09TBILISI56, GEORGIA: HALO TRUST’S CLEARANCE ACTIVITIES TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI56 2009-01-13 14:12 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5682
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0056 0131412
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131412Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0697
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS TBILISI 000056 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PARM PGOV PREF SOCI GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: HALO TRUST'S CLEARANCE ACTIVITIES TO 
CONTINUE 
 
1. (SBU) Summary and comment.  A $4 million, USG-funded 
project being implemented by HALO Trust, a British demining 
NGO, for training, risk education, surveying and clearance 
operations in the Gori-Tskhinvali corridor and Abkhazia is 
back on track after a Georgian regulation threatened to 
derail it.  In December, HALO learned of an administrative 
requirement of the Ministry of Economic Development that 
could have led to an immediate cessation of their clearance 
work.  HALO Trust raised its concerns with the relevant 
ministries.  The Ambassador sent a letter to the Minister of 
Economic Development requesting a modification to the 
requirement for NGO's engaged in humanitarian work to allow 
HALO's work to continue unimpeded.  In January, HALO informed 
poloff that they had come to an agreement with the Ministry 
that permitted HALO to maintain its activities, and credited 
the Ambassador's letter as essential in reaching this 
agreement.  HALO's activities enhance the safety of the 
Georgian people, allow for the return of displaced 
populations, improve citizen confidence in the government and 
restore livelihoods in these regions, making it vital that 
HALO's work continue unhindered.  End summary and comment. 
 
2. (SBU) In December 2008, HALO Trust informed the embassy of 
a decree issued by the Ministry of Economic Development's 
Transport Authority, Article 9, paragraph 31, subparagraph C 
of the rules on transportation, stating that transportation 
of an especially dangerous substance, which includes 
explosives and radioactive substances, is permissible only 
with the escort of the protection police of the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs.  The decree further stated that the vehicle 
of transport must have proper painting and be equipped with 
special devices such as a loudspeaker, projector and special 
siren.  The explosives that HALO Trust uses for the purposes 
of humanitarian demining and clearance operations were 
included in the category of dangerous substances covered by 
this decree. 
 
3. (SBU) HALO Trust reported to poloff that no other country 
that they operate in requires such an escort for the 
transport of explosives and requested support.  According to 
HALO Trust, the norm for mine action is that operators are 
accredited to store, transport and use explosives by a 
National Mine Action Authority (NMAA).  However, as of yet, 
there is no NMAA in Georgia, and the country is not set up 
administratively to handle humanitarian demining.  With HALO 
clearance teams working at a minimum of five different sites 
every day and employing mobile survey and clearance teams, 
hiring escorts from the State Protection Service, if they 
were even able to provide them, would have been extremely 
cost prohibitive. 
 
4. (SBU) After HALO began discussions with the appropriate 
ministries, the Ambassador sent a letter to the Minister of 
Economic Development, per HALO Trust's request, asking for a 
modification to the decree that exempted small quantities of 
explosives for the purposes of humanitarian demining.  HALO 
Trust reported to poloff in early January that a member of 
its national staff met with officials from the Ministry of 
Economic Development and reached an agreement allowing HALO 
Trust to continue its activities, while the Ministry began 
the process of amending the decree as requested.  The 
Ambassador's letter was cited as essential to the successful 
resolution of the issue. 
TEFFT

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