Monthly Archives: March 2009

09TBILISI644, GEORGIA: ALASANIA STILL BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI644 2009-03-31 15:39 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5226
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0644/01 0901539
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 311539Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1293
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000644 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: ALASANIA STILL BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD 
PLACE 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 618 
     B. TBILISI 463 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Head of the opposition Alliance for 
Georgia ("Alliance") Irakli Alasania requested a meeting with 
the Ambassador on March 30 to discuss plans for the April 9 
protest.  Alasania has been in discussions with the UNM 
ruling party regarding a possible dialogue to overcome the 
current standoff and defuse the plans of the more radical 
opposition to remain on the streets until Saakashvili 
resigns.  Specifically, Alasania indicated he has been trying 
to convince the non-parliamentary opposition to limit the 
April 9 protest to one day.  Alasania hoped that a strong 
one-day showing would give the non-parliamentary opposition 
more leverage in negotiations with the GOG, although he 
feared the non-parliamentary opposition had become a hostage 
to its own rhetoric and many would not agree to negotiate 
anything, but the resignation of the President.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)   Comment:  Privately, Alasania is engaged in trying 
to broker some way out of the impasse, though he seemed less 
than optimistic that there was any good way out of the 
"mess".  He is well aware of the difficult political 
situation he faces trying to strike a moderate course while 
maintaining credibility among an increasingly radical group. 
So far Alasania has managed to remain on the fence without 
alienating either GOG officials willing to compromise or the 
non-parliamentary opposition, but this window appears to be 
closing.  In spite of his very moderate, measured, and 
thoughtful tone in private, Alasania recently signed on to a 
non-parliamentary opposition manifesto calling for President 
Saakashvili's resignation and new elections.  Various GOG 
representatives have pointed out Alasania's tendency to talk 
a good game privately but to turn around and publicly support 
the most radical demands of the non-parliamentary opposition. 
 Nevertheless, the GOG remains willing to negotiate, at least 
for the time being.  It is unclear how long the GOG will 
engage on Alasania's private waffling and public ultimatums. 
Alasania's plan is to pursue a one-day protest followed by a 
call for dialogue.  Even Alasania admits he is unsure whether 
he can get the non-parliamentary opposition to agree to a 
one-day protest much less a unified negotiating agenda. 
Alasania appears to understand he has little room to maneuver 
and is hardly enthusiastic about any of his options.  End 
Comment. 
 
These Guys Are Irrational About April 9 
 
3.  (C)  Alasania told the Ambassador that he had been 
attempting to limit the April 9 protests to one day. 
Alasania reasoned that showing that the non-parliamentary 
opposition could organize 100,000 people and peacefully 
disburse them would send a strong message to Saakashvili. 
Alasania said that he thought he was making some headway with 
the non-parliamentary crowd, but he was unsure if they would 
agree to a one-day event.  So far, only fellow members of his 
Alliance, David Gamkrelidze (New Rights) and David 
Usupashvili (Republicans) had signed on to the plan. 
Alasania said that he understood Saakashvili would not 
resign, and the non-parliamentary opposition needed to have 
an alternative plan.  Alasania lamented that most in the 
non-parliamentary opposition took it on faith that the 
protests would bring Saakashvili's government down. 
 
4.  (C)  According to Alasania, his non-parliamentary allies 
were almost "suicidal" and completely unrealistic; none of 
them had given any thought to an end game other than 
Saakashvili resigning and them being swept into power. 
QSaakashvili resigning and them being swept into power. 
(Embassy Note:  Poloff has heard rumors that a contentious 
issue between the non-parliamentary opposition is between Eka 
Beselia (United Georgia) and Koba Davitashvili (Party of the 
People) as to who will get to be Prosecutor General when 
Saakashvili resigns.  Alasania ally, David Usupashvili 
recently told Polchief that he needed to start focusing on 
economic policy issues, apparently convinced that he would be 
holding a high ranking office soon.  End Note.)  Alasania 
reiterated that he had explained to his non-parliamentary 
allies that Saakashvili was unlikely to resign, and that they 
needed an alternate course of action.  Alasania said his fear 
was that April 9 would fail, in that a small radical rump 
group of non-parliamentary opposition would protest 
indefinitely, weakening their message, alienating potential 
supporters and making a farce of the whole protest.  Alasania 
told the Ambassador that he saw the wisdom in the GOG 
strategy of leaving the non-parliamentary group alone to 
discredit themselves.  Alasania expressed hope that he would 
be able to get at least some of the non-parliamentary crowd 
to think about alternatives, but also said many -- he 
especially cited Levan Gachechiladze -- were becoming more 
radical by the minute. 
 
TBILISI 00000644  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
One Day of Protests - Then What? 
 
5.  (C)  Alasania was unsure what he would do
if the 
non-parliamentary opposition did not agree to his idea of a 
one day protest.  Alasania sought out the Ambassador's views 
on how he could "get out of this mess" and inquired if the 
USG would play the role of a guarantor in any 
GOG/non-parliamentary dialogue.  The Ambassador replied that 
he would do all he could to facilitate dialogue but could not 
solve Georgia's internal political problems.  Alasania said 
he understood but asked rhetorically a number of times during 
the conversation, "what is the way out of this mess?". 
Alasania said that if the protest went as he hoped and was 
limited to one day, he would present a demand to President 
Saakashvili for dialogue.  Alasania said he understood the 
futility of presenting another ultimatum to the President. 
(Embassy Note:  Despite his private misgivings about the 
utility of ultimatums, on March 27 Alasania signed on to the 
non-parliamentary manifesto calling for Saakashvili's 
resignation and new elections.  End Note.) 
 
6.  (C)  When the Ambassador inquired as to whether Alasania 
would be in a position to speak on behalf of the 
non-parliamentary opposition, Alasania said he did not know. 
The Ambassador noted that this dynamic sank GOG discussions 
with the non-parliamentary group in the past.  Alasania 
answered that he understood that he had to be able to deliver 
something in order to negotiate with the GOG.  Alasania said 
he hoped he would be able to convince a sizable group to 
follow him but was doubtful some of the more radical members 
would agree. (Embassy Note:  Alasania, while understanding 
that an ultimatum for the President's resignation was a 
non-starter, did not appear to have clearly thought out what 
his demands would be.  End Note.) 
 
GOG Ready to Talk but Is Alasania Ready to Walk the Walk 
 
7.  (C)  Alasania indicated that he was unsure if President 
Saakashvili was serious about a dialogue, but had recently 
met with Vice Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze and discussed a 
"deal".  Baramidze said that the UNM was open to a number of 
issues (constitutional reforms - democratic reforms writ 
large) and hinted that early parliamentary elections were on 
the table, but not for 2009.  Baramidze said that Alasania 
would have to publicly distance himself from the April 9 
protests.  Alasania declined as he believes politically he 
can not simply walk away from the April 9 demonstrations. 
Alasania also said he was not going to accept UNM,s dictated 
terms without a more concrete understanding of what UNM was 
ready to deliver. 
 
