Monthly Archives: June 2009

09TBILISI1188, GEORGIA: SHARING INFORMATION WITH OMBUDSMAN’S

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1188 2009-06-29 13:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0005
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #1188 1801328
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291328Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1828
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001188 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/26/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SHARING INFORMATION WITH OMBUDSMAN'S 
OFFICE 
 
REF: TBILISI 1056 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1.  (C) Summary/Comment:  In addition to the Embassy-Ministry 
of Internal Affairs (MoIA) tracking system (see reftel), post 
has established a working-level channel with the Ombudsman's 
Office to exchange information regarding incidents of 
protest-related violence.   Post will continue to update its 
internal spreadsheet and to follow up with both MoIA and the 
Ombudsman's Office on a regular basis to obtain a clearer 
picture of the nature of these incidents and the Government 
of Georgia's (GoG) response.  End Summary/Comment. 
 
2.  (C) On June 12, Poloff met with Sophio Benashvili, Head 
of the Division of Freedom and Equality at the Ombudsman's 
Office, who is primarily responsible for monitoring the 
ongoing protests in the Ombudsman's Office.  Post proposed 
that the Embassy and the Ombudsman's Office exchange 
information regarding protest-related incidents on a regular 
basis.  Poloff explained that the Embassy has been tracking 
and documenting these events and following up with MoIA in 
order to get a more complete picture of the protest-related 
violence and the GoG's response.  Poloff invited the 
Ombudsman's office to assist in filling in informational 
gaps.  Benashvili thanked Poloff for Post's nterest and 
agreed to provide Post with information on a regular basis. 
She provided Poloff with a chart detailing answers the 
Ombudsman's Office had received from MoIA regarding 
investigations into 28 cases (22 of which correspond to cases 
Post has been tracking).  Benashvili noted that although 
relations between the Ombudsman's Office and MoIA are 
sometimes difficult, the two offices nonetheless maintain a 
close working relationship  (Embassy Note: The Ombudsman's 
Office has fallen under consistent criticism for its 
perceived pro-opposition stance regarding these incidents. 
End Note.). 
 
3.  (C) On June 25, Ombudsman Sozar Subari held a press 
conference to address the diplomatic corps about 
protest-related incidents that have occurred since April 9, 
2009.  Subari accused MoIA of committing several human rights 
violations but did not provide specific evidence of such. 
Subari presented written documentation of protest-related 
events compiled by his office to the diplomatic corps.  Post 
will compare the new information provided by Subari with our 
internal spreadsheet and will continue to monitor the 
situation and follow up with both MoIA and the Ombudsman's 
Office. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1184, GEORGIA: DISABILITIES FAIR HELPS RAISE AWARENESS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1184 2009-06-29 06:04 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1054
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1184 1800604
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 290604Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1827
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 001184 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: DISABILITIES FAIR HELPS RAISE AWARENESS 
 
1.  Summary: The first Disability Fair-Forum took place in 
Georgia June 14 and 15, bringing together 40 different 
international, non-governmental, governmental and business 
organizations to present their work and achievements in the 
disability sphere.  Ambassador Tefft opened the awards 
ceremony on the second day and spoke of the Embassy's 
long-term commitment to supporting the disabled in Georgia. 
The Director of the Coalition for Independent Living, Giorgi 
Dzneladze, who has worked as an advocate for people with 
disabilities in Georgia for 20 years, said that he has 
finally seen some progress during the last three years thanks 
to the support of the USAID project, Supporting Equal 
Opportunities for People with Disabilities.  The two-day 
event marked the first event of its kind in Georgia, exposing 
senior government officials to the personal struggles faced 
by people with disabilities.  Numerous officials committed 
themselves to work on behalf of those with disabilities.  End 
Summary. 
 
Increased awareness through the Disability Fair and Forum 
 
2.  On June 14th the widely attended First Disability 
Fair-Forum offered thematic group panel discussions (on 
education, health and social protection, employment and 
rights and advocacy), a press conference, an art fair 
exhibition, oral presentations, a photo exhibit and 
documentary films.  The event was organized to bring groups 
of people with disabilities face-to-face with senior 
government officials.  Radio advertisements that announced 
the event brought numerous disabled individuals and small 
groups to Tbilisi, to share their issues and perspectives 
with government officials.  George Chulukhadze, (an 
internally displaced person form Achabeti), in a wheel chair 
since childhood, traveled by public transportation 
(unequipped for disabled travelers) from the village of 
Teliani, to tell the government that he and his wife (his 
main caregiver) had no health insurance.  His wife is now 
seriously ill and is unable to care for him or get the 
surgery she needs.  His common problem, access to existing 
resources, was taken up immediately by Ministry of Labor, 
Health and Social Affairs, Head of Health and Social Programs 
Agency, Vakhtang Surguladze. Chulukhadze's story served as 
one example of many that showed government representatives 
that despite significant progress, much work still needs to 
be done to integrate disabled individuals into society and, 
at a minimum, ensure they receive benefits to which they are 
entitled. 
 
Awards 
 
3.  On June 15, Ambassador Tefft lead off the awards ceremony 
honoring many for their important contributions to awareness 
building.  Ambassador Tefft stressed the need to pay 
attention and draw attention to the problems of the disabled 
and the work of the governmental agencies who were 
confronting these issues. 
 
A National Strategy 
 
4.  The two-day event highlighted the need for the 
development of a national comprehensive strategy across 
ministries to address the needs of the disabled in support of 
the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 
adopted on December 13, 2006.  Previously, planned to be 
completed in September 2009, work on the national strategy 
has lagged. 
 
