Monthly Archives: September 2008

08TBILISI1810, EU MONITORS ARRIVE IN GEORGIA, PREPARE TO DEPLOY

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. #08TBILISI1810.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1810 2008-09-29 15:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3964
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1810/01 2731503
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291503Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0157
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0117

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001810 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR RU GG
SUBJECT: EU MONITORS ARRIVE IN GEORGIA, PREPARE TO DEPLOY 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C/NF) Summary and comment.  At least 200 monitors will be 
in Georgia by September 30 and will start work October 1. 
The headquarters will be in Tbilisi, with satellite offices 
in Poti (30-40 observers), Zugdidi and Gori (70 monitors 
each) and a 25-member rapid-reaction force based in Tbilisi. 
This unarmed civilian mission considers its mandate to be 
"country-wide," to include Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and 
will seek access to those regions.  The observers will wear 
"EU-blue" berets and armbands, have the same diplomatic 
status as OSCE observers, and maintain primary contact with 
the Georgian Interior Ministry.  Although the EU has done 
impressive work to establish a mission of this magnitude by 
the October 1 deadline, many questions remain about the scope 
of the mission's activities and its coordination with the 
other monitoring missions (UNOMIG and OSCE) on the ground. 
The mission will have achieved a major goal if Russian forces 
do depart position in Georgia proper by October 10 as pledged 
in the Sarkozy-Medvedev plan, and its presence can send an 
important political message to the international community 
and investors, but we will need to manage international 
perceptions carefully if the EU monitors are blocked from 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  End summary and comment. 
 
THE EU MISSION: NUTS AND BOLTS 
 
2. (C/NF) A newly arrived political advisor, one of three for 
the new EU mission, provided post with an update on the 
deployment of the mission on September 29.  In accordance 
with the September 8 Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement, 22 of 27 EU 
member states have provided more than 200 monitors, along 
with over 100 support staff.  The monitors began arriving 
over the past few days and will all be on the ground by 
September 30, to start monitoring activities October 1.  The 
mission headquarters will be in Tbilisi; currently co-located 
with the OSCE headquarters, the EU mission is searching for a 
permanent building.  The monitors who have already arrived 
are currently receiving training at a resort in Batalevi, 
near Dusheti, but will deploy to their Poti, Zugdidi and Gori 
postings by October 1.  EU staff are still working on finding 
them suitable accommodations.  The monitors will have the 
same diplomatic status as OSCE monitors; they will have no 
standard uniform, but will wear "EU-blue" berets and armbands. 
 
3. (C/NF) A detailed deployment plan has not yet been 
established, but the monitors will cover sections of Georgia 
corresponding to their geographic location.  The 25-member 
rapid reaction force will be based in Tbilisi but will be 
ready to travel to any location in the country as needed. 
The mission considers its mandate "country-wide" and intends 
to "insist" on access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  As a 
civilian, unarmed mission, the monitors will not be in a 
position to apply anything but diplomatic pressure to gain 
that access, but mission staff told post the monitors would 
persistently seek access even if refused. 
 
4. (C/NF) EU staff and Interior Ministry sources both told 
post the Ministry would be the mission's primary government 
contact, although Foreign Ministry sources suggested other 
agencies would be involved as well, including the Ministry 
for Reintegration.  The Interior Ministry expressed some 
concern that the monitors would be relying heavily on 
Georgian police for security, because their only protection 
would be armored vehicles.  At a September 25 German 
Embassy-hosted meeting with EU mission head Ambassador Haber, 
the Ambassador was impressed by Haber's experience in the 
region and willingness to work closely with his colleagues on 
the ground here in Tbilisi.  Haber also promised to be 
accessible to us and to other missions in Tbilisi in 
providing information about observer activities on the ground 
and reports of specific incidents. 
 
DEPLOYMENT AND COORDINATION PLAN STILL HAZY 
 
5. (C/NF) OSCE sources suggested to post that there has not 
been much coordination of the EU mission's activities with 
the two other international monitoring missions in Georgia 
(the OSCE itself and UNOMIG).  The OSCE briefed elements of 
the EU mission on September 27 about their own activities, 
and it seemed to the OSCE that the EU still had some work to 
do in establishing a plan of its own, not to mention 
coordinating that plan with others.  The Interior Ministry 
was also unsure about what the EU's day-to-day activities 
would be.  The EU itself plans a briefing for the diplomatic 
community on October 2 and may have more detailed information 
at that time.  The Interior Ministry expressed the hope that 
the mission would provide extra support for the areas near 
the Enguri Dam and immediately south of Tskhinvali, because 
it is concerned about Russian intentions regarding the power 
generated by the dam and about the potential for Russian 
 
TBILISI 00001810  002 OF 002 
 
 
mischief south of South Ossetia.
Although UNOMIG and OSCE 
monitors already cover these areas to some extent, the 
Ministry seemed to think that an expanded international 
presence in those particular areas would be very helpful. 
 
COMMENT: THE MONITORS WILL NEED MONITORING 
 
6. (C/NF) The major question facing the EU mission is whether 
it will gain access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  Although 
the details of the mission's day-to-day routine will 
eventually be worked out, its ability to gather information 
about the situation throughout Georgia will clearly depend on 
its physical access.  If the EU mission is ultimately not 
able to enter Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it will be 
extremely important to coordinate closely with UNOMIG and the 
OSCE.  This issue will become more important if and when the 
OSCE deploys 80 additional monitors.  In the long run, 
however, having 200 additional pairs of eyes on the ground 
will probably reduce the likelihood of provocative incidents 
along the administrative boundaries and any escalation from 
incidents that do occur. 
 
7. (C/NF) The mission's rapid deployment may indeed achieve 
the withdrawal of Russian forces from undisputed Georgian 
territory, which itself would be an important accomplishment. 
 In addition, as the Interior Ministry pointed out, its 
presence in Georgia might help reassure the international 
community, and investors in particular, that Georgia is 
getting back to a normal, stable state.  Nevertheless, if the 
mission's 200 monitors find themselves barred from crossing 
the two de facto borders with no opportunity to enter, we 
will need to continue to reinforce the message -- and to 
encourage our European colleagues to do the same -- that the 
lack of access reflects Russian intransigence, not a 
fundamentally changed situation on the ground.  End comment. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1793, GEORGIA: VIOLENT INCIDENTS UNDERSCORE FRAGILITY;

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. #08TBILISI1793.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1793 2008-09-26 14:41 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2570
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1793 2701441
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261441Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0151
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0116

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001793 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/26/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: VIOLENT INCIDENTS UNDERSCORE FRAGILITY; 
RUSSIAN RESPONSIBILITY 
 
REF: TBILISI 1689 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  Three incidents on September 25 
-- a car bombing in Sukhumi that caused damage to buildings, 
but no injuries, a landmine explosion outside Tskhinvali that 
killed a 13-year-old boy, and the shooting of a construction 
worker on the main road between Tbilisi and Gori -- 
underscore the fragile nature of the cease-fire and the 
continuing importance of highlighting to the occupying 
Russian authorities their responsibility to prevent these 
kinds of incidents.  None of the incidents led to further 
violence, but accusations between Georgian and de facto 
authorities illustrate how any such incident could provoke 
new hostilities.  Little concrete information is available, 
but no matter who the perpetrators were, all three incidents 
argue strongly for increased Russian cooperation in allowing 
international observers, including monitors, into the 
disputed territories.  End summary and comment. 
 
2. (C) UNOMIG and UN sources confirm press reports that at 
3:30 A.M. on September 25, a car bomb exploded on a street 
near the Abkhaz de facto internal security services building. 
 No one was injured, but the de facto building and apartment 
buildings were slightly damaged.  Some de facto officials, 
including "Foreign Minister" Sergei Shamba and Iyuri Ashuba, 
head of the Abkhaz "Security Service," were quoted in the 
press as blaming Georgian special forces, while "National 
Security Council Secretary" Stanislav Lakoba was a bit more 
vague, blaming the act on unnamed terrorists trying to thwart 
the September 27 celebration of "independence."  Georgian 
National Security Council Secretary Kakha Lomaia denied 
Georgian involvement to the press, suggesting that the 
lawless environment in Abkhazia was a contributing factor, 
while Member of the Georgian Parliament Gia Tortladze 
suggested that infighting among Abkhaz clans was to blame. 
Head of the Interior Ministry Analytical Department Shota 
Utiashvili said that the Georgian government has no access to 
information about the incident; head of the Presidential 
Administration Adeishvili appeared surprised when informed by 
the Ambassador about the incident, saying that he had no 
information about it. 
 
3. (SBU) The press reports that on September 25 a 13-year-old 
boy was killed by a land mine in the village of Gujabauri, 
south of Tskhinvali but just inside the administrative 
boundary of South Ossetia.  The South Ossetian de facto 
"Ministry of the Interior" announced it was investigating the 
incident.  Utiashvili said that the government likewise has 
no access to information about this incident. 
 
4. (SBU) Utiashvili and OSCE sources confirmed that a worker 
for the Israeli company Ashtrom (this company is also an MCC 
subcontractor for another project) was wounded slightly by a 
shot in the head while working on a highway project on the 
main east-west highway east of Gori, at the intersection 
leading to Orchosani.  (Note: The administrative boundary of 
South Ossetia is very close to this intersection.  End note.) 
 The worker and six others were attacked by a group of six 
armed Ossetians, who were apparently looking for property to 
steal.  They tried taking a car belonging to one of the 
workers, but it broke down, so the attackers left 
empty-handed.  Utiashvili added that the same group, 
recognized by the workers, later returned, by which time 
journalists from Imedi TV station had arrived on the scene. 
The attackers reportedly took the journalists' car and 
equipment and briefly detained the journalists; they soon 
released the journalists and returned the car, but kept some 
equipment. 
 
COMMENT: A DANGEROUS AND FRAGILE ENVIRONMENT 
 
5. (C) It is unlikely that the full story behind any of these 
incidents will be determined, or that the results of any 
investigation under current circumstances will be widely 
respected.  What is clear, however, is that greater access by 
various international representatives, such as UNOMIG, OSCE, 
and HALO Trust, would both facilitate an objective 
investigation of such incidents and reduce their likelihood. 
Combined with three recent murders of Georgian police 
officers in Karaleti, Ganmukhuri, and Khurcha, these 
incidents underscore the dangerous environment along the 
border of both disputed territories and the real potential 
for escalation of violence, as well as the ultimate 
responsibility of Russian forces as the occupying power in 
all of these areas.  End comment. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1751, GEORGIA: WAR CRIMES ISSUES AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE

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. #08TBILISI1751.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1751 2008-09-25 14:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1554
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1751/01 2691426
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251426Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0143
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 001751 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/11/2017 
TAGS: PREL PHUM KAWC RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: WAR CRIMES ISSUES AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE 
WILLIAMSON FOCUSES ON ETHNIC CLEANSING 
 
REF: TBILISI 1522 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
 1.  (C)  Summary and Comment:  Ambassador-at-Large Clint 
Williamson visited Georgia September 10-11 to highlight USG 
concerns over war crimes and ethnic cleansing allegations 
from the August conflict and to stress the need to hold 
perpetrators accountable.  Williamson frankly told GOG 
officials that perceptions of U.S. bias, combined with 
limited access to the Russian-controlled territories, would 
hamper USG efforts to help conduct an investigation.  He 
recommended that to ensure impartiality, the OSCE or EU 
should do so.  He commended GOG officials on their work thus 
far and discussed with them the option of referring the case 
to the International Criminal Court, in addition to their 
ongoing legal proceedings in the International Court of 
Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.  GOG 
officials agreed that the USG might best serve them by 
sharing techniques to catalogue and sort information. 
Collection of information has been hampered by the fact that 
the GOG does not have access to many of the locations of 
alleged crimes, and concrete numbers of the missing and dead 
are not available.  Williamson said he intended to discuss 
these issues with the French in their EU Presidency capacity 
and with the Finns in their OSCE chair capacity.  Georgian 
Ministry of Justice officials said that their hearing before 
the International Court of Justice had gone very well and 
expected a response within two weeks.  Post recommends that 
the Department consider sending Georgian officials to 
Washington to learn how to catalogue investigation 
information more efficiently.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Ministry of Justice 
 
2.  (C)  Ambassador Williamson met with a variety of senior 
level officials in Tbilisi, as well as regional officials in 
the city of Gori, that was occupied by Russian troops for 
several weeks in August.  During a September 10 meeting, 
Deputy Minister of Justice Tina Burjaliani told Ambassador 
Williamson she had just returned from The Hague and the 
International Court of Justice, where Georgia's three-day 
hearing went better than anticipated.  She cautioned that the 
basis of the Georgian case was very narrow (racial 
discrimination, ethnic cleansing).  The Russians attempted to 
brush these allegations aside, saying that Russian forces 
were justified as they were part of the wartime events and 
not a systematically focused discrimination campaign against 
Georgians.  Burjaliani portrayed the Russians' arguments as 
weak and was hopeful that the Court would grant a provisional 
measure in favor of the Georgians within two weeks. 
 
3.  (C) Burjaliani thought that the International Criminal 
Court (ICC) might want to take on the Georgians' case.  She 
expressed concern, however, that the ICC might eventually 
conclude that the scale of the crimes did not warrant 
prosecution, thereby handing the Russians a propaganda 
victory.  Her recommendation to her superiors was to not 
pursue it at this time.  She was wary that the Russians would 
cry foul if they did file with the ICC, pointing out that 
there was overlapping jurisdiction between the ICJ and the 
ICC.  Williamson countered that this was not a valid 
argument, because the ICJ exercised civil jurisdiction in 
actions between governments, while the ICC jurisdiction was 
criminal and pertained to individuals.  Burjaliani, who 
seemed unsure of how the GOG would proceed, noted that the 
ICC case's impact might be minimal, because even if the ICC 
indicted South Ossetian de facto authorities, it was unlikely 
they would ever be arrested.  Williamson indicated that even 
if indicted individuals were not arrested, there was some 
value in having perpetrators publicly charged, since this 
placed them and their "state" into a rogue category.  He 
added that there were no 100 percent guarantees as to how an 
investigation might come out, so ultimately the Georgians 
would have to weigh all of these considerations and come to 
their own conclusions as to the value of an ICC referral.  He 
stressed that it was unlikely that the ICC would initiate its 
own investigation into the Russia-Georgia conflict, however, 
so if Georgia was interested in having the ICC investigate, 
the Government would have to make a formal request to the 
Office of the Prosecutor. 
 
4.  (C)  Williamson suggested that the Georgians also 
consider offering compensation payments to Ossetian families 
who had experienced the loss of family members due to 
Georgian military actions, drawing the parallel between this 
and the U.S. military condolence payments in Iraq and 
Afghanistan.  Williamson said that such actions would not 
acknowledge criminal responsibility but would be a show of 
goodwill by the Georgians indicating a willingness to 
 
TBILISI 00001751  002 OF 004 
 
 
acknowledge that persons had died accidentally as a result of 
ongoing military operations.  If the Georgians were prepared 
to make such an offer, i
t would need to be predicated on an 
independent investigation into the number of deaths and which 
side was responsible in each case.  It would be awkward for 
the Russians, or the South Ossetians, to block such an 
inquiry if their citizens were potentially being compensated. 
 If an investigation were allowed to go forward, it would 
almost certainly prove that the number of deaths attributed 
to Georgian military actions was greatly inflated. 
Burjaliani expressed interest in exploring this initiative 
and said that the Georgians would be willing to learn more 
about how this had been done in other settings.  She did note 
that it would be a delicate matter domestically to provide 
payments to Ossetians when so many IDPs were in dire 
circumstances and not getting any such remuneration.  She 
said that this could likely be overcome, though, if it were 
dealt with appropriately. 
 
5.  (C)  Finally, Burjaliani said that she would very much 
appreciate written information on how best to catalogue the 
information that they are now collecting.  The Prosecutor's 
Office had been very helpful but needed better instruction on 
this procedure.  Williamson agreed to share this information 
via the Department of Justice's legal representative at post. 
 (Comment:  We might consider sending Georgian prosecutors to 
Washington to meet with Ambassador Williamson and his staff 
to develop a tool to catalogue the information being 
collected.  Another possibility would be to support sending 
Georgian pathologists to meet with expert war crimes 
pathologists to help them learn how to conduct war 
crimes-related autopsies.  End Comment.) 
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Bokeria 
 
6. (C)  DFM Bokeria discussed with Ambassador Williamson the 
tradeoffs associated with Georgia's filing a case with the 
ICC.  Bokeria said the GOG was considering such a case, but 
was concerned that the effort involved would not yield any 
concrete results.  Williamson agreed that it was unlikely 
that the ICC would independently look into the cases of war 
crimes if Georgia did not request it, but suggested that even 
if the case only resulted in a limited number of perpetrators 
being indicted, it could have some value.  Williamson was 
skeptical that Russian officials would be indicted, but 
indicated that ICC would likely be less hesitant about 
pursuing cases against South Ossetian de facto authorities. 
Williamson underlined that being branded a "war criminal" 
nevertheless had long-ranging ramifications that would affect 
the de facto authorities well into the future. Williamson 
again stressed that the GOG would have to make its own 
decision about pursuing an ICC investigation, but that this 
appeared to be the only viable option for prosecutions if 
that was the end result they were seeking. 
 
7.  (C)  When asked by Bokeria for an assessment of what 
could be done, Ambassador Williamson stated that the 
allegations of ethnic cleansing appeared to be the most 
viable for further investigation.  Although there seem to 
have been some isolated execution-style killings and other 
individually targeted crimes, these appear to be relatively 
small in number, and at this point are difficult to 
substantiate because of lack of access to crime scenes and 
victims.  The witness testimony as to forced displacements 
can be corroborated through other independent means, such as 
imagery, and reinforced by international monitors' 
observations, should access issues be overcome.  Bokeria 
added that it would be easier for the Georgians to show a 
systematic effort by paramilitary organizations under the 
South Ossetian officials' control, as opposed to Russian 
forces, to force ethnic Georgians out of South Ossetia. 
Using current satellite imagery, it appeared easy to show 
that Georgian villages were systematically burned and that a 
large number are now vacant. 
 
8. (C)  Bokeria was unhappy with Council of Europe 
Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg's report on 
the situation in South Ossetia, suggesting that the report 
was too soft on the Russians and cautiously worded to avoid 
controversy.  Although Bokeria acknowledged the constraints 
on any attempted U.S. investigation, he said that any effort 
by OSCE to investigate would be hampered by Russian 
influence.  Bokeria complimented Human Rights Watch (HRW) for 
its balanced reporting thus far on the situation, but noted 
that human rights NGOs sometimes fail to analyze situations 
from the perspective of military necessity.  Williamson 
agreed that it was important to have this perspective, but 
suggested that using U.S. military experts would not be the 
best option.  He mentioned that the ICTY had used experts 
from non-NATO countries, such as Ireland, and that this might 
 
TBILISI 00001751  003 OF 004 
 
 
be a possibility worth exploring. 
 
Presidential Advisor Zurab Adeishvili 
 
9.  (C)  Adeishvili said that in contrast to Georgians in 
South Ossetia, the 2,000 Georgians living in Kodori had not 
experienced the same degree of displacement during the 
conflict.  After the early 1990's when many ethnic Georgians 
fled Abkhazia, very few Georgians remained except for the 
Georgians in Gali.  Conversely, in South Ossetia many 
Georgians had intermarried with South Ossetians and 60,000 of 
them still remained. 
 
10.  (C)  Adeishvili said that Abkhazia is much more valuable 
to Russia than South Ossetia due to its strategic coastline 
and natural resources.  He felt that South Ossetia would 
become a burden for the Russians, as they would have to 
subsidize the entire region.  Abkhazia, however, is valuable 
to the Russians and the Georgians.  First, he opined, if the 
Ukrainians forced the Russians out of Sebastopol, then the 
logical place for their warm water port would be Sukhumi. 
Second, the Enguri power station which straddles Georgia and 
Abkhazia provides a significant source of power for which the 
Abkhaz do not pay.  Currently, the Abkhaz population 
(150,000) uses 1 billion kilowatt hours - - three times that 
of Adjara, the neighboring Georgian region, where 300,000 
people use 400,000 kilowatts of power.  Third, this power 
plant generates 40% of Georgia's power and therefore 
represents a serious vulnerability.  The informal arrangement 
for the last 15 years has been that Georgian technical 
experts were permitted in Abkhazia to keep the plant going. 
If Russia were to shut down the plant, Georgia's power supply 
would be greatly reduced. 
 
Prosecutor's Office 
 
11.  (C)  Acting Prosecutor General Giorgi Latsabidze told 
Williamson that the Prosecutor General's Office had no 
experience in prosecuting war crimes, but has done its best 
to investigate allegations based on current Georgian laws. 
Latsabidze envisioned that the crimes committed could be 
categorized as individual crimes (rape, abductions, summary 
executions) or ethnic cleansing.  Of the two, the latter 
would be easier to prove in a court of la
w.  Although heinous 
individual crimes did occur, they were not of a large enough 
number to cause an international outcry.  For the moment, 
Latsabidze said numbers were sketchy, but estimated there 
were fewer than 100 summary executions, and around 200 
missing persons.   Latsabidze's biggest challenge was not 
having access to the locations where the alleged crimes took 
place.  In response to the Prosecutor General's formal 
request for U.S. investigative assistance, Ambassador 
Williamson stated that we would face the same problems with 
access and that we would not be seen as an unbiased actor, 
thus undermining the results of any investigation in which 
the U.S. actively participated.  Williamson indicated that it 
might be possible to explore other options, including support 
from other governments (e.g., the UK or the Netherlands), 
that have specialists experienced in war crimes 
investigations. 
 
Public Defender 
 
12.  (C)  Ambassador Williamson met Sozar Subari, Ombudsman, 
and representatives of The Georgian Young Lawyers Association 
(GYLA) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) in the offices of the 
Public Defender's Office on September 11.  Officials from all 
three groups worried that the Russians and South Ossetians 
were engaging in a policy of ethnic cleansing.  While these 
groups had reports of other abuses, they were limited in 
scope, with GYLA saying it knew of not more than ten 
executions and the Ombudsman saying he believed there have 
been 49 civilian deaths.  Subari, whose office began to 
document facts gleaned from IDPs as they arrived at shelters, 
noted that in Akhalgori, in the far eastern part of South 
Ossetia which had never been a part of the conflict zone, 
South Ossetian officials were forcing residents to take 
Russian citizenship or leave.  Subari added that de facto 
South Ossetian president Kokoity said he intended to make 
Tskhinvali the new capital of South Ossetia.  Subari told 
Ambassador Williamson that the 54 villages in the district of 
Tskhinvali had an 80% Georgian population, with only two 
villages having been traditionally Ossetian. 
 
13.  (C)  HRW indicated that its Georgian representatives had 
been in South Ossetia both officially and unofficially since 
the conflict began and that its Moscow-based representatives, 
along with the Russian human rights NGO Memorial, had entry 
into South Ossetia as well. HRW expressed concern about the 
border region between South Ossetia and Gori, which remains 
 
TBILISI 00001751  004 OF 004 
 
 
insecure.  A withdrawal of Russian forces might create a 
security vacuum that would worsen the already fragile 
situation.  During a September 12 press conference in Moscow, 
 HRW Moscow and Memorial representatives accused Russia of 
letting South Ossetian militias raze Georgian homes in 
enclaves and villages both in and adjacent to Georgia proper 
which were loyal to Tbilisi, and even mixed Ossetian/Georgian 
villages.  HRW said that the strongest allegation against the 
Georgians was the excessive use of force in the form of 
massive shelling.  HRW stressed the need for a robust 
security mission, saying that its organization could only do 
so much and that the international community needed to be 
involved to get a full accounting.  Williamson noted that he 
would push for this during his subsequent visits to Paris and 
Helsinki. 
 
National Security Council 
 
14.  (C)  Ambassador Williamson met with Georgian National 
Security Council (NSC) officials to stress the importance of 
collecting evidence and establishing facts.  The NSC admitted 
that most of the analysts working on the conflict had just 
been hired, yet they displayed a coherent understanding of 
the facts on the ground.  The NSC reported that current 
statistics showed 14 missing Georgian soldiers and 326 
Georgians killed (154 military, 155 civilian and 17 police). 
The primary cause of death was shelling, bombing and 
landmines.  The NSC had few reports of other crimes, saying 
that because of stigmas, there was only one report of rape 
and that the numbers of abductions depend on whether one 
counts abductions that were for the purpose of negotiation 
and exchange of prisoners.  Williamson recounted his 
experiences in the former Yugoslavia, explaining that Serb 
forces would often surround an area and allow paramilitary 
forces to destroy villages.  The NSC responded that this same 
tactic was being used on Georgian villages in South Ossetia; 
there was a Russian policy to allow time for looting before 
taking villages.  Bolstering the ethnic cleansing claim, NSC 
officials reported that the Russians had threatened Georgians 
in Akhalgori with forced departure if they did not accept 
Russian passports.  The NSC told Williamson that it had 
registered 127,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), but 
41,000 had already returned.  Their estimates show that at a 
minimum, 20,000 IDPs will most likely never be able to return 
to their homes.  Williamson complimented NSC officials on 
their data collection and analysis, saying that their ability 
to collect data under the circumstances and with no advanced 
planning was impressive.  He added that evidence collection 
must be a priority and that hopefully monitoring missions 
would include specialists who could help document crimes. 
 
Governor of Gori 
 
15.  (C) Ambassador Williamson visited Gori and met with 
Governor Vladimir Vardzelashvili.  Still shaken by recent 
events, Vardzelashvili described violence by Russian forces 
and the situation on the ground.  When asked about looters, 
Vardzelashvili claimed looters were Russian, because locals 
would have identified South Ossetians.  Williamson reiterated 
U.S. support for investigating abuses and toured the city, 
visiting affected areas. 
 
16.  (U) This cable was cleared by Ambassador Williamson. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1689, RUSSIAN CHECKPOINTS STILL PRESENT, POTENTIALLY

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. #08TBILISI1689.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1689 2008-09-24 14:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0605
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1689/01 2681457
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241457Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0137
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0114

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001689 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/24/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR RU GG
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN CHECKPOINTS STILL PRESENT, POTENTIALLY 
DESTABILIZING 
 
REF: TBILISI 1654 (NOTAL) 
 
Classified By: DCM Kent Logsdon for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  According to the Georgian 
National Security Council (NSC), 13 Russian checkpoints 
remain on undisputed Georgian territory as of September 23 -- 
6 in western Georgia and 7 in the east, outside South 
Ossetia, along with 1 supply base in the west and 1 
communications center in the east.  The total number of 
Russian servicemen staffing the points is about 1,620, with 
units near South Ossetia generally larger, although frequent 
movement of forces makes precise figures for individual 
points difficult.  Equipment in Georgia proper includes 4 
tanks, 219 armored vehicles, 4 helicopter landing pads, and 1 
anti-aircraft system.  NSC staff characterized the western 
points as designed to control the Enguri Dam and those in the 
east as more mobile, with large numbers of elite paratrooper 
units at various points and 150 armored vehicles at 
Megvrekisi just south of Tskhinvali.  Post notes that the 
presence of any Russian forces on undisputed Georgian 
territory threatens stability, as extremely limited contact 
between Russian and Georgian forces, even in close quarters, 
make any incident or misunderstanding a potential flashpoint. 
 In addition, Russian attempts to control the Enguri Dam 
could result in the cut off of hydroelectric power to Georgia 
from the dam (reftel) which could cause immediate energy 
shortages.  End summary and comment. 
 
2. (SBU) NSC staff offered a briefing on Russian checkpoints 
to the diplomatic corps at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 
September 23.  Based on visits to 12 of 16 checkpoints open 
through September 18 (three have since closed), the 
presentation included basic information about the 
checkpoints, summarized below.  The presentation also 
highlighted that the existence of these checkpoints violated 
point 5 of the August 12 cease-fire agreement on the 
withdrawal of both sides to pre-war positions.  The blocking 
of access to humanitarian relief providers through these 
checkpoints violated point 3 of the agreement.  In addition, 
the presentation suggested that the presence of Russian 
forces contributed to general insecurity, listing cases of 
killings, looting, theft, kidnapping, as well as, harassment 
and ethnic cleansing of Georgian civilians on territory 
controlled by Russian forces.  According to NSC staff, much 
of the information was collected through personal visits of 
NSC staff to the checkpoints, although in some cases, Russian 
forces did not allow any access to the checkpoint.  During 
these visits, the NSC staff identified themselves as 
journalists. 
 
3. (SBU) The information provided below derives from the 
NSC's presentation, unless otherwise noted. 
 
THE CHECKPOINTS 
 
4. (SBU) Western Georgia.  As of September 23, the following 
points remain in western Georgia: Anaklia, Ganmukhuri (both 
in Zugdidi District), Potskho, Khoko (both in Tsalenjikha 
District), Kanti (between Tsalenjikha and Chkorotskhu 
Districts), and Chkorotskhu (in Chkorotskhu District).  In 
addition there is a supply base in Onaria, near Zugdidi. 
Anaklia, Ganmukhuri, Potskho and Khoko are all converted CIS 
Peacekeepers checkpoints; Kanti and Chkorotoskhu are new, 
established after August 13, 2008.  One between Mujava and 
Chale closed on September 22, after the NSC conducted their 
visits.  NSC staff noted that the location of these points 
generally suggested an intent to maintain control of the 
Enguri Dam, which is located outside the administrative 
boundary of Abkhazia, and provides hydroelectric power to 
Georgia. 
 
5. (SBU) South of South Ossetia.  As of September 23, the 
following points remain south of South Ossetia: Perevi (in 
Sachkere District), Ptsa (in Kareli District), Variani, 
Karaleti, Ergneti, Megvrekisi-Bhrotsleti (all in Gori 
District), and Odzisi (on the administrative border between 
Mtskheta and Akhalgori Districts).  In addition there is a 
communications center near Shavshebi.  All these points were 
established after August 13, 2008.  One checkpoint at Ali 
closed on September 21, and one at Jvari Pass closed about 
the same time.  NSC staff noted that all of these points were 
minutes away from the east-west highway and could therefore 
be used to shut down the primary east-west transportation 
route. 
 
6. (C) Post notes one discrepancy on the map provided by the 
NSC.  According to the OSCE and sensitive sources, the 
communications center at Shavshebi is on a mountain ridge 
south of the main east-west highway.  (This checkpoint is 
 
TBILISI 00001689  002 OF 002 
 
 
referred to in some reports as Natsreti; the villages of 
Shavshebi and Natsreti are close together, quite close to the 
highway, and the Russian presence is near both.)  On the NSC 
map, however, the Shavsebi communications center is located 
north of the highway.  Sensitive sources note that Russian 
vehicle
s regularly use the main highway to travel to and from 
this location. 
 
7. (SBU) NSC staff observed all points except Ptsa, 
Megvrekisi, Ergneti and Odzisi, to which they were denied 
access to by Russian forces or to which they could not gain 
access for security reasons. 
 
8. (SBU) NSC staff also noted that in many cases, a Georgian 
police checkpoint was present close to, and often in sight of 
the Russian checkpoints. 
 
STAFFING, EQUIPMENT, AND CONCERNS 
 
9. (SBU) In general, the NSC staff noted that checkpoints in 
western Georgia had smaller, platoon-size units (between 20 
and 60, with Kanti having 100 servicemen), while those south 
of South Ossetia had larger, company-size units (about 100 
troops each).  Most in the west had 3-6 armored personnel 
carriers (APCs), while most in the east had about 7 
paratrooper armored vehicles (BMDs); exact numbers were 
difficult to establish, because not all vehicles are visible 
from positions safe for the observers (such as the road). 
Megvrekisi was the major exception; NSC staff estimated it 
had 150 armored vehicles, serving as a hub for troop 
movements among points outside South Ossetia.  Onaria had 4 
tanks, 4 APCs and 150 servicemen; Shavshebi had 20 
servicemen.  Anaklia, Potskho, Perevi, and Odzisi all had 
helicopter landing pads; Khoko had an anti-aircraft system. 
 
10. (SBU) The NSC also noted some specific concerns.  South 
Ossetian forces reportedly cross into undisputed Georgian 
territory and visit the checkpoint at Perevi on a regular 
basis.  The commander of the Ptsa checkpoint is reportedly 
ethnically Ossetian.  At a number of checkpoints, snipers are 
regularly present. 
 
RUSSIAN AND GEORGIAN (NON-)COMMUNICATION 
 
11. (SBU) In response to a question, NSC staff suggested that 
Georgian and Russian forces have extremely limited direct 
contact.  In those cases where Russian and Georgian forces 
are in sight of each other, they will occasionally 
communicate through visible signals, but they did not 
communicate on even this basic level if snipers were present 
on the Russian side for fear of being misinterpreted.  OSCE 
sources have told post that Russian commanders do provide 
information about troop movements directly to senior Georgian 
officials, but that is the only regular avenue of direct 
contact between Russia and Georgia on the status of the 
checkpoints.  The OSCE also said that, in the case of 
incidents (such as the recent shooting at Karaleti), 
lower-level Russian and Georgian officials may exchange 
information, but only on a limited basis. 
 
COMMENT: REAL POTENTIAL FOR PROBLEMS 
 
12. (C) The lack of regular contact and coordination between 
Russian and Georgian officials renders a tense situation 
potentially explosive.  With large numbers of armed personnel 
and substantial military equipment on both sides, any 
accident, provocative act or even rumor could spark renewed 
conflict.  Recent killings of Georgian police officers in 
Karaleti, Ganmukhuri and Khurcha, along with the downing of a 
Russian drone September 22, demonstrate that serious 
incidents can and will happen.  Post has urged the Georgian 
side to show restraint, and OSCE and UNOMIG monitors have 
moved quickly to respond to reports of incidents to prevent 
escalation.  Until Russian troops withdraw completely from 
undisputed Russian territory, however, the possibility for 
real trouble remains.  End comment. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1620, GEORGIA: YOUR MEETING WITH PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI

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. #08TBILISI1620.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1620 2008-09-22 05:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #1620/01 2660557
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 220557Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0121
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 8209
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4688

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001620 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR THE SECRETARY FROM THE AMBASSADOR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/19/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG RU
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: YOUR MEETING WITH PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI 
AT UNGA 
 
REF: TBILISI 1602 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (b) AND (d). 
 
1.  (C)  In your meeting with President Saakashvili on the 
margins of the UN General Assembly you will find a leader who 
is newly focused on the concept of strategic patience.  He is 
circling his wagons around several key objectives: 
reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and Georgia's 
economy; maintenance of public support and confidence in him 
and his government; avoidance of any actions that would lead 
to long-term negative consequences for conflict resolution in 
a way that would threaten Georgia's territorial integrity; 
and accession to NATO.  He and his key ministers have told me 
and Matt Bryza that they will wait out the current crisis in 
order to find constructive ways to insure Georgia's 
territorial integrity. 
 
2.  (C)  Saakashvili told us on September 14 that he 
preferred to be patient in view of Russia's current dominant 
negotiating position.  He wanted to make sure that Georgia, 
in its haste to end the conflict, did not make commitments 
that would endanger territorial integrity in the future (as 
he believes Shevardnadze did by signing the infamous Moscow 
agreement on Abkhazia in 1994).  Saakashvili predicted that 
the political situation in Russia would change and that 
Georgia was prepared if necessary to wait for a more 
favorable climate.  In your meeting, you can encourage this 
new-found patience for resolving the conflicts with a strong 
commitment of continued U.S. and European support for Georgia 
and its territorial integrity. 
 
3.  (C)  One of the areas on which we need to continue to 
press President Saakashvili is making progress on deepening 
and institutionalizing democratic reform.  This will help 
with NATO, while warding off potential Russian efforts to 
undermine his regime.  In his September 14 State of the 
Country address to Parliament, he committed to launch a new 
wave of reforms (reftel):  strengthening Parliament, 
establishing free and impartial media, promoting free and 
unbiased courts, limiting executive powers, and protecting 
private property.  Saakashvili made a good point in his 
speech that in the face of crisis, he wanted to broaden and 
deepen Georgian democracy, not tighten up in the name of 
security.  It is important that he follow through on these 
permanent real adjustments to enhance Georgia's democracy. 
If he does, he can both impress the Europeans as well as 
reassure his American supporters that he remains a true 
democrat. 
 
4.  (C)  Saakashvili's political opponents here have become 
increasingly vocal in calling for an accounting of his 
actions during the war.  Some are already calling for his 
resignation and new elections.  Although they are 
well-covered in the press, the opposition continues to be 
divided and without much of a common program beyond disliking 
Saakashvili.  Recent polling by a reputable U.S. company 
supports the view that Saakashvili and his Government 
continue to be popular in Georgian society as a whole -- 
although key Saakashvili advisors have confided that they 
know this popularity could be short-lived this winter if he 
does not focus on domestic political and economic issues now. 
 While Russian troops remain in the country, Saakashvili will 
continue to be strong politically.  Georgian popular hatred 
of Russians continues to dominate the political scene here. 
 
5.  (C)  The biggest challenge that you may face in your 
meeting with President Saakashvili will be to keep him on 
track for the October 15 meeting in Geneva.  Matt and I told 
Saakashvili that the assistance Georgia needs - both economic 
and in moving closer to NATO - will depend on reassuring key 
policymakers in Europe that Georgia is working in good faith 
on the issues relevant to the conflicts.  The Foreign 
Minister told us that Georgia had no expectation that the 
Geneva talks would lead anywhere, but Georgia needs to ensure 
the processes developed in the talks will lead ultimately to 
Georgia's long-term survival.  After coming close to losing 
all of the gains made since the Rose Revolution, the Georgian 
leadership understands the existential threat it faces from 
Russia. 
 
6.  (C)  During the meeting, Saakashvili will seek from you 
assurances that the United States will take the lead on 
developing penalties for those conducting business in either 
South Ossetia or Abkhazia - something that we are working on 
with the Georgian authorities.  You will want to encourage 
Georgia not to jeopardize its NATO aspirations by appearing 
to be obstructionist in Geneva -- he needs to understand that 
the international community will support Georgia as long as 
 
it plays a constructive role.  The United States will not 
urge Georgia to sign an agreement prematurely.  We need to 
work together closely to keep the separatists isolated and to 
shine a spotlight on Russian efforts to undermine Georgia's 
territorial integrity permanently. 
 
7. (C) Georg
ia is arguing now that Russia is unwilling either 
to protect human rights or to allow the investigation of 
possible serious crimes in the conflict zones as well as in 
the occupied territories in Georgia proper behind Russian 
checkpoints.  During his visit to Tbilisi, Matt and I 
discussed with senior Georgian officials a strategy of 
pushing for the protection of human rights in the 
territories, including those of IDPs - and the introduction 
of new international (non-Russian) peacekeepers to do it. 
Although Russia will balk, the Europeans will not question 
the importance of protecting human rights.  If Saakashvili is 
completely forthcoming in cooperating with human rights 
investigators - even if they uncover some problems on the 
Georgian side - that openness could further isolate Russia 
and keep Europe squarely behind Georgia's future and 
territorial integrity. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1608, GEORGIA: GOVERNMENT CONFIDENT OF PUBLIC SUPPORT

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. #08TBILISI1608.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1608 2008-09-19 07:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6439
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1608/01 2630703
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 190703Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0111
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001608 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND GCG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: GOVERNMENT CONFIDENT OF PUBLIC SUPPORT 
AND OPPOSITION NOT UNITED ON MUCH 
 
REF: A) TBILISI 1525 B) TBILISI 1602 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1. (C) Introduction and Comment: Tbilisi Mayor and 
Saakashvili insider Gigi Ugulava told the Ambassador that 
polling data indicates that Saakashvili and his Government 
enjoy broad public support, but noted that the Government 
needed to use the next 12-18 months to focus on 
rehabilitation and reconstruction in the country in order to 
ensure stability.  In Ugulava's view, Saakashvili needed to 
stay focused on domestic issues and reassure the public by 
giving them realistic expectations of what would be ahead. 
On the opposition's side of the fence, smaller opposition 
parties signed on to the government-sponsored Charter of 
Georgian Politicians, but four key groups refused to sign 
touting the agreement as no more than government propoganda 
to shirk responsibility for its actions during the crisis. 
The Charter envisages a joint anti-crisis commission, whose 
role remains unclear although President Saakashvili in his 
September 16 state of the union address called for the group 
to have an implementing role in supporting IDPs.  The New 
Rightists, Republicans, Labor, and the United Opposition 
(UNC) parties all refused to sign, leaving them free to 
publicly criticize government actions during the conflict. 
Upon her return from the United States, Nino Burjanadze did 
not sign the Charter because, according to her, "it was not a 
serious document."  She instead called for a transparent 
analysis of the government's actions during the crisis. 
 
2. (C) Ugulava -- buoyed by recent polling results -- 
believed that the government enjoys broad public support and 
made a compelling case for the stability of Saakashvili's 
government, at least for now.  The opposition seems intent on 
gaining political advantage from the current crisis, and is 
seeking ways to reestablish its credibility with voters after 
being soundly defeated in the presidential and parliamentary 
elections.  Whether it is seeking to shore up its public 
support or is worried about the chorus of critical opposition 
voices, the government has taken a step towards involving the 
opposition in governance by inviting opposition members to 
sit down with key MPs and international observers.  In his 
9/16 address to the Parliament (reftel B), the President 
called for important reforms to Georgia's democracy.  On the 
opposition's side, the four larger parties, by not signing 
the Charter, have turned down the opportunity to engage with 
the government and are sticking with their thus far, 
unsuccessful strategy -- gaining popular support, and 
eventually political power, based on a purely 
anti-Saakashvili platform.  Some, including the Republicans, 
may feel they have been burned during negotiations with the 
government in past, and likely believe the government will 
not grant the Commission any real authority.  Others, such as 
Labor, see no benefit to dealing with the government at all. 
And some, like former Speaker Nino Burjanadze, are still 
flirting with the idea of opposing Saakashvili.  While the 
government faces the very real challenges of managing its 
response to the current crisis, we fully expect these 
opposition figures to continue to be the Government's 
fiercest critics and seek political advantages wherever they 
can find them.  Whether they can translate these advantages 
into popular support remains to be seen.  End Introduction 
and Comment. 
 
Saakashvili Confidante Tells the Ambassador That the 
Government Enjoys Popular Support 
 
3.  (C)  During an August 10 meeting with the Ambassador and 
DCM, Government insider and Saakashvili confidante Tbilisi 
Mayor Giorgi Ugulava provided some interesting insights on 
the domestic scene.  Ugulava started out by noting that the 
polling commissioned by the Government from Greenberg, 
Quinlan, Rosner research had concluded that President 
Saakashvili needed to focus on domestic issues, specifically 
reconstruction and rehabilitation.  He said that Rossner,s 
polls and focus groups showed that Georgians are now 
concerned about social and economic issues, and the upcoming 
winter, not the international scene.  In general, Saakashvili 
and the Government enjoyed high approval ratings and 
Rossner,s polling found that there was a strong sense of 
unity among Georgians that was translating into support for 
the Government.  Fifty-seven percent of respondents believed 
that the Russians or Russian PM Vladimir Putin were 
responsible for the war compared to 18 percent who held 
President Saakashvili responsible.  Interior Minister 
Merabishvili had the highest rating of any minister in the 
Government.  (Note: Rosner's polling sent via email to 
EUR/CARC.) 
 
 
TBILISI 00001608  002 OF 003 
 
 
4.  (C)  With regard to the opposition, Rosner,s polls found 
that support and sympathy for the opposition had plummeted. 
The demands of several opposition politicians that 
Saakashvili and the Government step down had been m
et with 
anger by the population.  In the popular view, the opposition 
demands would lead to instability and a catastrophe for the 
country.  According to Ugulava, the opposition had no basis 
in popular opinion upon which to argue for a change in 
government. 
 
5.  (C)  The focus groups uncovered important differences 
between regions.  Tbilisi voters noted that although the war 
had been lost, Georgia had won in the battle for 
international support.  On the other hand, Gori residents 
were more angry and expressed great hate for the Ossetians. 
However, regardless of region, Rosner,s data showed a strong 
sense of unity in support of Georgia and the Government. 
Ugulava acknowledged that this sense of unity was temporary 
and that the Government would have to continue to work hard 
to maintain support.  In Ugulava,s view, people were worried 
that the end of the conflict could bring a return to the 
conditions of 1993 following the Abkhaz War when the economy 
collapsed and the Government was unable to respond.  This 
time, the Government had succeeded in restoring "normalcy' 
very quickly.  This was taking place even in Gori as the 
Government pushed ahead with making repairs and 
rehabilitating damaged buildings and infrastructure.  With 
regard to the IDPs, Ugulava said that "they blame Russia for 
everything."  As soon as the IDPs left the Tskhinvali area, 
they understood that Russia was openly pushing for regime 
change. 
 
6.  (C)  With regard to the issue of who started the 
conflict, Ugulava said that this was not an important 
domestic issue -- he believed people were not interested. 
However, he acknowledged that people here were asking why the 
Government didn,t know what the Russian reaction to Georgian 
actions in South Ossetia would be and that was a concern for 
the Government.  Ugulava said that the Government was making 
the argument to the population that they had no choice but to 
engage to protect the Georgian population in the villages of 
South Ossetia.  He also admitted that there had been an 
assumption in the Government that Tskhinvali could have been 
held, but only if the international community had defended 
Georgia,s actions immediately.  (The conversation with 
Ugulava took place before the New York Times' publication of 
its 9/16 article on Georgian intercepts showing Russian armor 
moving through the Roki Tunnel before Georgia commenced its 
attack on Tskhinvali.) 
 
7.  (C)  When asked about the possibility of political 
changes, Ugulava said that there was no push for a change or 
for a Government reshuffle -- and the Rossner polling 
supported this.  The opposition,s call for new elections was 
unpopular, because it was associated with rallies, 
demonstrations and instability.  The opposition statements 
calling for the Government,s resignation were "scaring 
people" and interpreted as a challenge to Georgia,s unified 
anti-Russian stance.   He suggested that the opposition had 
only its small group of supporters in the Vake region of 
Tbilisi as a sounding board and they were out of touch with 
the rest of the country.  In his view, Nino Burjanadze was 
not serious and did not have enough support. "She needs to 
show the public that she is serious competition, but she has 
no discipline."  Ugulava noted that her decision to get the 
Government to approve the sale of a large home to her for one 
lari (as she was leaving Government) made her vulnerable 
politically. 
 
8.  (C)  Ugulava suggested that it was important for the 
political elite to stay united behind the Government in order 
to reassure Ministers who were insecure about their futures. 
With regard to the business elite, Ugulava said that they 
were concerned about mortgage and banking problems.  They saw 
Saakashvili as the guarantor of stability and reform and they 
would continue to support him. 
 
The Charter of Georgian Politicians 
 
9. (SBU) Given the strong popular support enjoyed by 
President Saakashvili and the Government, the decision to 
reach out to the opposition appears to have been made partly 
in response to international concerns about the health of 
civil society and partly in an effort to bring some of the 
Government's harshest critics back into a dialogue.  All of 
the opposition politicians who participated in reftel 
discussions to form an anti-crisis coalition readily agreed 
to the first three tenets of the Charter, namely: 
territorial integrity, NATO membership and EU integration, 
 
TBILISI 00001608  003 OF 003 
 
 
and that all protests should take place by constitutional 
means.  However, there was disagreement among the parties on 
the fourth clause, which states that the government will 
undertake democratic reforms and form an anti-crisis 
commission.  Due to this fourth clause, the United National 
Council, Republican Party, the Labor Party, and New Rightists 
all refused to sign the charter.  Kakha Kukava, co-leader of 
the Conservative Party said it was yet another propaganda 
move by the authorities, adding that "the real opposition" 
would not accept it.  One member of Parliament from the 
ruling United National Movement (UNM) suggested in an 
informal discussion with Poloff that the charter was mostly 
for show.  This MP suggested that it would help prevent any 
drastic moves by the Opposition -- at least until Russian 
forces depart undisputed Georgian territory.  (Comment: This 
conversation was separate from the consultations, and the MP 
was not a key member of the UNM.  End comment.)  Some 
oppositionists believed the government could tout this 
Commission as an example of engaging the opposition without 
actually doing so, could prove to be a distraction from 
legitimate criticism of the government. 
 
10. (SBU) On September 5, the Charter was signed by: 
 
David Bakradze - Speaker of the Parliament, United National 
Movement (UNM) 
Mikheil Machavariani - First Vice Speaker of the Parliament, 
UNM 
Giorgi Targamadze - Leader of the Parliament Minority, 
Chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement (CDM) 
Levan Vepkhadze - Vice Speaker of the Parliament, General 
Secretary of CDM 
Bachuki Kardava - Chairman of the National Democratic Party 
Zurab Tkemaladze - Chairman of the Industrialists 
Paata Davitaia - Chairman of On Our Own (Abkhaz refugees 
political party) 
Jondi Bagaturia - Chairman of Georgia Troupe 
Gia Tortladze - Independent MP, Chairman of Parliament 
opposition faction 
Gia Tsagareishvili - Independent MP, member of the Parliament 
Minority 
 
11. (SBU) Speaker Bakradze declared the document "open for 
joining" until September 8, 2008, and called on other parties 
to join.  As of September 12, 2008, no other parties had 
joined, and the non-signatory parties were drafting their own 
parallel charter.  Koba Davitashvili, the Chairman of the 
Party of People and member of the United Opposition, and 
Marina Muskhelishvili from Georgia's Way (both members of the 
United Op
position) attended the consultations, but have not 
yet signed.  It is also unclear whether Konstantine 
Gamsakhurdia, leader of the Freedom Party, will sign. 
 
12.  (C)  Although she would not bring a huge electoral 
following with her, well-respected former Speaker of 
Parliament Nino Burjanadze is publicly flirting with the 
opposition and is considering her next move (additional info 
septel).  Upon her return from a visit to the United States, 
she told the press that she "would not sign the Charter, as 
it is a declaration of obvious principles and not a serious 
document."  Rather she said, only after the commission 
releases its findings will she announce her position on 
government responsibility for the crisis and whether she 
would support Gamkrelidze's and Natelashvili's recent calls 
for Saakashvili's resignation.  She defended her actions by 
saying the country needs transparent analysis of the crisis 
now and that difficult questions should not be prohibited. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1603, REQUEST FOR U.S. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE IN GEORGIAN

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. #08TBILISI1603.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1603 2008-09-18 05:37 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #1603 2620537
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180537Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0106

UNCLAS TBILISI 001603 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL EWWT PARM GG
SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR U.S. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE IN GEORGIAN 
SALVAGE OPERATIONS IN POTI 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION. 
 
1. (U)  This is an action request.  Please see paragraph 5. 
 
2.  (SBU)  During the August 2008 conflict between Russian 
and Georgia, Russian air and ground forces inflicted 
significant damage to the military and coast guard side of 
the port in Poti.  Several vessels were attacked by Russian 
air forces, short range ballistic missiles and ground forces 
employing explosives.  Many of these vessels were scuttled at 
their piers and a few are partially submerged in the harbor. 
The scuttled vessels are a significant obstacle to the 
resumption of normal operations by the Georgian coast guard 
and navy. 
 
3.  (SBU)  The Georgian Border Guards and the Georgian 
Ministry of Defense have formally request for USG assistance 
in removing their vessels from the water.  The Ministry of 
Defense will scrap the navy vessels that have been destroyed. 
 The Border Guards intend to salvage and repair one of their 
three vessels that was scuttled pier side and they intend to 
remove spare parts from the other two. 
 
4.  (SBU)  The navy vessels that were sunk or destroyed in 
the port are the Tbilisi (302), Dioskulia (303), the 
Tskaltubo (101), and the hydrographic vessel (082).  The 
Georgian coast guard vessels that were sunk or destroyed in 
the port are the P-204, P-205, and the Ayeti.  The coast 
guard intends to repair only the Ayeti. 
 
5.  (SBU)  Action Request.  Post understands that the PCC is 
supportive of Georgian requests for possible U.S. assistance 
with salvage operations.  Therefore, post supports this 
request and asks that the Department approach the Department 
of Defense and U.S. Naval Forces Europe to consider a 
positive response to this request by sending the requisite 
support to Poti in order to assist in the removal of these 
damaged vessels from their pier locations. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1602, GEORGIA: SAAKASHVILI’S STATE OF THE COUNTRY ADDRESS

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. #08TBILISI1602.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1602 2008-09-17 14:52 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4836
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1602/01 2611452
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171452Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0104
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0112

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001602 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/2018 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SAAKASHVILI'S STATE OF THE COUNTRY ADDRESS 
 
REF: TBILISI 1494 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
 1. (C)  Summary and Comment.  President Saakashvili's 
September 16 state of the nation included concessions to the 
opposition, proposals to check executive power, and measures 
to increase judicial freedom and open media.  Parliamentary 
opposition members said that most of the proposals were not 
new to them, having been discussed earlier in the summer; 
however, many withheld judgment until they could see the 
details of the reforms.  Public reaction to Saakashvili's 
speech was positive and optimistic and many thought that it 
set the appropriate tone for unity during difficult times. 
The timing of the speech directly followed the departure of 
NATO Ambassadors from their two day visit to Tbilisi and 
Saakashvili previewed its main message of a new wave of 
democratic and judicial reforms at a meeting with NATO SYG de 
Hoop Scheffer and NATO Permreps the day before.  The speech 
is one way that Saakashvili is trying to  reassure NATO and 
the West that he understands that continued assistance and 
support also depends on further democratic reforms. 
Saakashvili is also eager to showcase democratic and judicial 
progress in order to increase Georgia's chance for a NATO MAP 
and eventual membership.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
Misha Promises Reform 
--------------------- 
 
2.  (C) On September 16, President Saakashvili delivered his 
annual state of the nation address to Parliament in which he 
announced the launch of a new wave of democratic reforms. 
The speech directly followed the September 15-16 meetings of 
the North Atlantic Council in Tbilisi.  In fact, the 
President announced the speech during his discussion with the 
visiting North Atlantic Council permreps.  The new reforms 
will be aimed at strengthening Parliament, establishing free 
and impartial media, promoting free and unbiased courts, 
limiting executive powers, and protecting private property. 
His remarks focused on Georgian unity, thanking NATO, the EU, 
France, the countries of Eastern Europe, Germany, and 
particularly the United States for standing by Georgia in its 
time of need, and outlining needed reforms. 
 
3.  (C)  Among Saakashvili's suggestions were concessions 
which would strengthen the power of the opposition, limit 
Presidential powers, hold a public accounting of his 
decisions during the events of August, and create greater 
judicial reform.  He said it was important to include 
opposition members in an Anti-Crisis Council, and also 
proposed increasing funding for political parties (including 
restoring funding for those parties not currently in the 
Parliament), and televising debates to gauge public opinion. 
In an attempt to curb executive powers, a 
presidentially-proposed new constitutional amendment would 
allow the Parliament to pass a confidence vote in the new 
cabinet and limit the President's power to dissolve 
Parliament.  Saakashvili acknowledged that questions 
regarding the events of August need to be addressed, and in 
this vein, supports parliamentary debates to establish ground 
truth and explain his actions.  Finally, he plans to ensure 
more judicial transparency, by making judges' tenure a 
life-time appointment and passing the Criminal Procedure Code 
which would ensure a trial by jury. 
 
Opposition Members' Impressions 
------------------------------- 
 
4.  (U)  United National Movement members said that they 
found Saakashvili's remarks positive with concrete 
suggestions.  Opposition member and Vice-Speaker of the 
Parliament Levan Vepkhvadze said that two thirds of the 
initiatives had been agreed upon already so there were no 
surprises.  Giorgi Tsagareishvili cited the need for amending 
the law on broadcasting which will legalize free debates on 
the Georgian Public Broadcasting Channel (GPB), while Giorgi 
Targamadze pointed out the minuses of the speech:  neither 
mention of electoral code reform nor strengthening local 
government.  He added, however, that the Christian Democrats 
would support these reforms, as long as they are fully 
implemented.  Targamadze stressed the importance of 
independent courts.  Levan Gachechalidze from the United 
Opposition and Davit Usupashvili from the Republican Party 
both said President Saakashvili's speech was cosmetic and 
they are withholding judgment until they see if the reforms 
are implemented.  Both went on to say that these changes have 
been promised in the past, but were never brought to 
fruition.  The Christian Democrats and the Republican party 
stressed the need for strengthening the independence and 
freedom of the press.  Nino Burdjanadze said she felt the 
 
TBILISI 00001602  002 OF 002 
 
 
speech was quite good and addressed the issues most needing 
reform.  She added, however, that the reforms must be 
implemented properly. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1596, GEORGIA: SITREP 32: RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS

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. #08TBILISI1596.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1596 2008-09-16 15:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3993
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1596/01 2601536
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161536Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0100
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0109

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001596 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR GEORGIA MONITORING GROUP AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 32: RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS 
DISSEMINATED OVER ABKHAZIA 
 
REF: TBILISI 1571 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1. (C)  Summary.  UNOMIG observers reported a Russian 
propaganda campaign in Abkhazia.  OSCE observers said that 
they have access to the Russian "buffer zone," but still have 
no access beyond the former administrative border into South 
Ossetia (with the exception of Mission Head Hakala's 
September 15 meeting in Tskhinvali with Russian FM Lavrov). 
Nino Burjanadze invited several opposition politicians, 
including one who was demanding her resignation six months 
ago, to her office to discuss ideas about overcoming the 
crisis.  Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze and NATO 
Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer signed a document 
establishing a NATO-Georgian Commission.  The Georgian 
Government submitted a budgetary amendment to the Parliament 
for consideration of the increase in expenditures.  The 
Minister of Health and Deputy Ministers of Internal Affairs 
and Defense reported the final data regarding Georgian 
government casualties during the Russian aggression.  The 
press reported that an elderly man was shot in the head by 
Russian soldiers after their military vehicle hit him while 
he was on a bicycle.  Russian soldiers withdrew from five 
major checkpoints in western Georgia, near Poti, Senaki and 
Zugdidi, but reportedly remain in villages in the Tsalemjikha 
district of the Samegrelo region, northeast of Zugdidi.  End 
Summary. 
 
LEAFLETS OVER GALI, NEW CHECKPOINT IN ABKHAZIA 
 
2.  (C)  UNOMIG observers reported that on September 15 at 
1145 one Mi-24 and one Mi-8 helicopter dropped four leaflets 
over the Georgian enclave of Gali in Abkhazia.  The leaflets, 
all in Russian, were propaganda against President Saakashvili 
and the United States.  One of the leaflets contained 
statements from European officials negating the possibility 
of Georgia's entry into NATO and another was from 
Russo-Georgian groups within Russia calling for regime change 
in Tbilisi.  On the same day, UNOMIG observers noted a new 
Russian checkpoint near Muzhava, on the Georgian side, close 
to the Enguri Dam.  Four Russians BTRs (armored personnel 
carriers) were noted driving up and down the streets of 
Muzhava, making local residents hesitant to send their 
children to school for fear of their safety. 
 
3.  (SBU) National Security Council Chairman Lomaia told 
visiting EUR DAS Bryza that Russian soldiers withdrew from 
five major checkpoints in western Georgia, near Poti, Senaki 
and Zugdidi, but reportedly remain in villages in the 
Tsalemjikha district of the Samegrelo region, northeast of 
Zugdidi.  Deputy Special Representative of the 
Secretary-General for Georgia (UNOMIG) Ivo Petrov told 
visiting NAC permreps that UNOMIG is now conducting weekly 
visits to the Kodori and assessing the situation. 
 
OSCE:  GEORGIANS HARASSED BY OSSETIANS 
 
4.  (C)  OSCE observer Hekki Lehtonen said that observers 
have access to the Russian "buffer zone" but still have no 
access beyond the former administrative border into South 
Ossetia.  Observers reported that on September 15, residents 
from the Georgian enclave of Eredvi had taken a bus into 
South Ossetian territory, where three Ossetians armed with 
knives had beaten up the bus driver and smashed windows in 
the bus.  The bus driver was taken to hospital in Gori.  In 
the Georgian village of Koshka, Ossetians had attempted to 
steal a Georgian's vehicle from in front of his house. 
Lehtonen said that many Georgians return to work their fields 
in South Ossetia by day, but always return by dusk to Gori. 
Lehtonen's assessment was that residents in the villages of 
Karaleti and Variani were feeling more secure now, but in the 
villages further north, Georgians continue to be afraid of 
Ossetian harassment. 
 
5.  (C)  In a September 16 meeting with NATO Permreps, OSCE 
Head of Mission Terhi Hakala described her September 15 trip 
to Tskhinvali and meeting with Russian FM Lavrov.  She 
reported that she had argued for access to South Ossetia for 
OSCE observers, but that Lavrov would go no further than to 
acknowledge that the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan gave the original 
eight OSCE observers the right to patrol within the former 
conflict zone.  Hakala said that the OSCE monitor office (and 
headquarters of the Economic Development project) in 
Tskhinvali had been looted and was partially damaged; 
however, it was still standing and OSCE local staff were 
continuing to work for the organization. 
 
 
TBILISI 00001596  002 OF 003 
 
 
BURJANADZE MEETS OPPOSITION LEADERS 
 
6. (U)  According to press reports, former Speaker Nino 
Burjanadze invited several opposition politicians, including 
one who was demanding her resignation six months ago, to 
discuss ideas for overcoming the current crisis.  New Rights 
Party leader Davit Gamkrelidze, former presidential candidate &#x
000A;Levan Gachechiladze, Republican Party leader Davit 
Usupashvili, the media and analysts attended the meeting. 
Referring to his previous hunger strike in March outside of 
Burjanadze's office in the Parliament demanding her 
resignation, Gamkrelidze said that he could hardly imagine 
sitting together at the same table with Burjanadze, but the 
current crisis required setting the past aside because regime 
change was necessary.  After the meeting, Gachechiladze also 
demanded Saakashvili's resignation.  Usupashvili also called 
again for Saakashvili's resignation, but believed that even 
with a new President the country could not move forward due 
to the existing Parliament and existing powers of the 
President.  Usupashvili claimed that early Parliamentary 
elections in spring 2009 would be the best way out of the 
crisis, but freedom of media and reform of the election 
system were essential.  Burjanadze was cautious about making 
any demands and agreed to establish a working group. 
 
NATO-GEORGIA COMMISSION INAUGURATED 
 
7. (U)  Georgian Prime Minister Gurgenidze and NATO Secretary 
General de Hoop Scheffer, signed a document establishing a 
NATO-Georgian Commission.  An inaugural session of the 
commission was held following the signing ceremony.  Both 
Gurgenidze and Scheffer called the commission "a milestone" 
in the relations. 
 
BUDGETARY AMENDMENTS PROPOSED 
 
8. (U)  According to press reports, the Georgian government 
has submitted a budgetary amendment to the Parliament that 
would increase expenditures by GEL 255,400,000 (approximately 
USD 178,600,000).  The amendment will reflect an additional 
inflow of GEL 340 million (approximately USD 237,760,000) in 
foreign grants as part of aid from donor organizations and 
governments.  The amendment will also aim to cut funding from 
some ministries and redirect them to reconstruction efforts. 
The bulk of the additional funding, GEL 150 million 
(approximately USD 104,900,000), would go to the Ministry of 
Defense.  An additional GEL 107,500,000 (approximately USD 75 
million) would fund a housing program for IDPs.  GEL 100 
million (approximately USD 70 million) would be allocated to 
the Ministry of Interior.  GEL 35 million (approximately USD 
24.5 million) will be allocated for infrastructure 
development projects in Tbilisi.  GEL 21.5 million 
(approximately USD 15 million) would be allocated for the 
grape harvest to subsidize additional grape prices sold by 
farmers.  GEL 16 million (approximately USD 11.2 million) 
would be allocated to the Ministry of Labor, Health, and 
Social Welfare to cover costs of medical treatment of those 
injured in the conflict.  GEL 14 million (approximately USD 
980,000) would be allocated to the Ministry of Education in 
part to help reconstruct schools damaged in the conflict. 
The funding of several ministries would be cut, including the 
Ministry of Energy - GEL 12.2 million; Ministry of Finance - 
GEL 4 million; Ministry of Culture - GEL 3 million; Ministry 
of Foreign Affairs - GEL 1.3 million; Ministry of Environment 
- GEL 1.1 million; funding for Parliament would also be 
reduced by GEL 2 million. 
 
FINAL DATA OF GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT CASUALTIES DURING THE 
RUSSIAN AGGRESSION 
 
9. (U)  According to press reports, the Minister of Health 
and Deputy Ministers of Internal Affairs and Defense reported 
the final data regarding the Georgian government casualties 
during the Russian aggression.  The total number of dead from 
the Georgian side is 372.  Of those, 188 were from the Shida 
Kartli region.  According to the officials, most of the 
causes of death were either from gunshot wounds or from being 
burned.  The Ministry of Internal Affairs lost 16 officers, 
two of whom were killed a few days ago at police checkpoints 
along the Abkhaz border.  Of Ministry of Defense soldiers 
involved in the conflict, 168 were killed and 110 of those 
have been identified.  DNA analysis is being used to 
determine the identities of the remaining soldiers. 
 
RUSSIANS SHOOT 75-YEAR-OLD GEORGIAN AFTER HITTING HIM WITH 
THEIR VEHICLE 
 
10. (U)  According to press reports, a group of Russian 
 
TBILISI 00001596  003 OF 003 
 
 
soldiers were deploying military hardware to the Samegrelo 
region when their military vehicle hit a 75-year-old man 
riding a bicycle.  After the incident, the Russians and the 
man got into an argument.  The Russians then allegedly 
fatally wounded him with a gunshot to the head. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI1595, INSIDE GEORGIA’S MINISTRY FOR REINTEGRATION – NO

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. #08TBILISI1595.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1595 2008-09-16 14:55 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3945
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1595/01 2601455
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161455Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0107
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0098

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001595 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: INSIDE GEORGIA'S MINISTRY FOR REINTEGRATION - NO 
CLEAR PATH FORWARD 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
 1.  (C)  Summary and Comment: In a September 9 meeting with 
poloffs, Deputy Minister for Reintegration David Rakviashvili 
provided both the Ministry's and his own personal insights on 
Georgia's strategy on South Ossetia and Abkhazia. 
Rakviashvili's comments suggested the government does not yet 
have a clear plan or vision moving forward on conflict 
resolution in Abkhazia or South Ossetia.  While quite free 
with his opinions, Rakviashvili is fairly new to his 
position, and he himself made clear that he was offering his 
personal opinions, not necessarily those of the government 
inner circle.  Nevertheless, the fact that he qualified so 
many of his remarks as personal opinion reinforced EmbOffs' 
sense that the government is searching for a strategy.  He 
believed his government should focus on consolidating reforms 
in undisputed Georgian territory and defer resolution of the 
territorial issues.  Rakviashvili's emphasis on developing 
democratic and economic institutions in Georgia proper as the 
key to moving forward seemed to suggest that development at 
home would be a priority, at least in the near term.  End 
Summary and Comment. 
 
MINISTRY'S PRE-HOSTILITY ACTIVITIES 
----------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Rakviashvili began the meeting by explaining some of 
the philosophical underpinnings of the Ministry of 
Reintegration.  Originally called the Ministry for Conflict 
Resolution, the Ministry changed its name in January 2008 to 
reflect a shift in government approach to one of integrating 
not only the disputed territories, but the people of the 
territories as well.  The Ministry's activities of confidence 
and relationship building in the conflict regions 
unfortunately made little progress over the last few years, 
according to Rakviashvili, due mainly to the peacekeeping 
forces who have supported the separatist governments. 
 
3. (C)  Before the outbreak of hostilities on August 7, the 
Ministry's programs in South Ossetia addressed mainly civil 
integration issues and human rights of the ethnic minorities. 
 This work was especially fruitful at the grassroots level 
between farmers and other people with trading links. 
Rakviashvili explained the Ministry was also planning a 
nationwide campaign to encourage tolerance towards minority 
groups. 
 
4. (C) Rakviashvili raised a concern with some western 
(non-U.S.) NGOs operating in Abkhazia.  He claimed that some 
groups charged with promoting inter-ethnic harmony had 
actually done the opposite by separating Georgian and Abkhaz 
children participants and promoting bias and separatism.  He 
indicated an interest in discussing what kinds of programs 
might be more effective in engaging with the local 
communities. 
 
PERSONAL OPINION ON WAR AND ITS OUTCOMES 
---------------------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Rakviashvili surmised that the Russians acted when 
they did due to the increased speed in which the Georgian 
government was internationalizing the conflicts.  He stated 
that the government now needed to evaluate its mistakes and 
answer all questions and criticisms of its actions, even the 
most sensitive.  According to Rakviashvili, the government's 
current vision regarding reintegration is unclear, with all 
previous frameworks now invalid.  He was confident that there 
is no prospect of any future military solution, with the 
priority now on diplomatic efforts. 
 
6. (C) In addition, in his personal opinion, democracy in 
Georgia had been largely "virtual," as most people had no 
direct experience with democracy.  The goal now must be to 
stabilize the democratic system. He suggested that Georgia 
should focus on consolidating its progress in democracy and 
economic development on the territory it controls.  He did 
not go so far as to say that Georgia should adopt the passive 
approach of luring Abkhazia and South Ossetia back into the 
fold by establishing a prosperous and democratic society, 
calling such a scenario naive.  He did suggest, however, 
that, for the time being, Georgia should focus on those areas 
it can control. 
 
7. (C)  One of Rakviashvili's major concerns was the fate of 
the Georgians living in Gali, across the cease-fire line in 
Abkhazia.  According to him, there are many instances of 
human rights violations, and the ability of Gali residents to 
trade with Zugdidi has become limited.  If these people are 
not able to trade freely, they may be forced to leave Gali, 
leading to a new wave of IDPs. 
 
 
TBILISI 00001595  002 OF 002 
 
 
THE FUTURE OF SOUTH OSSETIA AND ABKHAZIA 
---------------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Rakviashvili thought that South Ossetia could be 
reintegrated, if the government provides for the people.   He 
did not regard the conflict with South Ossetia as ethnic in 
origin, as there are 30-
40,000 South Ossetians living in 
Georgia proper, and 30% of South Ossetian families are mixed 
with ethnic Georgians. His top priority was the care of IDPs, 
to include (1) supporting those IDPs who have returned to the 
so-called "buffer zone" behind Russian checkpoints, (2) 
creating educational opportunities and providing social 
benefits to them, and (3) providing benefits for the South 
Ossetians living in Georgia proper.  He stated that Abkhazia 
presents a more difficult challenge, as the Abkhaz leadership 
clans are integrated with Russian and Turkish clans, and that 
all of the Abkhaz leadership hate the Georgians. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks