08TBILISI1506, GEORGIA: SITREP 23: DOMESTIC POLITICIANS BEGIN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1506 2008-09-03 11:14 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4251
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1506/01 2471114
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031114Z SEP 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0019
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0085

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001506 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND TASKFORCE-1 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/03/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 23: DOMESTIC POLITICIANS BEGIN 
TALKS, RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS DEPART 
 
REF: TBILISI 1496 
 
TBILISI 00001506  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1. (C)  Summary.  On September 2 ruling party and opposition 
politicians met to find a way forward on the domestic 
political front that will maintain national unity while 
ensuring the opposition's concerns are not lost.  The 
government sees next steps on the conflicts as the withdrawal 
of Russian forces from undisputed Georgian territory (read 
Georgia proper), the establishment of an EU observer mission, 
and then the replacement of Russian peacekeepers in the 
disputed regions.  The Georgian government has severed 
diplomatic relations with Russia, but will maintain a 
consular presence in Moscow; on September 3 the Russian 
Embassy in Tbilisi will cease most operations.  In a letter 
to Human Rights Watch, the government asserted that its use 
of cluster bombs was limited to military targets near the 
Roki Tunnel.  End Summary. 
 
DOMESTIC POLITICAL ROUNDTABLE 
----------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On September 2 representatives of seven minority and 
opposition parties, plus two independent politicians, met 
with United National Movement representatives, including 
Speaker of Parliament David Bakradze, to try to find 
sufficient common ground to maintain national unity during 
this difficult period while ensuring the opposition's 
concerns are addressed.  International observers, including 
representatives of the EU, the French Embassy, the 
International Republican Institute, and the U.S. Embassy 
attended the meeting.  The ruling party provided a draft 
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with three points: 1) 
Maintain Georgia's territorial integrity; 2) Pursue NATO (and 
later EU) membership for Georgia; and 3) Ensure all protests 
are conducted by constitutional means and "consider the 
national security interests" of the country.  Christian 
Democratic Movement Chairman and Parliamentary Minority 
Leader Giorgi Targamadze noted that the opposition supports 
all three points, but also wants the government to commit to 
democratic reform, including freedom of the media (starting 
with a truly independent weekly talk show on a public 
network) and an improved election code prior to local 
elections.  He did not support early elections in 2009, 
calling such a proposal impractical.  Other opposition 
members, led by Koba Davitashvili, pushed for the creation of 
an Anti-Crisis Commission.  The ruling party countered that 
the MOU is meant to be an agreement on values that would pave 
the way for more concrete cooperation.  The group will meet 
again September 4 to discuss a revised draft, with a fourth 
point covering Targamadze and Davitashvili's concerns. 
 
BOKERIA OUTLINES NEXT STEPS 
--------------------------- 
 
3. (U) In a public address, Deputy Foreign Minister Giga 
Bokeria praised the 11-point plan adopted by the EU as 
"historic."  He also explained the government's way forward. 
First, Russian forces must withdraw from undisputed Georgian 
territory to their previously held positions in the disputed 
regions.  Second, an EU observer mission must be established. 
 Third, Russian peacekeeping forces in the disputed regions 
must be replaced by a new international force. 
 
4. (U) The Parliament opens its fall session today and is 
expected to revoke the state of war, which applies to the 
entire country, and replace it with a state of emergency, 
which would apply only to those areas occupied by Russian 
forces. 
 
RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS HEAD HOME 
--------------------------- 
 
5. (C) The Foreign Ministry confirmed that it has revoked a 
June 1992 Protocol that established diplomatic relations 
between Georgia and Russia.  In accordance with the Vienna 
Convention on Consular Relations, however, it will maintain 
three consular officials and some technical staff in Moscow. 
A Ministry official cited a possible backlash against 
Georgians in Russia as one reason for maintaining the 
consular presence.  September 3 will be the final day for the 
majority of Russian Embassy operations in Tbilisi, with a 
special flight planned to take diplomats back to Russia. 
Russian consular officials in Tbilisi are reportedly awaiting 
further instructions from Moscow on the level of operations 
they are to maintain.  Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov was 
quoted in local media as stating that Russia maintained a 
right to review "bilateral travel of citizens," with the 
 
TBILISI 00001506  002 OF 002 
 
 
apparent implication that Russia could impose travel 
restrictions on Georgians. 
 
OSCE OBSERVES ADDITIONAL DETAILS IN MONASTERI 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) On September 3 the OSCE observed howitzers and 
tanks, in addition to the previously reported BTRs, in the 
small village of Monasteri southwest of Akhalgori and just &#x
000A;north of the administrative border of South Ossetia (reftel), 
but again did not see any movements.  The OSCE plans another 
meeting with Russian General Kulakhmetov late on September 3 
to raise once again the issue of access to areas north of 
Russian checkpoints, both in Georgia proper and South Ossetia. 
 
CLUSTER BOMB ALLEGATIONS 
------------------------ 
 
7. (U) In response to allegations by Human Rights Watch that 
Georgian forces used cluster bombs, the Ministry of Defense 
reportedly sent a letter to HRW explaining that Georgian 
cluster bombs were aimed at Russian military targets near the 
Roki Tunnel, whereas Russian cluster bombs were aimed at 
civilian targets. 
 
VISITORS 
-------- 
 
8. (SBU) OVP continues its preparations for the September 4 
visit. 
TEFFT

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