08TBILISI1513, GEORGIA: SITREP 24: GEORGIANS WELCOME VICE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1513 2008-09-04 13:14 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5192
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1513 2481314
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 041314Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0030
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0087

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001513 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/04/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 24: GEORGIANS WELCOME VICE 
PRESIDENT CHENEY AND U.S. AID 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 1506 
     B. TBILISI 1496 
     C. TBILISI 1482 
     D. TBILISI 1474 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1. (C)  Summary.  President Saakashvili warmly welcomed Vice 
President Cheney to Georgia, with the visit receiving 
extensive local coverage.  The September 3 announcement of a 
one-billion-dollar U.S. aid package was also well received, 
with some calling it a Marshall Plan for Georgia.  The OSCE 
was refused access to Akhalgori for the first time September 
4.  Some experts question the extent of mining of Georgian 
bases in the west.  The Russian Embassy has stopped 
operating, but Ambassador Kovalenko remains in Tbilisi.  End 
Summary. 
 
THE VICE PRESIDENT ARRIVES; AID PACKAGE PRAISED 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
2. (U) Almost all the local TV channels covered Vice 
President Cheney's visit to Tbilisi, focusing on the joint 
statement with President Saakashvili.  The Vice President 
held a long one-on-one meeting with Saakashvili, followed by 
a lunch and then a stop-by at an incoming humanitarian 
assistance flight at the airport prior to departure for Kyiv. 
 
3. (U) Washington's announcement of one billion dollars in 
assistance for Georgia was praised extensively in the local 
press, with some commentators calling it Georgia's "Marshall 
Plan."  The European parliament's 35-point resolution on the 
situation, along with the Budget Committee's proposal to 
freeze 60 million euros in assistance to Russia, also 
received broad approval in local media.  During his September 
3 visit to Tbilisi, Italian Foreign Minister Frattini 
reportedly offered to mediate between Georgia and Russia, 
inviting Presidents Saakashvili and Medvedev to an 
international conference in Rome on September 18. 
 
RUSSIAN REFUSE OSCE ACCESS TO AKHALGORI 
--------------------------------------- 
 
4. (C) After another inconclusive meeting with General 
Kulakhmetov on access beyond Russian checkpoints on September 
3, the OSCE saw a Russian checkpoint refuse one of its 
patrols access to Akhalgori on September 4.  The Russian 
checkpoints south of Akhalgori were established quite 
recently and described as temporary measures (see refs C and 
D), and the OSCE has not had difficulty passing them in the 
past.  The OSCE plans to meet with Kulakhmetov again on 
September 4 to discuss access to Akhalgori. 
 
5. (SBU) To clarify the numbers reported in ref B, the OSCE 
explained that 19 additional monitors have arrived in 
Georgia, to bring the current total to 27, with one more 
(from Austria) due to arrive shortly.  Discussions at senior 
levels continue on the modalities for an additional 80. 
Local OSCE contacts stressed the importance of including them 
under the same mandate as the current group, in order to 
avoid difficulties stemming from South Ossetian "authorities" 
claiming that the newer monitors are not covered by earlier 
agreements and therefore do not enjoy the same level of 
access. 
 
CLEANUP CONTINUES, BUT EXTENT OF MINING QUESTIONED 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
6. (C) The press reports that demining operations continue in 
Vaziani, Poti, Kopitnari and elsewhere.  Bombs of sizes 1.5 
tons, 1 ton, and 500 kilograms were reportedly found along 
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in the vicinity of Vaziani 
airport.  U.S. partners report that, while extensive mining 
has been found in the Gori region, limited mining is evident 
so far in such western locations as Senaki and Kutaisi, 
despite government claims. 
 
RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR STILL IN TOWN 
-------------------------------- 
 
7. (U) Although the Russian Embassy has closed all 
operations, including consular services, Ambassador Kovalenko 
reportedly remains in Tbilisi.  At the same time, the press 
also reported that consular operations were still available 
at the Russian embassy for applicants who had requested 
services before September 1. 
TEFFT

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