09TBILISI42, GEORGIA: REACTION TO U.S.-GEORGIA CHARTER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI42 2009-01-12 13:09 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4663
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0042 0121309
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 121309Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0689
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 000042 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: REACTION TO U.S.-GEORGIA CHARTER 
 
 1.  (SBU) Comment/Summary:  The January 9 signing of the 
U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership ("Charter") and 
its significance dominated weekend news coverage in Tbilisi. 
The GOG hailed the agreement as a positive step forward in 
the bilateral relationship, although noted that it should not 
be seen as quick fix to the issues facing Georgia.  Several 
key opposition figures, both inside and outside of the 
Parliament including Christian Democrat leader Targamadze and 
former parliamentary speaker Burjanadze, commented positively 
on the charter; not surprisingly other opposition voices 
either downplayed its importance or offered technical 
criticisms.  Noticeably absent was any public discussion as 
to the public policy impact of a strategic partnership with 
the United States.  The weekend commentary showed once again 
support for close U.S.-Georgia ties is strong across the 
political spectrum.  End Comment/Summary. 
 
Government Hails Agreement 
 
2.  (U)  President Saakashvili hailed the agreement in a 
January 10 public statement, but stressed that there should 
be "no illusions that this document would solve Georgia's 
problems".  Saakashvili singled out six main aspects which he 
said lend historic significance to the Charter: Georgia 
securing its place in the international system; Georgia 
approaching the Euro-Atlantic space; Georgian success on the 
road of democratic development; a new level for the 
U.S.-Georgian relationship; the overall public support for 
the Charter; and the enhancement of Georgia's economic 
importance.  Saakashvili stressed that the Charter signifies 
the partnership between the countries and is not designed to 
support him personally, and that the change of U.S. 
administration will not effect U.S. foreign policy toward 
Georgia. 
 
3.  (U)  Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze called 
the signing "a historic day for my country", adding that 
"(t)he Charter .. strengthens the close strategic partnership 
between Georgia and the United States".  Vashadze continued 
saying the Charter "is something the Georgian nation has been 
aspiring to and something which will bring Georgia to the 
Euro-Atlantic structure."  Notably, Vashadze commented that 
"... this document and our strategic partnership brings not 
only rights, but also obligations to Georgia to be a 
responsible ally, to be a democratic, open and liberal 
society."  Vashadze also stressed that the Charter had the 
incoming U.S. administration's blessing as well.  Deputy 
Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria noted that "the Charter is not 
directed against anyone, but is solely aimed at the 
development of Georgia." 
 
4.  (U)  Political analyst Tornike Sharashenidze expressed 
optimism that the USA will help Georgia improve its defense 
capabilities.  However, defense analyst, Koba Liklikadze, 
said the Charter was belated and it could have sent an 
important signal to Georgia's opponents had it been signed 
several years earlier.  Political analyst Archil Gegeshidze 
said the Charter would help the development of Georgia's 
statehood, but Georgia's will and competence are of paramount 
importance for any future successes. 
 
Opposition Criticizes Saakashvili, Agreement, but Not Idea 
 
5.  (U)  Kakha Kukava (Conservatives) said the Charter "is a 
conglomeration of meaningless phrases which we have been 
hearing for the past four years".  Mamuka Katsitadze (New 
Rights) said the Charter is nothing more than a memorandum of 
intents and the U.S. "just replaced the verbal mode of 
communication with a written one".  Former Prime Minister 
Zurab Noghaideli says the "Charter is good but it will still 
not help this government".  Disagreeing, Nestan Kirtadze 
Qnot help this government".  Disagreeing, Nestan Kirtadze 
(Labor) said that Georgia "should not enter into any military 
blocs and the accord is a way for President Saakashvili to 
hold on to power".  Tina Khidasheli (New Rights), Salome 
Zourabichvili (Georgia's Way), Petre Mamradze (Movement for 
Fair Georgia), Nino Burjanadze, and Giorgi Targamadze 
(Christian Democratic Movement) all lauded the Charter, but 
expressed the desire for more transparency leading up to the 
signing, and sought to play down public expectations of the 
"non-binding" document.  The Labor Party was the only 
significant party to criticize the signing saying only that 
the document would only fuel "confrontation of super-powers 
in Georgia". 
TEFFT

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