5.  Comment:   The event certainly provided the government 
with a clear view of how much more work, beyond ratifying the 
UN Convention, has to be done to make to provide meaningful 
results for the people they aim to serve.  The event was also 
quite successful in raising the awareness of those through 
society in Georgia to the challenges of the disabled 
population.  End Comment. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1165, GEORGIA: MINISTER SHASHKIN – GOG TO MOVE FORWARD

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1165 2009-06-25 13:04 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8794
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1165/01 1761304
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251304Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1809
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001165 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/25/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: MINISTER SHASHKIN - GOG TO MOVE FORWARD 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 1069 
     B. TBILISI 0979 
     C. TBILISI 0968 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Minister of Corrections and Legal Aid, 
Dmitri Shashkin gave Poloff a wide-ranging assessment of the 
current political situation and the GoG's plans to move 
forward with its reform agenda without non-parliamentary 
opposition participation.  Shashkin said that the GoG no 
longer harbored hopes that any in the non-parliamentary 
opposition would engage in dialogue with the government so it 
no longer made sense to continue negotiations and draw out 
the process.  Shashkin predicted a new round of protests in 
the fall after the non-parliamentary opposition leaders took 
their August vacations; however, he felt they would be small 
and ineffective.  Shashkin said that the new chairman of the 
Constitutional Commission presents an organizational 
challenge but is not an obstacle to reform.  Shashkin 
provided more behind the scenes insights into how the 
protests and negotiations unfolded.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:  Usually an optimist, Shashkin's 
frustration with the non-parliamentary opposition's 
unwillingness or inability to engage was obvious, and he 
repeatedly expressed his doubt that any among the group were 
truly interested in doing the nuts and bolts work of 
reforming and improving Georgia's democracy.  The GoG clearly 
believes incorporating the non-parliamentary opposition into 
the political process is to their advantage but has come to 
the conclusion that moving forward on democratic reform alone 
is currently the best of a number of imperfect options.  End 
Comment. 
 
History on the GoG's Frustration 
 
3.  (C)  Shashkin, who headed the Tbilisi office for the 
International Republican Institute before becoming minister, 
said that the difference between the public and private faces 
of the non-parliamentary opposition was striking.  Shashkin, 
who was in the non-parliamentary meeting with President 
Saakashvili on May 11 said that not oncedid any of the 
non-parliamentary leaders ask Saakashvili directly for his 
resignation.  Shashkin confirmed that Saakashvili was direct 
and stated that he would not resign.  According to Shashkin, 
Saakashvili said he was open to listening to their 
suggestions, which they had trouble formulating.  Shashkin 
said that Alasania talked about amnesty for opposition 
supporters and Saakashvili quickly agreed an arrangement 
could be worked out.  Shashkin characterized the meeting as 
Saakashvili continually asking the non-parliamentary 
opposition what else they wanted.  Vague responses such as 
judicial freedom, opposition oversight of key ministries, a 
stronger parliament and other such ideas were offered to 
which Saakashvili responded that all were acceptable and 
asked the non-parliamentary opposition for their specific 
proposals.  According to Shashkin, they received nothing from 
the other side but were still willing to entertain any 
proposals the non-parliamentary opposition offered.  Shashkin 
said that in private meetings the non-parliamentary leaders 
were unsure of themselves and understood that they had little 
bargaining power, albeit without any idea of what they wanted 
or could accept as a face-saving compromise. 
 
4.  (C)  Shashkin said he had hoped that Alasania and his 
team would be reasonable and that perhaps David Usupashvili 
(Alliance - Republicans) would come around but, like the 
other non-parliamentary opposition, they lived in their own 
Qother non-parliamentary opposition, they lived in their own 
tone-deaf political reality.  Shashkin told Poloff that 
Bakradze was extremely irked with Alasania who had a number 
of private meetings with Bakradze.  Shashkin repeated the 
familiar complaint that Alasania would agree to something and 
be constructive with Bakradze behind closed doors, then 
attend a rally the next day and call for Saakashvili's 
resignation.  Shashkin assessed Alasania as a weak, uncertain 
politician with little sense of what he wanted to accomplish. 
 Shashkin said that he believed Alasania had an opportunity 
to capture a large, broad, moderate swath of the electorate 
by breaking from the non-parliamentary opposition and 
negotiating with the GoG but that chance had passed. 
Shashkin said that Usupashvili, though often personally 
reasonable, was still trapped by his personal animosity 
toward Saakashvili as well as by the more radical members of 
his party.  As for the others, Shashkin said he had little 
hope from the outset they would negotiate.  Countering the 
claim that the protests were a struggle for democratic 
values, Shashkin said that the only real issue discussed at 
the Saakashvili-Gachechiladze meeting was a payoff and 
amnesty.  (Embassy Comment:  Shashkin acknowledged that an 
offer was made but Gachechiladze thought it was too low.  End 
 
TBILISI 00001165  002 OF 003 
 
 
Comment.)  Shashkin then said marginal figures
 such as Gia 
Maisashvili (Party of the Future) and Kakha Gamsakhurdia 
(Freedom Party) had said that they would accept USD 300,000 a 
piece to quit protesting which garnered quite a chuckle among 
Saakashvili and his inner circle. 
 
These Guys Had a Chance - What Happened with The Patriarch 
 
5.  (C)  Shashkin then said that if the non-parliamentary 
opposition were smart, they could have pocketed substantial 
concessions and taken credit for them.  Shashkin said that 
until recently, Saakashvili was ready to negotiate and 
supported Bakradze and others using back channels to work a 
deal, but now he has determined that back channel 
negotiations are pointless.  Shashkin said that after May 26, 
a number of people in the GoG were surprised that the 
non-parliamentary opposition could gather some 60,000 
protesters.  (Embassy Note:  Shashkin called this a good 
thing to remind the GoG that regardless of their personal 
assessments of the non-parliamentary opposition leaders 
themselves, a significant number of Georgians are unhappy 
with their current situation.  End Note.)  He said that he 
was watching the rally with Bakradze, Minister of Interior, 
Vano Merabishvili, Minister of Justice Zurab Adeishvili and a 
few others when they received a phone call from a source in 
the Patriarchate telling them that the Patriarch was planning 
to attend the rally.  Shashkin said everybody immediately 
understood the significance of such a gesture but also knew 
they had "no leverage whatsoever over the Patriarch" to 
convince him not to go.  Shashkin said that when Giorgi 
Gachechiladze (Utsnobi) entered the stadium as a messiah 
figure carrying an icon, the Patriarch became enraged and 
subsequently gave a statement in his sermon widely viewed as 
condemning the non-parliamentary opposition and supporting 
Saakashvili (ref B). 
 
6.  (C)  Shashkin said that anti-GoG forces inside the 
Patriarchate who he identified as the church secretary and 
press attache convinced the Patriarch to backtrack two days 
later and issue a more neutral statement (ref C).  Shashkin 
said the Patriarch is constantly balancing pro-Western and 
modernizing voices versus arch-conservative voices.  He 
guessed that the Patriarch was going to attend the rally to 
try to push for some reconciliation, but decided against 
attending because he believed that the non-parliamentary 
opposition would politicize his appearance and claim the 
church's support.  In any event, Shashkin said that the 
non-parliamentary opposition miscalculated and instead of 
parlaying the rally into leverage in negotiations to provide 
deliverables to their supporters; they again demanded 
Saakashvili's resignation and subsequently lost their 
bargaining power.  Shashkin said that the Patriarch was not 
currently playing any particular role but remained a wild 
card over which the GoG had little to no influence. 
 
What's Next 
 
7.  (C)  Shashkin said the GoG would move forwrd with both 
the Electoral Law Working Group and Constitutional 
Commission.  When asked his assessment of the Chairman 
Avtandil Demetriashvili, Shashkin rolled his eyes and called 
him his "biggest headache"(ref A).  Shashkin said 
Demetriashvili had focused more on logistics of the 
commission rather than the substantive challenges. 
Nevertheless, Shashkin said that Demetriashvili was 
acceptable to virtually everybody (even the non-parliamentary 
opposition has not criticized him) and had no personal agenda 
Qopposition has not criticized him) and had no personal agenda 
so his "headache" was tolerable.  Shashkin said working group 
leaders would drive the process, and he was confident of the 
caliber of the participants to produce solid recommendations. 
 Shashkin said the commission was a work in process but the 
GoG's goal was to strengthen Parliament and the Judiciary 
vis-a-vis the Executive.  He said that Saakashvili completely 
agreed in principle on these changes.  Shashkin said that 
Saakashvili supported giving Parliament the ability to choose 
some or all of the Cabinet of Ministers depending on the 
mechanism.  Shashkin said that the non-parliamentary 
opposition would and has been trying to discredit the 
process, but he indicated that he was not overly concerned 
that their complaints would resonate beyond their hard-core 
supporters. 
 
8.  (C)  Shashkin predicted more protests in late August or 
September after the non-parliamentary leaders returned from 
vacation but did not believe they would be large scale or 
ongoing.  Shashkin said the non-parliamentary opposition had 
largely discredited itself but that further protests would be 
another "headache".  Shashkin said that the perfect solution 
would have been to involve the non-parliamentary opposition 
in the process and produce some sort of win-win face saving 
compromise.  Shashkin said a tremendous amount of thought and 
 
TBILISI 00001165  003 OF 003 
 
 
effort was put into trying to formulate a way to allow the 
non-parliamentary opposition to save face but was rejected 
every time by non-parliamentary leaders.  Shashkin said the 
GoG had no choice but to initiate reforms on its own as the 
best among possible choices but said that nobody in the GoG 
viewed this scenario as a victory. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1161, GEORGIA: THIRD SESSION OF INCIDENT MECHANISM DOES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1161 2009-06-24 12:38 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7827
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1161 1751238
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241238Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1807
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0254
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 4038
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 2280

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001161 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/24/2019 
TAGS: PREL MOPS KBTS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: THIRD SESSION OF INCIDENT MECHANISM DOES 
NOT OCCUR 
 
REF: TBILISI 1045 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  As predicted reftel, the third 
session of the Joint Incident Prevention and Response 
Mechanism (JIPRM), scheduled for June 23 in Ergneti, did not 
occur.  The meeting was postponed for an indefinite period 
due to te South Ossetian delegation's refusal to 
participate.  The Georgian MFA and the EUMM both released 
press statements expressing their disappointment that the 
meeting was forced to be cancelled.  With the loss of both 
UNOMIG and OSCE, the JIPRM is one of the few arenas left in 
which it is possible to raise concerns affecting the local 
populations.  However, South Ossetia's refusal to participate 
further underscores their lack of willingness to engage on 
substantive issues that directly impact the population.  End 
summary and comment. 
 
2. (SBU) At the second session of the JIPRM on May 29, the 
participants originally agreed in principle to a third 
session on June 11 at Ditsi.  This meeting was rescheduled 
when the South Ossetian delegation refused to attend because 
of the non-resolution of the three disappeared Ossetians and 
chairmanship issues (reftel).  During a visit by the EU 
Troika to Tskhinvali shortly after June 11, the Troika 
stressed to the South Ossetians the importance of the JIPRM, 
negotiating a rescheduled third session for June 23 at 
Ergneti.  However, several days before the session was to 
occur, the South Ossetian delegation again refused to 
participate because of the unresolved issues.  The Georgian 
MFA issued a statement saying that "all responsibility for 
the thwarting of the Incident Prevention Mechanism rests with 
Russia," while the EUMM "expressed its disappointment that 
once again the South Ossetian delegation has decided that it 
is unable to attend." 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1158, GEORGIAN THOUGHTS ON ARMENIAN/TURKISH RAPPROCHEMENT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1158 2009-06-24 11:07 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7734
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FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1803
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT PRIORITY 0867
RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA PRIORITY 0036
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK PRIORITY 0339
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT PRIORITY 0672

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001158 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/23/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV AZ TU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIAN THOUGHTS ON ARMENIAN/TURKISH RAPPROCHEMENT 
 
REF: TBILISI 1094 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and Comment: Representatives of the Georgian 
government, parliament, and academia have a wide range of 
opinions about recent improvements in the bilateral 
relationship between Armenia and Turkey.  Even within the 
Georgian government, an incomplete and contradictory picture 
arises, with some in favor of improved relations, some 
concerned and some seeing a sinister Russian angle to it. 
The MFA was positive about the prospects for Georgia and the 
region with an increasing detente between the Armenians and 
Turks; officials from the NSC provided contradictory opinions 
on the matter; and academics speculated about the potential 
for Russian exploitation of the situation and losses of 
revenue for Georgian businesses.  The Prime Minister said 
that he welcomes any efforts that will help resolve conflicts 
in the Caucasus, but expressed concern that doing so without 
a role for Azerbaijan could hurt more then help.  He added 
that he does not think the Georgian economy will be 
significantly impacted if borders are reopened between Turkey 
and Armenia.  The majority of interlocutors in Tbilisi appear 
to be taking a wait-and-see approach to the issue, expressing 
concerns about Russian influence and possible economic loss 
but eager to see more stability in the region.  End Summary 
and Comment. 
 
A Positive View From MFA 
 
2.  (C)  Deputy Director of MFA's Political Department Temur 
Kekelidze said improving relations between Turkey and 
Armenia, including the possibility of an open border 
crossing, were viewed "quite positively" by the MFA.  The 
Ministry seems to believe that better relations with Turkey 
could allow Armenia to move itself away from Russian 
dependence, and reduce the "dominance" of the Kremlin on 
politics in Yerevan.  Given Turkey's membership in NATO, this 
improvement in the bilateral relationship could result in 
future Armenian policies that move it towards the west and an 
improved relationship with Tbilisi.  Commenting on the impact 
to the Caucasus as a whole, Kekelidze said that the move 
could help Armenia and Azerbaijan discuss the thorny issue of 
Nagorno-Karabakh, and would also positively impact relations 
between all three countries in the Caucasus. 
 
3.  (C)  Deputy Director of MFA's European Department Kakha 
Chitaia provided a lengthy but interesting viewpoint on the 
situation.  While stressing that he was "Armenia's best 
friend" in the Georgian MFA, he emphasized his belief that 
there was little if any chance of Russian influence 
increasing due to a new border crossing between Armenia and 
Turkey.   He went as far as to say that it was more likely 
Russia would be a net loser, as Turkey would increase its 
influence at the expense of Russian influence in the 
Caucasus.  His primary concern focused firmly on Azerbaijan, 
as he believes Azerbaijan will try to derail efforts to reach 
agreement.  Ultimately the Turks need Azerbaijan more than 
Armenia; this would ensure that Turkish policy would 
seriously consider Azeri opinions on the matter.  Chitaia 
felt the impact on Georgia would be minimal, primarily due to 
his conviction that nothing would change the situation in the 
near term, and that Turkey is pushing the issue because of 
its EU aspirations and hopes for improving its international 
image. 
 
NSC Not Quite Sure Yet 
QNSC Not Quite Sure Yet 
 
4. (C)  Deputy Secretary for Georgia's National Security 
Council Irakli Porchkhidze took a less favorable tone towards 
detente, highlighting his concern that Russia could use this 
opening as a way to increase its influence in Armenia and 
further push Yerevan from Georgia.  He noted that Georgia's 
role as a transit hub would be reduced.  NSC Director of the 
Analytical Department Lasha Darsalia struck a more 
even-handed tone, noting first that improved relations 
between Yerevan and Ankara would undoubtedly increase 
stability in the south Caucasus, which would be good for all 
involved.  Second, Darsalia contradicted Porchkhidze and 
stressed a healthy and constructive economic relationship 
would reduce the need in Armenia for Russian support, and 
continue to move the countries in the Caucasus away from 
their reliance on Russia. 
 
MPs See Negative Financial Impact With Positive Political 
Results 
 
5. (C) MP Giorgi Kandelaki of the ruling United National 
Party Movement, who is also Deputy Chairman of the Foreign 
 
TBILISI 00001158  002 OF 003 
 
 
Relations Committee, stated that his first response to the 
new discussions on opening a border crossing was that Turkey 
perhaps had become "strategically confused"; however, he also 
noted that reduced tensions would be good for the region and 
assist in future economic growth.  On a more strategic level, 
he expressed concer
n that Turkey, desiring better relations 
with the Kremlin, was using this as a means to that end. 
Given that Turkey remains Georgia's largest trading partner, 
this was a bigger concern to Kandelaki than any possible 
losses by Georgian businesses due to lost transit revenue. 
 
The View From Academia Mixed 
 
6.  (C)  Head of the International Programs Department of the 
Georgian Institute of Public Affairs and former NSC official 
Tornike Sharashenidze noted that the Georgian business 
community and senior government officials were probably 
unworried because past experience had made them skeptical of 
the likelihood of tangible improvements actually occurring 
between Turkey and Armenia.  Additionally, it could take 
years for anything to come out of the current rapprochement 
that truly impacted the Georgian bottom line.  He skeptically 
stated that no one in government thought long term about 
these types of regional issues unless they had a distinct 
Russian angle; aside from the analytical wing of the MOIA, 
few in the Georgian government conducted long term analytical 
assessments of regional events and how they could impact 
Georgian policy. 
 
7.  (C)  Nika Chitadze, professor at Tbilisi State University 
and President of the Georgia International and Security 
Research Center, raised a possibility not discussed by any 
other interlocutors.  He thought improvement in relations 
between Armenia, Turkey, and ultimately Russia, could provide 
additional opportunities for the Russians to exploit 
disgruntlement in the minority Armenian community in 
Samtskhe-Javakheti and cause instability in Georgia.  (Note: 
While facts behind this assessment were hard to provide, this 
speculation reflects the common Georgian fear - even paranoia 
- about Russian omnipresence in Georgia politics, and the 
immediate assumption that unexpected turns in Caucasus 
politics must have a Russia focus.  End note.) 
 
PM Sees Improved Relations as an Opportunity for Georgia 
 
8.  (C)  During the 10-11 June visit of EUR Assistant 
Secretary Philip Gordon, Prime Minister Nika Gilauri stressed 
that anything that decreases tension in the region is 
positive (reftel).  However, he noted that improved relations 
between Turkey and Armenia should parallel efforts to resolve 
the Nagorno-Karabakh question.  In particular, he noted that 
the Caucasus countries were small and depended on strategic 
relationships with larger countries.  For Georgia this is the 
U.S., for Armenia it is Russia, and for Azerbaijan it has 
been Turkey.  Gilauri said that the loss of Azerbaijan's 
strategic partner could cause them to look north to Russia 
for support.  Gilauri added that he does not fear negative 
impacts to the Georgian economy from the opening of borders 
between Turkey and Armenia, in fact hoping that possible 
increase in traffic could do just the opposite. 
 
9.  (C)  Comment:  The contradictory and at times, uncertain 
responses from individuals in Tbilisi to the signs of 
rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey probably is derived 
from an inherent unease about any change in the regional 
Qfrom an inherent unease about any change in the regional 
power balance, as well as a skepticism that true progress 
might be made.  Some immediately see Georgian political loss 
and Russian gain, as the Turks strive for better relations 
with the country in the south Caucasus most reliant on the 
northern neighbor.  Others, particularly in government, view 
the increased stability associated with improved relations 
and enhanced opportunities to move forward on 
Nagorno-Karabakh as something that must be a positive for 
Georgia.  Regardless, the majority of observers in Tbilisi 
are taking a wait-and-see approach to the issue, with an 
inherent skepticism difficult to push to the side as it 
pertains to improved relations and less Russian influence in 
the region.  Certainly in the short term, should a serious 
rapprochement occur and a functioning border crossing come to 
fruition, Georgian commerce could be a net loser, at least 
for a while.  However, in the longer term, the Georgian 
economy could benefit from increased trade in the region. 
Georgia remains the main bridge for trade between Armenia, 
Turkey and Azerbaijan but a new border crossing would reduce 
the need for Georgian transshipment of goods.  However, in 
the longer term, an increasingly stable situation in the 
south Caucasus, with improving relations between Turkey, 
Armenia, and Azerbaijan, can only benefit the regional 
economic situation and further enhance political stability in 
 
TBILISI 00001158  003 OF 003 
 
 
the area. End comment. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1150, GEORGIA: UPDATE ON THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1150 2009-06-23 14:31 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6889
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1150/01 1741431
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231431Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1799
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0252
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4874

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001150 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF MOPS KBTS RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: UPDATE ON THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN 
GALI 
 
REF: TBILISI 322 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D 
 
1. (C) Summary.  There are conflicting reports on the extent 
of humanitarian-related problems in Gali among UNOMIG 
officials, NGOs in Zugdidi and Sukhumi, the Abkhazia 
Government in-exile and Abkhaz de facto authorities.  The 
main issues affecting Georgian residents in Gali today 
include the lack of rehabilitation of infrastructure and 
impediments to crossing the administrative boundary.  There 
is disagreement among the various groups about whether 
teachers in Gali are prohibited from teaching in the Georgian 
language, but currently the main point of contention in 
schools is the study of Georgian history and geography.  The 
process of obtaining travel documents poses a continuing 
challenge to Georgian residents.  According to our 
interlocutors, crime seems to be decreasing in Gali, perhaps 
due to the arrival of Russian border guards.  On Poloff's 
recent trip to western Georgia including Sukhumi, NGOs and 
UNOMIG officials did not focus on the situation in Gali as 
much as they have in the past.  However, with the departure 
of UNOMIG, the international community will need to maintain 
its focus on Gali to ensure that the situation there does not 
deteriorate further.  End summary. 
 
REHABILITATION IN ABKHAZIA EXCLUDES GALI 
 
2. (C) UNOMIG military monitoring officers (MMOs) in Zugdidi 
and Sukhumi told Poloff on a recent trip to those cities that 
Georgians in Gali continue to experience harassment and 
general neglect by the de facto Abkhaz authorities.  The Head 
of Representation of Abkhazia Government in-exile in the 
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti District, Paata Shamguia, stated that 
the Abkhaz and Russians are notably excluding the Gali region 
from rehabilitation efforts in Abkhazia.  MMOs specifically 
noted as an example the M27 road, which runs from Gali to 
Sukhumi.  Despite assurances from the de facto authorities 
that they plan to improve the M27 in Gali, so far 
reconstruction on the road is occurring everywhere but Gali. 
MMOs said that as soon as they enter Ochamchire region they 
notice a significant improvement in the road. 
 
IMPEDIMENTS TO CROSSING THE BOUNDARY 
 
3. (C) Georgians face obstacles crossing the administrative 
boundary line.  In one example relayed by Zugdidi-based MMOs, 
a medevac convoy in June from Gali was initially denied 
permission to cross the boundary.  Despite an obvious 
emergency situation, it took 30 minutes for the medevac to 
obtain permission to cross.  While rumors persist that the 
Enguri crossing has been shut down, MMOs reported that, in 
reality, the Russian guards are enforcing the documentation 
requirements for crossing the boundary.  This enforcement has 
limited the number of people able or even attempting to 
cross.  In addition, the Abkhaz militia has increased its 
presence at unofficial crossing points, further discouraging 
Georgians from trying to cross the boundary. 
 
DISPUTE OVER TEACHING GEORGIAN HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY IN GALI 
SCHOOLS 
 
4. (C) There have been reports from some NGOs in Zugdidi that 
Georgian children in Gali are forced to cross the boundary in 
order to attend Georgian-language schools.  However, 
according to UNOMIG officials, other Zugdidi-based NGOs and 
the Abkhaz de facto authorities, schools in Gali are free to 
operate in the Georgian language and most children there are 
learning in Georgian.  The problem, according to a 
Sukhumi-based NGO and de facto Abkhaz "vice foreign minister" 
QSukhumi-based NGO and de facto Abkhaz "vice foreign minister" 
Maxim Gundjia, is hat they are learning history and 
geography from Georgian textbooks.  The de facto authorities 
and the general Abkhaz population find it unacceptable that 
Georgian children are learning history and geography based on 
a Georgian curriculum, which they maintain provides false 
information.  Gundjia told Poloff that the de facto 
authorities offered to provide the Abkhaz curriculum to the 
Government of Georgia so that they can print the curriculum 
in the Georgian language, but that the Georgian government 
has not yet taken the Abkhaz up on this offer. 
 
OBTAINING A PASSPORT 
 
5. (C) NGOs in Zugdidi described the process of obtaining an 
Abkhaz passport for ethnic Georgians as a long but necessary 
step.  Estimates of the number of Georgians who have already 
received a passport range from 20 to 50 percent.  According 
to the Abkhaz government in-exile and NGOs based in Zugdidi, 
Georgians in Gali do not necessarily want Abkhaz passports, 
but feel they need one in order to vote, buy land and have 
 
TBILISI 00001150  002 OF 002 
 
 
freedom of movement within Abkhazia.  According to Gundjia, a 
passport is only required for voting; Georgian residents in 
Abkhazia will be able to buy land and move fre
ely with their 
resident cards.  One issue which all sides raised as a 
concern is that Georgians cannot legally hold dual 
citizenship with Georgia and Abkhazia.  Gundjia stated that 
the de facto authorities may be willing to sign an agreement 
to allow this -- but any agreement would lead to some form of 
tacit recognition of independence and is therefore highly 
improbable. 
 
PRESENCE OF RUSSIAN BORDER GUARDS LEADS TO DECREASE IN CRIME 
 
6. (C) According to MMOs, the presence of Russian border 
guards has improved the security situation, providing a 
buffer zone between the Georgians and Abkhaz.  UNOMIG 
officials reported a notable reduction in crime in Gali since 
the arrival of the Russian guards in May.  According to a 
UNOMIG political officer in Sukhumi, during the week of June 
1, there were three crimes reported in Gali and 30 crimes 
reported in Zugdidi -- representing a significant reduction 
of crime in Gali from last year.  The Russian border guards 
are more professional than the Abkhaz militia, and are 
therefore committing fewer crimes themselves, as well as 
preventing criminals from crossing the boundary. 
 
7. (C) COMMENT.  In the months immediately after the conflict 
in August, the humanitarian situation in Gali was dire 
(reftel).  Criminal gangs reportedly controlled the region, 
teaching in Georgian language was considered illegal, and 
people generally lived in fear.  Today the situation in Gali 
seems to have stabilized, with crime rates falling, the 
Georgian population seemingly more comfortable with the 
security situation, and Georgian children learning in the 
Georgian language.  However, there are still many troubling 
humanitarian issues, including the lack of will among the 
Russians and de facto authorities to rehabilitate the Gali 
region, the continuing obstacles to crossing the boundary, 
the debate over teaching Georgian history and geography, and 
the continued passportization issues.  The Abkhaz and 
Russians in Abkhazia will be able take advantage of the 
departure of UNOMIG, which leaves no international body in 
Gali with a mandate to observe and report on the situation. 
The international community will need to pay close attention 
to what is happening in Gali in order to protect the 
vulnerable Georgian population. END COMMENT. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1149, GEORGIA: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ISSUES CLUSTER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1149 2009-06-23 14:18 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6868
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1149/01 1741418
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231418Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1797
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFITT/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001149 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/04/2019 
TAGS: MOPS PGOV PHUM PREF SOCI GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ISSUES CLUSTER 
MUNITIONS REPORT ON AUGUST CONFLICT 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (b) AND (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and Comment.  On April 14, Human Rights Watch 
(HRW) released a report entitled "A Dying Practice" on the 
use of cluster munitions by Russia and Georgia in the August 
2008 conflict.  NGOs involved in explosive remnants of war 
(ERW) clearance in Georgia generally agree with the report's 
technical characterization of the use of cluster munitions 
during the conflict.  However, at least one disagrees with 
some of the report's recommendations to Georgia and Russia. 
In addition, all NGOs praised the Government of Georgia for 
cooperating closely with them in the effort to remove ERW 
threats, an important point which the report does not 
highlight.  Although it seems that both sides used cluster 
munitions in the conflict, only Georgia has admitted it; 
despite evidence to the contrary, Russia continues to deny 
usage.  The Georgian Ministry of Defense claims that they did 
not use cluster munitions against civilians, civilian targets 
or civilian populated areas.  While questions remain 
regarding Georgia's intention in using the cluster munitions, 
the government has since committed to dealing with the 
consequences of the use of cluster munitions by both sides 
and cooperated extensively with the international demining 
organizations on clearance activities, mine risk education, 
victims assistance and the establishment of a national 
authority.  End summary and comment. 
 
METHODOLOGY OF HRW 
 
2. (U) HRW's research was accomplished through on-the-ground 
missions in the Gori-Tskhinvali corridor in August 2008 
during and immediately after the conflict.  They also 
conducted a mission in October 2008 to Georgia to investigate 
humanitarian damage caused by the cluster munitions.  HRW 
researchers spoke with all international demining NGOs 
working in Georgia, The HALO Trust, Norwegian People's Aid 
and iMMAP, as well as the Georgian Ministry of Defense.  HRW 
exchanged letters with the Russian Ministry of Defense, but 
received no cooperation from them. 
 
RUSSIAN USE OF CLUSTER MUNITIONS 
 
3. (C) The HRW investigation found that Russia used two types 
of submunitions during the August 2008 conflict, the AO-2.5 
RTM and the 9N210.  HRW researchers concluded that Russian 
cluster munitions landed in Akhaldaba, Dzlevijvari, Gori, 
Pkhvenisi, Ruisi, Variani and Varianis Meurneoba.  NPA 
further noted Russian cluster munitions in Kvemo Khviti and 
Zemo Nikozi, while The HALO Trust found Russian munitions in 
Karaleti, Karbi and Kvemo Nikozi.  The HRW report concluded 
that Russia cluster munition strikes killed at least 12 
civilians and injured another 46.  Russia has repeatedly 
denied using cluster munitions during the conflict, but HRW, 
The HALO Trust, NPA, and iMMAP definitively refute Russia's 
claim.  The HALO Trust told Poloff that in one of their 
denials, the Government of Russia listed all the types of 
cluster munitions that they did not use during the conflict, 
conveniently leaving off the AO-2.5 RTM and the 9N210. (Note: 
Post has not seen this document and only has this report via 
The HALO Trust.  End note.) 
 
GEORGIAN USE OF CLUSTER MUNITIONS 
 
4. (C) Georgia used the M85 submunition during the conflict, 
fired from GRADLAR rockets, which were purchased from Israel. 
 The report concluded that Georgia cluster munitions strikes 
killed at least four civilians and led to eight injuries. 
After first denying using cluster munitions in the conflict 
QAfter first denying using cluster munitions in the conflict 
and condemning the weapon in August 2008, in September 2008 
the Georgian Ministry of Defense acknowledged use of cluster 
munitions during the conflict.  They said they aimed the 
strikes only at Russian targets between the Roki Tunnel and 
Tskhinvali between August 8 and 11 and denied launching them 
towards Shindisi, where cluster munitions were discovered. 
HRW researchers determined that Georgian cluster munitions 
landed in Brotsleti, Ditsi, Kvemo Khviti, Meghvreskisi, 
Pkhvenisi, Shindisi, Tirdznisi, Zemo Khviti and Zemo Nikozi. 
The HALO Trust also reported to Poloff that they found 
Georgian cluster munitions in Ergneti, Kvemo Nikozi, and 
Variani.  According to the HRW report, the MOD told HRW 
researchers that they could not explain the presence of 
Georigan fired cluster munitions south of the administrative 
boundary with South Ossetia and said that the Ministry had 
opened an investigation to determine why this happened.  The 
MOD has not yet replied to PolOff's inquiry regarding the 
status of this investigation. 
 
5. (C) One possible explanation, according to both the MOD 
and HRW, is that a massive failure of the weapons systems 
occurred.  HRW did find that the majority of M85 submunitions 
 
TBILISI 00001149  002 OF 002 
 
 
in the Gori-Tskhinvali corridor had failed to functi
on.  The 
MOD was especially surprised by this, as they said their 
contract for the submunitions was only for the self-destruct 
model.  The HALO Trust told Poloff confidentially that while 
a massive failure was a possibility, it was also likely that 
the Georgians felt so overwhelmed by the Russian attack, they 
merely fired off everything they had with little thought to 
strike distance or consequences on the civilian population. 
 
HRW RECOMMENDATIONS TO RUSSIA AND GEORGIA 
 
6. (C) The HRW report makes several recommendations to the 
governments of Russia and Georgia for mitigation of the 
humanitarian threat caused by the cluster munitions, 
including a call for assistance with remedial measures such 
as clearance and an independent investigation into each 
country's use of cluster munitions during the conflict.  The 
report specifically recommends that Georgia coordinate with 
international demining organizations by providing details on 
the clearance already accomplished by the government. 
However, the report does not acknowledge the cooperation of 
the Government of Georgia in precisely that.  All the 
demining organizations working in Georgia have acknowledged 
both the MOD's and MOIA's efforts in providing this kind of 
data to them, and as an example, one NGO said the MOIA 
provided them nine binders of information on their clearance 
activities since 2004. While the MOD's and MOIA's reporting 
on their clearance activities does not meet international 
standards, they have at least been reporting generally what 
they destroy and where.  In regards to another HRW 
recommendation, that both countries provide details regarding 
their strike data, a demining NGO representative in Georgia 
told us that such information was actually of little real 
use, since these are imprecise weapons by their design. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1147, GEORGIA: WEEKEND MEDIA REVIEW: NEW OFFER, SAME OLD

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1147 2009-06-23 14:10 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6862
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1147/01 1741410
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231410Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1793
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001147 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: WEEKEND MEDIA REVIEW: NEW OFFER, SAME OLD 
STORY 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary:  Over the weekend, several politicians, 
including President Saakashvili, appeared in the media to 
discuss ongoing protests and political stalemate in Georgia. 
Saakashvili offered to allow twelve opposition leaders to 
reclaim their abandoned seats in Parliament and offered to 
amend the law to allow them to do so.  Opposition leaders 
rejected the idea, responding that their decision to forsake 
their mandates was a "moral, principled decision" and that 
the President's rhetoric demonstrates just how much he "deems 
himself to be the state itself."  On other issues such as 
Salome Zourabichvili's (Georgia's Way) bid for Deputy Minster 
of Interior, investigation into protest-related attacks, 
dialogue with the opposition, and the (im)possibility of 
early parliamentary or presidential elections, Saakashvili 
restated earlier positions.  End summary. 
 
Saakashvili's Latest Offer 
 
2.  (U) On June 19,2009, Saakashvili gave a lengthy interview 
on Rustavi 2's talk show Positsiya, during which he offered 
twelve opposition leaders who declined their legislative 
mandates to return to Parliament.  He stated that if they 
wished to reclaim their seats, the law would be amended to 
allow them to do so.  Eka Beselia (Movement for United 
Georgia) commented that relinquishing their positions was a 
"moral, principled decision" and therefore could not be 
reversed.  Davit Usupashvili (Republican Party) reacted 
angrily to the President's latest proposal; he scoffed at 
Saakashvili for thinking he could change the Parliament or 
amend the law at whim, saying that it demonstrated just how 
much the President "deems himself to be the state itself" and 
characterizing Saakashvili's rhetoric as "beyond political 
analysis."  (Embassy Comment:  Usupashvili did not cross the 
threshold for a parliamentary seat so he would have not been 
among those able to take advantage of the offer.  Beselia, on 
the other hand, crossed the threshold as a member of the 
United Opposition party list.  End Comment.)   Regarding the 
President,s previous offer of deputy minister positions to 
opposition leaders, Saakashvili repeated that Zourabichvili 
could not serve as Deputy Minster of Interior as long as she 
continued participating in protest rallies and "swearing at 
the police." 
 
Protest-Related Incidents - Investigations in Progress? 
 
3.  (U) Over the weekend, several opposition leaders 
announced that members of their parties have been detained 
for alleged drug use or illegal carrying of arms, although 
they suspect the arrests were politically motivated. 
Usupashvili stated that seven members of his party have been 
detained, Zourabichivili stated that a member of the youth 
wing of her party named Jobava was detained, Konstantin 
Gamsakhurdia (Freedom Party) stated that a member of his 
party named Tsomaia was detained, and Zviad Dzidziguri 
(Conservative Party) stated that a member of the youth wing 
of his party named Soso Keburia was detained.  When asked 
about pressure from opposition groups to investigate cases of 
attacks on opposition activists and supporters, Saakashvili 
commented that everything will be investigated "sooner or 
later - sooner rather than later."  (Note: Post is following 
up on these allegations directly with MOIA.  End note). 
 
Same Old Story 
 
4.  (U) Saakashvili maintained potential remains for dialogue 
with opposition leaders, pointing out that many meetings have 
taken place with such leaders, although many were not 
publicly announced.  He reiterated that the ongoing protest 
rallies will not succeed in forcing him to resign and that 
Qrallies will not succeed in forcing him to resign and that 
there will not be early parliamentary or presidential 
elections; however, he again suggested that local elections 
could be held in spring 2010 instead of later that year.  The 
President said that "complicating life" should not be the 
goal in itself of the street demonstrations.  However, 
according to him, "we have gained a lot from these rallies" 
since nothing that could have portrayed Georgia as 
undemocratic has happened. 
 
5.  (U) Interestingly, Saakashvili played his own adversary 
when commenting on how the street protests have hurt the 
country's economy: he argued that if he were in the 
opposition, he would criticize the government for its 
handling of security and social issues.  He identified 
Georgia's major problem as the occupation of its territories 
and threat to its statehood.  Nevertheless, Saakashvili 
maintained his familiar stance on the August conflict with 
Russia, stating that Georgia has lost neither the war nor its 
territories; rather, the country remains in a "huge and daily 
struggle" to regain its territorial integrity, he said.  He 
also noted that he has not given up on developing Georgia's 
armed forces. 
 
TBILISI 00001147  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
The Moscow Factor - Real or Imagined? 
 
6.  (U)  W
hen asked about Moscow's hand in the ongoing 
protests, the President said that he "cannot point the finger 
at anyone - although we have some information," preferring 
instead to defer to law enforcement and the judiciary to 
determine the Russians' involvement.  Zourabichvili appeared 
on Inga Grigolia's talk show and stated that Saakashvili 
distracts the people of Georgia with external threats and 
foreign agents to draw their attention away from Georgia's 
internal problems.  She noted that politicians in the last 
stage of their political lives tend to employ this tactic to 
deflect negative attention from their administration.  Over 
the weekend, Levan Gachechiladze announced that he had 
traveled abroad and expected to receive funding from 
undisclosed foreign donors.  Gachechiladze declined to 
provide any further details. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1143, GEORGIA: MFA INFORMED OF GEORGIA’S TIER ONE TIP

WikiLeaks Link

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Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09TBILISI1143.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1143 2009-06-23 09:35 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6533
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1143 1740935
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230935Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1790
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 001143 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ELAB KCRM KWMN PGOV PHUM PREL SMIG KPAO KTIP
GG 
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: MFA INFORMED OF GEORGIA'S TIER ONE TIP 
STATUS 
 
REF: STATE 60591 
 
1. (U) Poloff delivered reftel demarche to MFA Division of 
Americas desk officer Nana Shonia on June 15th.  Poloff 
emphasized the recommendations set forth in the report. Ms. 
Shonia promised to relay the information to the appropriate 
GOG officials, including at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 
and not to release the information until the end of te 
embargo as per reftel.  Post issued a press release on the 
report and Georgia's ranking after the embargo expired. 
TEFFT

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09TBILISI1140, GEORGIA: CIVIL SOCIETY MEETS WITH A/S GORDON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1140 2009-06-22 13:41 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5773
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1140/01 1731341
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221341Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1785
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001140 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/22/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: CIVIL SOCIETY MEETS WITH A/S GORDON 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1.  (SBU) Summary.  Georgian academics, analysts and civil 
society leaders discussed domestic politics, the necessity of 
developing more robust civil institutions, and relations with 
Russia at a June 11 lunch with EUR Assistant Secretary Philip 
Gordon.   While participants' opinions varied, in general 
they coalesced around frustration with the current deadlock 
surrounding the ongoing opposition-led protests and the 
belief that that the opposition does not know how to back 
down from its demand that Saakashvili resign.  They said the 
current stalemate and domestic instability are significantly 
affecting the country's economy and institutions; if the 
situation continues, they worried that progress made in the 
past few years could be lost.  One theme that ran throughout 
the conversation was the lack of trust among various elements 
of society, and between government and opposition.  A/S 
Gordon reaffirmed U.S. support for Georgia, stressing that 
the U.S. desire for an improved relationship with Russia will 
not come at Georgia's expense.   End summary. 
 
LACK OF TRUST IN SOCIETY 
 
2.  (SBU) All participants lamented the public's lack of 
faith and trust in Georgia's democratic structures.  This, 
they believed was due to the lack of development of 
government and civil institutions, especially the judiciary. 
While significant progress had been made in developing 
institutions separate from personalities or parties, the 
events of November 2007 almost instantaneously eroded trust. 
Several of the experts believed that while the government's 
credibility was significantly damaged in November 2007, the 
current protests have led to a similar phenomenon between the 
public and the non-parliamentary opposition.  Therefore, the 
public is left neither with faith in their government, nor 
with a system of checks and balances.  All participants 
agreed that the lack of trust among members of the 
government, between the government and the opposition, and 
between the population and all politicians placed a great 
strain on the democratic development of Georgia. 
 
3. (C) Gia Nodia, a former Minister of Education and the 
Director of the Caucasus Studies School, described the 
current protests as part of an ongoing domestic political 
crisis.  In his opinion, opposition supporters do not think 
they can win elections, not because of a lack of popular 
support, but because in their view recent elections have not 
been free and fair.  The fact that many members of the 
non-parliamentary opposition were also part of the Rose 
Revolution is also contributing to the crisis; many of the 
participants believe there is a lack of fresh ideas about how 
to enact reform.  Those who proclaim to be opposition keep 
reverting to the very model that brought in the Saakashvili 
regime.  Nodia asserted that the opposition knows that 
Saakashvili will not resign, but that they hoped the 
government would crack down on protests as in November of 
2007, creating popular support for their cause and bringing 
pressure to bear on Saakashvili.  Nodia added that the 
opposition is deadlocked.  He said most of non-parliamentary 
opposition know this, but can not find a face-saving way to 
back away from their demand that Saakashvili resign.  The 
experts gathered supported constitutional changes, changes in 
electoral laws, as well as possible early parliamentary 
elections depending on structural changes, but not 
presidential elections, as a way out of the crisis. 
 
DAMAGE TO INSTITUTIONS 
QDAMAGE TO INSTITUTIONS 
 
4. (C) All agreed that the domestic political situation is 
damaging Georgia's economy and institutions, which were 
already weakened by the August 2008 conflict and global 
economic crisis.  If a compromise is not reached between the 
government and opposition, they worried that much of the 
progress made since the Rose Revolution could be lost.  A/S 
Gordon asked the group about the state of media freedom in 
Georgia.  Participants expressed concern that outlets are 
neither free, fair, nor objective in their coverage.  This, 
several, agreed is not simply a problem of government 
interference, but of overall development of the media and the 
commercial challenges media outlets face.  They acknowledged 
that the Georgian media, regardless of political orientation 
also covered the activities and statements of the 
non-parliamentary opposition.  Alexander Rondeli, President 
of the Georgia Foundation for International and Strategic 
Studies (GFSIS), said that unfortunately independent 
television stations such as Kavkasia and Maestro do not 
provide unbiased reporting, but instead opposition 
propaganda. The group even agreed that being considered 
balanced and accurate was not valued by present media 
outlets.  Participants noted that while challenges remain in 
 
TBILISI 00001140  002 OF 002 
 
 
television media, print media is free and that most 
newspapers tend to be extremely anti-government. 
 
RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA 
 
5.  (SBU) Participants were eager to learn about U.S. policy 
towards Russia, especially regarding its impact on the 
U.S.-Georgia relationship.  Assistant Secretary Gordon 
reaffirmed U.S. support for Georgia, stating that his visit 
was intended as a way to show Georgians that a better U.S. 
relationship with Russia will not come at Georgia's expense. 
He stressed that the U.S. does not accept the Russian concept 
of a "sphere of influence," nor does the U.S. accept that 
countries in this region are not free to choose their own 
allies. He assured the group that President Obama will make 
this clear when he meets with President Medvedev, and that 
the Secretary will make this clear at the OSCE ministerial in 
Corfu.  The Assistant Secretary's comments were well received 
by the attendees. 
 
6. (SBU) Participants in the lunch included: 
 
Gia Nodia, Director, Caucasus Studies School; 
Alexander Rondeli, President, Georgia Foundation for 
International and Strategic Studies; 
Ekaterina Siradze-Delauny, International Society for Fair 
Elections and Democracy; 
Alexi Alexshishvili, Policy and Management Consulting Group; 
Zurab Abashidze, Board Member, Georgia Council of Foreign 
Relations. 
 
7. (U) A/S Gordon did not have opportunity to clear this 
cable before his departure. 
TEFFT

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