8.  (C)  Alasania told the Ambassador that he and Baramidze 
agreed to speak again soon.  Ambassador suggested that 
Speaker of the Parliament David Bakradze might also be a 
useful interlocutor as soon as Bakradze returns from abroad. 
Despite the contact between Alasania and GOG representatives, 
Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria expressed a view to EUR 
DAS Bryza and the Ambassador that is likely held by many in 
the GOG.  Bokeria said that Alasania represented himself 
privately as a moderate willing to talk but never missed a 
chance to call for Saakashvili's resignation in public. 
Bokeria previewed the GOG position (which Baramidze 
presented) that if Alasania wanted to talk, he needed to 
present a moderate public face as well.  Bokeria noted that 
although Alasania was in contact with the GOG about a 
dialogue, his public actions belied his private words. 
Nevertheless, Bokeria said the GOG remained open to 
discussions. 
TEFFT

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09TBILISI640, GEORGIA IMPROVES ITS SCORES IN FORBES RATING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI640 2009-03-31 05:38 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

INFO  LOG-00   EEB-00   AID-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00  COME-00  CTME-00  
      INL-00   DODE-00  DOEE-00  ITCE-00  DOTE-00  PDI-00   DS-00    
      EXME-00  EUR-00   E-00     FAAE-00  UTED-00  VCI-00   FRB-00   
      H-00     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    MOFM-00  MOF-00   M-00     
      VCIE-00  NSAE-00  ISN-00   NSCE-00  OMB-00   NIMA-00  EPAU-00  
      PC-01    MCC-00   GIWI-00  SCT-00   ISNE-00  SP-00    SSO-00   
      SS-00    STR-00   TRSE-00  FMP-00   CBP-00   BBG-00   EPAE-00  
      IIP-00   DSCC-00  PRM-00   DRL-00   G-00     SCA-00   SAS-00   
      FA-00    SWCI-00    /002W
                  ------------------4A232A  310544Z /38    


R 310538Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1290
INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 000640 
 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA IMPROVES ITS SCORES IN FORBES RATING 
 
1. Summary:  Despite the August war with Russia and the global 
credit Crisis, Georgia's ranking in Forbes' annual rating of the 
best countries in which to do business improved from 68 in 2008 to 
64 in 2009, out of 127 countries ranked.  The ranking makes Georgia 
one of the leaders in the region and roughly ranked equally with 
China and Brazil.  Forbes identifies "Trade Freedom" and 
"Corruption" as two areas where Georgia has made significant 
improvement, but also indicates "Personal Freedom" as an area which 
has shown substantial deterioration.  End Summary. 
 
The Ratings 
 
2. In terms of key indicators, Georgia's ranking in the Forbes 
rating is as follows: Trade Freedom - 61, Monetary Freedom - 98, 
Innovation - 101, Technology- 92, Red Tape - 3, Investor Protection 
-15, Corruption 54, Personal Freedom - 85, Tax Burden - 73.  Trade 
Freedom and Corruption are singled out as areas of substantial 
improvement, while Personal Freedom is seen as one with substantial 
deterioration. 
 
3. Compared to 2008, Georgia rose four slots and now is 64th, which 
places it in the middle of the Forbes list, following China and 
ahead of Brazil.  For a regional comparison, Turkey was 44th, 
Azerbaijan 87th, Kazakhstan 71st, Ukraine 97th and Russia 103rd. 
 
4. In the narrative section on Georgia, Forbes credits the Georgian 
Government for effective revenue collection, improved energy 
security, reduced regulations and anti-corruption measures. 
 
Background on Methodology 
 
6. The Forbes fourth annual Best Countries for Business ranking 
looks at business conditions in 127 economies.  The goal is to 
quantify for entrepreneurs and ivestors the oft-qualified dynamics 
of international economies and make it usable for planning and 
investing purposes.  The report represents an attempt to identify 
countries whose economies are better for business relative to 
others. 
 
7. Forbes builds its assessment on expertise, research and published 
reports from the Heritage Foundation (Economic Freedom Index), World 
Economic Forum (Global Competitiveness Report), Transparency 
International (Corruption Perceptions Index), Freedom House 
(Personal Freedom Index), Deloitte (World Tax Rates), World Bank 
(Doing Business), Central Intelligence Agency (World Factbook), and 
Property Rights Alliance (International Property Rights Index). 
 
TEFFT

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09TBILISI638, GEORGIA: IEDS KILL ONE, WOUND SEVERAL; TENSIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI638 2009-03-30 14:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3962
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0638/01 0891428
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 301428Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1287
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0196
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4817
RUEHUNV/UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 4020

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000638 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/2019 
TAGS: PREL MOPS KBTS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: IEDS KILL ONE, WOUND SEVERAL; TENSIONS 
RISE 
 
REF: A. 09 TBILISI 096 
     B. 08 TBILISI 2176 
     C. 09 TBILISI 484 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  On March 29, two roadside IEDs killed one 
and wounded six Georgian police officers outside the village 
of Dvani, in undisputed Georgian territory just outside the 
South Ossetian administrative boundary.  This was the first 
fatal incident along the South Ossetian and Abkhaz 
administrative lines since the January 16 sniper attack in 
Knolevi (ref A) and follows several weeks without serious 
incidents.  Even during this period, however, tension has 
remained high along the boundary, with local villagers 
subjected to the sound of regular shooting and explosions, 
especially at night.  Even before March 29, military 
movements north of both boundaries were raising concerns. 
The planned April 9 protests have also caused worry, as 
locals fear police forces will be drawn away from the 
boundaries to cover the protests, and malicious forces will 
move into the vacuum.  The Georgian government is concerned 
that this might be the first in a series of new provocations 
and has sought the international community's assistance in 
pushing for the establishment of the incident response 
mechanism agreed to in Geneva.  End summary. 
 
IED INCIDENT 
 
2. (SBU) The following account is based primarily on the 
OSCE's findings.  On March 29 at about 0845 on a secondary 
road near Dvani (southwest of Tskhinvali, in undisputed 
Georgian territory outside South Ossetia) leading from the 
main road to a Georgian checkpoint, a MON-50 (Claymore-type) 
anti-personnel mine exploded as a Georgian Internal Affairs 
Ministry pickup drove past.  Five people were wounded, 
including one who later died in the hospital.  Several 
minutes later, a second vehicle arrived safely to provide 
assistance.  Fifteen to twenty minutes after the explosion, a 
Hyundai SUV carrying the local chief of police arrived, at 
which time a second IED detonated, wounding the chief of 
police and one other passenger.  The Internal Affairs 
Ministry determined the first device was triggered by a 
tripwire; thus any car going past could have triggered it. 
The Internal Affairs Ministry and the OSCE determined the 
second device was triggered by remote control; the Internal 
Affairs Ministry, the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) and the 
OSCE all determined it was targeted at those who responded to 
the initial blast.  At a briefing for the diplomatic 
community, Shota Utiashvili, Internal Affairs Ministry 
spokesman also announced that two other unexploded devices 
were found at the site: a booby-trapped grenade and a jumping 
mine, which could have served either as the initial attack, 
on either a car or a pedestrian, or the secondary attack on 
the respondents. 
 
3. (C) Dvani is across the administrative boundary from 
Muguti, where South Ossetian de facto authorities alleged 
Georgian forces mounted mortar and gun attacks on March 24 
and 25-26.  Georgian police officers and local villagers in 
the Dvani area confirmed to the OSCE that they heard firing 
and explosions on the Ossetian side at the times of the 
alleged attacks, but could not confirm any attacks being 
launched from the Georgian side, and the OSCE could not 
access the Ossetian side to assess the situation.  On March 
27, however, a South Ossetian contact told the OSCE that the 
Q27, however, a South Ossetian contact told the OSCE that the 
allegations were "propaganda" on the part of the de facto 
authorities.  One OSCE monitor therefore downplayed the 
likelihood that the March 29 incident was a response to the 
alleged Georgian attacks, although he could not rule it out. 
The March 29 incident occurred very close to the location of 
a November 10, 2008 IED incident, which killed two Georgian 
police officers and wounded three (ref B). 
 
