08TBILISI568, GEORGIA BI-WEEKLY UPDATE APRIL 4

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI568 2008-04-04 13:51 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3663
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0568/01 0951351
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041351Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9229
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000568 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA BI-WEEKLY UPDATE APRIL 4 
 
1. This cable contains current items of political, 
economic, and social interest concerning Georgia during the 
weeks of March 22-April 4. 
 
Transport Links with Russia Re-Opening 
-------------------------------------- 
2. Russia's closure of air and sea links with Georgia -- in effect 
since October 2006 -- ended with the first Tbilisi-Moscow flight 
March 25 and the launching of a Batumi-Sochi ferry March 27. 
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said April 1 that 
Russian officials had indicated they would also soon re-open road 
traffic between Georgia and Russia via the Kazbegi-Upper Lars border 
checkpoint.  Russia's closure of the crossing point in June 2006 was 
widely seen as part of Russia's economic sanctions against Georgia, 
although Russian officials had cited repairs as the official reason. 
 Kazbegi-Upper Lars is the only land crossing point on Georgia's 
mountainous border with Russia that the Georgians consider legal; 
the others are in the separatist regions of South Ossetia and 
Abkhazia, outside the Georgian government's control.  The Kazbegi 
route is economically important to Georgia, and is also a key link 
between Armenia and Russia. 
 
Noghaideli to Lead New Business Group 
------------------------------------- 
3. The highest-paid Georgian soccer player in history, AC Milan 
defender Kakha Kaladze, announced the formation of a new company, 
Kala-Capital, in Tbilisi March 31.  With President Saakashvili in 
attendance, Kaladze introduced former Prime Minister Zurab 
Noghaideli as the chairman of the company's supervisory board. 
Another famous face recruited by Kaladze is former Finance Minister 
Alexander Alexishvili, who will head Progress Bank, a subsidiary of 
Kala-Capital.  Three areas already identified for Kala Capital's 
business activities are banking, energy, and real estate 
development.  The company foresees creation of 25,000 new jobs in 
the coming years. 
 
Ministry of Refugees Completes Re-Registration of IDPs 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
4. At a March 31 UNHCR-sponsored donor's conference, the Georgian 
Ministry of Refugees announced that it has completed a 
re-registration of IDPs displaced by the conflicts in Abkhazia and 
South Ossetia.  According to the Ministry, 230,000 IDPs remain 
displaced, with 13,500 from South Ossetia and 216,500 from Abkhazia. 
  The Ministry also announced that the long-delayed Action Plan for 
IDPs will be sent to the Council of Ministers and Parliament for 
approval in April.  The revised Action Plan will focus on the return 
of IDPs to Abkhazia and South Ossetia while supporting IDPs' 
"participation in society," with an emphasis on integrating IDPs 
into the social and health networks provided to the majority of 
Georgian citizens.  The Ministry estimates that the cost to 
implement all of the programs outlined in the Action Plan will be 
approximately 23 million lari (USD 15.5 million), of which an 
estimated 20 million lari (USD 13.5 million) would come from 
international donors. 
 
Chechen Refugee Problem in Pankisi Close to Solution 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
5. At the same March 31 donor's conference, Peter Nikolas, UNHCR 
Representative for Georgia, said that UNHCR was "very close" to 
achieving durable solutions for the 1,100 refugees remaining in the 
Pankisi Gorge.  Nikolas estimated that with continued donor support, 
UNHCR could successfully integrate the remaining refugees into the 
local community within 2-3 years.  He called on donors to make a 
final "push" that would enable UNHCR to expand its micro-finance and 
income generating projects and complete the naturalization process 
for refugees still living in the Gorge. 
 
Parliament Fails to Find Time for Public Defender's Report 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
6. In a March 28 press conference, Public Defender Sozar Subari 
unveiled his annual report on human rights and expressed 
dissatisfaction that Parliament had not scheduled a hearing to 
deliver the report.  Subari said he filed the report with Parliament 
in October, but a scheduled hearing had been postponed three times 
and was now postponed until after the Parliamentary elections May 
21.  Subari said he had been told there was no time because key 
officials were working on Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration in the 
run-up to the NATO Summit in Bucharest.  Subari's report focuses on 
a number of politically sensitive issues, including violation of 
property rights; excessive violence by police on November 7 and 
closing of Imedi TV; alleged illegal actions by Ministry of Internal 
Affairs official Irakli Kodua; a high prison mortality rate; 
prosecutorial interference in the court system; and alleged 
fraudulent actions during presidential elections. 
 
Judges to be Trained on Ex Parte Law 
------------------------------------ 
7. On March 30 the American Bar A
ssociation conducted a "Train the 
Trainers" program for a group of Georgian experts who will conduct 
future ethics training for judges.  The training included 
instruction on the 2007 law banning ex parte communication 
(discussion between a judge and parties to a case outside the 
courtroom) that has been cited by international experts as a 
 
TBILISI 00000568  002 OF 002 
 
 
significant step forward on judicial reform.  In 2008, ABA will 
train judges throughout Tbilisi and Adjara and will expand its 
training throughout the country in 2009.  Utilizing the ethics 
module and the trained trainers, the High School of Justice will be 
able to conduct judicial ethics training for both judicial students 
and sitting judges throughout Georgia independent of ABA assistance 
by June 30, 2009. 
 
TEFFT

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