamba said the Abkhaz 
population would never welcome the Georgians back to most 
parts of Abkhazia because of what happened in the war.  He 
claimed that all the IDPs who wanted to return to Gali had 
already done so.  Carpenter objected that the Abkhaz were 
keeping the security situation in Gali intentionally 
 
TBILISI 00000712  002 OF 004 
 
 
unstable, depriving the Georgian residents of basic civil 
rights, and forcing the Georgians to become stateless persons 
by requiring them to renounce their Georgian ci
tizenship in 
order to receive Abkhaz "passports."  Shamba agreed that the 
citizenship issue was a concern, and said the Abkhaz were in 
the process of developing a residency permit that could be 
distributed in lieu of an Abkhaz passport.  Carpenter told 
Shamba that the international community would never accept 
his rejection of multi-ethnic coexistence, at which point 
Shamba changed course and said that all Georgian IDPs could 
return, but only after enough of the Abkhaz diaspora had 
returned from Turkey to protect the Abkhaz from being 
demographically overwhelmed by the Georgians.  (Note: The UN 
estimates that, despite years of Abkhaz lobbying, only 
600-700 diaspora families have come to Abkhazia from Turkey, 
and most of those do not reside in Abkhazia full-time.  End 
Note.) 
 
Gunjia Envisions a Western Future, but Not a Georgian One 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
6. (C) De facto deputy foreign minister Maxim Gunjia 
reiterated in separate conversations with us that Abkhaz 
society would never accept re-joining Georgia, but added that 
he hoped Abkhazia could imitate some of the impressive 
reforms Georgia has made in recent years in throwing off the 
legacy of communism, including building democratic 
institutions, uprooting low-level corruption, and 
establishing closer relations with Europe.  He showed us new 
hotels and businesses built with Turkish and Russian 
investment, and predicted much more would come.  (Note: UN 
officials agreed that construction was picking up in Sukhumi, 
so much so that companies had begun employing ethnic 
Georgians workers, leading some Abkhaz hardliners to complain 
publicly about the Georgian language being heard once again 
in the city.)  On a trip to the Russian border at the Psou 
River (crowded with mostly private cars waiting to be 
processed on both sides of the line) Gunjia said he was 
working on new procedures to speed up processing at the 
border, which can currently leave visitors waiting in their 
cars up to twenty-four hours at the height of the tourist 
season.  He said last year Abkhazia received 2 million 
tourists, and he thought there would be many more this year 
because much of Sochi is "closed" to tourists for pre-Olympic 
renovation.  He stressed that Abkhazia -- and its younger 
generation in particular -- was eager for ties with the West 
and did not want to be swallowed up by Russia. 
 
7. (C) Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary 
General Ivo Petrov told us April 18 that de facto president 
Sergei Bagapsh had told him Russia was insisting on the 
elimination of customs tariffs between Russia and Abkhazia in 
connection with Putin's decision to expand ties.  Bagapsh 
expressed concern that this would cause a huge loss in Abkhaz 
budget revenues.  No Abkhaz officials raised this with us, 
however, and when we asked at the border neither Gunjia nor 
Abkhaz customs officials appeared aware of any upcoming 
change in customs procedures. 
 
Life in Gali Remains Difficult 
------------------------------ 
8. (C) UN human rights officials described for us the 
continuing pressure on the ethnic Georgians who have returned 
to the ethnic Georgian Gali district in southern Abkhazia, 
most recently evidenced by a campaign the Abkhaz authorities 
initiated on March 21 to distribute so-called Abkhaz 
passports in Gali.  At least at first the Abkhaz are focusing 
on distributing the passports to public sector employees -- 
teachers, medical workers, administrators -- and some of 
these employees have told the UN they have been threatened 
with the loss of their jobs if they do not comply.  Despite 
the fact that having an Abkhaz passport is a requirement to 
vote, to buy or sell property, and to receive higher 
education, everyone we spoke to agreed that Gali residents 
are reluctant to accept them because Abkhaz law requires them 
to first renounce their Georgian citizenship.  The UN said 
that passport application forms in Gali, unlike those used 
elsewhere in Abkhazia, contain a statement for applicants to 
sign renouncing Georgian citizenship.  According to the UN, 
the Georgian government does not consider these renunciations 
of citizenship to be valid, but even so people are unwilling 
to sign them.  UN officials told us it is commonly suspected 
that Bagapsh is pushing the passports in order to increase 
the number of Georgians who can vote in the Abkhaz 
presidential election in 2009.  The Georgians supported 
Bagapsh by a large margin in his first election against a 
more hardline opponent. 
 