GENERAL TENSION 
 
4. (SBU) Although this incident marks the first fatality 
along the South Ossetian and Abkhaz boundaries since January 
16, the situation has remained tense in both areas. 
Villagers report hearing firing, especially at night, on a 
regular basis, and sometimes explosions as well.  In many 
cases, the sounds are never fully explained.  In other cases 
monitors have been able to identify the source of the sound 
and determine it did not have an overtly malicious intent -- 
but the impact on the villagers is the same.  On March 26, 
for example, OSCE monitors in Dvani received reports from 
 
TBILISI 00000638  002 OF 002 
 
 
local police of "intermittent, intense assault rifle fire and 
machine gun fire" from Muguti -- this was the same day the 
South Ossetians alleged a Georgian attack.  Other police 
downplayed the sounds, however, calling them "not more 
intense than usual."  Also on March 26, OSCE monitors &#x0
00A;received reports in Odzisi of "several explosions" from 
across the administrative boundary, which Russian and 
Ossetian forces subsequently explained as explosive ordnance 
disposal operations.  On March 28, UNOMIG monitors received 
reports near the boundary of "30 shots from an automatic 
gun," an "explosion of a grenade," and "four-five signal 
rockets," and 20-30 more shots from an automatic gun. 
 
5. (C) One OSCE monitor told EmbOff on March 27 that he and 
his colleagues had perceived a general increase in tension 
over the past few weeks.  In addition to the regular sound of 
shooting, he mentioned more frequent military movements on 
the South Ossetian side of the boundary as a key factor. 
Russian forces have explained many of these to international 
monitors, in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as associated 
with force rotations, but they nevertheless have apparently 
served to reinforce to local villagers the continuing 
presence of troops and military hardware.  The OSCE monitor 
also said the planned April 9 protests were worrying people 
outside South Ossetia; they are concerned that Interior 
Ministry forces will be drawn away from the area to provide 
security during the protests, and malicious forces will then 
seek to exploit the relative lack of law enforcement to cross 
the boundary and cause trouble. 
 
INCIDENT PREVENTION MECHANISM NEEDED 
 
6. (SBU) In a briefing for the diplomatic corps on March 30, 
Deputy Foreign Minister Nalbandov and Internal Affairs 
Ministry spokesman Utiashvili provided details on the March 
29 incident, placing the blame squarely on Russia as the 
occupying power and noted an MFA official statement about the 
incident that included language to this effect.  They also 
expressed the concern that, after several weeks of no serious 
incidents, this one may be the first in a series of 
deliberate provocations designed to increase tension and 
obstruct any diplomatic efforts to improve the security 
situation.  They expressed their appreciation for public 
statements condemning the attack made by the EUMM and the 
OSCE.  They also emphasized the useful role an incident 
prevention mechanism could play in this kind of situation -- 
indeed in preventing such a situation -- and noted that, of 
the participants in the Geneva process, the EU, OSCE, UN, 
United States and Georgia have all expressed a commitment to 
and taken steps to implement the mechanism, while Russia has 
not (ref C). 
TEFFT

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09TBILISI626, GEORGIA: OPPOSITION MEMBERS IN KIRBALI ALLEGE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI626 2009-03-27 14:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2364
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0626 0861453
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271453Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1279
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000626 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/27/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: OPPOSITION MEMBERS IN KIRBALI ALLEGE 
UNWARRANTED POLICE QUESTIONING 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  Residents of the village of 
Kirbali associated with the oppostion told OSCE that 
sometime during the week of March 15-21, local police 
officers approached them at their homes in the evening and 
asked questions for no apparent reason.  Details of the 
report are sketchy, because the military monitors do not 
focus on these types of issues, and the rest of the OSCE 
mission -- including its political and human rights officers 
-- feel hamstrung by the limbo of having no mandate.  The 
Ministry of Internal Affairs denied the incident to Emboff, 
saying that police forces do run evening patrols through the 
village (which is just south of the South Ossetian 
administrative boundary), but have not questioned any locals 
recently.  It is difficult to judge the veracity of the 
report without access to first-hand information.  Growing 
apprehension about the April 9 protests, however, and their 
potential impact on the areas adjacent to the administrative 
boundary could explain a misunderstanding on one or both 
sides.  Post will continue to urge restraint on all sides. 
End summary and comment. 
 
2. (C) According to OSCE sources, on March 24, OSCE military 
monitors on a daytime patrol in Kirbali, a village just south 
of the administrative boundary and east of Tskhinvali, were 
approached by group of local residents.  The residents 
identified themselves as members of the opposition.  They 
said that during the previous week, police officers arrived 
in the village with a list of residents who support the 
opposition, which reportedly originated from the previous 
election,  Then, later in the week, the police approached 
some of those on the list in the evening at their homes with 
some questions.  The residents described the questions as 
innocuous and did not allege any mistreatment, but such an 
approach by the police seemed unusual and arbitrary to them, 
and they therefore wanted to inform the OSCE monitors. 
According to the OSCE, there was no suggestion that the 
police officers were plainclothes officers, nor was there any 
question that they were police officers.  In a conversation 
with EmbOff, an OSCE monitor agreed that approaching 
villagers in the evening at their homes was unusual and could 
be perceived, however innocuous the questions, as an effort 
to intimidate. 
 
3. (C) EmbOff called Shota Utiashvili, Director of the 
Interior Ministry Analytical Department, to ask about the 
incident.  He was unaware of it, but made some inquiries.  He 
later told EmbOff that the local police told him that they 
had conducted evening patrols in Kirbali in the timeframe 
described, as is their normal practice, but had not conducted 
any such questioning.  (Note: All villages located in close 
proximity to the administrative boundary are subject to 
heightened tension, and the police normally maintain a 
visible, daily presence in them.  Residents of such sensitive 
areas will even complain to international monitors if they 
perceive an insufficient police presence in their village. 
End note.) 
 
4. (C) As an OSCE political officer explained, the military 
monitors normally focus on military movements and issues. 
Although they accepted the information, they did not conduct 
extensive interviews with the individuals or take other 
actions (such as questioning the local police) to pursue the 
report more vigorously.  They are also unlikely to take any 
Qreport more vigorously.  They are also unlikely to take any 
specific steps to follow up, other than send another patrol 
through the village according to their normal schedule.  The 
OSCE personnel who would normally focus more on such issues, 
the political and human rights officers, are still working at 
the main office in Tbilisi, but without a real mandate, so 
they feel constrained in their ability to operate. 
 
COMMENT: THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY 
 
5. (C) Without direct access to the villagers themselves or 
the police officers who normally conduct patrols in the area, 
it is difficult to determine what exactly happened, if 
anything.  An OSCE monitor did note, however, that he has 
recently perceived an increase in apprehension along the 
boundary in connection with the impending April 9 protests. 
Villagers are concerned that, if local police officers are 
pulled away from the boundary area to help monitor the 
protests, South Ossetian militia or other forces from north 
of the boundary could try to take advantage of the resulting 
vacuum and cross the boundary and instigate trouble.  Post 
will continue to urge restraint on all sides as we approach 
April 9. 
TEFFT

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09TBILISI625, GEORGIA: TIME TO MOBILIZE ON NEW UN MISSION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI625 2009-03-27 14:52 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2361
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1276
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0193
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4814
RUEHUNV/UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 4017

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000625 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2019 
TAGS: PREL MOPS UNSC UNOMIG KBTS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: TIME TO MOBILIZE ON NEW UN MISSION 
 
REF: A. USUN 266 
     B. TBILISI 484 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  UN Special Representative Johan 
Verbeke offered the U.S., French and German ambassadors 
additional details on his ideas for a new UN mission in 
Georgia, as well as a readout of recent trips to Washington, 
London, Moscow and Prague.  He urged western countries to 
weigh in as soon as possible, because he is preparing his 
report now, which will inform the Secretary General's May 15 
report to the UNSC (required by UNSCR 1866).  He expressed 
concern about Russian willingness to accept key elements of 
any reasonable plan, and urged western countries to prepare 
to apply pressure to Russia directly.  The Ambassador noted 
that Verbeke's ideas provided a good security regime, but 
insufficient human rights protection -- and a human rights 
flare-up was just as likely as a security incident to ignite 
a broader crisis.  We agree, however, that now is the time to 
coordinate with our friends and take the initiative to shape 
a productive proposal.  End summary and comment. 
 
VERBEKE'S THOUGHTS 
 
2. (C) On March 25, Verbeke briefed from a revised non-paper 
from the Peacekeeping Office in New York, a copy of which we 
received March 27 (see paragraph 4).  He expanded on ideas 
already summarized in an earlier non-paper distributed in New 
York (ref A).  Verbeke urged the western countries to offer 
feedback as soon as possible, because he is in the process of 
preparing a report to the Secretary General (SYG) that will 
form the basis of the SYG's own report to the UNSC, due May 
15.  Verbeke expected to finalize his own report by mid-April. 
 
3. (C) The additional details on his ideas include the 
following. 
 
-- Regarding the two zones mentioned in the earlier 
non-paper, the first would be between two and a half and six 
kilometers wide on either side of the Abkhaz administrative 
boundary line (ABL).  Although he had first supported the 
narrower version, his military experts informed him that a 
wider boundary would be required because certain weapons of 
concern have considerably more than a five-kilometer range 
and could cover the 2.5 kilometers on both sides of the ABL. 
Although Verbeke would therefore support a wider zone, he 
understands that the width would have to be negotiated -- and 
two and a half kilometers would be the minimum to be 
effective.  (The revised non-paper does not include a range, 
but settles on 6 kilometers.)  The second zone, a "confidence 
zone," would be between six and eight kilometers wide, which 
would reach Zugdidi and Gali, but not the military bases in 
Senaki or Ochamchire.  In addition, there would be a 
restricted naval zone extending 12 kilometers into the Black 
Sea and 8-12 kilometers on either side of the ABL. 
 
-- The inner zone would limit the sides to no armed forces, 
no heavy equipment such as tanks, artillery or anti-aircraft 
guns, and only a specified number of armored personnel 
carriers (APCs), and the latter would not be allowed to carry 
any weapons.  The outer zone would also exclude tanks, 
artillery and anti-aircraft guns, but allow guns up to 80 mm 
in caliber.  There would also be restrictions on air 
movements over the zones, including for reconnaissance (see 
paragraph 6). 
 
-- Rules of notification would have to be established for all 
Q-- Rules of notification would have to be established for all 
parties.  This would presumably also apply to Senaki and 
Ochamchire. 
 
-- Some kind of accommodation would have to be reached for 
what Verbeke called "border guards" and law enforcement 
officials, who would provide security along the ABL and 
inside the zones and ensure secure and free movement of 
people across the ABL.  He proposed that such officials 
should not be allowed to carry heavy weapons. 
 
-- UN monitors would continue to monitor the inner zone 
actively, as they do now.  There would also need to be a 
provision for monitoring the Kodori Gorge, although perhaps 
not as frequently as along the ABL. 
 
-- One question Verbeke posed is whether the ABL should 
extend as far as the Russian border.  He was inclined to 
oppose such a move, although he was still pondering the 
issue.  He said doing so might make it easier to link the 
 
TBILISI 00000625  002 OF 003 
 
 
Kodori Gorge to the rest of the UN mandate's territory, but 
it could also solidify a sense of the ABL as an established 
border and give Russia the sense that it can completely seal 
Georgia off from its Abkhaz territory. 
 
-- Although some have raised the idea, Verbeke did not think 
that the EU and UN monitoring missions would merge, but would 
retain independent
 roles. 
 
4. (SBU) Th afternoon of March 27, Verbeke provided post 
with a copy of the revised non-paper (entitled "NON-PAPER: 
elements for a security regime and UN role," provided 
electronically to EUR/CARC).  It provides additional details 
on the above proposals, including concrete limits on troop 
levels, but reflects the same basic approach.  Verbeke 
informed the Ambassador that copies of the revised non-paper 
were provided to USUN, and the SYG himself was currently in 
Moscow and would provide Russia with a copy. 
 
RUSSIA'S RESPONSE 
 
5. (C) Verbeke said that he had discussed some of these ideas 
in Moscow with Andrei Kelin of the MFA and MOD personnel and 
received the following responses.  In general terms, the 
Russians said they accepted the principle of symmetry, but 
Verbeke noted their specific positions seemed at odds with 
that statement.  Verbeke did not raise the issue of 
monitoring the human rights situation or of ensuring freedom 
of movement across the ABL. 
 
-- Russia accepts the idea of zones on the south side of the 
ABL, and in fact proposes extending the outer zone to 24 
kilometers, which would include Senaki base, but does not see 
the need for any zones at all on the north side of the ABL. 
 
-- Russia does not see the need for monitors on the north 
side of the boundary. 
 
AMBASSADOR'S CONCERNS 
 
6. (C) The Ambassador raised a few points and questions in 
response.  First, he said it is at least as important to 
monitor the human rights situation as the security situation; 
a new crisis could erupt just as easily as the result of 
sudden or increased human rights violations as from a 
security incident.  The Georgian government has also 
expressed the importance of this element of a mission, and UN 
executive police could fulfill this function.  Verbeke 
answered that neither the Russians nor the Abkhaz will accept 
the idea; the Abkhaz are willing to accept a continuation of 
the civilian UN police mission with 20 staff, but not 
executive police.  It will therefore be necessary to push the 
Russians on this point.  German Ambassador Patricia Flor was 
not sure whether Berlin would be willing to make this effort. 
 
7. (C) The Ambassador asked whether the proposed restrictions 
on aircraft would apply to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). 
He also noted that there had been proposals in the past for 
the UN itself to run reconnaissance UAVs in an effort to 
improve its monitoring of the situation, and that they could 
perhaps extend the UN's insight into areas even beyond the 
security zones, such as the Senaki and Ochamchire bases.  At 
the time of the meeting Verbeke had not considered the issue, 
but the revised non-paper includes a prohibition on all 
reconnaissance flights, including by UAVs, for both zones, 
although it does not address the possibility of UN UAVs. 
 
GENEVA IN APRIL? 
 
8. (C) Regarding the Geneva process, Verbeke said Kelin 
suggested Russia might be willing to accept the next round of 
meetings toward the end of April.  Georgian interlocutors, 
Qmeetings toward the end of April.  Georgian interlocutors, 
however, told Verbeke they did not believe Russia would 
cooperate with the incident prevention mechanism agreed to in 
February (ref B).  In broader terms, Verbeke thought the UN 
in Geneva will eventually take over the process itself from 
the EU. 
 
COMMENT: CARPE DIEM 
 
9. (C) On the whole we agree with Verbeke's strong proposals 
on the security side.  We are somewhat concerned that he has 
not put sufficient emphasis on the protection of human 
rights.  Under his "guiding principles," for example, he 
includes as a key objective "addressing the needs of the 
population," but does not offer much specificity on what 
those needs are, nor how substantial and urgent they are. 
 
TBILISI 00000625  003 OF 003 
 
 
Under the "UN Role," he mentions the continuation of a UN 
Human Rights office and the "facilitation of provision of 
humanitarian assistance," but these steps strike us as 
insufficient.  The Georgians, who plan to share their own 
thoughts on a mandate within the next few days, have likewise 
expressed concern that Verbeke's non-paper does not even 
mention IDPs. 
 
10. (C) On the tactical side, however, Verbeke is absolutely 
correct that the sooner we (meaning the west) clarify our 
position and push Russia on the crucial elements of a new 
mandate, the harder it will be for Russia to take the 
initiative and get the conversation going down the wrong 
path.  We also agree with Verbeke that countries will need to 
weigh in bilaterally with Russia on those crucial elements -- 
not least because Verbeke himself may not be our strongest 
advocate in Moscow.  Finally, providing input to Verbeke in 
the next few weeks will go a long way toward ensuring that 
the SYG's report to the SYG -- which will presumably play an 
important role in the final negotiations in New York -- is as 
strong and as specific as possible. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI621, GEORGIA: ENCOURAGING GEORGIA TO SUBMIT ANNUAL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI621 2009-03-27 12:29 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #0621 0861229
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271229Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1272
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS TBILISI 000621 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: MTCRE PREL MNUC KSCA ETTC TSPA GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: ENCOURAGING GEORGIA TO SUBMIT ANNUAL 
DECLARATIONS FOR HCOC 
 
REF: SECSTATE 24053 
 
1. (SBU)  On 27 March, Poloff met with Vasil Rubashvili of 
the Georgian MFA Security Policy and Euro-Atlantic 
Integration Department to discuss ref points regarding the 
submission of Georgia's Annual Declaration on its space and 
ballistic missile policies as required by the Hague Code of 
Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC). 
Rubashvili was aware of the need to submit the information 
before 31 March, but stated that Georgia's statement would 
not be forthcoming by that date.  Instead, Georgia would 
submit its reply in May, prior to HCOC's eighth annual 
meeting in Vienna on 28 May.  Rubashvili received a copy of 
the "Nil Form," as well as the Austrian MFA email address 
where the form is to be sent. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI618, GEORGIA: APRIL 9 PROTEST MACHINATIONS IN FULL SWING

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI618 2009-03-26 14:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0735
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
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O 261415Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1268
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000618 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: APRIL 9 PROTEST MACHINATIONS IN FULL SWING 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 585 
     B. TBILISI 559 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Both the GOG and non-parliamentary 
opposition groups are formulating their plans to handle the 
upcoming April 9 protests at which the opposition will demand 
the resignation of President Saakashvili and holding new 
presidential elections.  The GOG intends to take a low key 
approach, and is apparently willing to let protesters stay as 
long as they desire as long as the demonstrators are peaceful 
and lawful.  The makeup of the non-parliamentary participants 
is still in flux as they debate how to organize, how to 
maintain control over the crowd, and how to stop violence. 
Both sides are concerned the other will provoke violence, yet 
both seem to be striking the right chord about the importance 
of maintaining a peaceful protest.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:  Tension is growing among the public 
especially after the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) 
released video footage of Burjanadze supporters allegedly 
purchasing illegal arms.  Nonetheless, the GOG and the 
non-parliamentary opposition have been saying they are 
committed to lawful expression of views and both sides have a 
strong incentive to avoid violence.  The GOG, at least on the 
surface, appears to have learned some valuable lessons from 
its handling of the November 2007 protests and vows to take a 
hands off approach.  Most of the non-parliamentary opposition 
appear to be unflinching in their demands for Saakashvili to 
resign and determined to carry out what is shaping up to be a 
significant protest.  GOG officials for their part seem 
concerned about the potential for violence but largely 
unconcerned about the political significance of the protests. 
 It remains to early to judge what if any effect the arrest 
of Burjanadze supporters will have on the political dynamic, 
but as of yet, the news has not served to galvanize support 
for the demonstrators.  End Comment. 
 
GOG Confident - Prepared to Let the Protesters Stay as Long 
as Protests are Peaceful 
 
3.  (C)  From the highest levels of government on down, GOG 
officials say, both publicly and privately, they will take a 
hands off approach to the protests.  Minister of Interior 
Vano Merabishvili told the Ambassador that he intended to set 
up a monitoring mechanism so international observers could 
see from the inside how the MOIA was handling their response 
to the crowd.  He reiterated this point before a March 25 
gathering of the diplomatic corps at MOIA.  Speaker Bakradze 
told the Ambassador that the GOG intended to let the protests 
last as long as the protesters wanted if they were 
non-violent.  In fact, GOG leaders see no upside in 
dispersing the protesters before they are ready to leave. 
UNM MP David Darchiashvili (Chairman of Euro-Integration 
Committee) told Poloff that he expected the protests to be 
sizable but that most would lose interest after a day or two 
of non-violent protests.  Darchiashvili explained that the 
"Vake and Saburtalo" elites liked to complain and strongly 
dislike "Misha" but that they valued their privileged 
existence more.  Darchiashvili said this group, which he 
expected would make up a majority of the protesters had jobs, 
obligations and ultimately had no real interest in assuming 
the arduous task of actually engaging long term on political 
issues. 
 
4.  (C)  UNM MP Akaki Minashvili (Chairman of Foreign 
Relations Committee) and UNM MP Chiora Taktakishvili (Deputy 
Chairperson of the Legal Committee) agreed with 
Darchiashvili's statements.  Minashvili said he expected the 
QDarchiashvili's statements.  Minashvili said he expected the 
crowds to be around 25-30,000 but that was only a "guess". 
The apparent operating assumption of the GOG is that any 
large-scale protests will quickly fizzle out, and any 
reaction by the GOG would only serve to legitimize a movement 
that is fully capable of destroying itself if left to its own 
devices.  None of the MP's appeared concerned that the 
protesters would actually accomplish their aim of regime 
change nor did any other GOG interlocutors.  Nonetheless, the 
GOG has made clear it has an obligation to maintain the peace 
and that any violent action by the opposition such as 
storming a government building or otherwise would necessitate 
that law enforcement organs react accordingly to prevent 
criminal behavior.  The major underlying GOG concern is that 
with a large crowd, any "drunken idiot" could incite violence. 
 
Both Side Want to Avoid Violence 
 
5.  (C)  The one issue all agree on is the need to refrain 
from violence.  According to Former UN Ambassador, Irakli 
Alasania (Alliance), the non-parliamentary opposition has 
been discussing ways to deal with those among their ranks who 
would incite violence.  He stated that they had spoken about 
blocking the Parliament themselves if protesters tried to 
 
TBILISI 00000618  002 OF 003 
 
 
storm it among other things.  Alasania agreed that a larger 
crowd could be more difficu
lt to control.  Numerous 
opposition members have expressed their concerns tha the 
MOIA would plant provocateurs among the crowd to incite 
violence which would be blamed on the protesters.  The 
provocation would then serve as a pretext for a GOG crackdown 
on protesters.  GOG officials dismiss this scenario as 
absurd, pointing out that any violence whatsoever would have 
very negative consequences for the GOG and any such plot 
would soon be uncovered.  (Embassy Comment:  We see no 
incentive for the Government to incite violence.  If violence 
occurs, the side largely seen as initiating violence would 
face serious political backlash, domestic and 
internationally.  End Comment). 
 
Non-Parliamentary Opposition - Still Divided 
 
6.  (C)  The non-parliamentary opposition continues to be 
united by one issue, their desire to see Saakashvili resign. 
They continue to discuss tactics and goals; however, 
confusion rather than coherence continues to plague their 
efforts.  Alasania told DAS Bryza and the Ambassador March 25 
that he was attempting to convince the non-parliamentary 
opposition to limit the protest to one day.  He thought such 
a signal would show that the non-parliamentary opposition 
could organize large numbers of citizens peacefully and would 
serve as a strong political statement.  Alasania expressed 
doubt that all parties would agree to such a tactic. 
Continuing to be substantially more moderate in private than 
in public, Alasania agreed that Saakashvili would not resign, 
and the goal of continuos protests to achieve it was 
unrealistic and counterproductive for the country. 
Nevertheless, it remains unclear if Alasania can convince any 
other non-parliamentary leaders to follow his lead.  Alasania 
stated that he believed if the protests simply die out, the 
non-parliamentary leaders will have little political 
leverage.  Alasania worried that some of his colleagues had 
painted themselves into a rhetorical corner and expressed to 
both DAS Bryza and the Ambassador that he was ready, willing, 
and able to speak with GOG authorities about a way to avoid 
confrontation. 
 
Channels Are Open but Will They Be Used? 
 
7.  (C)  Speaker Bakradze explicitly told the Ambassador that 
the GOG was willing to speak with non-parliamentary 
opposition members, especially Alasania, regarding potential 
areas of compromise to avoid further conflict.  Among the 
areas the GOG was open to discussing was constitutional 
changes which would reduce the power of the President and 
increase that of Parliament.  Bakradze mentioned Givi 
Targamadze as a potential channel of communication between 
the UNM and the opposition.  Opposition MP Gia Tortladze has 
also been mentioned as a go-between.  Alasania told DAS Bryza 
and the Ambassador that he was under the impression that he 
would be able to speak briefly with Saakashvili when both 
were recently in Brussels for the German Marshall Fund 
conference, but it did not materialize.  At a minimum, the 
GOG and Alasania appear to be open to dialogue, but Alasania 
admitted that many in the non-parliamentary opposition have 
no interest in any sort of dialogue or compromise. 
 
8.  (C)  Deputy Minister Gia Baramidze told the Ambassador 
and Polchief March 26 that he was also trying to reachout to 
the opposition.  As the leader of the wing in UNM associated 
with former Prime Minister Zurab Zhavania, Baramidze said 
that he understood from participating in political protests 
over the past 20 years how quickly demonstrations could get 
Qover the past 20 years how quickly demonstrations could get 
out of control.  He had scheduled a meeting later in the day 
with Republican Party leader David Usupashvili, and said he 
would also attempt to meet Alasania.  He said that President 
Saakashvili supported his efforts.  (Embassy Note: 
Saakashvili called Baramidze twice during the meeting.  End 
Note.).  The Ambassador encouraged Baramidze to seek to open 
a dialogue and find a peaceful way out of the political 
impasse. 
 
Let's Negotiate - But What About and With Whom 
 
8.  (C)  While members of both sides may be open to dialogue, 
the obvious roadblock remains the opposition's call for the 
president's resignation and presidential elections. 
Currently, the non-parliamentary opposition has no other 
political demands.  Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria 
told DAS Bryza and the Ambassador March 25 that dialogue 
would be "great" but pointedly asked why President 
Saakashvili should reach out to somebody (Alasania) who is 
calling for his unconstitutional removal.  Bokeria continued 
saying that Alasania refused to join the Election Law Working 
Group, and recently signed "some ridiculous document" in 
support of Burjanadze claiming the arrest of her supporters 
was political intimidation without having even seen the 
evidence.  Bokeria said that the GOG would be willing to 
 
TBILISI 00000618  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
speak to Alasania but that Alasania had a tendency to talk 
out of both sides of his mouth, and at every turn had 
rebuffed avenues of cooperation.  As Bokeria noted, Alasania 
cannot have it both ways, being a moderate in private and a 
radical in public.  Bokeria indicated that Alasania would 
have to signal something significant in public before anybody 
would take his willingness to negotiate at face value. 
 
9.  (C)  Bokeria wryly noted that after April 9, the 
non-parliamentary opposition would negotiate.  From the 
non-parliamentary opposition, only Alasania seems ready to 
consider an alternative way forward to avoid street 
confrontation, but even he expressed doubts that others would 
follow.  There have been few indications that the more 
radical members of the non-parliamentary opposition would be 
open to negotiations even if the protests fizzle out. 
Until the non-parliamentary opposition drops their 
"non-negotiable" demand for the president's resignation, any 
sort of compromise is hard to imagine.  Secondly, beyond 
their desire to oust the president, the non-parliamentary 
opposition's aims are widely divergent, serving to further 
complicate any potential for negotiations both before and 
after April 9. 
 
Guns, Burjanadze, and Armed Uprising 
 
10.  (C)  The arrest of nine of Nino Burjanadze's supporters 
on weapons charges has captivated an increasingly worried 
public.  Burjanadze initially told DAS Bryza and the 
Ambassador March 25 that the whole scenario was an MOIA 
orchestrated set-up.  Burjanadze questioned the authenticity 
of the videos, and said she was investigating what truly had 
occurred.  Later in the conversation she admitted that some 
of those arrested might actually have violated the law and 
sought to promote violence.  She disassociated herself from 
both.  While it appears a majority of the public has not 
formed a hardened opinion on the matter, the arrests have 
heightened a growing anxiety among the public that the 
protests have the potential to turn violent.  Opposition 
leaders have c
laimed the evidence was fabricated to deter 
individuals from protesting, while the GOG has maintained the 
arrests were not politically motivated.  Burjanadze said the 
arrests will not affect her decision to participate (or not) 
in April 9 protests. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI604, GEORGIA: EUR DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH PM BAKRADZE,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI604 2009-03-26 07:09 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0222
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0604/01 0850709
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 260709Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1261
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000604 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: EUR DAS BRYZA MEETS WITH PM BAKRADZE, 
MINISTER SHASHKIN ON MARCH 13, 14 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  EUR DAS Matt Bryza met with Speaker of 
Parliament David Bakradze and discussed the future of the 
UNOMIG, OSCE, and EUMM monitoring missions as well as 
domestic politics.  Minister of  Corrections and Legal 
Assistance Dimitri Shashkin explained his vision for 
revamping the penal system as well as his role as the point 
man in the GOG to facilitate democratic reform.  End Summary. 
 
PM Bakradze on Monitoring Missions and U.S. - Russian 
Relations 
 
2.  (C)  Bakradze said that as a baseline, no monitoring 
missions in Georgia are preferable to compromises that would 
serve to give South Ossetia and Abkhazia some sort of 
recognition as independent entities.  Bakradze said he 
thought the Greeks put forth a stronger effort than he 
expected as OSCE chair-in-office, but the Russians would 
never agree to any realistic compromise to continue the OSCE 
mission to Georgia.  Bakradze hoped that OSCE members would 
make clear that the Russians were solely to blame for killing 
the OSCE mission in Georgia, given Georgia,s continuing 
support for "status neutral" proposals of Greece (and Finland 
in December).  The Speaker said that with respect to 
Abkhazia, any workable solution would have to 
internationalize the police and security situation in the 
breakaway region which he described as "getting out of 
control."  Bakradze expressed his fear that the EU would cave 
to Russian pressure on monitoring issues and that without a 
workable UN mandate in Abkhazia, the situation could explode. 
 
3.  (C)  Bakradze was not concerned about the reset in 
relations between the U.S. and Russia.  DAS Bryza recounted 
Secretary Clinton,s statement that any reset did not change 
U.S. policy towards Georgia, namely, U.S. opposition to 
Russian mistreatment of its neighbors and attempts to 
dominate energy export routes to Europe.  Bakradze mentioned 
that he was very pleased with public comments by both 
Secretary Clinton and Vice President Biden regarding Georgia 
and unwavering U.S. support for Georgia,s territorial 
integrity.  Nevertheless, Bakradze was skeptical as to how 
much the Russians would reset their relationship to work 
constructively or in good faith with the United States 
regarding either Georgia or Iran.  The Speaker believed that 
the Russians were starting to regret their decision to occupy 
and recognize the breakaway regions.  In Bakradze,s opinion, 
the Russians would try desperately to "legalize" their 
occupation, and he urged the U.S. to continue to work to deny 
the Russians occupation any international legitimacy. 
 
Bakradze - Ready to Work with Opposition but Fears the Worst 
 
4.  (C)  Bakradze opened the discussion on the domestic 
political scene by requesting that U.S. representatives treat 
former UN Ambassador and current opposition leader, Irakli 
Alasania in the same manner as other opposition leaders. 
Bakradze explained that Alasania (and his camp) had been 
using access to U.S. officials as a way to initiate rumors 
suggesting the U.S. supports the overthrow of Saakashvili and 
would like to install Alasania as president.  Bakradze said 
that he understood these rumors were absurd, but said they 
were nonetheless widely believed.  (Reftel)  Bakradze said he 
regarded Alasania as a friend and respected him a great deal 
but thought that Alasania had a lot to learn as a politician 
and had been making dubious political decisions, namely 
joining David Gamkrelidze (New Rights) and David 
Usupashvili,s (Republicans) parties.  He questioned whether 
QUsupashvili,s (Republicans) parties.  He questioned whether 
Alasania could salvage his political reputation if he makes 
the short-term decision to support the demnds of the most 
radical members of the non-parliamentary opposition. 
 
5.  (C)  Bakradze said that Nino Burjanadze had become 
unexpectedly radical.  Bakradze was disappointed that 
virtually no non-parliamentary groups joined the election 
legislation working group.  He added that he expected no 
further progress with the increasingly radical non-opposition 
until after the April 9 protests.  Bakradze said that he 
would always leave the door open should anybody change their 
minds, but he did not sound optimistic about the path of the 
non-parliamentary opposition.  Bakradze felt that many among 
the non-parliamentary opposition only wanted confrontation 
and were looking for ways to provoke violence.  (Embassy 
Note:  A similar feeling is prevalent among the parliamentary 
opposition, and Alasania himself shared the Speaker's view. 
End Note.).  Bakradze said the problem was not peaceful 
people in the street, and that the GOG welcomed the prospect 
of large numbers of peaceful protestors voicing their views. 
Rather, he feared potential violence that could be stoked by 
a few provocateurs in the crowd, which could force the GOG to 
react to a mob storming Parliament or the Presidential 
Administration. 
 
TBILISI 00000604  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6.
 (C)  Bakradze said that neither he nor President 
Saakashvili would resign their offices no matter how many 
protestors gathered in the street.  Bakradze said he 
understood that a number of reasonable people were 
dissatisfied with the GOG, but he did not sense a similar 
feeling of acute anger in the air as he did in November 2007. 
 Bakradze said he thought the non-parliamentary opposition 
felt the same way, making Bakradze more fearful that certain 
protestors would try to spark anger by provoking a GOG 
crackdown.  Bakradze indicated that the GOG knew this and 
would not respond like it had in the past.  Lastly, Bakradze 
said that a recent internal UNM poll showed Saakashvili,s 
rating at 45 percent positive versus 39 percent negative. 
Bakradze said support for UNM members and the GOG had dropped 
somewhat, but the only opposition figure that received any 
substantial support was Christian Democratic Leader Giorgi 
Targamadze. 
 
Dmitri Shashkin On Reforms 
 
7.  (C)  Former IRI Chief of Party and current Minister of 
Corrections and Legal Assistance Shashkin stated that the GOG 
viewed the media; private property rights; judicial system; 
and the penal system as the four areas in which to focus its 
reform efforts.  On the media, Shashkin said that he was 
working with NGOs to develop objective criteria to evaluate 
progress or lack thereof concerning media freedom (septel). 
Shaskin stated that probation reform was a priority and 
explained that his ministry did not have an accurate list to 
track those on probation.  Shaskin mentioned improving health 
care for the incarcerated and living conditions among his 
other key priorities, with the Ministry of Health reluctant 
to take on this responsibility. 
 
8.  (C)  On larger political issues, Shashkin said that the 
GOG had formed a task force to work through scenarios to plan 
a coordinated response to the April 9 protests.  He said that 
the GOG planned a hands off, non confrontational approach as 
much as reasonably possible.  Having painted themselves into 
a corner, Shashkin feared that the non-parliamentary 
opposition would try to provoke violence.  Shaskin said he 
was trying to engage non-parliamentary leaders to find a 
constructive and face saving way out.  Shashkin said that 
unfortunately, many non-parliamentary leaders had staked 
everything on April 9, so he was not optimistic that his 
efforts would be fruitful.  Shashkin stressed that the GOG 
would seek to avoid violence at all costs.  He noted that the 
special prison forces under his command were perhaps the most 
effective crowd control personnel in Georgia.  For precisely 
this reason, Shahskin planned to keep them off the streets on 
April 9.  "These guys know and want to do only one thing beat 
people.  We will therefore keep them away from the 
protestors." 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI594, GEORGIA: PARLIAMENT’S HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI594 2009-03-24 14:55 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8342
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0594 0831455
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241455Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1252
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000594 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2019 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA:  PARLIAMENT'S HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE 
WORKS--BUT NOT FEVERISHLY 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F TEFFT FOR REASNS 1.4(B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary and Comment:  At a March 17 meeting, 
Parliament's Human Rights Committee Chairman Gia Arsenishvili 
told Emboffs that the priorities of his committee are passage 
of the criminal procedure code (CPC), reforms in the 
penitentiary/parole systems, and concerns about the lack of 
Georgian language instruction for Georgian students in Gali, 
Abkhazia.  Arsenishvili did not offer any feedback on post's 
2008 Human Rights Report, but said he hoped to issue a report 
in upcoming months which would address allegations stated in 
the latest Ombudsman's report.  Arsenishvili pledged to work 
closely with post on human rights issues in the future.  End 
Summary and Comment. 
 
The Committee's Focus 
 
2. (C)  Arsenishvili, MP Marika Verulashvili and MP Armenak 
Baiandaryan met with DCM and poloff to discuss the 
committee's work.  Verulashvili, Arsenishvili's deputy, also 
works as the Presidential Administration's Press 
Spokesperson.  The eleven-member committee contains one 
Parliamentary-Opposition MP, Dmitri Lortkipanize, from the 
political party "Powerful Georgia."  The committee is 
focusing on ensuring passage of the new criminal procedure 
code (establishing jury trials among other provisions), 
reforms in the probation system (to include a new law on 
parole), juvenile justice and human rights in Gali District. 
The DCM asked when the CPC would likely be passed and 
Arsenishvili said most likely by the end of June.  (Comment: 
Post posed this question to various GoG officials and answers 
vary from April to June.  Currently DOJ is planning to bring 
judges from the U.S. to help with the implementation, once 
the law is passed.  The arrival of the judges will be 
contingent on the law passing.  End Comment.)  Arsenishvili 
portrayed his committee as key to the CPC passage, but in 
actuality his committee will only be responsible for 
coordinating on the human rights issues associated with the 
draft. 
 
3.  (C)  Poloff asked Arsenishvili if his committee would be 
publishing semi-annual reports.  (Comment: Prior to November 
2007 protests, the committee published reports regularly. 
These reports have not been published for the past two years, 
and would provide useful input for the HRR.  End Comment.) 
Arsenishvili said that his committee would most likely be 
issuing a report to address some of the allegations listed in 
the Ombudsman's latest report, although he did not give a 
timeline.  Arsenishvili did not offer any feedback on post's 
2008 Human Rights Report. 
 
Comment 
 
4.  (C)  Arsenishvili, a mathematician and former governor of 
Kakheti, is respected for his smarts and lack of involvement 
in corrupt practices.  Arsenishvili is an anachronism among 
the other committee heads, an elderly Shevardnadze hold-over 
and non-English speaker.  Upon meeting Arsenishvili the first 
time nearly a year ago, Poloff asked what the priorities of 
the committee would be.  At that time, Arsenishvili said he 
was still formulating the policy but most likely it would be 
minority integration. Indeed during post's meeting, 
Arsenishvili pointed out several times that the committee 
contained Georgian ethnic Armenians, as evidenced by 
Baiandaryan's presence.  Some speculate that perhaps 
Arsenishvili was appointed because he would live up to low 
expectations and that the Human Rights Committee would not 
take on much.  In this meeting, Arsenishvili did nothing to 
dispel that impression.  It is more likely that Verulashvili 
will be the promising committee member with whom post can 
Qwill be the promising committee member with whom post can 
liase, as she seemed very interested in working with post 
regarding women's and children's issues. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI593, GEORGIA: OSCE CIO BAKOYANNIS BRINGS LITTLE TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI593 2009-03-24 14:54 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5972
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0593/01 0831454
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 241454Z MAR 09 ZDK ZUI HKB4562
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1250
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0191
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4812
RUEHUNV/UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 4015

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000593 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2019 
TAGS: PREL MOPS KBTS GR RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: OSCE CIO BAKOYANNIS BRINGS LITTLE TO 
TBILISI 
 
TBILISI 00000593  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  In a March 23 visit to Tbilisi, OSCE 
Chairman-in-Office Bakoyannis reviewed progress in 
negotiating a new OSCE mandate for Georgia with Foreign 
Minister Vashadze.  According to Georgian MFA and OSCE staff, 
Bakoyannis praised Georgia for its flexibility both privately 
and publicly, but offered no new ideas, saying that she is 
waiting for Russian feedback.  Vashadze expressed his 
approval of the current Greek proposal, even offering to sign 
it on the spot, but urged Bakoyannis to push for resolution 
of the process, both to put pressure on the Russians and to 
give sufficient time to plan for an alternate scenario, 
should no new mandate be approved.  Bakoyannis said she had 
no alternate scenario; her goal is to focus all her energy on 
a renewed mandate.  On March 24, post received word of a new 
Greek proposal that apparently incorporates Russian comments 
on the previous version.  In a later conversation, Vashadze 
told the Ambassador this new proposal was completely 
unacceptable and said it was time to bring the process to a 
close based on the proposal he discussed with Bakoyannis.  He 
also suspected the Russians are seeking to kill the OSCE and 
possibly the Geneva process, with a view to focus on the UN 
and their Security Council veto.  End summary. 
 
MFA: NOTHING NEW 
 
2. (C) MFA Director of International Relations Sergi 
Kapanadze told EmbOff that CiO Bakoyannis brought nothing new 
to her March 23 meeting with FM Vashadze.  She told the 
minister that she was waiting for feedback from the Russian 
side on the Greek proposal from the previous week, which 
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov promised her within a few 
days.  Kapanadze said Vashadze made clear that the Georgians 
could accept the Greek proposal, even offering to sign it 
right then and there.  Vashadze also urged Bakoyannis, 
however, to push for resolution of the process and not to 
allow the Russians to drag it out indefinitely.  Kapanadze 
explained that the Georgians would be willing to consider 
Russian comments on the Greek proposal, and in fact (despite 
his minister's offer to sign on the spot) had a few comments 
of their own, but they would not be willing to consider a new 
proposal from the Russians. 
 
3. (C)  Kapanadze added that it was important to push for a 
conclusion of the process for two reasons.  First, it would 
put pressure on the Russians to take a position.  Second, 
should the effort to renew the mandate fail, it would provide 
sufficient time for an alternate scenario to be worked out. 
According to Kapanadze, however, Bakoyannis made clear to 
Vashadze that she currently has no such "Plan B" -- that her 
focus is on achieving a compromise mandate.  She also said 
she would try to be as flexible as possible and exhaust all 
avenues in achieving that compromise.  She added that she 
hoped to reach some kind of resolution by April 15. 
 
4. (C) Kapanadze noted that several "Plan B" ideas were 
circulating in Vienna, such as running programs in Georgia 
through ODIHR, or through the High Commissioner for National 
Minorities, or through a restructured Economic Recovery 
Program (ERP).  The Georgian side does not yet have a formal 
position on these ideas, and it would take some time to 
determine which would be the most useful and then to work out 
Qdetermine which would be the most useful and then to work out 
a plan for implementation.  The OSCE would therefore need to 
start such discussions well before the mandate expires in 
June.  He thought Bakoyannis's choice of April 15 as a 
deadline for movement on the mandate discussion seemed 
arbitrary and suggested there was no reason to wait nearly 
another month.  Furthermore, Kapanadze noted that OSCE Head 
of Mission Hakala has indicated that the process of shutting 
down the mission will become irreversible by the end of April 
-- so the window of opportunity for considering alternate 
arrangements is closing soon. 
 
OSCE: NOT MUCH TO REPORT 
 
5. (C) In a separate meeting, Special Assistant to the OSCE 
Head of Mission Matthew Goodstein confirmed that Bakoyannis's 
meeting with Vashadze was not too substantive.  He 
characterized the situation as bringing us "back to square 
one," because we are once awaiting Russian feedback on a 
Greek proposal.  He offered a bit more explanation for 
Bakoyannis's focus on achieving a new mandate: she suggested 
to Vashadze that closure of the OSCE mission in Georgia would 
have a very negative impact on the Geneva process, and that 
the EU Monitoring Mission could not replace the OSCE 
 
TBILISI 00000593  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
monitors.  Bakoyannis also made clear that she was absolutely 
commit
ted to Georgia's territorial integrity, and this 
principle was not-negotiable in the discussions of a new 
mandate. 
 
VASHADZE: THE RUSSIANS MIGHT WANT TO KILL OSCE AND GENEVA 
 
6. (C) Shortly after the meetings with Kapanadze and 
Goodstein, post received a copy of a brand new Greek proposal 
that apparently adopted suggestions recently given the Greeks 
by the Russians.  In a separate meeting with the Ambassador, 
Vashadze indicated this new proposal, which does not provide 
for free movement for military monitors across the South 
Ossetian administrative boundary and incorporates Russian but 
not Georgian comments, was completely unacceptable.  He said 
it was time to push for a final conclusion of the 
negotiations based on the proposal he discussed with 
Bakoyannis.  He also reported hearing from French sources a 
readout of a recent conversation between Russian Deputy 
Foreign Minister Karasin and the French politial director in 
Moscow, in which Karasin skipped past a discussion of the 
OSCE to focus on the UN mandate.  Vashadze told the 
Ambassador he suspects the Russians may be looking to kill 
not only the OSCE mission, but the Geneva process as well, to 
focus solely on the UN, where they have a Security Council 
veto. 
 
COMMENT: HERE WE GO AGAIN 
 
7. (C) Despite Bakoyannis's declared commitment to 
territorial integrity, it seems her focus on exhausting all 
avenues to achieve a compromise, combined with the Georgians' 
continued flexibility, has enabled the Russians -- who do not 
respect Georgia's territorial integrity -- to maintain the 
upper hand in the negotiations. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks