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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI715 2009-04-13 12:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

DE RUEHSI #0715/01 1031253
O 131253Z APR 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000715 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/13/2019 
REF: A. A. TBILISI 0697 
     B. B. TBILISI 0711 
     C. C. TBILISI 0681 
 1.  (C)  The Secretary's April 14 meeting with Georgian FM 
Grigol Vashadze will help reassure Tbilisi that efforts to 
improve relations with Russia will not come at the expense of 
the U.S.-Georgia relationship.  The meeting is an opportunity 
to recognize the restraint and flexibility Georgia has shown 
in recent weeks and months in regards to the territories and 
to urge the Government to maintain a measured path and 
commitment to democratic reforms, especially in light of 
recent protests.  Vashadze is a moderate voice among 
President Saakashvili's key advisors.  We expect that 
Vashadze will raise concerns about recent Russian naval 
maneuvers in the Black Sea and its reinforcement of troops in 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, seek the Secretary's support at 
the UN for the renewal of the UNOMIG mandate in a way that 
supports Georgia's territorial integrity, and want to discuss 
the structure of a framework to implement the U.S.-Georgia 
Charter signed in January.  We also expect Vashadze to 
express appreciation for the excellent Georgia language in 
the NATO Summit communique and the strong statements that the 
Secretary and the President have made in support for 
Georgia's territorial integrity, long-term development and 
Vashadze - Professional Diplomat with a Plan 
2.  (C)  Foreign Minister Vashadze plays an increasingly 
important role in Georgia's government.  He was appointed 
Foreign Minister in December 2008; prior to his appointment 
he served briefly as the Minister of Culture and as a Deputy 
Minister of Foreign Affairs.  He is a professional diplomat 
who began his career in the Soviet Foreign Ministry and 
received his undergraduate degree from the Moscow State 
Institute of International Relations in 1981.  He speaks 
English fluently.  He has proven extremely capable in 
thinking strategically about Georgia's relations with Russia, 
and during the August conflict was the Georgian Government's 
main conduit with Russia, primarily through direct contact 
with Deputy FM Karasin.  At 50 years of age, Vashadze is 
significantly older and more experienced than his ministerial 
colleagues.  He is known in Tbilisi as a cultured and 
respected figure, a reputation enhanced by his marriage to 
Tbilisi's prima ballerina Nino Ananiashvili.  Vashadze, 
although unquestionably a Georgian patriot, has both Russian 
and Georgian citizenship. 
3.  (C)  In a discussion on April 11, Vashadze indicated that 
he plans to raise three issues with the Secretary, as time 
-- Russia's increased military activities.  As reported 
separately (ref A) Post has credible reports of increased 
military presence by Russian forces in Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia.  OSCE and EUMM monitors told us that the Russians 
have more troops than usual in the Akhalgori Valley during 
mid-April.  The number could reach as high as one and a half 
battalions, or 1,500 troops.  In addition, recent reports 
from the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from UNOMIG 
indicate that Russian forces are strengthening their presence 
in the Black Sea.  Both sources indicate that Russian naval 
and aviation forces, to include landing shipments and 
military transport, are moving from Sevastopol into the 
central part of the Black Sea.  Georgia believes Russia's 
moves were timed to coincide with opposition-led protests 
that began April 9 in Tbilisi calling for Saakashvili's 
Qthat began April 9 in Tbilisi calling for Saakashvili's 
-- Territorial conflicts/Geneva talks/UNOMIG.  Vashadze will 
seek concrete steps to implement our commitment to Georgia's 
territorial integrity.  He will urge the United States to 
support another round of Geneva talks taking place as soon as 
possible.  On the UNOMIG mandate extension, he will seek our 
support for several key provisions: (1) monitoring of all 
military forces within reasonably broad, symmetrical 
restricted weapons zones on both sides of the cease-fire 
line, and in the Upper Kodori Valley; (2) monitoring of local 
law enforcement forces and, over time, co-location of armed 
UN police in the restricted weapons zones; (3) facilitation 
of voluntary, safe, and dignified return of internally 
displaced persons and refugees; (4) monitoring and promotion 
of human rights; (5) coordination and facilitation of the 
unhindered provision of humanitarian aid; and (6) promotion 
of political dialogue between the parties.  He will urge the 
United States to support a broad mandate that can be extended 
to South Ossetia in the future, while avoiding deeply 
contentious negotiations over access and security 
TBILISI 00000715  002 OF 003 
arrangements.  Our preliminary thinking as we approach the 
June 15 expiration of the UNOMIG mandate is along the same 
-- Bilateral framework.  He will urge the United States to 
support a framework for implementing the U.S.-Georgia Charter 
on Strategic Partnership an
d will likely ask that the 
Administration commit to leading such a commission at the 
most senior level possible.  The agreement was signed in 
January 2009 and committed our governments to a broad range 
of cooperation.  The structure for implementing this 
agreement remains under interagency consideration and the 
Georgian side hopes that we will head this commission at the 
senior level or above. 
The Political Backdrop to Your Meeting 
4.  (C)  Your meeting with Vashadze will take place against 
the backdrop of ongoing protests in the streets of Tbilisi 
(ref B).  Members of Georgia's non-parliamentary opposition 
have called for President Saakashvili to resign, citing his 
failure to prevent conflict with Russia and, in their words, 
his failure to produce meaningful democratic reform.  The 
protest leaders have largely been unsuccessful in building 
public momentum for their calls for Saakashvili's resignation 
and have failed to coalesce around lesser demands for an 
increased role in governance.  The numbers of protesters has 
been dwindling and the upcoming Orthodox Holy Week will keep 
the numbers down.  The Ambassador has urged all sides to 
engage in a dialogue and has urged restraint on the part of 
the protesters and police in order to avoid potential 
5.  (C)  Since the August conflict, tensions along the de 
facto boundaries with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and 
South Ossetia have remained high.  Eleven Georgian Ministry 
of Internal Affairs police officers have been killed and many 
others wounded since the conflict by sniper fire, IEDs and 
other attacks.  For the most part, as advised by the United 
States and the Europeans, the Georgians have not used force 
to respond to these attacks.  International monitors still do 
not have access to South Ossetia and the UN's movements 
within Abkhazia are limited.  The Georgians signed an MOU 
with the European Union's Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in which 
they voluntarily and unilaterally limited their military 
presence near the territories and provided full transparency 
on all military movements.  To date, the 
Russians/Abkhaz/South Ossetians have not responded in-kind. 
In an Orwellian attempt at deflection, the Russians have 
accused Georgia of increasing tensions by building up forces 
near the territories, but all 
three international monitoring organizations -- EUMM, OSCE 
and UN -- have found that the reverse is true: the Georgians 
are keeping forces away from the territories, while the 
Russians, Abkhaz and South Ossetians maintain a significant 
presence near the administrative boundaries. 
6. (C) Hopes for international mediation efforts, as well as 
continued monitoring on both sides of the administrative 
boundary lines, have not been realized.  Although the 
February round of Geneva talks produced a modest success, a 
proposal for a dispute resolution mechanism, the Abkhaz and 
South Ossetians are now backing away from the idea.  The 
Russians meanwhile suggested a late date -- June -- for the 
next round, which would be too late to discuss new OSCE and 
UN mandates, both of which expire in June, although in a 
recent discussion in Moscow it appears that the Russians may 
be willing to meet in May.  This would be a welcome 
7.  (C)  As a result of Russia's invasion, President 
Saakashvili has re-committed his administration to a new wave 
of democratic reform and we are strongly encouraging him in 
this effort.  The new Prime Minister, Nika Gilauri has 
responsibility for the overall direction of the economy as 
well as the implementation of the $4.5 billion in pledges 
from the international community to support Georgia following 
the conflict.  These pledges include $1 billion from the 
United States.  We have informed FM Vashadze and the 
Government that the final part of the USG $1 billion pledge 
-- about $242.5 million -- was requested from Congress as 
part of the Afghanistan/Iraq supplemental request that went 
to the Hill on April 10. 
8.  (C)  FM Vashadze will reiterate Georgia's offer of a 
battalion to support coalition efforts in Afghanistan.  This 
offer of support by President Saakashvili made to Ambassador 
Holbrooke follows Georgia's announcement that it plans to 
send a company of troops to support a French deployment to 
TBILISI 00000715  003 OF 003 
Afghanistan.  Georgia is waiting for us to provide details. 
In addition, Georgia has offered use of its ports, air space 
and other facilities to help compensate for the closure of 
Manas Air Base. 
NATO and Georgia 
9.  (C)  Vashadze will express his appreciation for the NATO 
Summit Communique language -- which he and others have told 
us was much more supportive than they had imagined was 
possible (ref C).  Vashadze and President Saakashvili are 
grateful for unambiguous statements from you, the President 
and the Vice President on Georgia's territorial integrity. 
The Georgians are hard at work on a new Annual National Plan 
(ANP) for NATO that they see as crucial to Georgia's 
membership hopes.  Vashadze will urge the United States to 
remain actively engaged on NATO membership issues.  Recent 
rumors in the NATO international staff and among some Allies 
have suggested that Georgia's commitment to the NATO 
membership process has waned since the August conflict.  In 
fact, Georgia is working hard to make the reforms and meet 
the challenges necessary for membership. 


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