9. (C) Nor is this the only recent example of abuses against 
Gali residents.  UN human rights officers told us their 
investigation had confirmed the reports that Abkhaz security 
services instructed a Georgian IDP priest, Father Pimeni, to 
 
TBILISI 00000712  003 OF 004 
 
 
leave Abkhazia April 10, and escorted him immediately to the 
cease-fire line (reftel).  The security services had acted at 
the request of the Abkhaz Orthodox Church, which opposed the 
priest because he represented the Georgian Orthodox Church. 
We accompanied UN military monitors on a patrol in Lower Gali 
April 20, and many of the civilians we encountered were 
unwilling to answer the patrol leader's questions about the 
security situation.  While we were speaking to one woman, 
another villager came up and said to us (in English, which 
was unlikely to be understood by other locals) that no one 
would tell the monitors the real situation because they did 
not want to cause trouble for themselves. 
 
10. (C) The UN currently has one international human rights 
officer, Frenchwoman Melanie Gingue, based in Gali, and a 
second position is currently unfilled.  Gingue works out of 
the UN military base because the Abkhaz authorities recently 
refused her permission to use Gali's new Human Rights Center 
(run by a consortium of Gali, Sukhumi, and Ochamchira NGOs) 
for confidential meetings with Gali residents to discuss 
human rights abuses.  The UN intends to push again in a few 
months for permission to use the Center in this way. 
(Comment: We have always seen this as a particularly 
important role for the Center, absent an Abkhaz agreement to 
set up a full-fledged UN-OSCE human rights office in Gali as 
called for in UN Security Council resolutions.)  The UN human 
rights operation in Abkhazia is also constrained by its own 
rules against issuing public reports.  Carpenter asked UN 
Human Rights Officer Ryszard Komenda if he would consider 
sending his reports to the Group of Friends, and Komenda said 
he would look into it.  Despite these obstacles to UN 
activities, civil society is showing signs of progress in 
Gali, as was evidenced by the two NGOs we met, Democracy 
Institute (which has the lead in running the Human Rights 
Center) and Alert.  Both organizations appear to have grown 
in capacity over the last year, and have promising projects 
underway in areas such as legal assistance to Gali residents 
and exchanges between ethnic Georgian and Abkhaz youth. 
 
11. (C) We raised human rights concerns with the Abkhaz de 
facto presidential representative in Gali, Ruslan Kishmaria, 
April 20.  He gave little ground, claiming that no government 
would employ people who did not accept its citizenship.  When 
Carpenter noted this in effect made people stateless -- 
requiring them to renounce a recognized citizenship for an 
unrecognized one -- Kishmaria claimed that residence permits 
were already available for those who preferred them.  This 
contradicted what we were told by other Abkhaz officials and 
the UN, who told us the idea of residence permits was only 
under consideration.  Kishmaria said the security situation 
in Gali had improved in recent years because the security 
services had become professional.  Like Shamba, Kishmaria 
said the West had given Abkhazia no alternative to its 
relationship with Russia, even though this relationship was 
not the "best option." 
 
Comment 
------- 
12. (C) In many ways, the Abkhaz message was similar to what 
we have heard on previous visits.  Even with the downing of a 
Georgian UAV in Gali while we were there, the overall 
attitude of de facto officials and UN staff we met in 
Abkhazia seemed generally business-as-usual.  This contrasts 
with Tbilisi, where recent Russian actions have left the 
Georgians deeply concerned that Russia is in the process of 
taking Abkhazia out of their reach forever.  The Abkhaz did, 
however, put a notably greater emphasis during this visit on 
their fears of getting so close to Russia that they are 
subsumed and lose their identity.  Repeatedly we heard 
predictions that the Abkhaz would be willing to fight the 
Russians if it came to that.  Unwilling to engage seriously 
with Georgia or to protect human rights in the territory they 
control, the Abkhaz authorities have put themselves on a path 
toward greater domination by Russia.  This is not the outcome 
they want, but they seem unable to change course. 
 
13. (C) The Georgian policy of isolating Abkhazia through 
sanctions and political pressure has clearly pushed the 
Abkhaz further into the Russian orbit.  However, there 
appears to be at least limited potential for fostering 
economic, social, and cultural ties between Georgians and 
Abkhaz, perhaps initially in Gali and then eventually in the 
rest of Abkhazia.  A policy of engagement would also garner 
greater political support from the Friends and could 
therefore give the GOG greater diplomatic leverage to 
pressure the de facto authorities on key issues like IDP 
returns.  Exposing the closed Abkhaz society to Georgia's 
economic success and fostering business and social contacts 
across the ceasefire line would be difficult to reverse, and 
could act as a long-term catalyst of Abkhazia's reintegration 
into the Georgian state. 
 
TBILISI 00000712  004 OF 004 
 
 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI707, GEORGIA PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE APRIL 24

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI707 2008-04-24 15:17 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7121
PP RUEHBW RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0707/01 1151517
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241517Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9342
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000707 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE APRIL 24 
 
REF: TBILISI 676 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (U) Summary:  On the evening of April 21, Speaker of 
Parliament Nino Burjanadze surprised most of Georgia and 
announced that she would not seek re-election May 21. 
Foreign Minister Davit Bakradze took her place atop the 
ruling United National Movement's (UNM) party list.  Her 
announcement was followed by an all-night disagreement at the 
Central Election Commission (CEC), where opposition CEC 
members argued that the UNM had not submitted their party 
list on time.  Observers could not clearly ascertain what 
happened, and the CEC took a black eye as a result.  On April 
22, Minister of Justice Nika Gvaramia and State Minister on 
Regional Coordination Issues Davit Tkeshelashvili resigned 
from the government's Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on 
elections to campaign for the UNM.  Other ministers nominated 
as UNM parliamentary candidates must also resign to campaign. 
 At an OSCE Technical Working Group meeting on April 23, 
Transparency International of Georgia reported that 
intimidation has been reported in the regions, but these 
reports are noticeably less than prior to the January 5 
election.  On April 22, the CEC announced a three-year 
agreement with the Latvian Election Commission.  The 
agreement foresees cooperation, exchanges, and technical 
assistance between the two CECs.  The Parliamentary Assembly 
of the Council of Europe (PACE) announced that it will pay a 
pre-election fact-finding mission, again led by Matyas Eorsi, 
to Georgia from April 23 to 25.  On April 23, President 
Saakashvili offered to regularly meet with the opposition "to 
keep them apprised of the national security situation" in 
light of recent tension with Russia.  End Summary. 
 
------------------- 
Burjanadze Bows Out 
------------------- 
 
2. (C) Just after 1800 hours on April 21, Speaker of 
Parliament Nino Burjanadze announced that she would not seek 
re-election with the ruling UNM, and would not top the UNM's 
party list of candidates for the May 21 Parliamentary 
elections.  Her withdrawal was prompted by an internal UNM 
disagreement over the number of Burjanadze's supporters to be 
placed on the party list (septel).  In her announcement, 
Burjanadze confirmed that she still supports the UNM and is 
not going into the opposition. 
 
-------------------- 
Confusion at the CEC 
-------------------- 
 
3. (U) Party lists were due at the CEC at the same time 
Burjanadze made her announcement.  Shortly afterward, 
opposition CEC members demanded to see the list that the UNM 
submitted just a few minutes prior to the deadline (reftel). 
The opposition suspected that the UNM had not had time to 
prepare and properly submit their list after Burjanadze's 
announcement, although some observers claim the UNM had more 
than one list ready depending on the outcome of the 
negotiations on seats.  CEC Chairman Levan Tarkhnishvili (in 
what the opposition CEC members called "a breach of internal 
CEC rules") reportedly refused to allow the opposition's CEC 
members to see the list itself or even the sealed files 
holding the UNM list.  Reportedly, the situation turned to 
near fisticuffs as hundreds of opposition representatives 
surrounded and tried to enter the CEC. 
 
4. (U) The opposition then called on international and local 
observers, including ODIHR, NDI and ISFED, to come to the 
CEC.  After several observer groups arrived at around 21:00, 
Tarkhnishvili apparently agreed to allow the opposition CEC 
members and observers -- together with a UNM representative 
-- to see the sealed documents.  After waiting for a key for 
the locked room for nearly five hours, the room that was 
opened did not contain the party lists.  Tarkhnishvili then 
said the party lists were in a separate locked room and 
opened it.  All of the party lists were inside.  Allegedly, 
the UNM packet containing the list had a broken seal.  (A CEC 
statement released on April 22 states the "all the sealed 
packages of submitted lists ... were found in the state of 
good condition.")  ODIHR and ISFED photographed the documents 
in the UNM packets, and all party lists were returned to the 
locked room.  The mob then finally disbanded. 
 
5. (SBU) The opposition now claims that during the waiting 
period, the UNM faxed in a list, which was then added to the 
others by the CEC.  An opposition CEC member said he saw a 
folder submitted by the UNM, but he was not allowed to verify 
if a list was inside it.  Tarkhnishvili claims that the list 
was accepted normally and stamped "received."  He also 
 
TBILISI 00000707  002 OF 003 
 
 
pointed out that if any party wanted to remove someone from 
their party list after filing it, they can do so up to two 
days before the election.  Tarkhnishvili accused the 
opposition of causing chaos in the CEC offices.  Multiple 
eyewitnesses agree, however, that it is impossible to 
determine if the UNM party list was submitted after the 

deadline or whether the CEC committed errors.  Not 
surprisingly, the Joint Opposition (United National Council 
of Opposition and New Rightists) issued a statement on April 
23 claiming that the UNM election lists were submitted to the 
CEC in "flagrant violation of the law, and the election 
process is already an unlawful and unequal environment."  The 
Labor Party has reportedly sued the CEC over the situation. 
 
6. (C) The Georgian Young Lawyers Association summarized the 
situation, saying the "circumstances create an atmosphere of 
distrust towards the CEC leadership."  This appears to be the 
case.  Deputy ODHIR EOM leader Stefan Krause pointed out his 
disappointment and dissatisfaction to Tarkhnishvili in an 
OSCE Technical Working Group meeting on April 23. 
Tarkhnishvili did not respond to Krause's request for an 
explanation but only restated that all party lists were found 
together in the second locked room. 
 
--------------------------------------------- - 
IATF Reshuffles, Minister-Candidates to Resign 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
7. (U) On April 23, Minister of Justice Nika Gvaramia and 
State Minister for Regional Coordination Issues Davit 
Tkeshelashvili announced their resignations from the 
government IATF in order to campaign on behalf of the UNM. 
Reportedly, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Eka Zguladze 
will now chair the IATF.  Other ministers nominated as UNM 
parliamentary candidates must also resign.  Ministers 
announced as candidates by the UNM include Davit Bakradze, 
Foreign Minister; Koba Subeliani, State Minister for Refugees 
and Accommodation; Zaza Gamtsemlidze, Minister of 
Environment; Petre Tsiskarishvili, Minister of Agriculture. 
As of April 23, only Gamtsemlidze and Bakradze had announced 
their resignations. 
 
------------------------------------------- 
Less Intimidation, Appeal Process in Motion 
------------------------------------------- 
 
8. (SBU) At an OSCE Technical Working Group meeting on April 
23, Transparency International of Georgia reported that some 
cases of intimidation have been reported in the regions in 
the pre-election campaign.  However, they noted that such 
reports are noticeably fewer than prior to the January 5 
presidential election.  Other NGOs, including GYLA and ISFED, 
have also noted some cases of election law violations, and 
GYLA appealed two such violations to court.  Their appeals 
were denied, and the resons for the decision have yet to be 
released.  ISFED has recorded some instances of local 
officials approaching teachers and identifying those who may 
support the opposition.  USAID-funded IFES pointed out the 
necessity for NGOs to carefully distinguish between cases of 
election promises and bribery during their reporting. 
Meanwhile, the CEC reported that eight complaints were filed 
at the precinct commissions and eight CEC decisions were 
appealed in court.  Of the court cases, two were decided in 
favor of the plaintiffs, one was withdrawn by a plaintiff, 
and three were dismissed on the lack of grounds. 
 
9.  Deputy Minister of the Interior Eka Zguladze told 
visiting EUR/CARC director Paul Wohlers on August 21 that she 
is aware of a few complaints of intimidation or interference 
with campaigning.  She said that in the prior election, the 
government had recognized that such complaints had been hard 
to investigate, especially in villages.  She said that where 
police chiefs are part of families and communities it was 
hard to get the cooperation of witnesses.  Therefore, the 
government has reassigned all chiefs of police to new regions 
and has also rotated some deputy chiefs out of their home 
districts, in order to encourage better reporting and 
investigation of complaints.  Zguladze added that a number of 
ordinary criminal cases have been pulled into a political 
context when the defendants claim they are being targeted for 
their political activities.  (Comment:  The news about 
intimidation on balance is positive.  The NGOs are watching 
the election closely, and so far, problems seem to be fewer 
than in December.  Furthermore, this indicates that 
participants are working within the revamped system to 
address problems.  End comment.) 
 
----------------------------------- 
Latvian, Georgian CECs to Cooperate 
----------------------------------- 
 
 
TBILISI 00000707  003 OF 003 
 
 
9. (U) The CEC announced that they signed a three-year 
agreement with the Latvian Election Commission on April 22. 
The agreement foresees cooperation, exchanges, and technical 
assistance between the two CECs to strengthen Georgia's 
election code and administrative capacity.  The agreement 
recognizes the ultimate importance of protecting citizens' 
right to participate in democracy, and envisages cooperation 
on election legislation, regulation, organization of parties, 
technical expert cooperation, and material assistance. 
 
------------------- 
PACE Team to Return 
------------------- 
 
10. (U) The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe 
(PACE) announced that it will send a pre-election 
fact-finding mission, again led by Matyas Eorsi, to Georgia 
from April 23 to 25.  The election observation mission (EOM) 
will be led by Eorsi and Kastriot Islami.  The two also led 
PACE's EOM for the January election. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
Saakashvili's Offers Opposition Meetings 
---------------------------------------- 
 
11. (SBU) On the evening of April 23, President Saakashvili 
addressed the opposition in light of recent tension with 
Russia.  In the live television address, he called upon the 
opposition leaders to "have a joint position on fundamental 
issues of national security.  I offer them systematic 
meetings to provide them with updated information and to 
secure their maximum inclusion during this very important 
time."  (Comment:  It remains to be seen how many, if any, 
opposition parties will agree to the President's offer. Trust 
between the opposing sides remains low.  End comment.) 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI692, TBILISI EMERGENCY ACTION COMMITTEE MEETING – APRIL

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. #08TBILISI692.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI692 2008-04-23 13:45 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

R 231345Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9331
INFO AMEMBASSY ANKARA 
AMEMBASSY BAKU 
AMEMBASSY YEREVAN

UNCLAS TBILISI 000692 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR DS/IP/EUR, DS/IP/ITA; YEREVAN, BAKU, AND ANKARA 
FOR RSO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ASEC GG
SUBJECT: TBILISI EMERGENCY ACTION COMMITTEE MEETING - APRIL 
22, 2008 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY 
 
1.  (SBU) Tensions have increased during the past couple of 
weeks due to Russian provocative actions toward Georgia.  In 
particular, the Russian President has directed ministries to 
begin working with de facto authorities in the separatist 
regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of 
Georgian sovereignty and territorial integrity.  On April 20, 
a Georgian unmanned aerial reconnaissance aircraft was shot 
down in Georgian airspace over Abkhazia, and Georgia has 
publicly accused Russia of military aggression. 
 
2.  (SBU) On April 22, 2008 the Emergency Action Committee 
(EAC) convened to discuss the situation.  DCM, RSO, MSG, DAO, 
MGT, PC, USAID, POL/MIL, POL/ECON, IMO, CONS, and PAO were in 
attendance. 
 
3.  (SBU) Although it was acknowledged that the recent 
incidents increase the potential for drawdown, it was agreed 
that no imminent larger scale conflict is likely in the short 
term.  However, given the potential for escalation or 
retaliation, the EAC decided to hold weekly EAC meetings, 
review the Georgian-Russian conflict tripwires for 
sufficiency, and begin other sensible preparations in case of 
a drawdown or evacuation. 
 
4.  (SBU) It was also mentioned that the quarterly update of 
the EAP is under way, and that we need to coordinate with US 
Embassy Yerevan regarding the logistics of an evacuation to 
Armenia if the need arises.  While the Sadaklo border 
crossing into Armenia is the closest to Tbilisi, the EAC 
determined that the border crossing near Dimenisi should be 
visited and evaluated as an alternative. 
TEFFT

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08TBILISI682, SOFT POWER RULES: A CASE STUDY FROM TBILISI IN COUNTERING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI682 2008-04-22 12:25 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4502
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBW RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0682/01 1131225
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221225Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9320
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000682 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR EUR/CARC, EUR/PPD 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KPAO GG
SUBJECT:  SOFT POWER RULES:  A CASE STUDY FROM TBILISI IN COUNTERING 
ANTI-AMERICANISM 
 
1.  SUMMARY:  Polls on U.S. policies, society, and values show 
support in the high 90%s in Georgia.  But after Opposition 
politicians opportunistically introduced anti-American elements into 
public discourse this past winter, AmEmbassy Tbilisi re-calibrated 
its public diplomacy approach, including with the media, to 
emphasize our neutrality as regards internal Georgian politics as 
well as all that we do for the people of Georgia.  END SUMMARY. 
 
The Context for "Anti-Americanism" 
--------------------------------- 
 
2.  The International Republican Institute's (IRI) semi-annual 
opinion poll of Georgian citizens and all other polling data show an 
extremely high level of support for U.S. policies, society, and 
values.  In IRI's February 2008 survey, 94% of those polled 
evaluated Georgia's relations with the United States as good, and 
49% of those polled evaluated the U.S. as Georgia's most important 
partner.  These numbers have held relatively steady for several 
years.  All political parties and leaders consistently look to the 
U.S. as a model and regularly identify their platforms with U.S. 
values and policies. 
 
3.  However, on a few occasions during the extended political crises 
of this past winter and spring, Opposition figures used a perceived 
U.S. Government bias in favor of President Saakashvili and his 
National Movement Party to rally their supporters.  Even when 
opposition figures tell us privately they want our continued 
support, they may attack us publicly.  Opposition leader Kobe 
Davitashvili, head of the People's Party, organized two 
poorly-attended anti-U.S. demonstrations outside the Embassy, and on 
January 13, at an opposition demonstration in downtown Tbilisi, 
protesters held up placards claiming voter fraud in the presidential 
elections. 
 
Our Response - What We Have Done for Georgia Lately 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
4.  To counter this, the Embassy adopted a new dual approach:  hard 
policy statements on NATO, the conflict zones, and other issues 
would be made jointly by Ambassador Tefft together with other 
western diplomats in Georgia or by senior State Department and 
European Bureau representatives from outside Georgia, while 
statements and public diplomacy opportunities from inside Georgia 
would focus on what the U.S. Mission is doing for the people of 
Georgia, emphasizing the broad range of U.S. support. 
 
5.  On March 8, from Zurich, Assistant Secretary Fried conducted a 
telephone interview with Rustavi 2 Television after the Russian 
government moved to unilaterally lift sanctions on Abkhazia.  On 
March 20, AS Fried conducted a televised bridge interview with 
Rustavi 2 television from the DOS Brussels media hub.  In the lead 
up to the April 2-4 Bucharest NATO Summit, the Embassy posted 
statements by Ambassador Khalilzad, AS Fried, and Senator Biden on 
the USG's support for MAP status for Georgia on the Embassy 
website. 
 
6.  Meanwhile, inside Georgia, our public diplomacy and media 
strategies shifted to emphasizing all that we have done for the 
people of Georgia.  Ambassador Tefft gave an interview on February 
14 to Radio Liberty focused on providing the broadest possible 
picture of U.S. government support to the people of Georgia.  He 
cited USAID, the work of the Peace Corps, the Millennium Challenge 
Corporation, and the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation as 
examples.  On February 29, the Ambassador showcased USG support for 
Georgian wine-producers under USAID's Ag-vantage program after three 
Georgian wine producers signed contracts to sell their products in 
the U.S.  On March 6, the Ambassador helped open the newly-restored 
Police Academy, and Georgian media highlighted the Embassy's role in 
the renovation and in introducing English language training for 
police at the Academy.  On March 13, the Ambassador presented a 
local NGO activist with the Embassy's Woman of Courage award. All 
events received broad media coverage.  After the Radio Liberty 
interview, listeners phoned the station to express their gratitude 
for everything the U.S. Government has done for Georgia. 
 
Cultural Diplomacy in the Conflict Zones - 
Jazz as a Symbol of Freedom and Liberty 
------------------------------------------- 
 
7.  The Embassy also used the March 30 - April 6 visit of Cultural 
Envoys Joel Harrison, the Artistic Director of the American Pianists 
Association (APA), and Dan Tepfer, the APA's 2007 Cole Porter Fellow 
in Jazz, to emphasize people-to-people ties and to bring an American 
cultural experience to the regions and conflict areas of Georgia. 
Throughout western Georgia, Dan and Joel performed and conducted 
master classes including in Sokhumi, the capital of the disputed 
region of Abkhazia.  For the concert in Zugdidi, the local governor 
arranged for a group of 30 ethnic Georgian high school students from 
across the line of control in Gali, southern Abkhazia, to attend the 
conc
ert.  In Tbilisi on April 5, the Ambassador, in partnership with 
 
TBILISI 00000682  002 OF 002 
 
 
the Mayor of Tbilisi and the Minister of Refugees, invited 80 school 
students from the Georgian administered regions of South Ossetia to 
attend a concert in the Embassy Atrium followed by lunch at 
McDonald's and a visit to the Tbilisi zoo.  For most of these 
children, it was their first visit to Tbilisi, not to mention their 
first McDonald's happy meal, events widely and positively covered by 
the national media. 
 
DAS Graffy's Visit - Outreach to the Georgian People 
via the Media 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
 
8.  The visit of EUR's DAS for Public Diplomacy, Colleen Graffy, 
April 5 - 11, provided additional opportunities for Embassy Tbilisi 
to emphasize soft power and our contributions to the people of 
Georgia.  Graffy's visit was widely covered by the local and 
national media, and highlighted our American Corners program; our 
support for Georgian NGOs and educational institutions; our 
Democracy Commission small grants programs; independent media; and 
USG exchange program alumni. 
 
9.  In particular, the Embassy used Graffy's visit to show respect 
for recent Georgian history.  On April 9, a local holiday 
commemorating the Georgians killed and wounded by Soviet soldiers in 
a melee following a protest rally in 1989, but also the date that 
symbolizes the beginning of Georgia's freedom and independence from 
Soviet rule, DAS Graffy visited the Church of Ateni Sioni outside of 
Tbilisi.  While at the church, DAS Graffy viewed the restoration 
works conducted with funding from the Department of State's 
Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation and commented to the 
media on the USG's support for Georgia's cultural heritage.  Later 
that same day, Graffy visited the Museum of the Soviet Occupation 
and gave statements to the media on the significance of April 9. 
Media coverage of these visits commemorated the victims of April 9; 
emphasized the U.S.'s role in preserving the national icon of the 
Ateni Sioni church; and also served to remind Georgians of the 
strong U.S. support for Georgian democracy and freedom. 
 
COMMENT: 
-------- 
 
10. Anecdotal evidence indicates that this soft diplomacy approach 
has been effective in Georgia.  While we can't claim full credit for 
this, opposition politicians have reduced anti-American statements 
after seeing it doesn't resonate with the Georgia public.  At the 
same time, members of the Georgian government have made strong 
public statements thanking the U.S. for our support of Georgia, and 
members of the public have echoed these sentiments to us privately. 
And, our contacts uniformly tell us how much they appreciate our 
cultural outreach efforts in the conflict zones. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI676, PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE 04-21-2008

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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. #08TBILISI676.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI676 2008-04-21 13:53 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3485
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0676 1121353
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211353Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9316
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 000676 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE 04-21-2008 
 
