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

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
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. #09TBILISI1147.
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

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: