08TBILISI1550, GEORGIA: SITREP 28: GEORGIAN POLICEMAN KILLED AT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1550 2008-09-10 14:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9729
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1550/01 2541457
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101457Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0058
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0101

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001550 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SITREP 28: GEORGIAN POLICEMAN KILLED AT 
CHECKPOINT: RUSSIANS BEGIN WITHDRAWAL 
 
REF: TBILISI 1530 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1. (C)  Summary.  A Georgian police officer was shot while 
manning his regular post in Karaleti, reportedly by an 
Ossetian irregular according to the Interior Ministry. 
Russian vehicles and South Ossetian militias seem to have 
begun withdrawing from positions inside Georgia proper on a 
limited basis.  The OSCE successfully passed Russian 
checkpoints north of Gori on September 10, but still were 
unable to get as far as Tskhinvali.  World Food Program 
officials and their assistance supplies were refused access 
to the areas north of Gori behind Russian checkpoints and to 
South Ossetia for the 15th day in a row; they have sought USG 
help in gaining access.  New Rights Leader Gamkrelidze echoed 
Labor Leader Natelishvili in calling for Saakashvili's 
resignation.  End Summary. 
 
GEORGIAN POLICEMAN SHOT IN KARALETI 
----------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) sources informed 
post that a Georgian police officer was shot and killed at 
his normal post at the village of Karaleti the morning of 
September 10.  The assailant is unknown, but the MOIA 
suggested it could have been Ossetian militia.  The OSCE 
heard a report from local officials that a band of 
approximately seven men was seen in the woods west of the 
victim's post, which would suggest to the OSCE that it was 
unlikely to have been Russian assailants.  Local Georgian 
authorities have begun an investigation. 
 
RUSSIANS BEGIN WITHDRAWAL 
------------------------- 
 
3. (C) The press reports the departure of a small number of 
Russian vehicles from Poti and the withdrawal of Ossetian 
militias from the village of Ganmukhuri, where Georgian 
police have reasserted control of the village.  Reports 
indicate a camp for children, a beach, and police stations 
were burned by militias, and the residents were pressured to 
accept Russian passports.  (COMMENT: Ganmukhuri is located in 
a small parcel of land near the Black Sea just north of the 
Enguri River, outside the administrative border of Abkhazia 
but cut off from the rest of undisputed Georgian territory by 
the river.  Deputy Minister of Reintegration Rakviashvili 
told PolOff on September 9 that Abkhaz "authorities" were 
looking to annex four villages outside but close to the 
administrative border, including Ganmukhuri.  The departure 
of militias from the village could therefore be a positive 
sign that such expansive impulses from the Abkhaz side are 
being restrained.  End comment.) 
 
4. (U) Meanwhile, the Georgian press gave a great deal of 
coverage to the story about Russia reportedly exchanging 
diplomatic notes establishing formal diplomatic relations 
with the "governments" of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov held a joint press briefing 
with the "foreign ministers" of the two breakaway regions, at 
which he stated that Russia had signed several agreements 
with the two entities and would provide military assistance 
to both, including the stationing of a total of 3,800 regular 
Russian Army troops. 
 
OSCE GETS ACCESS, BUT WFP DOESN'T 
--------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) After a September 9 meeting with Russian General 
Kulakhmetov, the OSCE monitors received permission to travel 
past Russian checkpoints at Karaleti and Variani, as far 
north as Megvrekisi, southeast of Tskhinvali.  Kulakhmetov 
did not give overt permission for continued patrols; the OSCE 
intends to keep Kulakhmetov informed, but proceed as if it 
has such clearance. 
 
6. (SBU) The regional director of the World Food Program 
(WFP) told post that they were turned away from the Russian 
checkpoint at Karaleti on September 9, the 15th day in a row 
Russian officials refused access to undisputed Georgian 
territory.  The WFP officials were traveling in vehicles 
clearly marked with the UN insignia, including their truck, 
which carried food and non-food items.  The officials also 
presented official passports and identification documents 
identifying them as UN employees.  The regional director 
requested assistance from the USG in removing the obstacles 
to humanitarian assessments and relief, such as through 
public statements condemning the lack of access and the 
 
TBILISI 00001550  002 OF 002 
 
 
involvement of the press in publicizing the difficulties. 
 
ANOTHER CALL FOR SAAKASHVILI'S RESIGNATION 
------------------------------------------ 
 
7. (SBU) Following Labor Leader's Natelashvili's September 8 
statement (see reftel), New Rights Party Leader David 
Gamkrelidze stated in a September 9 press conference that 
President Saakashvili should resign and early presidential 
and parliamentary elections should be held.  He accused the 
government of starting the armed conflict and s
uggested that 
Georgia had now lost both the breakaway regions and its 
chances for joining NATO.  Having just returned from a trip 
to the United States, Gamkrelidze claimed that every single 
person in the U.S. is indignant at Saakashvili's 
irresponsible behavior and that even Senator McCain is now 
desperately calling for the improvement of U.S.-Russian 
relations (sic). 
TEFFT

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