Monthly Archives: August 2008

08TBILISI1482, GEORGIA: SITREP 21: PARLIAMENT SAYS ALL RUSSIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1482 2008-08-29 11:54 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1689
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1482/01 2421154
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291154Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9995
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001482 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND GEORGIA COORDINATING GROUP 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 21: PARLIAMENT SAYS ALL RUSSIAN 
FORCES MUST LEAVE 
 
REF: TBILISI 1474 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary: On August 28, the Georgian Parliament 
adopted a resolution that declared Abkhazia and South Ossetia 
"territories occupied by the Russian Federation"; appeared to 
nullify the legal basis for any Russian forces, including 
peacekeepers, to be on Georgian territory; and urged the 
government to sever diplomatic ties with Russia.  The 
government insisted it needed some minimal ties to serve 
Georgians in Russia.  The OSCE is still seeking to gain 
access to areas north of the outer ring of Russian 
checkpoints around Tskhinvali, but Akhalgori remains calm. 
Prisoner exchanges continue, as do assessments of damages and 
losses.  End Summary. 
 
PARLIAMENT PUSHES FOR COMPLETE BREAK WITH RUSSIA 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
2. (U) The Georgian Parliament unanimously adopted a 
resolution on August 28 declaring South Ossetia and Abkhazia 
"territories occupied by the Russian Federation" and 
"instructed" the executive branch to sever diplomatic ties 
with Russia.  The resolution also appears to nullify any 
provision for any Russian forces on the territory of Georgia, 
stating specifically that "Russian armed forces located on 
Georgian territory, including so-called peacekeeping forces, 
shall be declared occupation forces" and the "executive 
government shall be instructed to ensure the annulment of all 
legal acts envisaging the presence of the armed forces of the 
Russian Federation." 
 
3. (SBU) State Minister for Reintegration Yakobishvili said 
Georgia could not sever all ties, as the Georgian Government 
provides services to its citizens in Russia.  Deputy Speaker 
of Parliament Giorgi Tsereteli, however, insisted to Embassy 
contacts that the resolution does not require presidential 
approval and has already entered into force.  It remains 
unclear what recourse Parliament has in case the government 
does not follow the Parliament's instructions. 
 
OSCE CONTINUES TO TRY TO MOVE FURTHER NORTH; DEFENSE CHANGES 
--------------------------------------------- --------------- 
 
4. (SBU) On August 28, OSCE met with Russian "Peacekeeping 
Force" General Kulakhmetov, and requested access to those 
areas behind Russia's forward line of checkpoints and to the 
conflict zone in South Ossetia, particularly Tskhinvali. 
Kulakhmetov demurred, citing security concerns, but is 
meeting OSCE's HoM Terhi Hakala August 29 to revisit the 
issue.  Meanwhile the OSCE reports the situation in Akhalgori 
remains calm, and OSCE monitors re-confirmed that the new 
Russian checkpoints just south of the town were established 
on a temporary basis only. 
 
5. (SBU) OSCE also reports that the Russian checkpoints, 
which until now have been staffed by regular Russian military 
forces, will eventually be replaced by Russian peacekeeping 
units.  The current arrangement, which includes the command 
structures of various Russian units as well as peacekeeping 
forces, has reportedly been the source of some confusion in 
command and control. 
 
6. (C) Reliable sources indicate that changes are forthcoming 
in the Georgian military command structure, with the 
replacement of several senior-level officers who commanded 
Georgian forces in the recent conflict.  Additional details 
are available from DAO reporting. 
 
RUSSIA MAINTAINS PRESENCE IN POTI AND ELSEWHERE IN THE WEST 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
 
7. (U) The press reports that a Russian helicopter landed in 
Poti August 29 carrying military commanders, with locals 
reporting that additional Russian forces have been mobilized. 
 Protests were reported in Chkorotsku and other towns in 
Megrelia, during which Russian soldiers tried to disperse the 
crowd by firing in the air, as they have in the past. 
 
PRISONER EXCHANGES 
------------------ 
 
8. (U) Press reports indicated Ossetian separatists exchanged 
85 Georgian civilians for 13 captives, held by the Georgians. 
 The Russian military handed over 12 Georgian servicemen 
captured in Poti on August 18 in exchange for prisoner Roman 
Dumbadze.  Dumbadze is a former Georgian general convicted of 
high treason for supporting deposed Adjaran warlord Aslan 
Abashidze. 
 
 
TBILISI 00001482  002 OF 002 
 
 
DAMAGES AND LOSSES 
------------------ 
 
9. (SBU) Media reports over 50,000 hectares have burnt in the 
Ateni gorge of Borjomi National Park.  The blaze was finally 
extinguished with assistance from Georgia's military 
helicopters.  Reliable reports indicate over 200 tractors 
have been stolen from the Gori region and taken to South 
Ossetia. 
 
VISITORS 
-------- 
 
10. (SBU) Senator Corker arrives the ev
ening of August 29 for 
a full day of meetings August 30; Rep. Joe Donnelly will lead 
a four-member delegation here on September 1.  Meanwhile the 
OVP advance continues its preparations for the Vice 
President's September 4 visit. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1481, CONGRESSMAN SMITH DISCUSSES HUMAN RIGHTS/IDPS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1481 2008-08-29 05:32 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1349
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1481/01 2420532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 290532Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9993
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001481 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/27/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG RU
SUBJECT: CONGRESSMAN SMITH DISCUSSES HUMAN RIGHTS/IDPS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary.  Congressman Chris Smith (NJ - 4) had 
separate meetings with Patriarch Ilia II, Human Rights Watch 
(HRW), and the International Committee of the Red Cross 
(ICRC) to discuss human rights issues and the IDP situation 
in Georgia the week of August 18.  The Patriarch, HRW, and 
the ICRC all agreed that abuses were taking place, yet 
cautioned against drawing any sweeping conclusions in the 
wake of dubious and unverifiable information.  In their view, 
the IDP situation appears manageable and sustainable in the 
short term, but worrisome in the medium to long term.  The 
GOG is hopeful that IDPs will be able to quickly return to 
Gori and its environs after the Russian pullout.  However, 
HRW says the situation is still dangerous due to large 
amounts of unexploded ordnance, and that if the GOG loses 
control over the flow of IDPs returning to Gori, the human 
cost could be substantial.  Local residents in the conflict 
zones are wary that in the wake of the ill-defined Russian 
pullout, and before Georgian authorities regain control, S. 
Ossetian and other irregulars will fill the power vacuum and 
continue the destruction and looting of ethnic Georgian 
villages and property.  End Summary. 
 
Abuses Present But Conclusions Difficult 
---------------------------------------- 
2.  (C)  Patriarch Ilia, who lead the first humanitarian 
visit to Gori after the Russian occupation, detailed the 
massive looting and pillaging he witnessed.  The Patriarch 
expressed sadness at the level of destruction incurred in the 
Gori area under Russian occupation.  He had no specific 
knowledge as to the level of complicity of Russian regulars 
in the looting and destruction of Gori but noted at a 
minimum, the Russian soldiers turned a blind eye to abuses. 
He also expressed gratitude that at least a number of Russian 
officers and soldiers were helpful and remain helpful in the 
Church's efforts to collect and remove dead bodies, and 
deliver humanitarian assistance.  The Patriarch confirmed 
that most of the infrastructure in Gori remains intact, 
though he called it a "dead city" since virtually everything 
has been removed. 
 
3.  (C)  ICRC and HRW delivered similar messages.  HRW 
confirmed the targeting of Georgian villages in S. Ossetia 
and in the so called "buffer zone."  HRW said Georgian 
villages were being looted then burned, mostly by irregulars. 
 HRW is collecting information on rapes, hostage taking, and 
other human rights abuses that occurred during hostilities 
and under the Russian occupation.  Although the alleged rape 
victims have not yet been interviewed, HRW generally has 
found the allegations to be credible.  HRW has no evidence 
that the alleged rapes were systematic in nature.  HRW has 
documented that roughly 80 hostages (all over the age of 65) 
were returned to the GOG in exchange for 18 S. Ossetian POWs. 
 HRW said the S. Ossetians were demanding the release of five 
or six prisoners (detained well before the recent 
hostilities) in exchange for another 60 hostages still in 
their custody (all over the age of 65).  The ICRC confirmed 
that it had access to S. Ossetia, but has primarily been 
working to reunite families torn apart by the conflict rather 
than focusing on documenting abuses.  ICRC says the Russians 
have been difficult in specific cases, but ultimately 
cooperative in aiding ICRC movement in the conflict zone. 
HRW says in general, Russian regular troops behaved 
professionally noting the majority of looting, destruction, 
and other abuses were carried out by irregulars.  HRW could 
not yet give an accurate assessment of Russia complicity in 
various abuses, although HRW stated it was not "minimal". 
 
4.  (C)  HRW believed the initial claims of civilian deaths 
on the S. Ossetian and Georgian side were exaggerated.  HRW 
estimated the numbers at roughly 300 S. Ossetian civilians 
killed in the fighting (well below the 2000 claimed by the 
Russians and S. Ossetians) and roughly 200 Georgians (on par 
with the recent GOG reassessment of civilian casualties). 
HRW noted they found some evidence that Georgian troops used 
indiscriminate weaponry and targeting in the initial assault 
of Tskhinvali, but Russian claims of Georgian use of cluster 
bombs are categorically false.  HRW also said the Georgians 
had generally treated Russian and S. Ossetian POW's well. 
However, HRW had heard numerous reports that Georgia is 
holding about a dozen S. Ossetian fighters who had not been 
given ICRC access.  (Note:  We could not confirm this with 
ICRC).  Both ICRC and HRW said the cease-fire was holding and 
relations on the front line were "eerily" cordial.  HRW told 
us they have not seen any irregulars in quite some time and 
the Georgians and Russians are behaving professionally. 
 
IDPs Face More Potential Dangers 
--------------------------------- 
5.  (C)  The GOG hopes that the majority of IDPs from Gori 
 
TBILISI 00001481  002 OF 002 
 
 
will return home in
 the near future.  HRW cautioned that the 
situation was still dangerous.  HRW teams documented 
overwhelming evidence of Russian use of cluster bombs in the 
conflict, and reported seeing unexploded cluster bombs 
virtually everywhere outside of Gori proper.  HRW urged the 
GOG to start a massive awareness campaign, but has so far had 
seen little official engagement. 
 
6.  (C)  ICRC and HRW also said the status of ethnic 
Georgians who remained in S. Ossetia was unclear, although 
the targeting of their villages had largely subsided.  HRW 
was also concerned about Russian plans for the so called 
"buffer zone."  HRW expressed hope that ethnic Georgians 
could return to villages in the "buffer zone" area, but said 
the villages have been basically demolished and access to the 
villages for returning IDPs is in doubt.  According to HRW, 
assuming ethnic Georgians are allowed to return 
expeditiously, it would take a substantial if not impossible 
effort to rebuild villages before winter meaning many IDPs 
may have to remain in Tbilisi indefinitely. 
 
7.  (U)  Congressman Smith did not have the opportunity to 
clear this cable before his departure from Tbilisi. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1474, GEORGIA: SITREP 20: RUSSIA’S RECOGNITION SOBERS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1474 2008-08-27 12:34 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9680
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1474/01 2401234
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271234Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9975
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001474 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/26/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 20: RUSSIA'S RECOGNITION SOBERS 
SAAKASHVILI 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1. (C)  Summary.  President Saakashvili sought to reassure 
the nation in an upbeat televised speech, but Russia's 
recognition of the breakaway regions has increased the 
pressure on the president and the nation.  The situation in 
Akhalgori seems to have been resolved for the moment with 
Georgian troops backing away, but reports continue to surface 
of continuing looting and forced departures in villages in 
South Ossetia, and the international community has little 
means to verify them.  Local businesses will likely suffer in 
the short term, but remain hopeful about an eventual 
recovery.  Georgian officials report damage to USG-provided 
border security equipment and facilities in the west. 
Georgia's former administration head in South Ossetia 
Sanakoyev applied for a U.S. official visa with plans to 
visit New York and Washington beginning August 30.  End 
Summary. 
 
SAAKASHVILI ADDRESSES THE NATION 
-------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) In an August 26 televised speech, President 
Saakashvili declared Russia's recognition of the breakaway 
regions illegal and insisted Georgia would respond with calm, 
unity, and development, and would ultimately be stronger as a 
result.  He said that Russia had "failed to bring Georgia to 
its knees through military aggression, failed to break our 
people, expel Georgia's government, undermine Georgia's 
fundamental values and make Georgia disappear from the map." 
Citing the sharp international condemnation of Russia's 
decision, Saakashavili repeated his appeals to the 
international community for support, suggesting that 
Georgia's territorial integrity is more than a bilateral 
issue between Georgia and Russia, but a question of 
fundamental importance for the "civilized" world. 
 
3. (C) In an apparent effort to project an image of calm to 
his people, Saakashvili adopted a positive and reassuring 
tone in the speech that came across to some observers as 
artificially optimistic.  He may have been trying to 
compensate for his own concerns, which Embassy officers 
observed in a meeting with him earlier in the day, shortly 
after the news of Russia's recognition had been announced. 
Instead of projecting his usual extreme self-confidence, 
Saakashvili seemed subdued and more realistic in the meeting. 
 He did not confidently predict -- as he has in recent days 
-- that Georgia will survive the crisis, admitting quite 
frankly that his government and the Georgian economy faced 
ruin without international assistance. 
 
AKHALGORI IS CALM, BUT PROBLEMS ELSEWHERE 
----------------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) The OSCE reported that the Ossetian and Georgian 
sides have left the vicinity of Akhalgori, and life has 
returned somewhat to normal.  OSCE observers noted that 
Russian forces have set up new checkpoints south of Akhalgori 
to prevent Georgian forces from moving back into Akhalgori 
and to prevent Ossetian forces from moving further south 
through Akhalgori toward other villages.  The OSCE observed 
full freedom of movement and people returning to work.  As 
far as OSCE can determine, however, no one is currently 
exercising normal administrative control in Akhalgori.  In 
addition, many ethnic Georgian residents -- in particular 
young people -- are not spending the night in Akhalgori, but 
rather commuting in to work during the day while spending the 
night in areas farther south. 
 
5. (SBU) The press reports increased aggression by Ossetian 
forces, including instances of looting and forced departures, 
since Russia's announcement of recognition, including in 
Shertuli in the Gori region and other villages.  The OSCE 
visited several checkpoints along the outer line of Russian 
control, but was advised not to go further north, where 
Russian forces could not guarantee their safety.  The OSCE 
will have additional discussions with the Russians regarding 
travel further north on August 28.  USG travelers moving 
north from Gori were stopped at the outer line of Russian 
checkpoints and not allowed to travel further. 
 
6. (SBU) The press reports both South Ossetia and Abkhazia 
have begun negotiating military agreements with Russia. 
 
LOCAL BUSINESSES TAKE A HIT 
--------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) An informal survey of local members of the American 
Chamber of Commerce produced the following information: 
  -- Several companies had employees called up as reservists, 
 
TBILISI 00001474  002 OF 002 
 
 
with one employee being injured and a few others displaced. 
  -- Little damage to assets was reported, except for banks 
in Senaki and Gori. 
  -- Many business deals and transactions have been postponed 
and in some cases canceled, with significant loss of revenue 
predicted in the short term. 
  -- Many companies have adopted a "wait-and-see" attitude, 
with hope for normalization soon (Note: T
his survey was 
conducted before Russia recognized the breakaway regions). 
  -- The AmCham sees its role as continuing to support the 
community, to encourage FDI, to promote investors' 
confidence, and to avoid politics, but not to forget property 
rights and judiciary concerns. 
 
GEORGIA'S BORDER CONTROL FACILITIES SUFFER 
------------------------------------------ 
 
8. (SBU) Georgian Coast Guard (GCG) officials told the 
Embassy that Russian forces continue to remove GCG equipment 
and supplies from its post at Poti, although the full extent 
of the losses awaits a formal assessment.  Three GCG vessels 
were sunk, and the government has requested USG assistance 
with salvage efforts; another high-speed cutter donated by 
the UK was reportedly taken by the Russians.  The radar 
station at Anaklia was also bombed and looted, but the 
Georgian Border Police (GBP) reported that the main buildings 
provided by the Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement 
program are still standing at Poti and Anaklia, although they 
will need substantial repairs.  The GBP reported their newly 
opened regional office in upper Abkhazia was lost.  The 
USG-funded radar stations at Chakvi and Supsa, south of Poti, 
have not suffered any damage. 
 
RECOVERY AND ASSISTANCE EFFORTS 
------------------------------- 
 
9. (U) The press reported that rail movements between east 
and west Georgia have been restored.  Only cargo shipments 
will be allowed for the first week, with passenger traffic to 
resume September 1. 
 
10. (SBU) The USS Dallas arrived in Batumi and docked 
portside August 27 with another shipload of humanitarian 
assistance. 
 
VISITORS 
-------- 
 
11.  (SBU)  The economic delegation completes its work today. 
 TDA Director Walther signed a grant agreement to fund a 
feasibility study on the potential for developing coal 
methane gas reserves as an alternate energy resource, and U/S 
Jeffrey provided a series of press appearances, concluding 
with a final press conference.  Senator Corker arrives in the 
evening August 29 for a full day of meetings August 30; Rep. 
Joe Donnelly (formerly led by Rep. Hunter) will lead a 
four-member delegation here on September 1.  Meanwhile the 
OVP advance team has arrived and begun its preparations. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1472, TFGG01: GEORGIA: REQUEST FOR STRONG WESTERN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1472 2008-08-27 04:23 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9351
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1472 2400423
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 270423Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9973
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001472 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: TFGG01: GEORGIA: REQUEST FOR STRONG WESTERN 
CONDEMNATION OF RUSSIAN RECOGNITION OF SOUTH OSSETIA AND 
ABKHAZIA 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C)  Georgian DFM Vashadze called in the German, French, 
UK and U.S. Ambassadors August 26.  Although the meeting was 
called initially for the MFA to present a non-paper (faxed to 
EUR/CARC) regarding principles and objectives for resolution 
of the conflict, President Medvedev's announcement that 
Russia would recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia became the 
topic.  Vashadze said that the recognition meant that we were 
entering into a "new Cold war" and that Georgia had taken 
steps to sever diplomatic ties and abrogate all diplomatic 
agreements with Russia.  Georgia would now concentrate on 
"reconstructing the country" and waiting until Russia slept 
again.  Vashadze noted that although the news was sad, it was 
clear that the Russians were on their way to marginalizing 
themselves from the international community and that their 
approach to the region of the last 16 years was over.  He 
predicted that for Russia, Georgia was "just the beginning -- 
Plan B and C are coming next." 
 
2.  (C)  Vashadze said that he had two requests -- first, 
that the West move quickly to provide legal and moral support 
to Georgia, and if economic sanctions were added, it would be 
even better.  Second, Vashadze asked that Georgia and the 
West agree on a united stand in opposing this Russian 
recognition.  According to Vashadze, Georgia now needed to 
deal with securing its own "37th parallel" around the 
separatist areas.  At least the Russian recognition had shown 
that this was a conflict involving Russia -- the de facto 
governments were just a smokescreen.  Georgia also needed to 
concentrate on getting Russian troops out of Georgia proper 
as well as taking care of "victims of ethnic cleansing." 
Vashadze said that Georgia would not take any rash military 
steps against Russia -- "we are a nation of 4 million people 
and 28,000 soldiers, but we are not suicidal."  In Vashadze's 
view, Russia's decision means that it wants only enemies or 
satellites on its borders. 
 
3.  (C)  Allied reaction was limited since all were waiting 
for guidance from capitals, but all expected strong 
statements soon.  DCM, attending for the Ambassador, along 
with the German and UK Ambassadors, urged Georgia to continue 
to be patient and not take any rash actions in response to 
the Russian announcement.  The French DCM noted that Paris 
planned to issue a tough EU statement at 1700 Paris time. 
The MFA has summoned EU Ambassadors to the MFA at 2000 to 
discuss next steps. 
 
4.  (SBU)  After the meeting, the MFA contacted the Embassy 
to report that South Ossetians in the town of Megvrekisi near 
Tskhinvali were beginning to expel ethnic Georgians from the 
town.  The MFA reported that a similar action was expected in 
Akhalgori, an ethnic Georgian village at the extreme eastern 
end of South Ossetia where a stand-off between South Ossetian 
forces and Georgian police had been taking place.  According 
to the MFA, Georgian police were retreating from the edge of 
the village in order to avoid conflict. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1470, GEORGIA: SITREP 19: RESPONDING TO MEDVEDEV’S

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08TBILISI1470.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1470 2008-08-26 14:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8891
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1470/01 2391421
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261421Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9967
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001470 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/26/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 19: RESPONDING TO MEDVEDEV'S 
ANNOUNCEMENT 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary.  Tbilisi is formulating its official 
response to Russian President Medvedev's announcement that 
Russia would recognize the breakaway republics of South 
Ossetia and Abkhazia and per DFM Vashadze, is looking for a 
strong reaction from the West (more details to be provided 
septel).  Georgia has broken relations with Russia, and the 
Russian Embassy in Tbilisi is reportedly closed.  Although no 
shots were fired overnight, the situation in Akhalgori 
remains tense.  The Georgians are accusing the South 
Ossetians of kicking ethnic Georgians out of Megvrekisi 
village near Tskhinvali, and have moved Georgian police away 
from Akhalgori since they believe this village is next.  The 
government has made a public and private push to energize the 
country and the international community to provide 
humanitarian aid quickly.  End Summary. 
 
AKHALGORI UPDATE 
---------------- 
 
2.  (C) On August 26, the OSCE reported the Ossetian and 
Georgian sides met in negotiations regarding Akhalgori.  The 
Georgian side proposed a withdrawal of Ossetian forces from 
Zemo-Boli (on the outskirts of Akhalgori), to be followed by 
a withdrawal of Georgian police forces from Mosabruni (two 
kilometers from Akhalgori).  A tentative agreement on the 
above withdrawals was struck.  In addition, South Ossetians 
promised to stop all looting in the area.  (Note: The OSCE 
IMOs have been inside Akhalgori on August 25 and 26.  They 
have not yet confirmed looting has taken place in the town. 
End note.)  Georgian police will patrol up to near Akhalgori. 
 The OSCE noted that such an arrangement, if the two sides 
maintain it, leaves a power vacuum in Akhalgori that either 
side could be tempted to try to fill.  Still, the OSCE noted 
the agreement shows some progress.  In a statement to the 
press, National Security Council Secretary Kakha Lomaia said 
that Georgia is abiding by the terms of the cease-fire, but 
"would be forced to give . . . a proper response" if 
provoked.  Later in the day, the Georgian MFA reported to us 
that Georgian police have retreated from around Akhalgori 
because they believe South Ossetians will move against ethnic 
Georgians soon and they want to avoid a conflict. 
 
REACTING TO RUSSIAN RECOGNITION 
------------------------------- 
 
3. (U) The press reports President Saakashvili commented that 
Russia is trying to legalize its occupation, adding "This is 
a challenge to the whole world.  Such provocations will 
ultimately fail, but for them to fail, we have to be very 
mobilized; and Georgia will not be able to win this war 
alone."  MPs Zhvania and Darchiashvili made similar 
statements; opposition New Rightists leader Gamkrelidze urged 
Georgia to react strongly to recognition, including severing 
all diplomatic ties with Russia.  Secretary Lomaia suggested 
that a decision by the Russian government to extend 
recognition would carry no legal weight, but that its 
political consequences for Russia would be serious: Russia 
would find itself even more isolated and less stable in the 
face of its 80 autonomous entities.  The Georgian patriarch 
released a statement urging Russia not to extend recognition, 
echoing the concern with Russia's own separatist difficulties. 
 
POLITICAL FALLOUT 
----------------- 
 
4. (U) Gamkrelidze told the press he would end his moratorium 
on criticizing the government on September 8, the same day 
Parliament's "state of war" declaration expires.  Opposition 
People's Party leader Davitashvili proposed the establishment 
of a coalition government of national conciliation, which 
would work on de-occupation of the country and restoration of 
its territorial integrity.  Labor Party leader Natelashvili 
(who was elected to Parliament but who has not yet taken a 
seat) criticized Saakashvili for slandering the Labor Party 
instead of protecting the country. 
 
HUMANITARIAN AID BECOMES FOCUS 
------------------------------ 
 
5. (C) Government sources indicate that assisting those 
disrupted by the war, including both Internally Displaced 
Persons (IDPs) and those that remained in villages, has 
become a key focus.  The government held a meeting in Gori to 
highlight its reconstruction efforts.  While in Gori, 
President Saakashvili emphasized the importance of providing 
shelter before winter.  State Minister for Reintegration 
Yakobashvili sent a letter to the Ambassador requesting that 
the U.S. "employ all means available to you to pressure the 
 
TBILISI 00001470  002 OF 002 
 
 
Russian side" to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, 
arguing that Russia has not fulfilled its obligations under 
point 3 of the cease-fire agreement.  In a meeting with Sen. 
Lugar, Yakobashvili explained that the resettlement of IDPs 
was the government's first objective in its overall response 
to the crisis.  Sasha Gakharia, Deputy Minister, Ministry of 
Refugees and Accommodation, told Poloff that many
 IDPs who 
are from Gori and villages nearby want to return to Gori as 
this is where their houses are located.  MP Subeliani has 
recently asked IDPs from the Gori area to return so as to be 
nearby when assessment teams come to Gori.  For those who are 
living in collective centers, the GoG has organized buses, 
but for now it is up to IDPs to make the decision as to 
whether they wish to return to Gori.  IDPs from Kodori Gorge 
are principally in Tbilisi and there are no indications that 
they intend to relocate to Gori. 
 
U.S. ASSISTANCE VESSELS 
----------------------- 
 
6. (C) We are awaiting an interagency decision regarding 
whether or not the next U.S. ship scheduled to provide 
humanitarian aid to Georgia will offload at Poti or Batumi. 
If the ship docks at Poti, its cargo would go by truck south 
to Batumi before sending it east on the major west-east 
highway toward Tbilisi.  This plan would send a strong signal 
on the operability of the Poti port without directly 
challenging the Russians, whose checkpoints are outside Poti 
and not at the port itself. 
 
PRISONER EXCHANGE 
----------------- 
 
7. (U) The press reported the Georgians released three 
military detainees on August 25.  There continues to be no 
additional information regarding reports of Georgian hostages 
in the Tskhinvali region. 
 
VISITORS 
-------- 
 
8.  (SBU)  The economic delegation led by U/S Jeffrey 
continues its work.  The group is tentatively planning to 
travel A press conference is scheduled for August 27 just 
prior to departure.  Presidential candidate John McCain's 
wife Cindy is in Tbilisi August 26.  A delegation led by Rep. 
Joe Donnelly (formerly led by Rep. Hunter) will visit Tbilisi 
September 1.  H is working with CODEL Poe to combine 
Congressman Poe's September 1 visit with CODEL Donnelly. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1437, GEORGIA: SITREP 18: ALL EYES ON AKHALGORI

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1437 2008-08-25 12:56 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7930
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1437/01 2381256
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251256Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9957
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001437 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 18: ALL EYES ON AKHALGORI 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary.  The situation remains tense in Akhalgori, 
with South Ossetian militia in an apparent standoff with 
Georgian police and interior forces; the Georgian government 
considers the location a potential flashpoint.  The Russian 
presence in the west continues, maintaining a level of 
tension in those areas.  Federal and local governments are 
providing aid to IDPs, assessing the damage and undertaking 
demining and repairs.  The arrival of an American destroyer 
with humanitarian aid received wide recognition, and several 
AmCit children cases of note have been resolved.  End Summary. 
 
STANDOFF IN AKHALGORI 
--------------------- 
 
2.  (C) On August 25, the OSCE observed at least 150 Georgian 
police and Interior Ministry forces and at least 36 vehicles 
in a small village outside Akhalgori (having heard reports of 
as many as 500 personnel).  After reporting 200 South 
Ossetian militia and four vehicles in Akhalgori on August 24, 
the OSCE observed a few dozen militia and two vehicles on 
August 25.  Both sides had entrenched their positions with 
such items as sandbags.  The OSCE reported a calm situation 
in Akhalgori and saw no evidence of looting or fires, 
although the Georgian side had reported widespread damage, 
including at schools and administrative buildings.  The 
closest Russian presence remains at the Ikoti checkpoint 
outside Akhalgori. 
 
3. (C) The two sides offered conflicting reports on the 
situation.  The Georgians expressed fears of provocative 
actions taken by the Ossetian side.  The Georgians planned to 
meet with the Ossetians on August 26.  The Ossetian side 
reported the Georgian governor had not appeared for a 
scheduled meeting with the Ossetian commandant at 0900 on 
August 25.  Although the OSCE did not observe evidence of 
looting or fires, the Ossetian side would now allow the OSCE 
to enter a school to inspect it.  The Ossetians did admit 
confiscating computers from an administrative building "for 
control." 
 
4. (SBU) Georgian Foreign and Interior Ministry officials 
told the diplomatic community on August 24 the arrival of 
Ossetian militia in Akhalgori, a historically Georgian town 
in a historically Georgian region of South Ossetia, occurred 
after the cease-fire.  They reported 400 Ossetian militia in 
Akhalgori with 16 armored vehicles and mortars.  They also 
reported the local mayor and police chief had been replaced 
with South Ossetians and Georgian police in villages south of 
Akhalgori had been given one day to leave.  They also said 
Akhalgori residents were being told that they would have to 
accept Russian passports or leave the area. 
 
5. (U) Elsewhere in South Ossetia, the press reported that 
Russian forces demolished tractors and burned houses in the 
village of Tamarasheni and "punished" residents of Tkviavi. 
Foreign journalists reported the destruction of buildings and 
the kidnapping and killing of residents in Tkviavi.  Local 
journalists reported being detained and robbed of their car 
and video equipment in Tkviavi. 
 
6.  (C)  In Gori, the situation continues to improve.  The 
British Ambassador visited the city on August 24, including 
the site of the fuel-carrying rail car that exploded.  He 
described a two kilometer of shrapnel and ordnance around the 
site, presumably from an explosion of ammunition and ordnance 
detonated by departing Russian troops.  The Georgian 
Government estimates that approximately 10,000 IDPs have 
returned to the city and to the surrounding villages.  The 
Georgian Government has given contradictory advice, 
encouraging IDPs to return and organizing buses to assist, 
but at the same time warning Gori residents of the dangers of 
unexploded ordnance.  As a result, some IDPs are choosing to 
wait in Tbilisi for a few more days before returning. 
 
SITUATION IN THE WEST 
--------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) The press reported that Russian troops entered a 
shipbuilding plant in Poti and barred local employees from 
entering; two journalists were reportedly detained and beaten 
upon trying to film a checkpoint near Poti.  Russian 
checkpoints in the west have reportedly been strengthened. 
Two new ones were established on the Gomi-Sachkere road, and 
Russians are reportedly allowing vehicles to pass only after 
inspection.  The Russians reportedly left the base in Senaki 
heavily mined, including in such places as electric switches. 
 
 
8. (C) The arrival in Batumi of a U.S. Navy destroyer loaded 
 
TBILISI 00001437  002 OF 003 
 
 
with humanitarian aid was widely reported, with Defense 
Minister Kezerashvili commenting that the ship's arrival 
delivered a strong humanitarian and political message.  The 
Embassy's Defense Attache visited Poti, reporting that 
operations on the commercial side were surprisingly normal 
and that there were no Russian checkpoin
ts on the road 
leading south from Poti to Batumi. 
 
PRISONER EXCHANGE 
----------------- 
 
9. (U) The press reported the Russians returned two military 
and five civilian detainees and the Georgians returned six 
military detainees, with talks on further returns continuing. 
 
WAR DAMAGE 
---------- 
 
10. (U) The press carried numerous reported of casualties and 
property damage, including: 
  -- The explosion of two mines in Gori, one badly injuring a 
man working in his garden and one killing a woman picking 
berries in the outskirts of Gori. 
  -- The burning of three railway fuel tanks near Skra, Shida 
Kartli.  The fire was caused by explosions at a Georgian 
arsenal near Skra. 
  -- The burning by Russians of an individual's house in 
Karaleti and a poultry farm in Mejvrishkevi, both in Shida 
Kartli. 
  -- The destruction of 50 hectares of woodland in Ateni 
Gorge near Gori, with an additional 40 hectares currently 
burning.  contributing to a total of 500 hectares of 
destroyed woodland around the country. 
 
PROTESTS 
-------- 
 
11. (U) The press reported that Russian forces fired shots in 
the air to disperse a demonstration in Pervomaiski, in Khobi 
District in Samegrelo, but the crowd did not disperse. 
 
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE 
----------------------------- 
 
12. (C) In a televised speech, President Saakashvili proposed 
the creation of a special council, including members of the 
opposition like Levan Gachechiladze, to coordinate aid to the 
victims of the war.  He also made strong statements about the 
imminent development of Russia's aggression, the country's 
resolve to rebuild, the significance of international 
support, and the need for national unity.  Saakashvili noted 
that the conflict was a "failure of western intelligence" and 
criticized Europe for a lack of support.  According to the 
French Ambassador, Saakashvili's remarks led to a call from 
President Sarkozy and harsh criticism from the French. 
Reportedly, Saakashvili apologized to Sarkozy for his remarks. 
 
IMPACT OF THE WAR ON LOCAL GOVERNMENTS 
-------------------------------------- 
 
13. (SBU) U.S. Government partners reported that at least 
nine municipalities have been directly affected by the 
conflict.  Although precise assessments of the damage are not 
yet available, local governments will need at least 
computers, other office equipment and supplies, and repairs 
to building and infrastructure.  Other governments in the 
Kakheti, Imereti and Gurian regions have been affected by the 
influx of IDPs, who are generally located in schools, youth 
camps and other government buildings, making them unavailable 
for normal use.  The buildings will require repairs after the 
IDPs' departure.  Local government staff are unavailable to 
provide normal services because they are working to 
distribute humanitarian aid and meet the IDPs' needs. 
Funding for normal services has likewise been reduced. 
 
AMCIT CHILDREN UPDATE 
----------------- 
 
14. (SBU) Two cases of American citizen children stranded 
outside Tbilisi that drew congressional attention have been 
resolved.  The ICRC reunited Nicholas Shiukashvili with his 
mother in Tbilisi August 23; he will travel back to the U.S. 
shortly (his case was raised by Rep. Bishop).  Kansas City 
natives Sofiya and Mikhail Momtselidze (are scheduled to 
arrive by public bus in Tbilisi August 25 (their case was 
raised by Rep. Moore).  Approximately 30 AmCit children 
remain outside Tbilisi, with reports of additional children 
continuing to arrive.  Most have made their own travel plans 
or have no plans to travel.  The ICRC has received requests 
for assistance in other cases and will provide additional 
information to the consular section as it becomes available. 
 
TBILISI 00001437  003 OF 003 
 
 
 
VISITORS 
-------- 
15.  (U)  Senator Lugar's August 23-24 visit was widely 
covered in the press. The economic delegation led by U/S 
Jeffrey arrived 8/25 and the OVP advance team arrives 8/27. 
Presidential candidate John McCain's wife Cindy arrives in 
Tbilisi 8/26.  A delegation led by Rep. Duncan Hunter will 
visit Tbilisi September 1. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1420, PM GURGENIDZE URGES SENATOR BIDEN TO SUPPORT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1420 2008-08-25 04:40 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7574
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1420/01 2380440
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250440Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9951
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001420 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/CARC, EUR/ACE, EEB/IFD/OMA AND E - U/S JEFFERY 
TREASURY FOR OIA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON PREL GG
SUBJECT: PM GURGENIDZE URGES SENATOR BIDEN TO SUPPORT 
ECONOMIC HELP FOR GEORGIA 
 
REF: TBILISI 1367 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary:  In an August 17 meeting with U.S. Senator 
Joseph Biden, Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze 
outlined the economic cost of the Russian invasion of his 
country.  He stressed the importance of continued existence 
of the reform-minded government of Georgia to continuing U.S. 
influence in Azerbaijan and Central Asia.  Georgia is 
experiencing a serious decline in the flow of investment to 
offset its significant current account deficit.   Without 
international assistance, Georgia will have a serious 
economic crisis and social and political unrest that will 
threaten the GOG.  Georgia needs an emergency IMF program 
funded at up to 300 percent of its quota.  Additionally, 
Gurgenidze asked Biden and the USG to create an 
internationally supervised, locally-managed fund for 
reconstruction of the billion dollars in damage caused by 
Russian troops.  In the PM's view, U.S. leadership in 
creating a fund, ideally with USD 1 billion in capital, is 
essential to securing other needed donations by European 
nations and the international financial institutions.  End 
Summary. 
 
GEORGIA'S FAILURE A THREAT TO U.S. INTERESTS IN THE REGION 
--------------------------------------------- ------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Biden told Gurgenidze that if the Russian invasion 
of Georgia is allowed to stand, it will mean that the last 18 
years of progress toward a secure, democratic Europe has been 
wasted.  Biden said he has heard from many world leaders who 
are concerned and who agree with him that Russia must pay a 
price for its actions.  Gurgenidze agreed, and noted that 
Russia's acts threaten the process of change in Azerbaijan 
and the Central Asian countries.  If the Georgian government 
falls, he said, Azerbaijan will re-enter the Russian orbit 
and there will be no chance of competing for influence in 
Turkmenistan. Already, Gurgenidze said, Kazakhstan has gone 
cold to Georgia and politicians in Ukraine, including 
Tymoshenko, are beginning to distance themselves with calls 
for neutrality.  The Russians should leave Georgia as soon as 
possible.  Biden said that a strong and solid response from 
the Europeans is needed, and simply likening the Russian 
occupation to Munich is not enough. 
 
GEORGIA'S SUCCESS BEFORE THE INVASION... 
---------------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Gurgenidze told Biden that before the Russian 
attack, Georgia was expecting a 2008 GDP of USD 13.5 billion, 
up from USD 10 billion in 2007.  At the same time, because of 
growth that stimulates imports of both capital equipment and 
domestic consumption, Georgia's current account deficit was 
20 percent of GDP.  Such a large gap was sustainable, 
Gurgenidze said, so long as it was offset by inflows of 
foreign investment.  Georgia has been receiving not only 
direct investment but also an unusually large amount of 
portfolio investment by private equity firms, amounting to 22 
percent of GDP altogether.  This was because Georgia is "a 
shining light" and a "textbook case" of liberal economic 
reform that makes it a darling of the investment community. 
Gurgenidze has been predicting that Georgia would have caught 
up with the poorest EU country, Bulgaria, within a mere three 
years.  Russia's attack has destroyed investor confidence and 
the outlook is for no such income at all during the rest of 
2008.  Russia's intentions are to destabilize the Georgian 
government economically and replace it with a weak, unstable 
and subservient regime such as exists in Moldova, he said. 
AND URGENT NEEDS AFTER IT 
------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) Gurgenidze, a former banker, told Biden that 
Georgian banks have held up well after the Russian attack. 
They lost 12 percent of deposits in the first few days. 
However, he said, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) expended 
11 percent of its reserves to preserve liquidity and keep the 
exchange rate stable.  Gurgenidze predicts that even if there 
are no more shocks, foreign currency reserves will erode 
another 3-4 percent over the next week, and will be 
sufficient to cover only half of the usual three months of 
imports.  Such losses simply cannot be sustained, he said. 
 
5. (SBU) Gurgenidze said the GOG would like for the IMF to 
offer it a program funded at 300 percent of Georgia's quota 
in order to keep the banking system stable.  An emergency 
mission is coming to Georgia soon from the IMF to assess the 
situation.  Gurgenidze hopes that the facility will never 
have to be used.  But without confidence building measures, 
 
TBILISI 00001420  002 OF 002 
 
 
he estimates that only USD 500 million in investment will 
come to Georgia in 2009.  If that happens, and no other help 
is received, Russia's objective of regime change will likely 
be accomplished by the ensuing social and political 
discontent. 
 
6. (SBU) Besides the
IMF program, Gurgenidze is thinking of 
direct contributions to a reconstruction fund composed of 
U.S., European and international financial institution money, 
which would be internationally supervised and locally managed 
in Georgia.  He hopes that the U.S. will contribute as much 
as USD 1 billion, and that other donors could be persuaded to 
match that amount.  He says an "attention getting number", 
one billion dollars, is needed, and that sum matches the 
extent of the damage to private and public infrastructure. 
The highway system has suffered as much as USD 300 million in 
damage.  A concerted effort to privatize and develop 
hydropower assets, which could have produced USD 1.5 billion 
a year in exports of power, is stymied.  Plans to privatize 
the 49 percent of Poti port still in government hands are 
useless.  Government revenues will decline by 30 percent, 
according to Gurgenidze, and the exchange rate could slip 
from 1.4 lari to the dollar to 1.7.  The government's 
borrowing power for private capital will be far less than 
before. 
 
7. (SBU) U.S. leadership in setting up the fund and 
persuading European governments to help is essential, 
Gurgenidze said.  Senator Biden concluded by noting that 
people in the United States are concerned about the new, ugly 
face that Russia has presented to the world through its 
invasion of Georgia. 
 
8. (U) Senator Biden's office has cleared this message. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1418, GEORGIA: SITREP 17: IT’S ABOUT TIME – BULK OF

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1418 2008-08-23 12:29 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7183
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1418/01 2361229
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231229Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9946
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001418 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/23/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 17: IT'S ABOUT TIME - BULK OF 
RUSSIAN TROOPS DEPART 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1.  (U)  Summary.  Multiple sources confirm Russian troops 
have withdrawn most troops from undisputed Georgian 
territory, although some remain near key positions such as 
Poti, Senaki and Sachkere.  The eastern part of the east-west 
highway is reportedly open, with light civilian traffic 
underway, but Russian checkpoints remain in the west near 
Poti, Senaki and Zugdidi.  Eight more OSCE monitors have 
arrived or will shortly.  Saakashvili will seek an extension 
of the state of war until September 8.  Poti residents 
planned to conduct another protest against the ongoing 
Russian presence.  End Summary. 
 
THE RUSSIANS HAVE MOVED OUT MOST OF THEIR TROOPS . . . 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
2.  (SBU) Sources in the Georgian government, the OSCE, 
UNOMIG and the press confirm that Russian troops have left 
Gori, Igoeti, Kashuri and had crossed the Enguri River in the 
west.  There are no active Russian checkpoints on the 
east-west highway at least as far west as Kutaisi, with 
previous checkpoints at Igoeti, Kaspi and Khashuri 
dismantled.  The road from Batumi to Kutaisi is reportedly 
clear of checkpoints as well.  A government official reported 
that Georgian authorities are blocking some stretches of road 
in order to check bridges and overpasses for mines left by 
departing Russian forces, but would complete this 
"housekeeping" soon.  The OSCE noted that the Russians left 
the physical elements of checkpoints at Shavshebi and 
Kvenokotsa (on either side of Gori), which could presumably 
be reactivated on short notice.  The press reported that 
Russian troops had left the Georgian base at Senaki, leaving 
almost everything at the base destroyed.  According to 
Georgian officials, IDPs from the Gori area are already being 
invited back to their homes in the city or surrounding 
villages. 
 
. . .BUT NOT ALL. 
----------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Government and OSCE sources noted there are still 
active Russian checkpoints on roads heading north from the 
area of Gori toward South Ossetia, at Akhalgori in 
southeastern South Ossetia, and near Poti, Senaki and Zugdidi 
in the west.  The press reported active Russian checkpoints 
at Chkorotsku in Guria, at Tsalenjikha and Khobi in 
Samogrelo, and at Perevi outside Sachkere.  The press also 
reported that, in addition to checkpoints, Russian military 
equipment remained in Poti.  UNOMIG reported that Russian 
troops had taken up positions along the restricted weapons 
zone, which is not consistent with the withdrawal agreement. 
 
EIGHT MORE OSCE MONITORS EN ROUTE 
--------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) The OSCE reported that two new Finnish and two new 
French monitors had arrived, two new American monitors were 
expected in two or three days, and two new German monitors 
were expected by August 28.  After a few days of orientation, 
the eight additional monitors would begin to enter the 
rotation next week. 
 
EXTENSION OF STATE OF WAR 
------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) The press reported that the National Security 
Council met Friday evening August 22 and recommended that 
President Saakashvili seek from Parliament an extension of 
the state of war until September 8, which he will reportedly 
do August 23. 
 
FOOD SUPPLIES APPEAR STABLE 
--------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Minister of Agriculture Kvezereli said that supplies 
of major food commodities appeared stable.  He expressed 
confidence that overland imports from Turkey and sea imports 
from the ports of Batumi and Poti would resume soon.  As of 
August 22, Azerbaijani suppliers were providing 600 metric 
tons of wheat a day to markets in Tbilisi and other eastern 
towns.  With current imports and reserves, over one month of 
wheat stocks were available east of Gori.  He added that the 
west had ample reserves as well; importers received 2,000 
metric tons of wheat last week, which would provide reserves 
for 25 days when combined with existing stocks.  Most other 
commodities, such as oil, sugar, beans and pasta, were in 
ample supply for the time being.  The minister noted the one 
potential problem commodity was rice, which, although not a 
primary staple, was in short supply.  He expected, however, 
 
TBILISI 00001418  002 OF 002 
 
 
that resumed imports from Turkey would likely provide new 
rice supplies. 
 
VISITORS 
-------- 
6.  (U)  Senator Lugar arrives in the evening on 8/23.  The 
economic delegation led by U/S Jeffrey arrives 8/25 and the 
OVP advance team arrives 8/27.  Presidential candidate John 
McCain's wife Cindy arrives in Tbilisi 8/26.  A delegation 
led by Congressman Duncan Hunter will visit Tbilisi September 
1. 
 
ANOTHER PROTEST IN POTI 
----------------------- 
 
&#
182;7.  (U) The press reported another protest against the 
Russian presence was planned for today in Poti. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1417, GEORGIA – REQUEST TO LIFT AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1417 2008-08-23 11:28 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #1417 2361128
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231128Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9945
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS TBILISI 001417 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ASEC AEMR AMGT CASC KFLO AFIN GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA - REQUEST TO LIFT AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE 
 
REF: A. STATE 85615 
     B. TBILISI 1344 
 
1.  This is an action request to M from Ambassador John 
Tefft.  See paragraph 2. 
 
2.  Embassy Tbilisi's Emergency Action Committee met August 
23 and concurs with the Ambassador's recommendation to 
request the lifting of Authorized Departure for Embassy 
Tbilisi.  Based on our assessment of the current conditions 
in Tbilisi and the fact that most of the Russian forces in 
the country have departed to Russia or to positions within 
the conflict zone, the EAC agrees with the Ambassador's 
recommendation that embassy dependents return to Tbilisi from 
Yerevan and that new employees and their families be 
permitted to proceed as scheduled to post.  We anticipate 
that once Authorized Departure is lifted, it may take 48-72 
hours for us to arrange transportation for families currently 
in Yerevan who are without their own transportation.  New 
employees and their families still in the U.S., as well as 
employees and family members in the U.S. on R and R or leave, 
may also require several days in order to make new flight 
arrangements to return to Tbilisi.  We appreciate the 
Department's support throughout this recent period.  The 
Chief of Mission fully supports this request. 
 
3.  The current situation in Tbilisi is calm and both 
Georgians and expatriates alike are beginning to filter back 
into the capital as summer vacations end.  There are no food 
or gasoline shortages, utilities and electricity have 
functioned normally, and the banking system and economy has 
remained stable throughout the crisis.  All the major airline 
carriers have resumed their regular service to Tbilisi and 
passenger loads are normal for this time of year.  Other 
western embassies, including the UK and Germany, are in the 
process of bringing their dependents back to Tbilisi (French 
dependents never left.).  Tbilisi's international school, 
attended by nearly all mission school-age children, it 
preparing to open as scheduled on August 28.  International 
teaching staff members have already arrived in Tbilisi to 
prepare for the upcoming school year.  We are eager to have 
family members back in Tbilisi to start school on time.  The 
Embassy's local guard force is at work and the mobile patrol 
is working normally.  We appreciate the Department's support 
in obtaining additional funding for permanent guards at the 
mission's largest single housing compound, which is located 
outside of the city. 
 
4.  We note that a large number of IDP's are currently in 
temporary shelters in Tbilisi; however, many are expected to 
return to their homes in the Gori region now that Russian 
troops have withdrawn from the main road and checkpoints have 
been disassembled.  We will be paying close attention to any 
reports of a rise in crime rates in Tbilisi or in the rest of 
the country. 
 
5.  Once authorized departure is lifted and family members 
return to Tbilisi, we will require RSO approval for employee 
and dependent travel outside of the capital area (also 
reflected in our updated draft travel warning).  As 
conditions continue to stabilize, we anticipate being able to 
loosen this restriction to allow more access to parts of the 
country outside of Tbilisi and will update our travel warning 
accordingly. 
TEFFT

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08TBILISI1412, GEORGIA: SITREP 16: LOOKING FOR SIGNS OF A RUSSIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1412 2008-08-22 10:18 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6476
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1412/01 2351018
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221018Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9938
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001412 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/22/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 16: LOOKING FOR SIGNS OF A RUSSIAN 
WITHDRAWAL 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1.  (U)  Summary.  As of mid-day, there were no definite sign 
of a Russian withdrawal from Georgia, but OSCE reported 
columns of Russian vehicles lining up in Gori and Kashuri on 
August 21.  On the other hand, there also continue to be 
reports of erecting fortifications and the continued 
demolition of Georgian military assets.  The Russian Embassy 
has told the Georgian MFA that travelers to and through Gori 
must register their plans in advance with the Russian Embassy 
in Tbilisi, adding that registry will "ensure unhindered 
movement".  The Finnish Foreign Minister, on behalf of the 
OSCE Chairman in Office, told FM Tkeshelashvili that 20 OSCE 
monitors will be deployed in Gori next week.  Human Rights 
Watch warns of unexploded cluster bomb elements on the ground 
in Georgian villages between Tskhinvali and Gori.  Some, but 
not all, Georgian soldiers and civilians held prisoner were 
released by the Russians and the South Ossetians.  End 
Summary. 
 
RUSSIANS OUT? NOT YET. 
---------------------- 
 
2.  (C) As of mid-day August 22, there is still no definite 
sign of a Russian withdrawal, although Russian armed forces 
officers have previously stated that movement would become 
apparent on August 22.  OSCE reports that west of Kashuri and 
in Gori columns of military vehicles are lining up.  OSCE 
termed these "indicators" of a possible withdrawal.  There is 
no change at the military checkpoint at Igoeti, the closest 
Russian position to Tbilisi.  UNOMIG told us it is looking 
into the explosions reported at the Senaki military base, 
reported reftel.  Explosions were also reported from the 
military base in Gori. 
 
3.  (C)  Russian troops at the port of Poti are reported to 
have been digging trenches, reinforcing their positions and 
destroying military infrastructure during the day of August 
21.  An embassy officer in Poti reported that there are now 
three Russian checkpoints in the Poti area, all with a 
certain level of permanency.  The first is in the northern 
part of the city with 35 soldiers camped out; the second 
controls the Leoni Bridge which leads to the road to Senaki; 
and the third is on the road to Senaki.  Through these three 
checkpoints, the Russians can control anything coming out of 
the port.  The rail line also runs through their positions. 
 
4.  (C)  Russian military sources say a pullout, or 
"pull-back", could take up to ten days.  Georgian DFM 
Vashadze told us that Russian DFM Karasin called early August 
21 to complain that Georgian forces were firing on Russian 
soldiers in Gori and that this could delay the withdrawal. 
Vashadze said that he told Karasin that there wasn't a single 
Georgian soldier "between the Roki Tunnel and Gori" and 
demanded specific information from the Russians about the 
locating of the incident.  None was forthcoming. 
 
RUSSIA REQUIRES REGISTRY OF TRAVEL TO GORI 
------------------------------------------ 
 
5. (U) The Georgian MFA announced that the Russian Embassy in 
Tbilisi has delivered a diplomatic note that says any persons 
wishing to travel through Gori must give the Embassy notice 
of their travel plans so instructions can be given to the 
Russian peacekeeping command, "which will further ensure 
unhindered movement."  The MFA reacted by labeling this 
requirement a violation of the cease-fire agreement and the 
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, as well as an 
insult to Georgia's sovereignty.  At mid-day August 21, a 
Swedish diplomat was being prevented from entering Gori and 
told that he will be allowed to proceed after "special 
permission" is received.  The Russian checkpoints have 
routinely been turning back USG personnel attempting to enter 
Gori. 
 
REQUIEM FOR TSKHINVALI 
---------------------- 
 
6.  (U) Russian orchestral conductor Valery Gergiev led a 
concert in Tskhinvali on August 21, a requiem for those 
killed in the fighting there.  The GOR flew foreign 
journalists to Vladikavkaz and then bused them south to 
Tskhinvali to attend.  The concert was broadcast live on 
Russian state-owned TV channels. 
 
SOME GEORGIAN PRISONERS RELEASED 
-------------------------------- 
 
7.  (U) The press reported that the Russians released ten of 
the 22 Georgian soldiers seized at Poti on August 19. 
 
TBILISI 00001412  002 OF 002 
 
 
Sixty-three Georgian civilians being held in Tskhinvali were 
swapped for eight South Ossetian prisoners in Gori on August 
21.  Most of them were elderly men and women  Georgian 
officials say 101 Georgian civilians remain in South Ossetian 
custody. 
 
RUSSIAN CLUSTER BOMB DANGER 
--------------------------- 
 
8.  (U) Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned on August 21 that 
hundreds of unexploded submunitions f
rom cluster bombs are 
lying on the ground in and around the villages of Shindisi 
and Pkhvenisi (in Georgian territory just south of 
Tskhinvali), posing a risk to life.  "Many people have died 
because of Russia's use of cluster munitions in Georgia, even 
as Moscow denies it had used this barbaric weapon," said Marc 
Garlasco, senior military analyst for HRW. 
 
VISITORS 
-------- 
 
9.  (U) U.S. General Craddock, in Tbilisi August 21, publicly 
stressed the humanitarian aspects of the USG's military 
mission in Georgia and was seen on television visiting IDP's. 
 USAID's Henrietta Fore announced to the press $10.7 million 
worth of U.S. humanitarian assistance had already been 
delivered.  Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, 
representing the OSCE Chairman in Office, visited Gori and 
promised more humanitarian aid for the city.  After an August 
21 meeting with FM Tkeshelashvili, he said that 20 OSCE 
observers will start working in Gori the week of August 25. 
NATO special representative Robert Simmons expressed sympathy 
for IDP's and vowed NATO will not do business as usual with 
Russia until it withdraws from Georgia.  He reportedly said 
NATO will assist Georgia to rebuild its air defense and other 
defensive infrastructure.  President Basescu of Romania said 
Romania will support MAP for Georgia in December. 
 
10.  (U) Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee 
Berman and Chairman of the House Education and Labor 
Committee Miller are visiting Tbilisi August 22.  They will 
meet with Speaker of Parliament Bakradze and President 
Saakashvili before returning to Paris.  Rep. Chris Smith is 
meeting with the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church 
and human rights organizations in Tbilisi August 22; he is 
expected to return to the U.S. on August 23.  Senator Lugar 
arrives in Tbilisi the evening of August 23. 
 
SANAKOYEV HELPS RUSSIANS HOME 
----------------------------- 
 
11.  (U) The Georgia-supported alternative de facto 
government of South Ossetia, led by Dmitri Sanakoyev, 
assisted 300 Russian citizens to return to Russia via the 
border crossing north of Kazbegi.  The Russians had been 
denied assistance by the Russian Embassy because they were in 
Georgia illegally. 
 
PROTESTS 
-------- 
 
12.  (U) Peaceful protests of the Russian occupation were 
held at the Igoeti checkpoint, in Kutaisi and in Poti.  Among 
the groups protesting were medical doctors, teachers, and 
representatives of Georgia's ethnic Armenian community. 
TEFFT

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