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

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: