Monthly Archives: May 2008

08TBILISI910, DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH TARGAMADZE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI910 2008-05-30 14:27 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7270
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0910/01 1511427
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301427Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9534
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000910 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/30/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH TARGAMADZE 
 
REF: TBILISI 569 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: On May 12, EUR DAS Matthew Bryza and the 
Ambassador met with Chairman of the new opposition Christian 
Democratic Movement (CDM) party, Giorgi Targamadze.  Before 
the meeting, Targamadze briefed the Ambassador on Imedi TV's 
current status, saying that a dispute regarding government 
control over editorial policy will likely preclude any news 
coverage until September.  He said the CDM has established 
offices throughout most of Georgia and is putting the 
knowledge gained from USAID-funded IRI focus groups to good 
use in building his campaign.  Targamadze discussed his 
party's platform and goals, and said the CDM may result as 
the largest opposition faction after the election.  He said 
U.S. support would be critical to ensure democratic reforms 
in Parliament after May 21.  DAS Bryza underlined the 
seriousness of the ongoing dispute with Russia over Abkhazia, 
and discussed how a new forum is needed for the Georgians and 
Abkhaz to meet without Russian influence.  End summary. 
 
Background Note 
--------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Targamadze is the former MP who headed 
deposed-Adjaran warlord, Aslan Abashidze's faction in 
Parliament prior to 2004.  Most recently, Targamadze was the 
lead anchor and director of news programming for Imedi TV. 
He had a key media role in the November protests and was then 
seen as a strong opponent of the Saakashvili government. 
Targamadze and several other leading journalists quit the 
station in December after the GOG aired footage of deceased 
Imedi owner Badri Patarkatsishvili attempting to co-opt an 
MOIA official and foment an insurrection against President 
Saakashvili.  Following this, Targamadze created the 
Christian-Democratic Movement party, modeled on European 
Christian-Democratic parties but with a strong populist and 
latent nationalist streak, and heads its party list for the 
May 21 parliamentary elections.  Current Greenberg Quinlan 
Rosner Research polls project the CDM is likely to win 
approximately 11 percent of the nationwide, party list vote, 
which would be enough to create a faction in Parliament. 
 
Brief Update on Imedi 
--------------------- 
 
3. (C) On May 12, EUR DAS Matthew Bryza, the Ambassador, and 
EUR/CARC Conflicts Advisor Michael Carpenter met with CDM 
Chairman, Giorgi Targamadze, and CDM International Secretary, 
George Rukhadze.  In a prelude to the meeting, Targamadze 
told the Ambassador an ongoing dispute over editorial policy 
will likely preclude Imedi TV from covering any news until 
September.  He acknowledged that Patarkatsishvili and Joseph 
Kay had a close working relationship, but claimed that the 
GOG influenced Joseph Kay's acquisition of Imedi (reftel) and 
will also control Imedi's editorial policy.  He said he 
understands that Patarkatsishvili's family continues to 
dispute Kay's claim to ownership of Imedi.  Targamadze said 
that he, fellow Imedi employees, and the Patriarch of the 
Georgian Orthodox Church, talked Patarkatsishvili out of 
trading Imedi to the government for the Georgian railroad 
last fall.  Targamadze said Boris Berezovsky "played a bad 
role" in the process and radicalized Patarkatsishvili, 
convincing him to run for President against 
Patarkatsishvili's own wishes.  Targamadze said that at the 
height of the confrontation, "both sides tried to co-opt us." 
 Now, he said he is trying to preserve "freedom of speech" 
with his CDM campaign, as he tried to do as a news anchor at 
Imedi. 
 
CDM Campaign Underway 
--------------------- 
 
4. (C) Targamadze thanked the U.S. for providing USAID-funded 
IRI focus groups to help his party prepare its campaign.  He 
said they were very useful, as the CDM had no money to 
conduct any research itself.  He said the CDM has established 
offices throughout most of Georgia, including the minority 
regions, and is campaigning throughout the country. 
Targamadze said he is focusing his efforts on reaching out to 
people, explaining that Western values are trying to help 
Georgians form a democratic society, and working to help make 
people's lives better after the election.  Targamadze said 
economic problems are the population's biggest concern.  In 
addition to these, his party is working on proposals to 
address social and demographic problems, constitutional 
changes, a law on religion, and ideas for agricultural 
reform. 
 
5. (C) Targamadze denounced the current political process as 
 
TBILISI 00000910  002 OF 002 
 
 
unfair.  He said businesses are afraid to donate to his 
campaign, which has hurt his party.  He noted that media 
coverage is better than during the January election, but 
rules granting the opposition equal air time do not apply to 
political talk shows, which are a major source of voters' 
information about the political process.  Targamadze said the 
CDM has tried to avoid clashes with other political parties, 
including the ruling United National Movement.  He said the 
campaign has become "not a game of rule
s, but of life and 
death."  He said "we are not afraid of competition, but we 
need rules of the game."  According to Targamadze, the U.S. 
needs to help ensure this fairness during the campaign, as 
well as support democratic reforms in Parliament and help 
build western-style political parties after May 21. 
Targamadze foresees a split in the Joint Opposition after the 
election, and believes the CDM may become the largest 
opposition faction in Parliament.  He told DAS Bryza that 
room indeed exists in the center between pro- and 
anti-Saakashvili camps, and he is trying to attract the 
disaffected voters in this space.  He said many New Rightists 
voters now support him, because New Rightists leader Davit 
Gamkrelidze joined the United Opposition. 
 
DAS Bryza Talks about Abkhazia 
------------------------------ 
 
6. (C) After noting additional USG assistance dedicated to 
improving the election process, DAS Bryza turned to Abkhazia. 
 He underlined the seriousness of the current tension 
surrounding Abkhazia.  He told Targamadze that it appears 
Putin has tried to create a win-win for himself by ratcheting 
up the tension with Georgia over the breakaway region.  Bryza 
said if Georgia fails to propose any new initiatives and 
allows Abkhazia to drift further into the Russian orbit, it 
loses and Russia wins.  If Georgia tries to retake Abkhazia 
by force, it suffers an even more devastating loss and Russia 
wins.  Given the current situation, a fresh approach is 
needed.  Bryza said the UN Group of Friends is not working 
and a new forum is needed to breath new life into the peace 
process. 
 
7. (C) Bryza said such a forum must address three key issues: 
 1) the return of IDPs; 2) the need to provide Abkhazia a 
sense of security that Georgia will not attack (and that the 
return of IDPs will not threaten Abkhaz national identity); 
and 3) economic development of Abkhazia through reintegration 
with Georgia proper.  Bryza told Targamadze that he had 
spoken with the UN, Europeans, and the Abkhaz about these 
issues.  Bryza said UNOMIG is beneficial to the people in 
Gali, so the goal is not to eliminate it or do away entirely 
with the Group of Friends.  Rather, he said a new forum 
should be established organically alongside the Group of 
Friends.  The rejuvenation of the peace process would 
therefore consist of three components:  1) the elaboration of 
Georgia's peace initiatives through direct talks with the 
Abkhaz, to specify the constitutional guarantees for Abkhaz 
autonomy; 2) restraining Russia politically (with 
international partners) to prevent further infringement on 
Georgia's sovereignty; and 3) building the new international 
forum from the ground up, so that Georgians and Abkhaz can 
meet without a Russian veto. 
 
8. (C) Targamadze thanked DAS Bryza for the information and 
agreed that he and his party could and would fully support 
such a proposal.  He noted that the CDM has been calling on 
the government to avoid any drift towards armed conflict.  He 
also said Georgia should avoid signing any agreements with 
Russia over the conflict regions, as Russia had not met its 
previous obligations under peace deals in the 1990s. 
Targamadze said that Georgia must work with its western 
friends in regard to the conflict regions, or else disaster 
would ensue.  He said that his party currently does not trust 
the government, and therefore does not speak with them, but 
reiterated his support for Bryza's peace plan. 
 
9. (U) DAS Bryza has cleared this cable. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI909, DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH CEC CHAIRMAN TARKHNISHVILI

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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
08TBILISI909 2008-05-30 14:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7237
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0909/01 1511403
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301403Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9532
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000909 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/30/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH CEC CHAIRMAN TARKHNISHVILI 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: On May 12, EUR DAS Matthew Bryza and the 
Ambassador met with the Chairman of the Central Election 
Commission (CEC), Levan Tarkhnishvili.  Noting recent threats 
of violence around the elections, Tarkhnishvili said he 
considers violent protests at district (DEC) and precinct 
(PEC) election commissions more likely than attacks against 
himself.  DAS Bryza said he told the Joint Opposition earlier 
(septel) that any violence is unacceptable and undemocratic. 
He then underlined the importance of transparency in the 
election process to Georgia's democratic development, western 
integration, and NATO aspirations.  Tarkhnishvili briefed the 
group on CEC progress to date, and steps it is taking to 
increase public faith in the May 21 parliamentary elections. 
Tarkhnishvili told the Ambassador and DAS Bryza that there 
would be no delays in posting preliminary results, in the 
order received, on the CEC's website.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) On May 12, EUR DAS Matthew Bryza, the Ambassador, and 
EUR/CARC Conflicts Advisor Michael Carpenter met with CEC 
Chairman Levan Tarkhnishvili.  The Ambassador pointed out the 
Embassy's and OSCE's concern for Tarkhnishvili's safety in 
light of recent protests and threats against him and his 
home.  Asked if he has a guard, Tarkhnishvili said no, and 
that he considers violence at DECs and PECs more likely than 
attacks against him or the CEC.  However, the Chairman noted 
the CEC will be moving to its previous building during 
election night, due to better security.  (Note: On May 13 at 
an OSCE Ambassadors meeting, the need for security was noted 
by all.  However, concern persists as to whether and how the 
CEC will manage the information flow, from DECs and PECs, and 
their IT infrastructure at the two different buildings. 
USAID Implementing Partner IFES has an IT consultant working 
onsite with the CEC's IT staff.  IFES told Poloff that the 
CEC's IT department never moved to the new building.  IFES 
said the CEC will test their fax network and receiving 
equipment to send and receive protocols on Saturday, May 17. 
End note.) 
 
