08TBILISI2439, GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT ENDORSES INVESTIGATORY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2439 2008-12-22 14:35 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2421
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2439/01 3571435
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221435Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0613
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002439 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT ENDORSES INVESTIGATORY 
COMMITTEE REPORT, NOT ALL AGREE 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 2420 
     B. TBILISI 2399 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: In a unanimous vote of 88 to none on 
December 19, Georgia's Parliament formally endorsed the 
report and conclusion presented by the ad-hoc Committee to 
Investigate August Events (ref A).  Parliamentary Speaker 
David Bakradze spoke highly of the Committee's work. 
Opposition Vice-Speaker Levan Vepkhvadze publicly expressed 
hope that the government would implement the report's 12 
recommendations, as well as dismay that former Foreign 
Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili was appointed Secretary of the 
NSC.  Some government officials disagreed with the 
Committee's criticism of their actions.  One MP, Jondi 
Baghaturia, criticized the committee for its 
"contradictions."  Non-parliamentary opposition figures 
continue to disparage the Committee's work as "biased and 
untruthful."  The Committee's report has already borne fruit, 
as Committee member MP Dimitry Lortkipanidze plans to 
introduce a new law covering Georgia's civil defense in 
Spring 2009.  Given the report's reasonable conclusions, the 
onus is now on the government to address its recommendations. 
 End Summary. 
 
PARLIAMENT, SPEAKER ENDORSE REPORT 
 
2. (U) On December 19, Georgia's Parliament adopted the 
conclusions of the ad-hoc Committee Investigating August 
Events (ref A).  The vote was unanimous, with 88 in favor and 
none opposed.  Both government and opposition MPs present 
voted in favor.  (Note: Parliament has 138 members; te 
outstanding 50 were not present for the vote.  End note.) 
Speaker Bakradze praised the Committee's work and said the 
government was committed to follow the report's 
recommendations.  Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze echoed 
Bakradze's statement. 
 
OPPOSITION CALL FOR IMPLEMENTATION 
 
3. (U) Opposition Vice-Speaker, and Committee member, Levan 
Vepkhvadze (of the Christian-Democratic Movement) said he 
hopes the executive branch of government will accept and 
implement the Committee's recommendations as guidelines in 
its future work.  At the same time, Vepkhvadze said he was 
dissatisfied that former FM Eka Tkeshelashvili was appointed 
Secretary of the NSC, because her performance during the war 
was criticized in the Committee report. 
 
EXECUTIVES DISAGREE WITH CRITICISM 
 
4. (U) Executive branch officials, including Minister of 
Energy Alexandre Khetaguri and head of the Abkhaz 
government-in-exile Malkhaz Akishbaia both disagreed with the 
Committee's criticism of their performances.  Khetaguri 
claimed that there were no disruptions in energy supplies 
during the war.  Akishbaia stressed that due to safety 
reasons, he could not have physically gone to the Kodori 
Gorge during the invasion. 
 
SOME OPPOSITION CRITICIZE REPORT AND COMMITTEE 
 
5. (SBU) Lone wolf opposition MP Jondi Baghaturia strongly 
criticized the committee, saying its report is untrustworthy 
since "it contradicts itself on many issues."  Baghaturia 
argued the Committee "did not study who was responsible for 
the weak performance of the rear, said nothing on the 
non-targeted expenditure of Defense funds, and ignored the 
fact that during the war soldiers abandoned by their 
commanders had nothing to eat but unripe fruit for 3-4 days." 
 (Note: Baghaturia was formally a member of the Committee, 
but refused to participate.  End note.) Non-parliamentary 
opposition politicians have disparaged the Committee and its 
work since inception.  Most claim the Committee was designed 
to "whitewash" the government's failure in the war.  New 
Rightist Mamuka Katsitadze and Conservative Kakha Kukava 
(both former MPs who refused to take their seats in 
Q(both former MPs who refused to take their seats in 
Parliament in June) said the Committee was biased in its 
investigation and untruthful in its conclusions. 
 
NEXT STEPS 
 
6. (U) Opposition MP and Committee member Dimitry 
Lortkipanidze (formerly of the United Opposition) was the 
first to act on the Committee's report.  He announced that he 
plans to introduce a draft law on Georgia's Civil Defense in 
Parliament's 2009 spring session.  Lortkipanidze claimed the 
report's conclusions showed the weakness of civil defense in 
Georgia, and the need for a separate structure (to manage 
evacuations, shelter displaced persons, etc.)  Committee 
 
TBILISI 00002439  002 OF 002 
 
 
Chairman Paata Davitaia said he supports Lortkipanidze's 
initiative. 
 
COMMENT 
 
7. (SBU) Public reaction to the report has been varied and 
watchful; interest remains high.  Generally, public sentiment 
seems to mirror that of the politicians, with most supporting 
the Committee's integrity and work.  We believe that the 
report draws two justifiable conclusions: the events of 
August were the result of multiple actions that w
ere 
initiated much earlier and exploited militarily by Russia; 
and the Georgian government must now correct their systemic 
and personnel failures exposed by Russia's invasion.  Two 
clear examples of needed action include Lortkipanidze's law 
on Civil Defense, and the Christian-Democratic Movement's 
proposal for a new NSC structure (ref B).  The onus is now on 
the government to address and implement the Committee's 
recommendations, now and into the future.  End Comment. 
TEFFT

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