REF: TBILISI 666 
 
1. Summary:  Twelve registered parties/election blocs must 
submit their full party lists and majoritarian MP candidates 
by the evening of April 21.  Once these lists are submitted, 
Georgia's May 21 parliamentary elections will be much 
clearer.  In addition, the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) 
announced its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 
agreement with all twelve parties/blocs.  The MOU states that 
the GPB will give each party/bloc equal airtime and unbiased 
coverage in the pre-election period.  Furthermore, the GPB 
will host two debates per week for the next four weeks.  On 
April 21, Georgian daily newspaper Rezonansi published the 
results of a non-scientific survey of 800 randomly-selected 
Tbilisians.  The paper's results showed 32.3 percent of 
Tbilisians are undecided.  21.3 percent supported the ruling 
National Movement and 17 percent the Joint Opposition (United 
National Council (UNC) and the New Rightists).  Other parties 
trailed significantly.  End Summary. 
 
---------------------------------- 
Twelve Parties/Blocs to Run in May 
---------------------------------- 
 
2. Nine political parties and three blocs have registered 
with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to run in the May 
21 parliamentary elections.  The parties and blocs must 
submit their official party lists and majoritarian candidates 
to the CEC by April 21.  The nine individual parties, and 
their chairmen, include: 
 
-- United National Movement (UNM) for a Victorious Georgia, 
President Saakashvili 
-- Republican Party, David Usupashvili 
-- Labor Party, Shalva Natelashvili 
-- Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), Giorgi Targamadze 
-- National Party of Radical-Democrats, Shalva Kuprashvili 
-- Our Country, Tamaz Ghughunishvili 
-- Citizens' Political Union "Georgian Policy," Gocha Pipia 
-- Union of Georgian Sportsmen, Valeri Giorgobiani 
-- Christian Democratic Alliance, Giorgi Kobakhidze 
 
The three election blocs include: 
 
-- The Joint Opposition (includes the eight-party UNC, and 
the New Rightists), Levan Gachechiladze and Davit Gamkrelidze 
-- Traditionalists and Party of Women, Akaki Asatiani and MP 
Guguli Maghradze 
-- New Rights Alliance-Topadze Industrialists, Zurab 
Tkemeladze 
 
------------------------------------------- 
Public Broadcaster, Parties Reach Agreement 
------------------------------------------- 
 
3. On April 17 the GPB released an MOU signed in agreement 
with all twelve parties/blocs.  The MOU states that the GPB 
will give each party and bloc equal airtime and unbiased 
coverage in the pre-election period.  Furthermore, the GPB 
will host two debates per week for the next four weeks.  The 
first debate is scheduled for April 22 and the last for May 
15.  In addition, each week three parties/blocs will be given 
airtime on a separate evening to present their platforms. 
The first presentation is scheduled for April 23 and the last 
for May 19.  Under the MOU, the parties/blocs agree to 
respect journalistic "norms and ethics" during their 
presentations and debates.  The MOU also provides a grievance 
process to hold the GPB accountable for its actions and any 
bias, before the parties/blocs may resort to public attacks 
against the GPB or its employees. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
Rezonansi Conducts Unscientific Survey of Tbilisi 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
4. On April 21, Georgian daily newspaper Rezonansi published 
the results of a non-scientific telephone survey of 800 
randomly-selected Tbilisians.  The paper's results reported 
32.3 percent of Tbilisians are undecided for whom they will 
vote.  21.3 percent of respondents supported the ruling 
National Movement, and 17 percent supported the Joint 
Opposition.  The Republican Party received 6.1 percent of 
respondents' likely votes, the Labor Party 4.6 percent, and 
the CDM 4.3 percent.  Of the respondents, 8.8 percent refused 
to answer, and 1.1 percent said they would not vote at all, 
according to Rezonansi. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI674, PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE 04-21-2008

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. #08TBILISI674.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI674 2008-04-21 13:47 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3507
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0674 1121347
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211347Z APR 08 ZFR ZFR ZFR ZFR
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9313
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 000674 
 
SIPDIS 
///C A N C E L - RESENT AS TBILISI 676/// 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE 04-21-2008 
 
 
TEFFT

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