3. (C) DAS Bryza said to Tarkhnishvili that he told the Joint 
Opposition on May 9 (septel) that any violence is 
undemocratic and has no place in the election or Georgian 
society.  Bryza told Levan Gachechiladze that his statements 
(threatening to "break jaws" on one occasion, and to drag 
"Tarkhnishvili by the necktie" on another) are unacceptable. 
Gachechiladze denied making the threats at first, then 
countered with arguments that if the elections were not fair, 
all options remained on the table. 
 
4. (C) Bryza then underlined the importance of transparency 
in the election process to Georgia's democratic development. 
He said the current conflict with Russia in Abkhazia has 
improved general support for Georgia in Europe.  However, 
Bryza said free and fair elections would be the most critical 
way to speed up Georgia's progress toward gaining a MAP with 
NATO. 
 
5. (U) Tarkhnishvili discussed CEC actions to improve public 
trust in the May 21 elections (some funded by USAID).  These 
include: purchasing 1,000 additional GSM faxes which will 
allow more than one-half of all PECs to directly send their 
results to the CEC; re-deploying the CCTV cameras to 
high-traffic PECs in the cities, to cover more than one-half 
of all voters; improving the complaints process and ensuring 
that complainants have an opportunity to correct any 
technical errors; conducting PSAs for voter awareness and 
how-to-vote on TV and in the subways; providing a FAQ section 
once a week in Georgian, Russian, and Azeri papers; holding 
public CEC press announcements and CEC sessions; and 
improving training for all election commission staff (over 
51,000 total, and nearly 2 percent of the electorate, of 
which 23,000 are from the opposition).  Tarkhnishvili pointed 
out that the opposition now has representatives at all 
election commissions, and each party can have two 
representatives per PEC. 
 
6. (SBU) Tarkhnishvili said the CEC would test their 
nation-wide fax reporting system this week.  He told the 
Ambassador that in the 75 single-mandate, majoritarian 
districts, if 10 percent or more of the votes are canceled, 
then a new election will be held within two weeks.  He said 
that there are two or three new Special PECs (used for 
military or police bases, with the results tallied with a 
regular PEC) with 10,000 more voters now included in these 
Special PECs.  Tarkhnishvili said the increase is due to the 
return of soldiers from Iraq and soldiers on TDY in certain 
districts.  He said all the Special PECs together equal no 
more than one percent of voters in any majoritarian district. 
 
7. (C) Bryza acknowledged the CEC's preparations but again 
 
TBILISI 00000909  002 OF 002 
 
 
pointed out these elections must be fair to convince the U.S. 
and a skeptical Europe.  Tarkhnishvili said he understands &#
x000A;this.  He said his staff is trained for any contingency and 
there would be no delays in posting preliminary results, in 
the order received, on the CEC's website. 
 
8. (U) DAS Bryza has cleared this cable. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI907, DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH REPUBLICAN USUPASHVILI

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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. #08TBILISI907.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI907 2008-05-30 13:55 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7232
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0907/01 1511355
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301355Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9529
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000907 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/30/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH REPUBLICAN USUPASHVILI 
 
REF: TBILISI 271 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: On May 9, EUR DAS Matthew Bryza, the 
Ambassador, and EU Special Representative Peter Semneby met 
with Republican Party Chairman David Usupashvili. 
Usupashvili said that democratic development is currently 
stalled.  His prediction that Parliamentary Speaker 
Burjanadze would lose power had come true.  Now, the 
hard-liners in the United National Movement (UNM) have free 
reign.  He believed the UNM could produce any result it 
desired on May 21, allowing 2-3 groups into Parliament in the 
coming election, but not the Republicans.  Still, Usupashvili 
said another revolution is possible.  Usupashvili 
acknowledged that no one else could currently lead the 
country better than President Saakashvili.  He predicted 
further UNM consolidation of power and more opposition 
protests.  Semneby said the EU is watching events in Georgia 
closely and will look to ODIHR to judge the election process. 
 End summary. 
 
Republicans in Weak Position 
---------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On May 9, EUR DAS Matthew Bryza, the Ambassador, and 
EU Special Representative Peter Semneby met Chairman of the 
Republican Party, David Usupashvili.  EUR/CARC Conflicts 
Advisor Michael Carpenter also attended.  Usupashvili claimed 
that the political situation in Georgia has worsened, both 
internally and externally.  He said the Republicans' 
difficult situation (they are polling only at around 2 
percent, nationally) is a result of its attempt to mediate 
with the government earlier this year (reftel).  According to 
Usupashvili, his party was seen as trying to save 
Saakashvili, rather than bring him down with the rest of the 
opposition.  Now they are targeted by both sides, according 
to Usupashvili.  He said the Joint Opposition (including the 
United National Council (UNC) and New Rightists) is also 
pushing this view, because if they defeat the Republicans it 
will give them more seats.  Usupashvili said his party 
receives financial support from only one individual in their 
party (Valery Gelashvili, former MP now living in Lithuania), 
since five major donors quit under what he claimed was UNM 
pressure.  He also said that most of the opposition parties 
were receiving funds from various individuals and groups in 
Russia, including former Adjaran strongman Aslan Abashidze. 
 
Usupashvili Forecast Burjanadze's Demise 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Usupashvili told Bryza that two months earlier, in 
Washington, he had pointed to 3 of 17 crucial UNC demands 
(reftel) necessary to avoid the political gridlock in Georgia 
today.  He said without these demands, the Republicans would 
be out of politics and Burjanadze's moderate influence in the 
UNM would diminish.  Usupashvili said he feared he had not 
adequately conveyed the message.  With Burjanadze now out, he 
said the hardliners in the UNM have free reign to push their 
agenda without being checked by moderates such as Burjanadze. 
 Meanwhile, Usupashvili said, polarization between the UNM 
and UNC continues to increase. 
 
Says Saakashvili Broke Word on Majoritarian Seats 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
4. (C) As evidence of a broken political process, Usupashvili 
pointed to the new 75-75 makeup of Parliament (between 
Majoritarian and Party List seats).  Usupashvili said that 
with this constitutional amendment, Saakashvili broke his 
word in order to benefit himself and the UNM, at the cost of 
further restricting Georgian democracy.  Asked by Bryza if 
the single-mandate majoritarian seats were not democratic, 
Usupashvili said in a normal situation they would be. 
However, he said, given Georgia's difficult and corrupt past, 
breaking an agreement that had been underway for months and 
pitting people face-to-face in bitter political battles is 
only going to further degrade Georgian politics.  He said not 
everyone, including some in the UNM and in the Joint 
Opposition, is committed to democracy.  The Ambassador said 
that members of the government claim they never gave final 
agreement to a "proportional representational" majoritarian 
system.  Usupashvili countered that common drafts on the 
electoral system had been circulated in Parliament for months 
prior to the February agreement. 
 
UNM Positioned to Dictate Terms of Win 
-------------------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Usupashvili alleged that the UNM could produce any 
result it desired for the May 21 election.  He claimed the 
 
TBILISI 00000907  002 OF 002 
 
 
UNM plans to allow 2-3 groups into Parliament in the coming 
election to provide an image of fairness, but not allow the 
Republicans.  (Note: Usupashvili did not detail how he drew 
this conclusion.  End note.) 
 
Protests Likely, Revolution Plausible 
------------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) Because of the UNM's manipulation, and the Joint 
Opposition's calls for protests, Usupashvili believes the 
ground
 is again fertile for a revolution as in 2003.  He said 
the Joint Opposition leaders promised the people to do 
something in January, and now they will have to deliver.  If 
hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate against the 
government, Usupashvili said even Burjanadze could tap into 
this popular discontent to gain power.  Usupashvili lamented 
his judgment during the prior negotiations, saying he learned 
too late that Saakashvili and the UNM would not allow a 
reasonable, effective opposition to form in the Parliament. 
He acknowledged that Saakashvili is currently the only 
effective leader of the executive branch in Georgia, but said 
the executive branch must be checked by Parliament for 
democracy to develop.  Based on this evolving political 
process of the UNM further consolidating power and 
radicalizing the opposition, Usupashvili forecast further 
turmoil in Georgia's democratic process. 
 
Semneby Looks to ODIHR 
---------------------- 
 
7. (C) Semneby acknowledged Usupashvili's broken faith in the 
negotiating process and said it appeared both the government 
and opposition need to engage in soul-searching in Georgia's 
democratic interests.  Semneby also indicated that the 
discrepancy in the size of the 75 single-mandate majoritarian 
districts could lead to problems for Georgia.  He said the EU 
is watching internal events and Abkhazia closely to keep 
things from getting out of hand.  The Speaker of the Polish 
Senate will come to visit Georgia and offer support for 
continuing democratic development.  In the end, Semneby said 
the EU will look to ODIHR for its assessment of the 
parliamentary elections.  Usupashvili thanked Semneby, and 
acknowledged the helpful importance of the ODIHR observers in 
the election process. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
8. (C) Comment: Usupashvili is obviously disappointed with 
his party's slipping public support, and this was evident 
during the conversation.  Usupashvili remains among the most 
reasonable and thoughtful of the opposition leaders, but the 
most recent polling suggests that his party will not gain 
enough votes to enter into Parliament in the 75 party list 
seats.  Like other opposition leaders, he has a tendency to 
see Georgia's polarized political process and the inability 
of the ruling party and opposition to reach agreement through 
negotiations as a failure of democracy, writ large, rather 
than a mundane partisan squabble common to all democracies. 
End comment. 
 
9. (U) DAS Bryza has cleared this cable. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI906, UNOMIG REPORT CONCLUDES RUSSIAN JET SHOT DOWN

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. #08TBILISI906.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI906 2008-05-30 13:50 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7222
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0906 1511350
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301350Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9528
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS TBILISI 000906 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: UNOMIG REPORT CONCLUDES RUSSIAN JET SHOT DOWN 
GEORGIAN UAV 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 675 
     B. 07 TBILISI 674 
     C. 07 TBILISI 2062 
 
1.  Summary:  On May 26, the United Nations Observer Mission 
to Georgia (UNOMIG) released the results of its international 
fact finding team investigation into the April 20 downing of 
a Georgian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Abkhazia (ref 
A).  The report concluded that a Russian military jet, either 
a MIG-29 "Fulcrum" or a SU-27 "Flanker", shot down the 
Georgian UAV.  The report underscored that third party (in 
this case, Russian) enforcement of the separation of forces 
and ceasefire regime is "fundamentally inconsistent" with the 
1994 Moscow Ceasefire Agreement, and noted that the incident 
took place very close to an international airway when 
civilian aircraft were flying.  The report also concluded 
that flights of Georgian UAVs over the zone of conflict also 
constituted a breach of the Moscow Agreement.  The Georgian 
government reacted swiftly to the report, summoning the 
Russian Ambassador to Georgia to the Foreign Ministry on May 
27 and presenting him with a list of demands including an 
official apology, compensation for the lost UAV, and the 
reinstatement of economic and military sanctions on Abkhazia 
(reported septel).  End Summary. 
 
The Team 
-------- 
2.  On May 26, UNOMIG released the results of its 
international fact finding team investigation into the April 
20 downing of a Georgian UAV over Abkhazia.  The team 
consisted of military radar specialists, fighter pilots and 
video and satellite imagery experts from several European 
countries.  Neither the Abkhaz nor the Georgian side 
participated in the investigation, but the Georgian side 
cooperated fully, providing unfettered access to its video 
and radar data, which the report concluded to be authentic. 
The team based its conclusions on extensive video and radar 
analysis supported by eyewitness accounts from local 
residents and CIS peacekeepers. 
 
The Conclusion: a Russian jet did it 
------------------------------------ 
3.   Based on the evidence presented, the report concluded 
that either a MiG-29 "Fulcrum" or a SU-27 "Flanker" jet shot 
down the Georgian UAV.  According to the radar data, the jet 
flew south to intercept the UAV, shot it down with a short 
range AA-11 Archer air-to-air missile, and then proceeded 
north toward Krasnodar into Russian airspace.  Absent 
compelling evidence to the contrary, the report states, "this 
leads to the conclusion that the aircraft belonged to the 
Russian air force."  The report also noted that the incident 
took place "very close to, or even inside" an international 
airway at a time when civilian aircraft were flying.  The 
report could not confirm whether the Russian jet took off 
from the Russian military base in Gudauta.  The report 
underscored that the enforcement of the separation of forces 
and ceasefire regime by a third party, namely Russia, is 
"fundamentally inconsistent" with the 1994 Moscow Ceasefire 
Agreement and undercuts the ceasefire regime.  Georgian UAV 
flights over the conflict zone also constituted a breach of 
the Moscow Agreement, the report concluded, because such 
military intelligence gathering flights are "bound to be" 
interpreted by the Abkhaz as a precursor to military action. 
 
Comment 
------- 
4.  Unlike previous international investigations into 
suspected Russian incursions over Georgian territory, 
including a March 2007 attack on Georgian government 
buildings in the Upper Kodori Gorge and an August 2007 
missile incident near the Georgian village of Tsitelubani 
(refs B & C), the May 26 UNOMIG report explicitly names 
Russia as the responsible party.  The Kodori and Tsitelubani 
investigations both provided compelling evidence of direct 
Russian involvement, yet their final reports did not name 
Russia.  This is the first time the UN has actively indicated 
Russian involvement, perhaps because the fact finding team 
did not have to compromise its conclusions in response to 
Abkhaz or CIS PKF objections that have watered down previous 
reports. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI905, GEORGIAN PRESENTS ITS DEMANDS TO RUSSIA FOLLOWING

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI905 2008-05-30 13:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7215
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0905/01 1511346
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301346Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9526
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000905 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/31/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN PRESENTS ITS DEMANDS TO RUSSIA FOLLOWING 
UNOMIG REPORT ON APRIL 20 SHOOT-DOWN OF GEORGIAN UAV 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (C) In a May 27 meeting with the Ambassador, Deputy 
Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze delivered a non-paper (faxed 
to EUR/CARC) outlining Georgia's planned response to Russia 
in the wake of the United Nations Observer Mission to Georgia 
(UNOMIG) fact finding report on the April 20 shoot-down of a 
Georgian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Abkhazia.  The 
UNOMIG report concluded that a Russian military jet was 
responsible for shooting down the UAV.  Vashadze told the 
Ambassador that he had called in the Russian Ambassador 
earlier in the day and demanded the following: 1. Russia pay 
material damages for the loss of the UAV; 2. Russia allow 
international inspection of the Gudauta military base; 3. 
Russia make an official, public apology for shooting down the 
UAV; 4. Russia withdraw its paratrooper battalion and 
equipment from Abkhazia; and 5. Russia reinstate military and 
economic sanctions on Abkhazia and repeal President Putin's 
instructions allowing for closer, official ties between 
Russian government officials and Abkhaz de-facto authorities. 
 On this last point Vashadze said he had told the Russian 
Ambassador that it would be sufficient if Russia publicly 
announced that it would not implement the Putin instructions. 
 
2.  (U) Text of non-paper 
 
Begin text: 
 
N6/2792-12 
 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia presents its 
complements to the Embassy of the United States of America in 
Georgia and has the honour to inform about the following: 
 
With regard to the shooting down of an unarmed UAV of the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the United Nations 
Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) established a Fact 
Finding Team.  Following the work carried out by the FFT, a 
final report was released by UNOMIG on 26 May 2008. 
 
The Fact Finding Team of UNOMIG concluded that the video 
footage and radar data provided by the Georgian side are 
authentic.  The report also concludes that the distinctive 
configuration of the jet aircraft seen on the video clearly 
indicates that it was either a MIG-29 "Fulcrum" or a SU-27 
"Flanker". 
 
Based on the authentication of the radar record, the FFT 
could confirm that the jet aircraft headed north toward 
Maykop/Krasnodar into the Russian airspace following the 
downing of the UAV of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of 
Georgia.  The FFT concluded that the aircraft belonged to the 
Russian Air Force.  The FFT indicated that the jet aircraft 
could possibly take off from the airfield of the Gudauta 
military base. 
 
The FFT concludes that the 1994 Moscow Agreement provides 
only for the CIS PKF and no one else to perform the 
separation of forces, and therefore, the enforcement actions 
by third parties - in this case the Russian Federation - in 
the zone of conflict is fundamentally inconsistent with the 
Moscow Agreement and, aside from possible considerations 
under international law, undercuts the ceasefire and 
separation of forces regime. 
 
Apart from it, by conducting the aforementioned action on the 
territory of Georgia, the Russian Federation violated 
Paragraph 4, Article 2 of the UN Charter, which prohibits use 
of force against the territorial integrity of any state.  At 
the same time, this represents an act of aggression according 
to the Paragraph b, Article 3 of the Annex to the 1974 UN 
General Assembly Resolution on Definition of Aggression. 
 
Downing of the Georgian UAV on 20 April 2008 is a 
continuation of the Russian Federation's policy to annex 
inalienable parts of Georgia - Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region. 
 
Since in its report UNOMIG notes the possibility of military 
aircraft's presence on the airfield of the Gudauta military 
base, it is obvious that an international inspection of this 
base is necessary to verify the fulfillment of 1999 Istanbul 
commitments by the Russian Federation. 
 
On the basis of all above mentioned, the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs of Georgia categorically demands from the Russian 
Federation to make an official apology for the act of 
aggression carried out against Georgia, ensure appropriate 
compensation of the material loss, and an international 
inspection of the Gudauta military base. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000905  002 OF 002 
 
 
At the same time, the Georgian side continues to strongly 
insist on withdrawal of additional military contingent, 
military equipment and weaponry from the territory of 
Georgia, which were introduced to Abkhazia, Georgia after 30 
April 2008 without consent of the Government of Georgia, 
reversal of the 6 March 2008 decision on withdrawal from the 
regime of restrictions set up by 19 January 1996 decision of 
the CIS Council of Heads of State "On Measures to Settle the 
conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia", and reversal of the 16 April 
2008 instructions by the President of Russia to the 
Government of the Russian Federation. 
 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia avails itself of 
this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the United States 
of America in Georgia
the assurances of its highest 
consideration. 
 
27 May 2008 
Tbilisi 
 
End text. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI904, DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH FM TKESHELASHVILI

WikiLeaks Link

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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. #08TBILISI904.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI904 2008-05-30 13:17 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7166
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0904/01 1511317
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301317Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9524
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000904 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH FM TKESHELASHVILI 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (C) Summary:  In a May 9 meeting with DAS Bryza, Foreign 
Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili expressed appreciation for the 
strong support from the United States in response to recent 
Russian actions in Abkhazia.  She said it was clear that the 
Russian troops in Abkhazia were no longer performing a 
peacekeeping operation and called for a strong diplomatic 
push from the west to deter Russia from further actions.  She 
noted that steps toward a peaceful settlement of the conflict 
would be futile unless Russia withdraws its additional 
peacekeepers and repeals President Putin's April 16 
instructions and warned of the potential for a provocation on 
the ground that could spark a military confrontation.  DAS 
Bryza agreed, saying it was clear that Russia was no longer 
acting like mediator in the conflict and assured her that the 
United States was engaged at the very highest levels to send 
a clear message to Russia that there will be consequences for 
further destabilizing actions in Abkhazia.  He stressed, 
however, that a military campaign to reclaim Abkhazia would 
result in the loss of Abkhazia and U.S. support and outlined 
steps he thought could reinvigorate the peace process and 
bring Abkhazia back under Georgian authority.  End summary. 
 
Russian actions a violation of sovereign Georgia 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
2.  (C) Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili thanked DAS Bryza 
for the strong support Georgia has received in response to 
the recent Russian actions in Abkhazia.  She added that the 
EU statements have also been strong, but despite this show of 
support, the situation on the ground has not changed.  It was 
clear to everyone, she said, that Russian troops were no 
longer conducting a peacekeeping operation, calling the 
presence of the paratrooper battalion and its artillery a 
violation of the 1994 Moscow cease-fire agreement.  These 
troops were brought in against the will of sovereign Georgia, 
she said, adding that all future diplomatic efforts by the 
west need to concentrate on preventing further Russian 
provocations and securing the withdrawal of these extra 
heavily armed peacekeeping troops.  She called the current 
situation "alarming," because it would be very easy for a 
provocation on the ground to spark a broader military 
confrontation.  Deputy Foreign Minister Bokeria echoed this 
sentiment, saying that given the buildup of Russian military 
forces and the current high levels of tension, war could 
happen at any moment.  FM Tkeshelashvili said she thought all 
future steps toward a settlement of the conflict would be 
futile until the extra peacekeepers are withdrawn and Russia 
repeals Putin's April 16 instructions authorizing links 
between Russian government officials and the de-facto 
authorities. 
 
3.  (C) DAS Bryza said that the United States agreed. It was 
clear that Russia was no longer acting as a mediator in the 
conflict.  He assured Tkeshelashvili that the United States 
was engaged at the very highest levels on this issue and 
would send a clear message to Russia that there would be 
concrete consequences for Russia's actions.  Georgia, Bryza 
said, was in a stronger position vis-a-vis NATO Membership 
Action Plan (MAP), because even the Europeans see that Russia 
has gone too far.  Bryza noted that during a May 5 meeting in 
Paris at the Elysee, presidential advisor Damian Loras had 
told him continued Russian provocations coupled with Georgian 
restraint would likely sway Sarkozy in favor of MAP.  The 
Abkhaz are also unhappy with the current situation, he said, 
and the U.S.'s goal was to exploit this and create the 
conditions for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. 
Tkeshelashvili said she understood the U.S. position, but 
reiterated that it would be very easy for a provocation to 
happen on the ground and argued that Russia will continue to 
behave provocatively if they do not see an international 
response. 
 
UAV flights and the way forward on the peace process 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
4.  (C) DAS Bryza told Tkeshelashvili that Secretary Rice had 
clearly indicated to Russian FM Lavrov the U.S. position that 
Georgian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights over Abkhazia 
are not a provocation.  These patrols actually increase 
security by providing Georgia with a clearer picture of what 
is happening in Abkhazia, particularly outside the area 
patrolled by UN observers.  Bryza said that the U.S. would 
like to see UNOMIG UAVs conducting patrols over the conflict 
zone and asked whether the Georgian government would support 
these patrols.  DFM Bokeria questioned the effectiveness of 
UNOMIG UAV flights, given UNOMIG's low credibility in 
Georgia, and said that there would need to be clear goals 
established for such flights. 
 
5.  (C) DAS Bryza then discussed next steps for the peace 
process, steps agreed to by the western Friends at a May 6 
 
TBILISI 00000904  002 OF 002 
 
 
meeting in Paris that he would also present to Abkhaz 
de-facto president Bagapsh during his meeting with Bagapsh on &#x000A
;May 10 (septel).  Bryza said that Georgia and the west need 
to send a strong public message that Russia is no longer a 
facilitator in the Group of Friends and it is necessary to 
develop a complementary format that will support a political 
settlement through direct Georgian-Abkhaz negotiations.  The 
west also needs to renew its push for an international police 
force in Gali while Georgia engages the Abkhaz to elaborate 
President Saakashvili's peace plan, especially its 
constitutional guarantees of autonomy.  Bryza suggested that 
a new forum could be created that would include the Black Sea 
Trust Fund, as well as EU, OSCE, UN, Ukraine, Turkey and the 
current members of the Group of Friends to support the 
Georgian peace plan and encourage direct Georgian-Abkhaz 
negotiations.  The Group of Friends would continue to exist, 
but the primary forum for negotiations would be expanded to 
this new and expanded group, in which no country would have a 
veto.  DFM Bokeria said that while these were all good ideas, 
he was skeptical they would work now that Russia had 
solidified its position in Abkhazia.  Bryza suggested working 
these ideas into the next UNOMIG mandate renewal.  If Russia 
balks at the changes, he said, the west would acquiesce to 
not renewing UNOMIG's mandate, which would make the Russian 
peacekeepers occupiers.  The idea would be to force Russia 
into accepting these changes.  Both Tkeshelashvili and 
Bokeria were receptive to the plan, with Bokeria noting that 
it would be important for the EU to state publicly that 
Russia is no longer a facilitator in the Friends and could no 
longer have a veto over the process. 
 
6.  (U) DAS Bryza cleared this cable. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI901, PM GURGENIDZE: GEORGIA BUILDING “IDIOT-PROOF”

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. #08TBILISI901.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI901 2008-05-30 11:33 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0901/01 1511133
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301133Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9519
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS TBILISI 000901 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC AND EEB/CBA 
COMMERCE FOR DANICA STARKS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON EINV PGOV GG
SUBJECT: PM GURGENIDZE: GEORGIA BUILDING "IDIOT-PROOF" 
ECONOMIC SYSTEM TO SUSTAIN GROWTH AND ATTRACT NEW INVESTMENT 
 
1.  (U) Summary: Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze told the 
American Chamber of Commerce on April 30 that Georgia is 
living proof that "supply side economics works".  His speech 
to the group was essentially the same as he presents to 
potential investors at the "Invest in Georgia" conferences 
the government has organized in various American and European 
cities.  Gurgenidze was educated in the United States, lived 
in Florida for some years, and on his return to Georgia 
headed the country's largest commercial bank.  He paints an 
attractive -- and not too exaggerated  -- picture of a 
government with a clear vision of how it wants to revitalize 
Georgia with extremely open and liberal policies that are 
beginning to produce results.  Gurgenidze said the GOG wants 
to "idiot proof" its economic system to make it safe from 
"tax and spend" policies under future governments.  With most 
reform now in place, he said, the next step is to create an 
offshore financial system that will attract USD 10-15 billion 
to Georgia in the next five years.  Such a system will 
feature limited prudential oversight but strong anti-money 
laundering controls.  Gurgenidze admitted the government 
needs to do better to increase "buy-in" from the poor 
population in Georgia for the government's libertarian 
policies.  He estimates that 20 billion dollars of new 
investment is needed to reduce unemployment to manageable 
levels.  Gurgenidze did not address the very real need for 
greater confidence in the rule of law and the judiciary in 
Georgia as a spur to further economic growth.  End Summary. 
 
 
2.  (U) Gurgenidze vowed that the GOG will continue to cut 
taxes and regulations, and proudly pointed to a 500% increase 
in tax revenues over the past five years as tax rates have 
declined.  The result has been a "Shumpeterian" burst of 
entrepreneurship, he said.  Fifty thousand new businesses 
were registered in 2007, and there are now a total of 360,000 
registered, one of the highest rates in the world, Gurgenidze 
said.  He pledged to maintain the liberal legislation the 
Saakashvili government has put into place up to now.  In 
particular, he defended what are often deemed to be 
exceedingly employer-friendly labor laws.  In a private 
conversation with AmCham leaders after his speech, he 
insisted the labor code will only be changed "over my dead 
body". 
 
3.  (U) What Georgia is seeing now, Gurgenidze said, is an 
emerging middle class, more cars, telephones, bank accounts 
and better infrastructure.  He admitted that exports are 
something of a disappointment and too low at 31 percent of 
GDP.  The current account deficit makes the economy 
vulnerable, he said, but not more so than many other 
countries.  The silver lining is that unlike Venezuela and 
some other countries rich with natural resources and strong 
current account surpluses, the GOG cannot afford to make 
political mistakes.  Reducing the current account deficit by 
increasing exports is a government priority, he said, but not 
by means of subsidies.  The appreciating trend of the 
national currency does not concern Gurgenidze, except as 
against the euro, and for the moment that relationship is 
fairly stable.  The lari's appreciation against the dollar 
only makes energy cheaper and does not affect the country's 
export potential.  (Note: Gurgenidze did not mention that 
most Georgians' savings are still dollar-denominated and they 
are quite uncomfortable with the dollar's decline against the 
lari.) 
 
4.  (U) Gurgenidze noted that remittances are 4 percent of 
GDP, which he said is an important source of national income 
but not one on which the economy is over-reliant.  As an 
example of over-reliance, Gurgenidze cited Tajikistan, where 
remittances approach 25 percent of GDP.  Foreign investment 
continues to accelerate, Gurgenidze said, with first quarter 
2008 being the country's best quarter for such inflows in its 
history.  He expects the positive trend to continue over the 
next five years, despite the Russian embargo and worldwide 
financial problems.  Already Georgia is one of the freest 
economies in the world, Gurgenidze said proudly, and the 
benefits are beginning to be felt.  GDP per capita has 
increased to USD 2315.  Gurgenidze expects that Georgia will 
be able to close the gap in GDP per capita on a purchasing 
power parity basis with countries such as Romania and Russia 
within three years, putting Georgia on a par with the poorest 
members of the European Union.  Recent growth has been 
broad-based according to Gurgenidze, with all sectors of the 
economy contributing -- "Georgia is not a monoculture". 
There is strong variance in the sources of foreign 
investment, and in particular, no other country of comparable 
size has such a strong popularity among institutional 
 
investors.  Total capital inflows in 2007 were USD 2.3 
billion.  Those investors who recently bought Georgia's -- 
oversubscribed -- eurobond know and are quite comfortable 
with Georgia's credit risk, Gurgenidze said.  Closer to home,

Gurgenidze said Georgia will welcome Azeri and Armenian 
entrepreneurs to set up businesses in minority areas such as 
Akhaltsikhe and Marneuli in order to take advantage of the 
liberal environment. 
 
5.  (U) Gurgenidze said Georgia has largely done all that is 
needed in economic reform.  He said the GOG is designing its 
economic system to be "idiot-proof" and safe from 
encroachment by possible future "social democratic" 
governments.  The government's idea is to build inertia in 
economic thinking into the legislative framework, making it 
hard to return to "tax and spend".  He referred to recent 
legislation mandating a small annual budget surplus and 
explicit inflation targets for the central bank.  Under the 
latter law, the central bank's inflation target must be 10 
percent or less and the central bank president loses his job 
if that limit is exceeded for more than a year.  Gurgenidze 
said the government has reduced its debt load to 23 percent 
of GDP from 56 percent, and external debt is only 15 percent 
of GDP.  Debt service is only 5 percent of revenues, he said, 
and this modest level of indebtedness promotes resilience to 
external shocks.  Budget revenues have increased from 16 
percent to 29.7 percent of GDP.  Expenditures are too high at 
30 percent of GDP, he said.  Gurgenidze would like them to be 
20 percent of GDP, but will settle for 23-24 percent. 
Inflation is more than Gurgenidze likes, and he said it will 
go higher before it comes down.  Still, he said, it is less 
than that in Ukraine, Kazakhstan or Russia.  The central bank 
has increased interest rates by 500 basis points since early 
2007, and is ready to increase them more if required, he 
added. 
 
6.  (U) Gurgenidze, said the domestic banking sector is 
"plenty competitive" but also healthy.  He is satisfied with 
the commercial banks' ratio of loans to deposits of 1.3, but 
would not want to see it any higher.  He said he was sure the 
bankers are aware of that.   Not surprisingly for a former 
banker, Gurgenidze is an advocate for regulation of the 
banking sector "with a light touch".  He opposes 
"rules-based" regulation, which he contends would cost the 
country a couple of percent of GDP growth. 
 
7.  (U) Now, Gurgenidze said, the government wants to create 
an attractive offshore financial system for foreign 
investors.  He wants Georgia to be a clean but low tax 
jurisdiction.  The government's experts have to draft more 
than 60 new laws to put the project in place, but Gurgenidze 
expects the task to be completed by the end of the year. 
Under the new laws, "international financial companies" will 
be easy to set up, but will be permitted to hold only 10 
percent in Georgia-sourced capital.  They will be completely 
free not only of Georgian taxes, but also Georgian prudential 
supervision.  The system is to be designed for sophisticated 
investors, and the rule will be "caveat emptor".  However, 
Gurgenidze said, as the GOG liberalizes it will tighten money 
laundering controls, because "once a jurisdiction gets the 
stigma it can't get rid of it."  The new system will draw on 
the best of Gibraltar and Singapore, he said.  Georgians 
speak Russian and English, and can learn Turkish and Arabic 
to serve clients, Gurgenidze said.  Georgia will have the 
most liberal regime in the region, and with Lebanon gone, 
Dubai too expensive and Cyprus now under EU legislation, he 
expects Georgia will be successful in attracting as much as 
USD 10-15 billion in the next five years, employing 6000 
people in new jobs, half of them expatriates.  He does not 
find this goal unrealistic, especially since he intends to 
"market the hell out of it." 
 
8.  (U) At the end of his speech, Gurgenidze addressed the 
political implications of the government's liberal economic 
philosophy.  The fact is, he said, the economic glass is 
three-quarters full and one-quarter empty.  The government 
needs better communication to explain that.  Talking about 
the ease of doing business is largely irrelevant to the 
country's poor population, he said.  The government is 
libertarian, but doesn't want reform to be a "dirty word." 
It wants social cohesion and buy-in even from the very poor, 
who must understand the connection between investment and job 
creation.  For five years, Gurgenidze said, the country has 
had jobless growth, with the total number of jobs stuck at 
1.75 million as the public sector sheds jobs as fast as the 
private sector creates them.  He contended that the quality 
of jobs and wages has increased, however, even ahead of 
 
productivity growth.  He said the country needs USD 20 
billion in investment to reduce unemployment to manageable 
levels.  In the meantime, Gurgenidze said, the government is 
doing what it can to increase social payments.  However, the 
goal is means-tested payments instead of giving a little to 
everyone.  There are close to one million poor people in the 
country, Gurgenidze said, and the government wastes 
assistance on people who don't need it.  In the long term, he 
is convinced that growth will take care of the problem. 
 
9.  (SBU) Comment: Gurgenidze's vision of a very free and 
competitive economy, is well on its way to reality, certainly 
on paper.  He revealed that his enthusiasm for libertarianism 
carries with it some insensitivity when he asked the AmCham 
audience how many of their parents "really needed" the small 
pension payments they receive.  Although they understood his 
point about the need for means-testing, most of his listeners 
were taken aback as they imagined their parent's reaction to 
giving up the pensions they had earned.  The National 
Movement's sweeping victory in the recent elections gives 
them the power to continue on the path Gurgenidze mapped out. 
 This points up the one real worry in many business owner's 
minds, which was voiced by a businessman to Econoff.  He 
asked whether with an overwhelming victory, Saakashvili will 
take it as a mandate to "do whatever he wants and ignore 
process and property rights whenever it suits him".  The 
question gets to the heart of the need for strengthening rule 
of law and particularly the court system -- issues which 
Gurgenidze understandably based on his logic did not address. 
 In the long run, more confidence in the judiciary will do as 
much as any of Gurgenidze's other plans to ensure that 
investment and economic growth reach their full potential. 
End Comment. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI900, EPISODE III – – THE DEFENSE BAR STRIKES BACK

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. #08TBILISI900.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI900 2008-05-30 10:21 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6839
RR RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0900/01 1511021
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301021Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9515
INFO RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 000900 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR INL, EUR/ACE, EUR/CARC 
DOJ FOR OPDAT (LEHMANN/NEWCOMBE) 
 
E.O.  12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR PGOV KCRM KJUS GG
SUBJECT: EPISODE III - - THE DEFENSE BAR STRIKES BACK 
 
REFS:  A) 07 TBILISI 1530, B) 07 TBILISI 2576 
 
1. Summary: In 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of 
Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training 
(DOJ/OPDAT) and the Government of Georgia (GOG) conducted a series 
of in-court trial advocacy skills workshops using what will soon be 
Georgia's new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) for a cadre of 30 
prosecutor trainers from throughout Georgia.  These prosecutors 
routinely defeated American Bar Association/Rule of Law Initiative 
(ABA/ROLI) trained defense lawyers in mock jury trials held in 
Tbilisi, Georgia.  After conducting mock trials in Tbilisi, the 
cadre of trainers taught the advocacy skills to more than 600 of 
their prosecutorial colleagues.  In 2008, DOJ/OPDAT and the GOG's 
Office of Public Prosecution Service (OPP) embarked upon a year-long 
effort to visit each region, buttress the cadre's teaching efforts, 
respond to questions, and, in connection with ABA/ROLI trained 
defense lawyers, provide the prosecutors with an opportunity to 
practice their skills in live mock jury trials.  Initially, the 
regional defense bar uniformly defeated the regional prosecutors. 
The prosQtors lost, in total, ten mock jury trials in the Gori and 
Mtskheta regions. The prosecutors demonstrated theoretical knowledge 
of the trial advocacy principles, but could not translate this 
knowledge into practice to secure convictions.  This created a 
general sense of frustration among the prosecutors and growing 
concern in the OPP where key individuals voiced concern that the 
prosecutors would not be able to convict individuals using the new 
CPC.  Recently, however, the prosecutors have demonstrated a renewed 
commitment to learning these new and challenging trial advocacy 
skills.  This renewed commitment has resulted in successful 
convictions in six of ten mock trials held in the Rustavi and 
Akhaltsikhe regions. These convictions have restored the 
prosecutors' confidence in their trial skills and their willingness 
to accept the changes to the criminal procedure process that the new 
CPC will bring.  End Summary. 
 
-------------------------------- 
Do, or Do Not.  There is No Try. 
-------------------------------- 
 
2. In order to gauge the prosecutor trainers' success in teaching 
trial advocacy skills to their colleagues, DOJ/OPDAT and the OPP 
scheduled a series of regional trial advocacy seminars.  The 
regional prosecutors readily admitted that their local trainers 
taught them the basic trial advocacy skills.  In general, the 
prosecutors knew how to do opening statements and closing arguments. 
 They also understood, broadly, how to conduct direct and cross 
examinations.  However, they struggled with specific examination 
issues. 
 
3. For example, they had difficulty using the head note technique in 
direct examination.  The head note technique highlights the area in 
which the prosecutor wants to inquire.  For example, in a case 
involving a white BMW, the prosecutor would simply say, "Let's talk 
about the white BMW that you saw."  The head note gives both the 
witness and the jury a roadmap for the scope of questions the 
prosecutor intends to ask. 
 
4. Likewise, they struggled with using cross examination to cull 
from the witness facts to buttress their closing argument.  Cross 
examination succeeds where a prosecutor obtains admissions from a 
witness to support a closing argument.  If a prosecutor wants to 
argue that the witness's testimony is biased because he and the 
defendant are friends, the prosecutor needs the witness to admit 
that he and the defendant have known each other for twenty years. 
If the defendant and witness have, in fact, known each other for 
twenty years, this is a fact that the witness cannot deny.  In the 
closing argument, the prosecutor can use this admitted fact to 
demonstrate the witness's bias.  However, where the prosecutor asks 
the witness to characterize his relationship with the defendant, the 
witness will rarely admit the friendship.  Instead, she will simply 
claim that she and the defendant are associates.  By failing to 
obtain the factual admission, the prosecutor removes from his quiver 
the "bias" argument because the witness has already characterized 
the relationship for the jury.  As a result of these challenges, the 
prosecutors became frustrated and began to lose faith in their 
ability to successfully conduct cross examination. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
Lost a Planet, Master Obi-Wan Has.  How Embarrassing. 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
5.  Despite these problems, the prosecutors persevered and 
participated in five mock jury trials in Gori and Mtskheta - - a 
total of ten trials - - but lost each one.  The juries and judges 
routinely said that the prosecutors were more proficient at 
presenting their cases, but failed to present sufficient evidence to 
convict the defendants.  In other words, both the judges and the 
juries believed that the prosecutors knew the trial advocacy skills 
better, but simply
did not properly use them to identify the 
 
TBILISI 00000900  002 OF 004 
 
 
testimony or the objective evidence that the jury needed to convict 
the defendant.  Consequently, the jurors concluded that, based on 
the presumption of innocence and the absence of evidence to prove 
the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they must acquit the 
defendant. 
 
6.  These successive losses shook the prosecution.  They were 
embarrassed because they are not used to losing.  Under the current 
soviet-style inquisitorial trial process, prosecutors routinely 
convict individuals.  The prosecutors grew concerned that 
notwithstanding the comments by the juries and judges, they would 
not be as successful under the Western-style, adversarial system 
that the CPC embodies.  They began to complain that the new CPC put 
them at a competitive disadvantage and many voiced concern that the 
new CPC would allow guilty people to go free even though the 
prosecutors gave their best effort.  In fact, the OPP's Deputy Chief 
of Administration expressed concern that the prosecutors could not 
learn the necessary skills before the CPC would be enacted.  She was 
concerned that Georgian society would be victimized by criminals 
that the new system allowed to go free because the prosecutors had 
not mastered their skills.  She inquired into whether additional 
practice might be necessary in order for the prosecutors to learn 
the skills in a timely manner.  Looking at the previous year's 
training seminar and the anticipated time remaining, she inquired 
into whether the prosecutors should convene special monthly meetings 
among themselves to practice the necessary skills. 
 
---------------------------- 
Train Yourself to Let Go of 
Everything You Fear to Lose. 
---------------------------- 
 
7.  Based on the prosecutors' string of losses, DOJ/OPDAT and the 
OPP examined the training material.  Moreover, DOJ/OPDAT and 
ABA/ROLI examined the problem to determine if it was too biased in 
the defendant's favor or provided the prosecutors with too little 
evidence to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 
Finally, the OPP discussed with the prosecutors the need to focus on 
learning the material and understanding how to use the adversarial 
skills to establish evidence satisfying their burden of proof beyond 
a reasonable doubt to successfully convict individuals.  The OPP 
emphasized that simply understanding the material in theory would 
not help them use the skills to convict defendants.  Instead, they 
needed to learn how to practically use the material and ask better 
questions to gain a better understanding of the adversarial skills. 
Based on these efforts, the prosecutors renewed their commitment to 
learning the trial advocacy skills. 
 
8. The prosecutors concentrated on improving their opening statement 
and closing argument skills.  In opening statement practice, they 
concentrated on identifying a case theme that provided the moral 
support for convicting a defendant.  Additionally, they noted key 
witness testimony and objective evidence the jury should anticipate 
hearing during the trial.  In other words, they "connected the dots" 
of evidence for the jury in the opening statement.  They described 
how a key witness observed a vehicle with unique damage that the 
police officer later learned was the defendant's vehicle.  They 
began to characterize defense witnesses in the opening statement so 
that the jury began to form an opinion of the witness prior to his 
or her testimony.  Similarly, they honed their closing argument 
skills.  They highlighted the evidence adduced during the trial to 
prove to the finder of fact, whether it be judge or jury, that the 
defendant is guilty of the charged crimes.  Rather than simply 
appealing to the jury's emotions, they concluded for the jury that 
witness testimony and objective evidence - - such as a gun or a 
damaged vehicle - - pointed to the defendant's guilt beyond a 
reasonable doubt.  Finally, they used the absence of a logical 
explanation on the defendant's part to argue that he must be guilty 
of the charged crime. 
 
9. The prosecutors also focused on improving their direct 
examination skills.  They practiced using head notes to highlight 
for the judge, jury, and witness the area in which the prosecutor 
intended to inquire.  This improved the witness's ability to focus 
on the questions and give precise answers to the prosecutor's 
questions.  In practice seminars before the Rustavi and Akhaltsikhe 
trials, the prosecutors learned from each other the importance of 
head notes.  By using head notes, they could randomly question their 
colleagues and receive logical answers to their questions because 
the witness, without practicing with the prosecutor, knew the topic 
the prosecutor wanted to discuss.  Additionally, they incorporated 
loop back questions into their arsenal.  Loop back questions 
incorporate a witness's answer into a subsequent question.  If a 
witness admits that he saw a white BMW, the loop back technique 
instructs the prosecutor to asking questions such as where did you 
see the white BMW?  Who entered the white BMW, or how did the white 
BMW leave the scene.  Using this technique, the prosecutors 
emphasize for the judge and/or the jury the white BMW's importance 
in the crime.  This focuses the jury on the key point of the 
 
TBILISI 00000900  003 OF 004 
 
 
witness's testimony so that they remember this testimony when a 
later witness further describes the white BMW's significance in the 
crime. 
 
10.  Finally, the prosecutors also improved their cross examination 
technique.  In the first series of seminars, the prosecutors assumed 
that they understood how to employ the cross examination technique. 
In the seminars before the Rustavi and Akhaltsikhe mock jury trials, 
however, the prosecutors questioned their own understanding of this 
skill.  They worked to understand the logic supporting the cross 
examination technique.  In order to avoid engaging in argument with 
the witness, the prosecutors identified a three step process for 
conducting cross examination.  First, they identified a theme for 
each defense witness.  They determined that they would argue the 
witness's testimony was unreliable for one of five reasons, e.g., 
bias, inconsistent facts, inconsistent statements, memory or 
perception problems, or a history of lying.  Second, based on this 
theme, they developed arguments for the witness.  If they concluded 
that facts inconsistent with the witness's testimony rendered the 
testimony unreliable, they identified the argument they wanted to 
make in closing that supported this theme and ideQified the facts 
that supported it.  Having identified the necessary facts, the 
prosecutors then focused on using the cross examination technique to 
ask questions that culled factual admissions from the defendant that 
the prosecutors used in their closing argument to support their 
witness theme.  By developing this three-prong approach, the 
prosecutors avoided engaging in argument with the witness.  Instead, &#x
000A;the prosecutors learned to save the argument for their closing when 
the witness was unavailable to contradict them.  During cross 
examination, they simply obtained the factual admissions necessary 
to support their closing arguments. 
 
11.  The prosecutors also tackled specialized cross examination 
techniques such as cross examining an individual for inconsistent 
statements.  A witness makes an inconsistent or incomplete statement 
when he testifies differently from a statement previously given to 
the police or other individual.  The inconsistent cross examination 
technique consists of three parts.  First, the prosecutor forces the 
witness to commit to the inconsistency he made during direct 
examination.  Second, he builds up the witness's previous statement. 
 For example, the witness will admit that he previously spoke with 
the police, he told the police the truth, the importance of telling 
the truth, and that the previous statement was closer to the event 
than is the witness's testimony at trial.  Finally, the prosecutor 
confronts the witness with his prior inconsistent statement. 
However, the prosecutor never asks the witness for an explanation. 
Instead, if the witness wants to explain the apparent inconsistency, 
the witness must do so on re-direct examination.  This explanation 
typically looks very weak in light of the cross examination.  The 
prosecutors found the possibility of an explanation during re-direct 
examination troublesome because they believed that it would ruin 
their cross examination.  After much discussion, however, they 
agreed to try the technique notwithstanding their concerns. 
 
------------------------------------- 
Strong is the Defense Bar.  Mind What 
You Have Learned. Save You It Can. 
------------------------------------- 
 
12. The prosecutors demonstrate their renewed commitment to 
adversarial trial skills in the mock jury trials against members of 
the ABA/ROLI trained defense bar in six mock jury trials held in 
Rustavi.  In four of these six trials, the jury convicted the 
defendant.  After the trials, the prosecutors pleasantly listened to 
the juries and the judges repeat to the criminal bar the same 
arguments for conviction that the prosecutors had made.  The juries 
concluded that certain witness's testimony could not be believed 
because the witness was biased.  Furthermore, they did not trust the 
witness's explanation for an apparent inconsistency because the 
facts did not support the witness's explanation.  Finally, the 
jurors pointed to specific pieces of evidence that the prosecutors 
identified as damning as the reason for convicting the defendant. 
The defense bar, aware of their unmitigated successes in previous 
trials, became angry and confused.  In one instance, a judge - - in 
a practice trial - - ordered the court bailiff to physically remove 
a defense lawyer from the courtroom because he was becoming so angry 
and threatened violence. 
 
13. The prosecutors' success continued in Akhaltsikhe.  In four mock 
jury trials, the prosecutors convicted two defendants.  Again, in 
those cases in which the prosecution successfully convicted the 
defendant, the jury repeated back to the prosecutors the same 
arguments and themes that they stressed throughout the case.  In 
those cases in which the prosecutors successfully convicted the 
defendant, the jurors identified the same evidence to support their 
conviction that the prosecutors argued proved that the defendant was 
guilty.  Moreover, the jurors also agreed with the prosecutors' 
witness themes.  They repeated the witness characterizations back to 
the prosecutors.  For example, they also chose not to believe a 
 
TBILISI 00000900  004 OF 004 
 
 
defense witness because he was biased.  Likewise, they concluded 
that inconsistent facts undermined the alibi witness's testimony. 
In short, the prosecutors successfully used their adversarial skills 
to convince the jury that the evidence proved that the defendant was 
guilty and that the defense witness's and evidence did not undermine 
this conclusion. 
 
14. This success does not mean that the prosecutors have concluded 
that additional practice is unnecessary.  They still struggle with 
cross examining a witness based on inconsistent statements. 
Contrary to the three-step formula, they want to ask the witness to 
explain the apparent inconsistency.  Each time, the witness 
dutifully gives them an explanation that undermines an otherwise 
successful cross examination.  Moreover, the prosecutors themselves 
recognize that they need additional practice.  After the Rustavi 
mock jury trials, the judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys 
asked DOJ/OPDAT and ABA/ROLI to prepare monthly mock trial problems. 
 They agreed to organize and conduct monthly mock trials among 
themselves with these practice problems. 
 
-------------------------- 
May The Force Be With You. 
-------------------------- 
 
15. Comment:  The mock jury trials have generated excitement for the 
CPC's passage.  Both defense bar and prosecution representatives 
have suggested that they would prefer to pass the CPC as currently 
drafted rather than continuing with the current Criminal Procedure 
Code.  The defense bar and the prosecution's success in the mock 
jury trials demonstrate to Georgian legal professionals that they 
can try cases using an adversarial process.  This demonstrable proof 
has eliminated any reservations among them regarding the passage of 
this new CPC.  The defense bar wants the new CPC because they 
believe it puts them on equal footing with the prosecution and gives 
them a better chance to prevail.  The prosecution wants the CPC 
because, now confident in their skills, they believe that they can 
still convict people based on evidence, not the absence of political 
connections.  Furthermore, the prosecutors believe that continuous 
open trials, which the CPC introduces, will greatly improve the 
transparency of the legal system because people can observe the 
entire proceedings, rather than piecemeal as trials are currently 
conducted.  Allowing the public to observe a complete trial and see 
all of the evidence introduced by the prosecution and watch it being 
tested by the defense and judge will ultimately improve the public's 
confidence in the prosecution and the rule of law generally.  The 
public will observe firsthand that Georgian defendants are convicted 
based on objective evidence that establishes guilt beyond a 
reasonable doubt, and not based on their political leanings or 
social status.  End Comment. 
 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI881, GEORGIA PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE MAY 27

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI881 2008-05-27 15:42 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4098
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBW RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0881/01 1481542
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271542Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9507
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000881 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE MAY 27 
 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  On May 27, with 3604 precincts reporting, 
the ruling United National Movement has 59.22 percent of the 
vote in Georgia's parliamentary elections.  This will likely 
give them a total of 120 out of 150 seats in Parliament.  The 
opposition parties held a protest on May 26 against what they 
deem "falsified elections."  The Joint Opposition has called 
for a boycott of the new Parliament and creation of an 
"alternative Parliament."  Still, four opposition candidates 
have already stated their intention to join the new 
Parliament, regardless of a boycott.  Other parties, such as 
Giorgi Targamadze's Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), are 
still debating whether or not to join the Parliament.  On May 
24-25, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and 
representatives of the EC and Council of Europe (CoE) met 
with opposition parties to discuss election complaints and 
appeals with Giga Bokeria, representing the government's 
Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).  At an OSCE Ambassadorial 
Working Group (AWG) on May 27, the head of ODIHR urged 
bilateral missions to be cautious in their welcoming remarks, 
noting that ODIHR's statement was a compromise between 5 
different groups and implying that more criticism may be in 
their final report.  Germany, the UK, and the U.S. noted 
clear progress in the January presidential elections. 
Following the May 26 protests, opposition leaders confronted 
the Director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) in his 
office, alleging biased GPB coverage against the opposition. 
On May 27, the GPB Board Chairman resigned, also claiming the 
GPB's "biased its coverage" of the opposition protests.  End 
Summary. 
 
UNM Wins Big, and Then Some 
--------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) On May 27, with 3604 precincts (out of 3635) 
reporting, the ruling United National Movement has 59.22 
percent of the vote in Georgia's parliamentary elections. 
This will likely give them a total of 120 seats in Parliament 
out of 150, according to the USAID-funded International 
Republican Institute (IRI).  This is well over the two-thirds 
majority they need to change the constitution, although 
President Saakashvili said publicly on May 22 that the ruling 
party has no plans to change the  "without the participation 
of the opposition."  With 17.71 percent of the vote, the 
Joint Opposition will likely receive 14 party-list seats and 
2 majoritarian seats.  The CDM will receive 6 party-list 
seats with 8.63 percent of the vote, and the Labor party will 
receive 6 party list seats with 7.43 percent of the vote. 
The Republicans failed to meet the party-list threshold of 5 
percent, garnering only 3.78. 
 
Joint Opposition Protests, Wants Alternative Parliament 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
3. (SBU) The Joint Opposition has called for the formation of 
an "alternative Parliament," and has called for those winning 
opposition candidates to boycott the new Parliament.  This 
"alternative Parliament" will allegedly be located in the New 
Rightists' party headquarters.  Some opposition leaders, such 
as Targamadze and Paata Davitaia have dismissed such a 
structure as an unrealistic solution.  Some in the National 
Movement have pointed out that a similar "alternative 
Parliament" was created in 1991-2, leading to Georgia's civil 
war under Zviad Gamsakhurdia. 
 
4. (SBU) The opposition parties held a protest on May 26, 
calling the elections fraudulent, and attempting to "break 
up" the Independence Day parade on the same day.  The GOG, 
however, moved the timing of the parade ahead an hour to 
avoid a confrontation.  Nearly 20,000 protesters joined the 
scene at its height.  The crowd was older, and evenly mixed 
with men and women.  Police acted calmly and even cleared 
Rustaveli Avenue in order to allow the protesters to gather 
in front of Parliament.  The Republicans and CDM attended the 
protests, although neither joined in the anti-U.S. or 
anti-Western rhetoric. 
 
Four Opposition Candidates to Join Parliament 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Four opposition candidates have already stated their 
intention to join the new Parliament, regardless of a 
boycott.  These include Paata Davitaia and Giorgi 
Lortkipanidze of the Joint Opposition, Nugzar Ergemlidze from 
the Labor Party, and the Republicans' majoritarian candidate 
from Tsageri, Karlo Koaliani.  We heard May 27 that the 
second Republican candidate also plans to enter Parliament. 
Targamadze has not yet committed to the boycott.  (Comment: 
The CDM is reportedly under significant pressure from the 
Joint Opposition and Labor parties to boycott Parliament.  It 
appears that the CDM understands there is little to be gained 
 
TBILISI 00000881  002 OF 002 
 
 
from boycotting Parliament, that the "alternative Parliament" 
is a dead end, and that the Joint Opposition may be painting 
themselves into a corner.  More to be reported se
ptel.  End 
comment.) 
 
Opposition, Internationals, and IATF Meet 
----------------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) On May 24-25, the government's Inter-Agency Task 
Force (IATF), represented by Giga Bokeria, met with 
opposition parties and local NGOs to discuss their election 
complaints and appeals.  The EC and CoE Ambassadors were 
present, as well as the National Democratic Institute (NDI). 
EC Ambassador Per Eklund said garnering specific information 
from the opposition parties was difficult, and that only two 
of the opposition's complaints were clearly justified (and 
subsequently addressed by the Government).  The first was a 
refusal to accept a written complaint because it was filed 
one minute late (although begun earlier).  Bokeria said the 
complaint would be accepted.  The second involved late 
registration of UNM voters in districts where they did not 
normally reside.  After review, it was deemed that the 
registrations were possibly unethical, though not technically 
illegal.  Eklund believed that the opposition was radicalized 
and focused on pre-existing allegations of wrongdoing, rather 
than presenting substantial new evidence of systemic problems. 
 
OSCE Ambassadors Meet 
--------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) On May 27, an OSCE Ambassadorial Working Group, 
heard Ambassador Boris Frlec, Head of ODIHR, state that 
ODIHR's preliminary statement of findings (emailed to 
EUR/CARC) was a "compromise document" among 5 different 
groups.  He implied that ODIHR's final report may be more 
critical.  He noted that criticism in ODIHR reports is meant 
to be constructive, and further democratic development. 
Finally, he asked the group not to be "too enthusiastic in 
your initial appraisals of the electoral process." 
 
8. (SBU) Germany, the UK, and the Embassy noted significant 
progress in these parliamentary elections compared to the 
January elections.  The German and UK Ambassadors responded 
to the French Ambassador's question of whether these 
parliamentary elections "should be accepted by the 
international community, as they would not be acceptable in 
Germany or France."  The German Ambassador noted that the 
criteria for these elections should not be whether or not 
they met Western European standards - noting that this would 
be impossible in Georgia considering the Tsarist, Communist, 
and Civil War history here.  Rather, Germany's benchmark was 
whether the trend of these elections was positive and in the 
right direction.  Germany assessed it was.  The U.S., UK, 
Germany, and the EC Ambassador agreed that the elections 
expressed real improvement in the Government's efforts, 
including especially responses to complaints.  The Bulgarian, 
German, and CoE Ambassadors each noted the positive and 
noticeable impact of the training election officials received 
prior to the election (the majority of which was funded by 
USAID).  The CoE Ambassador said this was the first time in 
his four years in Georgia that the IATF responded 
aggressively to complaints, and a court overturned a District 
Election Commission decision.  He said "this is new momentum." 
 
Opposition Confront GPB, Chairman Resigns 
----------------------------------------- 
 
9. (U) Following the May 26 protests, several opposition 
leaders, including Giorgi Khaindrava, Salome Zourabichvili, 
Zviad Dzidziguri, and Davit Saganelidze, confronted the 
Director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), Levan 
Kubaneishvili, in is office.  They accused him of "taking 
orders from Saakashvili" and providing negative coverage of 
the opposition.  Kubaneishvili rebuffed the charges, noting 
that the GPB dedicated 39 minutes of news coverage to the 
protest rallies.  He reportedly said "this TV channel will 
not come under the influence of any political group." 
 
10. (SBU) On May 27, the Chairman of the GPB's Supervisory 
Board, Irakli Tripolski, resigned.  He claimed the GPB was 
not following the law which requires it to be objective in 
its reporting.  (Comment: Our local staff believe that the 
GPB is objective and balanced in its reporting.  This view 
was also that of ODIHR in its May 14 interim report.  End 
comment.) 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI867, SCENESETTER FOR CODEL WEXLER VISIT MAY 28-30, 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. #08TBILISI867.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI867 2008-05-23 14:02 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0867/01 1441402
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231402Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9499

UNCLAS TBILISI 000867 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
H FOR CODEL WEXLER 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON PHUM OVIP GG
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR CODEL WEXLER VISIT MAY 28-30, 2008 
 
May 21 Parliamentary Election Initial Analysis 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
1. (SBU) Your visit to Tbilisi comes just on the heels of the May 21 
Parliamentary elections, with Saakashvili's United National Movement 
easily obtaining a strong majority in the new Parliament.  These 
elections are the culmination of domestic tensions which peaked last 
fall between the dominant ruling United National Movement party and 
the diverse opposition parties.  President Saakashvili made a speech 
broadcast publicly early on May 22 where he pledged to work with 
every opposition member and faction in the new Parliament.  Local 
NGO "New Generation, New Initiative" gave us privately their 
Parallel Vote Tabulation results which gave ruling United National 
Movement 58.53% of the Party List vote.  The United Opposition, 
Christian Democrats, and Labor party also gained seats in 
Parliament. 
 
 
2. (SBU) Our initial analysis of election day is that the election 
administration was an improvement over the January 5, 2008, 
Presidential election.  Local Precinct Election Commission (PEC) 
members were better trained and on the whole, knew and carried out 
their responsibilities effectively.  PEC members either 
self-corrected irregularities as they came up or corrected them when 
pointed out by one of the 38 joint U.S./UK observation teams.  This 
analysis does not review the entire counting process or turn-out 
rates which will be important for any final review of the election. 
OSCE's Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) 
monitored the elections and ODIHR, together with the Parliamentary 
Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the OSCE Parliamentary 
Assembly noted in a statement that "political stakeholders in 
Georgia made efforts to conduct  parliamentary elections in line 
with international standards, but a number of problems were 
identified which made their implementation uneven and incomplete." 
Embassy will provide updated election reporting information via 
e-mail. 
 
Context of Georgia's Strategic Importance 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Georgia is a strategically significant country to the 
United States because of its government's commitment to democracy, 
independence from Russia, free market economic reform, control of 
corruption, NATO and EU membership aspirations, and support for the 
Global War on Terrorism.  Notably, Georgia has the third largest 
contingent of troops (2,000) serving in Iraq with coalition forces. 
The Government recently agreed to extend its commitment in Iraq and 
will deploy a follow-on brigade in December. Georgian peacekeepers 
participate in UNMIK in Kosovo and are in discussions with NATO 
about troop contributions to the Afghanistan mission. 
 
4. (SBU) Georgia's success or failure sends a distinct message to 
other countries of the former Soviet Union, and in the Middle East 
as well, about the wisdom of a Western-oriented, democratic, free 
market orientation. 
Additionally, Georgia sits astride the main alternative 
corridor for trade in oil, gas, and other goods to Europe 
from Central Asia and farther East.  Without Georgia's 
cooperation, no strategy for bringing additional Azeri, 
Kazakh or Turkmen oil and gas to the world market without 
passing through Russia can succeed.  These facts begin to 
explain as well why Russia is openly hostile to Saakashvili's vision 
of an independent Georgia. 
 
5. (SBU) Since Saakashvili took office, Georgia has 
substantially reduced the corruption that was bleeding its 
treasury dry under his predecessor.  Saakashvili famously 
fired the entire Georgian traffic police force in 2004, and 
retrained and rehired a much smaller staff which enjoys over 70 
percent confidence of the public - an unheard of statistic for 
patrol police in the former Soviet Union.  Saakashvili's Government 
has also made arrests for corruption among all levels of government 
common news as well.  As a result, government revenues are up, 
electricity flows 24 hours per day, and government investment in 
repairing and replacing infrastructure that had badly deteriorated 
since the fall of the Soviet Union has increased.  Even with these 
improvements however, public perceptions among the urban population 
endures that Saakashvili has spent public revenue on large-scale 
development projects while much of the population struggles with 
unemployment, underemployment and rising prices as a consequence of 
economic growth. 
 
6. (SBU) Following the sting of losing the Tbilisi vote in his 
election victory in January, Saakashivili reallocated funds from the 
military and law enforcement budgets to support large increases in 
social spending.  Saakashvili and his economic team remain committed 
to a macro-economic approach that seeks to attract investment by 
cutting taxes, eliminating tariffs and reducing red tape and 
corruption.  Their express models are Singapore and Hong Kong. 
Saakashvili intends to continue reforms in his second term,  and 
work is especially needed to c
reate a truly independent judiciary. 
We would encourage you to commend his reform and encourage 
Saakashvili's and the ruling party's intention to introduce new 
reforms that would strengthen the Parliament and improve the 
independence of the judiciary. 
 
NATO - Bucharest Aftermath: 
--------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Although Georgia did not receive a Membership Action (MAP) 
at the NATO summit in Bucharest, top Georgian officials lauded the 
results as a major success, pointing to language in the April 3 
summit communique that Georgia and Ukraine "will become members of 
NATO."  In a broadcast from Bucharest, a visibly pleased President 
Saakashvili termed the document a "crossing of the Rubicon by 
Georgia," in which NATO members in support of Georgia had prevailed 
in a "life and death struggle" against the skeptics.  Saakashvili 
said that while MAP is "a pledge that if you pass through the action 
plan well, you may become a member of NATO," the communique is a 
"direct commitment by NATO that Georgia and Ukraine will become 
members of the alliance."  Saakashvili hopes that Georgia would be a 
member of NATO well before the end of his presidential term in five 
years.  The next step is a review of Georgia at the NATO Ministerial 
in December, and one area highlighted by the Bucharest Summit is the 
importance of the Parliamentary elections to Georgia's bid. 
 
8. (SBU) Georgian popular support for moving toward NATO is some 78 
percent, and initial reaction from the Opposition and the Georgian 
media focused on the decision not to give Georgia MAP, which was 
reported earlier than the release of the communique.  Several 
opposition party leaders blamed the Georgian government for losing 
MAP due to a failure to fulfill commitments to democracy. 
 
Economy and Public Discontent Both Grow 
--------------------------------------- 
 
9. (SBU) Recent political problems have some economic roots. 
Inflation has made many staple food and consumer items more 
expensive for all Georgians.  Only a wealthy few are able to take 
advantage of the new, glittery housing developments across Tbilisi, 
despite the fact the economy grew 9.4 percent in 2006 and 12.4 
percent in 2007.  Growth will likely slow somewhat in 2008 as 
political turmoil has caused investors to hesitate. The emphasis in 
government spending has already begun to shift from infrastructure 
and defense to education and public health, as Saakashvili moves to 
enact his campaign slogan of "Georgia without Poverty." 
 
10.(SBU) In contrast, the opposition primarily blames current 
discontent with Saakashvili and his ruling party on 
injustice, rather than economic reasons.  Property owners 
were disturbed in 2007 by the government's willingness to 
evict long-term tenants from state-owned buildings, challenge 
corruptly procured ownership rights in privatized property, and even 
to destroy some buildings in Tbilisi that were allegedly built 
illegally.  Saakashvili's own unshakable belief in the rightness of 
his cause contributed to a widespread perception of aloofness and 
unwillingness to listen to outside voices, which hurt him in the 
polls.  Since the election Saakashvili has made extra effort to 
reach out to various alienated sectors of society.  For example, 
Saakashvili went to the Ombudsman's office to meet him and publicly 
announced a renewed effort to protect Georgians' human and civil 
rights. 
 
11. (SBU) We estimate U.S. investment in Georgia at about USD 770 
million since 2000.  The United States and Georgia signed a Trade 
and Investment Framework Agreement in June 2007.  U.S. assistance to 
Georgia in 2008 will be more than 150 million dollars, directed to 
strengthening democracy, rule of law, free markets, and energy 
security, among other 
objectives.  Georgia is 2 years into a 5 year Millennium Challenge 
Corporation compact.  Georgian officials would welcome a free trade 
agreement with the United States, which would attract investment and 
support jobs, stability, and growth in this friendly and strategic 
country. 
 
Energy 
------ 
12. (U) Georgia produces very little oil and gas on its territory, 
and must import most of its 1.7 billion cubic meters per year needs 
for national gas.  The country has enormous potential for 
hydroelectric power generation, however.  Major existing hydropower 
sources such as the Enguri dam and 1150 megawatt power station fell 
into disrepair after the fall of the Soviet Union and have only 
recently been rehabilitated.  New sources of hydropower are being 
developed.  Before 2004 electricity blackouts were common throughout 
the country, but now the system approaches consistent 24-hour a day 
service.  In fact, Georgia now exports electricity to Turkey, Russia 
and Azerbaijan. 
 
13. (U) Until 2006, Georgia was entirely dependent on Russia for 
supply of natural gas.  Since Georgia began taking political stands 
Russia dislikes, the price of gas has increased more than fourfold 
to about $270 and serious doubts have arisen about the reliability 
of Russia as a supplier.  Because of conservation, new 
hydroelectricity sources and the availability of natural gas from 
Azerbaijan, Georgia's dependence on Russia for supplies of natural 
gas is decreasing, although it still must import the bulk of its 
needs. 
 
14. (U) Gas from Azerbaijan is imported to Georgia via the 
Baku-Tbilisi-Ezerum pipeline, which parallels the 
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline.  Azeri gas is also imported 
from other sources in Azerbaijan pursuant to contracts.  In 2008, 
Azerbaijan and Georgia had difficulty reaching agreement on the 
price and amount of the latter supplies, but a temporary arrangement 
is in place until later this year.  Negotiations for a longer term 
arrangement are underway. 
 
15. (U) Georgia has three oil terminals on the Black Sea, to which 
oil is shipped by rail and pipeline from Azerbaijan.  The BTC 
pipeline provides an outlet for an additional million barrels of oil 
a day.  When all oil transport systems are fully operational, about 
2 percent of the world's current daily consumption of oil will 
transit Georgia.  Georgia naturally supports efforts to increase the 
flow of oil and gas across the Caspian.  It can be a good ally in 
convincing the Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan governments to cooperate 
with Western companies to increase volumes transported via the 
Caspian to regional and global markets. 
 
Conflict Regions: Abkhazia and South Ossetia 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
16. (SBU) Georgia's long-simmering problems with its 
separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia persist from the 
early 1990s.  Tensions with Russia have increased in the aftermath 
of Kosovo's independence, and as Georgia has moved toward NATO. 
Russia has recently taken a number of steps to strengthen its ties 
with the breakaway republics.  Georgian authorities have strongly 
protested these a
ctions which include a unilateral lifting of CIS 
economic and military sanctions on Abkhazia and South Ossetia and 
authorizing official government contacts with the de-facto 
authorities.  Russia has also increased tension in the region by 
using its fighter jets to shoot down Georgian Unmanned Aerial 
Vehicles (UAV) and increasing the number of its peacekeepers 
stationed in Abkhazia without consulting the Georgian Government. 
We believe the Georgian government is sufficiently committed to its 
NATO membership drive that it would not jeopardize that goal by 
taking military action.  It will, however, have to resist internal 
pressure to do so. 
 
17. (SBU) Regaining the separatist regions lost in the early 1990's 
during intense internal conflicts is considered a national priority 
by a great majority of Georgians.  Regular reliable polling 
continues to bear this out.  The political leadership's focus on 
this goal reflects that fact.  Moreover, official U.S. policy 
supports Georgia's sovereignty and independence within its 
internationally recognized borders, which includes Abkhazia and 
South Ossetia.  We reject any parallels with Kosovo, as well. 
 
Jewish Community in Georgia 
--------------------------- 
 
18. (SBU) There are an estimated 10,000 Jews in Georgia. The cities 
of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi have the largest Jewish populations, 
but emigration to Israel since the collapse of the Soviet Union has 
greatly reduced the population. Georgia is known for its tolerance 
of minority religions, and the Jewish community has good relations 
with the other major religious groups in Georgia, which has a 
history of tolerance for minority religions (the overwhelming 
majority of the population is at least nominally affiliated with the 
Georgian Orthodox Church.) The leader of the main Synagogue in 
Tbilisi is Rabbi Avilenekh Rozenblad. In a May 2008 discussion with 
embassy officers, Rozenblad said the community does not face 
problems with discrimination. Anti-semitism is rare in Georgia.  In 
April 2008, three Jewish graves near Batumi were vandalized, but 
Rabbi Rozenblad described this incident as highly unusual, saying it 
had been over a decade since there had been any similar incidents in 
Georgia. 
 
 
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