Monthly Archives: July 2009

09TBILISI1409, GEORGIA: INCIDENTS RAISE CONCERNS, MECHANISMS MEET

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1409 2009-07-31 14:51 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1341
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1409/01 2121451
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311451Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1978
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0264
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4884

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001409 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: INCIDENTS RAISE CONCERNS, MECHANISMS MEET 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 1312 
     B. TBILISI 1358 
     C. GENEVA0592 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  Deputy Foreign Minister 
Nalbandov told the Ambassador the government is concerned 
about a spate of recent incidents, especially as the August 7 
first anniversary of Georgia's 2008 war with Russia 
approaches.  An explosive device killed the father of a 
family of IDPs that had just visited their abandoned home in 
Akhalgori July 30; shooting erupted near the South Ossetian 
administrative boundary line July 29; six mysterious 
explosions occurred in Pakhulani outside Abkhazia July 27, 
with no obvious target; a South Ossetian man was detained 
July 22 or 23 and remains in Georgian custody; and a Georgian 
man was detained in South Ossetia July 25, then released July 
27.  None of these incidents led to escalation, but the EUMM 
called an urgent Joint Incident Prevention and Response 
Mechanism (JIPRM) meeting for South Ossetia on July 31; the 
South Ossetians attended, but the Russians did not.  The 
Abkhazia JIPRM met for the second time on July 28 and had a 
substantive and respectful (although not necessarily 
productive) discussion, and the biweekly meetings will 
continue.  The sudden uptick in incidents is troubling. 
Although the JIPRMs show potential as a useful forum to 
reduce tension, all observers will need to remain watchful as 
August 7 approaches.  End summary and comment. 
 
RECENT INCIDENTS 
 
2. (SBU) In a briefing for the diplomatic corps July 31, 
Acting Foreign Minister Alexander Nalbandov provided the 
following information.  On July 30, a family of internally 
displaced persons (IDPs) from Akhalgori traveled from their 
settlement in Tserovani, in Georgia-controlled territory, to 
visit their home in Akhalgori.  On the return trip, after 
crossing the South Ossetian administrative boundary back into 
undisputed Georgian territory, the car stopped in Dusheti. 
As they exited the car, an explosive device inside the car 
went off, killing the 59-year-old father.  A Ministry of 
Internal Affairs (MoIA) official expressed the belief that 
the device was placed in the car while it was in Akhalgori, 
although he did not know who placed it; he said an 
investigation was underway.  Nalbandov also informed the 
group that an unexploded bomb was found near the Zugdidi 
police station on the same day.  An EUMM military advisor 
later told PolOff that the bomb consisted of plastic 
explosives with a detonator, and that it had been found by 
local police, who showed photos of the device to EUMM 
personnel. 
 
3. (SBU) Nalbandov expressed serious concern to the gathered 
diplomats about the shooting that occurred the evening of 
July 29 near Zemo Nikozi and Zemo Khviti, just south of the 
South Ossetian administrative boundary.  He said that machine 
guns, mortars, and other firearms had been fired at the 
villages, although no one was injured.  Georgian officials 
tried to use the "hotline" recently established in 
conjunction with the JIPRM for South Ossetia to contact 
Russian officials, who did not respond.  South Ossetian de 
facto authorities released on the internet allegations that 
the July 29 shooting originated in Georgian-controlled 
territory and targeted Tskhinvali.  EUMM officials told 
diplomatic colleagues in a July 30 briefing that they had 
confirmed the shooting from South Ossetia into undisputed 
Qconfirmed the shooting from South Ossetia into undisputed 
Georgia with local villagers, but could not confirm the South 
Ossetian allegations. 
 
4. (SBU) At the EUMM briefing, officials provided information 
about six explosions in Pakhulani, just outside Abkhazia, on 
July 27; no one was injured.  EUMM monitors observed six 
craters of considerable size -- five meters across and two 
meters deep -- but have been unable to determine what caused 
them, and they have also been unable to identify a clear 
target.  One EUMM official speculated that the incident 
somehow derived from criminal groups growing frustrated with 
the increasingly strict control of movements across the 
administrative boundary imposed by Russian Border Guards. 
 
5. (SBU) EUMM officials also noted two recent detentions 
around South Ossetia.  According to Georgian sources, on July 
22 an armed South Ossetian militia member was detained by 
Georgian authorities in Kere, outside South Ossetia; 
according to the South Ossetian version of events, a South 
Ossetian was detained on July 23 in Ortevi, inside South 
Ossetia (both villages are on the administrative boundary, 
east of Tskhinvali).  He remains in Georgian custody.  The 
 
TBILISI 00001409  002 OF 003 
 
 
second detention occurred on July 25, when a Georgian man was 
de
tained in Muguti (just inside the boundary, southwest of 
Tskhinvali); he was released back into undisputed Georgian 
territory at Ergneti on July 27.  He made no complaints of 
mistreatment while in South Ossetian custody. 
 
6. (C) At the briefing for the diplomatic corps, Nalbandov 
asked everyone to ask their governments to encourage Russia 
to comply with its international commitments in an effort to 
restore a stable environment, especially in the lead up to 
the war's anniversary.  Afterwards, Nalbandov asked to see 
the Ambassador privately.  He conveyed his own and the 
Foreign Minister's concern that these recent incidents 
represent a significant increase in tension.  He noted with 
surprise and concern that they occurred directly following 
Vice President Biden's visit to Georgia, 
 
ABKHAZIA MECHANISM MEETS 
 
7. (SBU) In accordance with the biweekly schedule agreed at 
the first JIPRM meeting (ref A), representatives of the UN, 
EUMM, Russia, Georgia, and the Abkhaz de facto authorities 
gathered in Gali on July 28.  The Georgian government 
originally wanted to send ten representatives, but after an 
intervention by the EUMM, they agreed to limit their 
delegation to four individuals (the same size as the other 
delegations).  EUMM officials reported the meeting, chaired 
by UN Special Representative Johan Verbeke, proceeded in a 
positive, polite and diplomatic spirit, and all sides agreed 
to continue with a regular schedule of biweekly meetings, 
with the next planned for August 11.  The Georgian side 
raised the question of the location of the meetings, 
proposing that they alternate between Gali and Zugdidi (the 
first two have been held in Gali).  Abkhaz de facto "deputy 
foreign minister" Maxim Gundjia did not object in principle 
to alternating locations, but he asked that the venue remain 
Gali through the Abkhaz "presidential" elections in December, 
explaining that sending representatives outside Abkhazia 
would be very sensitive in this campaign period.  The 
Georgians agreed to continue meeting in Gali for now. 
 
8. (SBU) Although the group did not make any concrete 
progress on specific issues, they did engage in a substantive 
exchange, in particular on the state of the Abkhaz 
administrative boundary crossing regime.  The Russian and 
Abkhaz participants explained that currently there was only 
one crossing point they considered legal: the Rukhi Bridge, 
near Zugdidi.  (Although other points are still being used, 
Abkhaz de facto authorities officially consider them 
illegal.)  They also explained, however, that they were 
considering opening as many as five other points to 
pedestrian traffic; the Rukhi Bridge would remain the only 
"legal" crossing for goods and vehicles.  At the same time, 
the Russian representatives admitted that it would probably 
take some time -- perhaps two to three months -- to establish 
a consistent enforcement regime. 
 
9. (SBU) The Russian and Abkhaz participants explained their 
approach to the documents required for crossing.  Gali 
residents would be allowed to cross by showing either a 
Soviet-era passport or an Abkhaz "passport."  Residents of 
other areas of Abkhazia, however, would need to receive 
special permission from the de facto authorities to cross, 
and they would only receive that permission by having a 
specific need for the travel.  Likewise, travelers from 
Qspecific need for the travel.  Likewise, travelers from 
outside Abkhazia would be allowed to enter Gali by showing 
one of the same two documents, but anyone interested in 
traveling beyond Gali would need to receive permission to do 
so.  The Russian representatives explained the July 22 
incident, in which a bus and a minibus were stopped (ref B), 
as an enforcement action in line with these requirements. 
They insisted that the incident did not constitute the 
detention of the travelers, but rather an administrative 
action akin to a traffic stop, in which a police officer 
might check a driver's documents.  They did not provide 
information on the fate of those detained on July 22 who 
reportedly lost their Georgian passports, however.  Anyone 
attempting to cross with improper documentation would be 
given a warning on the first "offense," then a fine on the 
second. 
 
10. (C) The Abkhaz participants also raised the February 2007 
disappearance of David Sigua, an ethnic Georgian who worked 
on elections in Gali whom the de facto authorities believe 
Georgian authorities abducted.  They expressed interest in 
reopening the case and asking the UN and EUMM to get 
involved.  The EUMM representatives indicated they had no 
authority to conduct investigations, and that in any case 
they currently have no access to the Abkhaz side.  The EUMM 
 
TBILISI 00001409  003 OF 003 
 
 
Deputy Head of Mission, Gilles Janvier, suggested that the 
Abkhaz are trying to use this case to build some kind of 
public relations campaign, like the South Ossetians have done 
with the three disappearances from October 2008, but in a 
less confrontational manner. 
 
SOUTH OSSETIA MECHANISM MEETS 
 
11. (SBU) In response to some of the above incidents, on July 
30 the EUMM sought to arrange an urgent meeting of the JIPRM 
for South Ossetia.  As noted in ref C, the South Ossetian de 
facto authorities have indicated they will only participate 
in further meetings of the JIPRM once the October 2008 
disappearances have been resolved, but they did agree to meet 
on July 31 in Ergneti.  Although the Russians agreed to meet 
as well, they did not appear for the meeting. 
 
ANNIVERSARY PROVOCATIONS? 
 
12. (C) At the EUMM briefing, Janvier reported that the 
Ganmukhuri Patriots Camp, located just outside the Abkhaz 
boundary but north of the Enguri River, had been restored in 
recent weeks after being burned to the ground during the war 
and would reportedly reopen on August 7 (the anniversary of 
the beginning of the war).  He added that the EUMM understood 
there was a possibility that President Saakashvili would 
attend the reopening.  British Ambassador Denis Keefe noted 
that Ganmukhuri has been the site of several unfortunate 
incidents and suggested that any event there on August 7, 
particularly involving Saakashvili, could be perceived by the 
Russians and Abkhaz as provocative.  At the Nalbandov 
briefing, German Ambassador Patricia Flor asked Nalbandov 
about this report, and he had no information about it. 
 
COMMENT: ALL EYES ON THE BOUNDARIES 
 
13. (C) Coming after several weeks of relative calm, the 
sudden rash of incidents, including one fatality, is indeed 
troubling.  Many observers have wondered about the 
possibility of one of the parties seeking to use the occasion 
of the upcoming anniversary to provoke a new round of 
incidents, and such strange incidents as the explosions in 
Pakhulni, or the targeting of a family of IDPs, could be 
designed solely to create a tense atmosphere.
 If true, the 
reopening of the Ganmukhuri camp on August 7, especially if 
it involves Saakashvili, could also come across as 
provocative.  The fact that the JIPRMs are operating, if not 
completely smoothly, is encouraging, because they may provide 
a useful vehicle for addressing any additional incidents. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1408, GEORGIA: MAJORITY NAMES LIKELY SUCCESSOR TO

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To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1408 2009-07-31 14:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9212
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1408/01 2121437
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311437Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1976
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001408 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: MAJORITY NAMES LIKELY SUCCESSOR TO 
OMBUDSMAN POSITION 
 
TBILISI 00001408  001.3 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (SBU)  Summary:  The United National Movement (UNM) has 
nominated Giorgi Tugushi to replace Sozar Subari as 
ombudsman.  As the ruling party's candidate, Tugushi's 
confirmation by Parliament is all but guaranteed with a vote 
expected on July 31 (although it had not taken place by COB). 
 Although not a known public figure, Tugushi's resume appears 
to be a solid fit for this position of independent auditor 
and human rights advocate.  Because of Tugushi's well 
established reputation among NGOs and his solid academic 
background and work experience, the choice has elicited 
little public reaction.  The parliamentary opposition's 
candidate for the position, MP Dimitri Lordkipanidze, is not 
expected to garner much support.  Popular current ombudsman 
Sozar Subari is keeping quiet on what he will do next, but 
with his high approval ratings and open political ambitions, 
speculation is that he will enter the political fray in some 
manner, presumably as part of one of the political forces in 
opposition to President Saakashvili.  Subari has stated 
publicly that both Tugushi and Lordkipanidze would both be 
well qualified successors.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:   The UNM's naming of Tugushi as the 
nominee for the office of Ombudsman appears to have been a 
smart political move, as his candidacy is supported by all 
sides.  Privately, NGO leaders and other commentators give 
Tugushi high marks, but worry that his experience as may not 
have fully prepared his to be a "street level" defender of 
human rights.  The Ombudsman's role under Subari's tenure 
shifted from its traditional strictly neutral arbiter role to 
one that mixed support for human rights and individual 
Georgians with a health dose of opposition to the GoG and the 
UNM.  However, based on recent polling, it appears that the 
Georgian public largely approved of the openly political role 
Subari played.  No matter how Tugushi chooses to orient the 
Ombudsman's office, he will likely be the target of 
criticism, either from the GoG who tired of Subari's open 
political role, or from the opposition and opposition-minded 
voters who considered Subari as an essential counterweight to 
what they viewed as GoG excess.  End Comment. 
 
WHO IS THIS GUY? 
 
3.  (SBU)  While not a household name, Tugushi is well-known 
in NGO and human rights circles.  Currently Tugushi works for 
an EU-funded project designed to support the Ombudsman 
office, making him intimately familiar with the work of the 
Ombudsman and its staff.  He is a member of the Council of 
Europe's Anti-Torture Committee, was a human rights officer 
for the OSCE Mission in 2004, and worked as legal expert for 
the UN Development Program in 2003.  His resume includes a 
stint as a senior legal expert at the Urban Institute/USAID 
office between 2000 and 2002 and time as the chief of staff 
for the Tbilisi City Council Chairman from 1999-2000.  His 
degrees include an LLM in international human rights law from 
the University of Lund in Sweden and a master's degree in 
public administration from the Institute of Public Affairs in 
Tbilisi.  During a recent television appearance Tugushi 
seemed confident and self assured.  In a statement to 
Parliament he said, "(t)he Ombudsman should be impartial, 
independent, and principled."  Tugushi has already announced 
that if elected, his priority as Ombudsman will be the 
treatment of prisoners. 
 
NGO'S LIKE HIM BUT DOES HE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO PRESS THE 
QNGO'S LIKE HIM BUT DOES HE HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO PRESS THE 
GOVERNMENT? 
 
4.  (C)  Eka Siradze-Delaunay (International Society for Fair 
Elections and Democracy), Keti Khutsishvili (Open Society 
Georgia Foundation), and Tamar Khidasheli (Georgian Young 
Lawyers Association) told Poloffs that they liked and 
respected Tugushi.  All were of a similar opinion that 
Tugushi was a very intelligent and capable person who was an 
expert on human rights issues.  Similarly, all were concerned 
that he might not prove to be as forceful an advocate for 
human rights as was currently necessary.  Khutsishvili, 
Siradze-Delaunay, and Khidasheli all expressed disappointment 
that neither the UNM nor the parliamentary opposition 
consulted them about the picks, but they were not 
disappointed in the picks themselves.  All were encouraged by 
Tugushi's openness and willingness to attend an NGO scheduled 
roundtable to discuss human rights issues.  Setting such a 
short timeframe from nomination to confirmation concerned 
NGOs and opposition members alike.  Parliamentary Minority 
Leader, Giorgi Targamadze (CDM) asked to postpone the vote to 
allow for more public debate on the nominees, but the 
majority rejected the proposal.  The non-parliamentary 
opposition, for its part, has remained largely silent on the 
issue.  Team Leader for the EU project to support the public 
defender's office Pamela Fahey, who has worked with Tugushi, 
 
TBILISI 00001408  002.3 OF 002 
 &#x00
0A; 
was thrilled with his nomination and specifically stated to 
Poloff that they (the EU project) did not support the 
opposition candidate for the position. 
 
THE UNDERDOG 
 
5.  (SBU)  The parliamentary minority put forth MP Dimitri 
Lordkipanidze as their own candidate for the position. 
Lordkipanidze is a lawyer with experience as a human rights 
defender and is himself a member of the parliamentary 
opposition from the "On Our Own" party.  He declared the 
issue of illegal imprisonment as his own top priority if 
elected to the office.  Parliamentary opposition leader 
Targamadze said that "(i)f he (Lordkipanidze) loses it will 
be clear that the majority is not ready to support an 
opposition candidate."  However, Targamadze also stated 
publicly that he has no personal objection to the majority 
party candidate.  Despite being the opposition candidate, 
Lordkipanidze garnered boos from civil society members when 
he stated at an NGO roundtable that homosexuality should be 
punishable under the criminal code.  His statement will 
likely diminish his already meager support even among the MPs 
who nominated him.  At the same roundtable, Tugushi stated 
his view that discrimination based on sexual orientation was 
"completely unacceptable." 
 
WHAT'S NEXT FOR SOZAR? 
 
6.  (C)    Subari has refrained from taking sides and hailed 
the qualifications of both candidates.  What the highly 
popular Subari will do next is unclear, but speculation is he 
will enter politics in his own right or work for an NGO. 
Khutsishvili said she doubted that Subari had decided on what 
he would do next.  Siradze-Delaunay, Khidasheli and 
Khutsishvili praised Subari for his work but questioned 
whether his confrontational and public style had hindered his 
overall effectiveness.  All said that they would like Tugushi 
to play a more understated public role that would help 
de-politicize the office while possibly increasing the 
Ombudsman's effectiveness in holding the GoG accountable. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1382, GEORGIA: HEAD OF PUBLIC BROADCASTING RESIGNS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1382 2009-07-30 15:05 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0360
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1382 2111505
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301505Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1971
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001382 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/27/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: HEAD OF PUBLIC BROADCASTING RESIGNS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C)  Summary:  Levan Kubaneishvili's July 20 resignation 
 
 
from his position as Georgia's public broadcasting (GPB) 
general director appears to be a tacit recognition of the 
continuing political battles that have swirled around the 
station for months.  He has not publicly explained his 
resignation, but the move has sparked speculation by many 
that Kubaneishvili's departure was as an attempt by the GOG 
to appease the opposition who have been very critical of him 
and have demanded his replacement.  An application period is 
now open to all candidates to fill the vacancy.  The public 
broadcasting board will make the final decision on the new 
director general on August 10.  The board of trustees itself 
has been hampered by the resignations of four of its nine 
members in response to what they described as GPB's biased 
coverage of the non-parliamentary opposition-led protests 
this past spring.  As part of his proposal for further 
democratic reforms, President Saakashvili suggested that the 
makeup of the board of trustees be equal parts opposition 
candidates and GoG candidates, with the last seat being a 
member of civil society.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:  Kubaneishvili, who expressed his 
frustration at being a political target in a previous meeting 
with the Ambassador a few months ago, may have simply grown 
tired of dealing with the politics surrounding the position. 
The position has become a lightning rod for opposition 
criticism making it likely the next general director will 
also face tremendous political pressure from all sides. 
Saakashvili's proposal appears to recognize the need to 
de-politicize the GPB which may be a tall order in the 
current political environment.  End Comment. 
 
WHY QUIT NOW? 
 
3.  (C)  Levan Kubaneishvili resigned after only serving 15 
months of his six-year term.  This resignation comes on the 
heels of previous resignations by four members of the public 
broadcasting board of trustees, who resigned because of what 
they said was insufficient quality coverage of opposition 
protests by GPB.  Deputy General Director Gia Chanturia will 
be the new acting Director General until a replacement is 
appointed.  Kubaneishvili has remained silent on his reasons 
for resigning, leading to speculation that his resignation 
was at least in part GOG influenced.  Kubaneishvili is 
reputed to be very close to the Saakashvili administration 
and is highly unpopular with the non-parliamentary opposition 
leaders who have consistently demanded his removal.  The move 
to replace him could be perceived as a goodwill gesture by 
GOG to placate their concerns about GPB's coverage, although 
critics seem to be reserving judgment about whether this was 
a significant move until a replacement is named. 
 
WHO WANTS THIS JOB? 
 
4.  (C)  Public Broadcasting's board of trustees initiated an 
open application period to fill the vacancy.  Anyone may 
submit an application for the position until August 3 and the 
current board members will elect the new director on August 
10.  Despite the fact there are only five members currently 
on the board, the members represent a quorum able to make a 
final determination on appointing a new general director. 
The composition of the original nine-member board was the 
result of an informal understanding between the GOG and the 
opposition reached in February 2008.  The current makeup of 
the board may cause independent journalists to pass up the 
opportunity to apply for the position since the remaining 
members are viewed as openly pro-government.  Never one to 
Qmembers are viewed as openly pro-government.  Never one to 
shy aware from political confrontation, Erosi Kitsmarishvili 
- former Georgian Ambassador to Moscow - announced his 
intention to run for the position.  Kitsmarishvili, a former 
Saakashvili ally and former owner of Rustavi 2 television 
channel is the only announced candidate at this time. 
 
5.  (C)    In his July 20 speech to Parliament, Saakashvili 
offered a proposal to grant four seats on the board to the 
opposition keeping four seats for GOG nominees.  Saakashvili 
proposed that the last seat be reserved for a member of civil 
society with the goal of de-politicizing public broadcasting. 
 Parliament tabled a pending draft amendment to increase the 
number of trustees from nine to fifteen which was aimed at 
proving a more "inclusive" board, and the expanded board idea 
could be acted upon at any time. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1379, GEORGIA: TAFT GRANT CLOSEOUT FOR WOMEN’S WELLNESS

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. #09TBILISI1379.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1379 2009-07-30 11:11 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0062
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1379 2111111
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301111Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1970
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 001379 
 
SIPDIS 
 
MOSCOW FOR REFCOORD (LKIERANS) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREF EAID GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: TAFT GRANT CLOSEOUT FOR WOMEN'S WELLNESS 
CARE ALLIANCE HERA 
 
REF: 08 SECSTATE 35430 
 
1. Summary:  On July 7, Poloff visited the NGO Women's 
Wellness Care Alliance - HERA (HERA), and several 
beneficiaries of the Julia Taft Grant funding for Internally 
Displaced Persons (IDP).  One of the activities conducted by 
HERA, the Mobile Clinics Project, received USG $14,225.00 
from the Taft Fund and focused on (a) updating reproductive 
health services and information provided, (b) improving 
reproductive health information, and (c) increasing 
accessibility to reproductive health services and 
information, all for IDP women. Thanks to the Taft grant, 45 
health care professionals and 543 women received training on 
these health care issues.  Health care professionals and IDP 
women reported that the program increased their knowledge and 
improved their practices.  They also valued establishing 
working contacts with HERA.  The targeted IDP's have been 
living in former hotels and schools ("collectives") converted 
into "temporary" housing after the 1993 conflicts for 16 
years.  End Summary. 
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS 
 
2.  HERA trained IDP health care providers in the communities 
of Tskaltubo, Samtredia and Kutaisi in modern reproductive 
health (including HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted 
infections) and women's health issues.  Comparing initial and 
final training surveys showed that each community increased 
their working knowledge as a result of the training (over 55% 
in Tskaltubo and Samtredia, and 70% in Kutaisi). The Kutaisi 
participants were most actively involved in discussing modern 
approaches to diagnosing and referring reproductive tract 
cancers, especially breast cancer. 
 
IMPROVED NETWORK FOR IDP WOMEN 
 
3.  Six health fairs were held for IDP women at collectives 
in the three communities.  Overall, 543 women participated in 
the fairs.  They, in turn, passed on what they had learned to 
other women in their respective collectives.  The fairs 
focused on the early detection of breast cancer and overall 
reproductive health.  In a follow up visit, IDP women in 
Samtredia remarked that they were grateful for the training 
and regularly perform self-exams.  The fairs were lively and 
participatory and helped establish relationships between IDP 
representatives and HERA that were previously absent.  While 
conducting health awareness activities is a primary function 
of HERA, working specifically with IDPs was new.  HERA 
intends to continue to network wit clinics and specialists 
providing services to the IDP community, as well as to share 
and collaborate on health related information and issues. 
HERA's involvement has been especially appreciated at the IDP 
Clinic in Kutaisi, where many of the health care 
professionals working there are themselves IDPs. The 
resulting new network between HERA and IDP community leaders 
stands to help better serve IDP communities. 
 
BREAKDOWN OF BUDGET 
 
ITEM  QTY   UNIT COST   MODEL TOTAL COST 
 
SALARY PROJECT COORDINATOR    6 MO. 200.00            1,200.00 
SALARY FINANCE MANAGER  6 MO. 100.00              600.00 
PRINTING IEC BOOKLETS   2000     .50            2,999.43 
HONORARIUM FOR DOCTORS  30          100.00            3,000.00 
HONORARIUM FOR NURSES   60           50.00            3,000.00 
PETROL                                    2,554.78 
PHONE                                 578.33 
INTERNET                                    221.94 
BANK FEES                                    73.41 
 
TOTAL COST                              $14,227.89 
 
THANKS TO PRM FOR ONGOING SUPPORT 
 
4.  Post is greatful for the continued support provided by 
PRM through the effective use of Julia Taft Grants. 
QPRM through the effective use of Julia Taft Grants. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1359, GEORGIA: VP BIDEN’S VISIT/SPEECH PLEASES EVERYBODY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1359 2009-07-24 14:10 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5780
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1359/01 2051410
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241410Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1960
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001359 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OVIP PREF PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: VP BIDEN'S VISIT/SPEECH PLEASES EVERYBODY 
- ALMOST 
 
1.  (SBU)  Summary/Comment.  The Vice President's two-day 
trip to Tbilisi received extensive coverage by the Georgian 
press and elicited an overwhelmingly positive response from 
ruling party and opposition politicians, the media, and 
Georgian political analysts alike.  VP Biden's speech at the 
Georgian Parliament and meeting with young people from the 
IDP community at the Youth Palace received the most attention 
and were broadcast live and replayed during the day.  Many 
welcomed the Vice President's "historic" address to 
Parliament and interpreted his frank statements relating to 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgian territorial integrity, 
and NATO membership as a firm stand against Russia's 
perceived nefarious intentions in the region.  The high hopes 
and expectations harbored by many Georgians before the visit 
were met, and in many cases exceeded.   End Summary/Comment. 
 
VP VISIT HUGE SUCCESS 
 
2.  (SBU)  VP Biden's July 23 speeches at the Parliament and 
Youth Palace dominate Georgian headlines, while his 
discussion with civil society and opposition leaders on July 
23 and his remarks at a banquet at the Presidential Palace on 
July 22 also received significant press coverage.  The Vice 
President set the tone for the visit at the President's 
Palace the first night, where he expressed his intent to send 
an "unequivocal, clear, simple message to all who will listen 
and some who don't want to listen, that America stands with 
you and will continue to stand" with Georgia.  Saakashvili 
called the visit historic and awarded the Vice President the 
St. George's Victory Order, Georgia's most prestigious award 
for foreigners, for his continued support of Georgia.  In a 
meeting with ruling party MPs a day after the visit, 
Saakashvili said that it's clear that "Georgia has won 
serious diplomatic victories and that Russia is not a local, 
but a global problem, and that Georgia is not alone." 
Saakashvili noted that the short-term outcome of the visit is 
that Putin's plan to fully occupy Georgia has been foiled. 
 
PERSONAL CONNETIONS AT IDP MEETING 
 
3.  (SBU)  The Vice President's conversations with IDP 
children at the Youth Palace on July 23 evoked a particularly 
emotional response in Tbilisi.  After listening to several 
tragic stories from the children, VP Biden shared his own 
personal tragedy of losing his wife and young daughter in a 
car crash in 1972.  The Vice President was hailed for the 
compassion and sincerity he expressed, which deeply resonated 
with his Georgian audience.  After the meeting, Saakashvili 
rhetorically told "Russianites" (those who are pro-Russian in 
their foreign policy orientation), "You have seen Biden's 
meeting with IDP children.  Which Russian official could have 
spoken like that?  Who could have demonstrated such humanity 
and such ability to share you concerns?" 
 
PARLIAMENT SPEECH EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS 
 
4.  (SBU)  While most Georgians anticipated a reaffirmation 
of U.S. support for Georgia, the Vice President's 
straightforward address to the Georgian Parliament on July 23 
overwhelmingly exceeded their expectations.  Georgian 
political analysts characterized VP Biden's speech as 
confirmation of U.S. support for Georgia's independence and 
territorial integrity.  Analysts Kakha Gogolashvili and Zurab 
Abashidze noted that the Vice President voiced several key 
messages to Russia, the most important being that the United 
States rejects the notion of spheres of influence. 
 
5.  (SBU)  Government officials were particularly pleased 
Q5.  (SBU)  Government officials were particularly pleased 
with the speech.  Saakashvili called the address "truly 
historic and very inspirational.  I was moved frankly." 
Speaker of Parliament David Bakradze, who introduced the Vice 
President, remarked, "(w)hat we have heard today has exceeded 
all our expectations.  The speech was extremely sincere, 
emotional, and none of the topics were avoided.  The main 
signal of the speech was that Georgia will never become 
hostage of any other policies.  Of course behind closed doors 
there was discussion of the concrete components of the 
declared position, such as security and defense capability, 
de-occupation, economic cooperation, and democratic reforms. 
It was clear that Biden has taken Georgia's problems very 
close to his heart."  Georgian Ambassador to the United 
States Batu Kutelia stated that, "(t)his has been an 
unprecedented address in Georgia's recent history, as very 
clear support has been stated."  Deputy Foreign Minister Nino 
Kalandadze commented, "I did not expect that he would state 
the position of full support so clearly."  Minister of 
Culture Nik Rurua joined Saakashvili in assessing the address 
as "historic", while Education Minister Nika Gvaramia noted 
that "Biden pointed out that Georgia set an example to the 
 
TBILISI 00001359  002 OF 002 
 
 
civilized world."  Vice Prime Mi
nister and State Minister for 
European Integration Giorgi Baramidze said, "(t)he key 
message was just what we had expected to hear, that the 
United States will never abandon Georgia in hard times...and 
that the sovereignty and territorial integrity are in the 
interests of the U.S. government."  Tbilisi Mayor Gigi 
Ugulava described the visit as a signal for investors that 
Georgia is a stable country. 
 
PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION ALSO IMPRESSED 
 
6.  (SBU)  Opposition MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of 
Christian-Democratic Movement and the parliamentary minority, 
attended the dinner at the Presidential Palace, and speech at 
Parliament, as well Biden's meeting with civil society and 
opposition leaders.  He remarked, "(a)fter meeting with Vice 
President Biden I understood what kind of people America's 
founding fathers were" and called Biden "one of the most 
far-sighted and wise politicians we have ever seen." 
Targamadze stated that "the U.S. is not personalizing its 
politics and supports development of democratic institutions. 
 The U.S. thinks that Georgia is the leader in terms of 
developing democracy in the region.  Therefore, our 
responsibility in front of the people, the future, and the 
region has doubled."  MP Gia Chakhvadze (National-Democratic 
Party) stated, "It is clear that we have foreign policy 
support.  Now the thing is to build democracy at home."   MP 
Gia Tortladze (Unified Opposition) commented, "It is clear 
that the U.S. is the closest partner to us." 
 
NON-PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION SATISFIED 
 
7.  (SBU)  Non-parliamentary opposition leaders Irakli 
Alasania (Our Georgia-Free Democrats), Nino Burjanadze 
(Democratic Movement-United Georgia), and Levan Gachechiladze 
assessed their meeting with VP Biden and civil society 
representatives as important, frank, and satisfactory. 
Alasania noted, "(w)e had an open discussion of Georgia's 
internal political situation and security.  We gave him 
detailed information on the current situation and received a 
promise that the democratic reforms in Georgia will be the 
defining factor in Georgian-U.S. relations.  The future 
bilateral strategic cooperation will be based on Georgia's 
progress in democratic reforms."  Burjanadze stated, "I am 
really very satisfied... We had a very sincere and open 
meeting.  There were no recommendations, which truly 
underlines the fact that the U.S. is a democratic country and 
is our friend.  There were assessments. The Vice President 
stated clearly that elections and decisions like that are the 
internal matters of the Georgian people.  The U.S. is not 
going to interfere in Georgia's internal affairs.  It was 
stated clearly that it is the Georgian people and the 
Georgian state which have the support of the U.S. and not 
concrete individuals."  Gachechiladze reported, "(w)e had an 
exchange of opinions and two issues were stated: first, it is 
the matter of Georgian people who will be their president and 
when elections will be held. Second, if Georgia does not take 
steps toward freedom, human rights, and democracy, there will 
be no U.S. assistance."  All three opposition leaders 
declined invitations to attend Biden's speech at Parliament. 
Burjanadze and Gachechiladze commented that their absence was 
a sign of unity with fellow non-parliamentary opposition 
leaders who were not invited. 
 
SOME WILL NEVER BE HAPPY 
 
8.  (SBU)  Sergey Shamba, Abkhaz de facto foreign minister, 
commented that "(w)e can exist without U.S. recognition very 
Qcommented that "(w)e can exist without U.S. recognition very 
well.  As a politician I know that there are words, and there 
are deeds.  Americans can speak about Georgia's territorial 
integrity as much as they like, but they will not fight for 
Georgians and we will continue defending our country.  VP 
Biden's visit was only to please the Georgian government." 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1358, GEORGIA: RUSSIANS TIGHTEN CONTROL IN GALI

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1358 2009-07-24 14:08 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5777
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1358/01 2051408
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 241408Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1958
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0262
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4882

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001358 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: RUSSIANS TIGHTEN CONTROL IN GALI 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 0924 
     B. TBILISI 1136 
     C. TBILISI 1150 
     D. TBILISI 0322 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  In recent weeks Russian Border 
Guards have tightened control over Abkhaz administrative 
boundary line crossing points.  In a July 22 incident, they 
detained over 20 ethnic Georgians attempting to depart 
Abkhazia, confiscated Georgian passports from nine of them, 
and planned to deliver the nine into the custody of local 
Abkhaz law enforcement officials.  Georgian press reported 
that some of those detained agreed to accept Abkhaz 
"passports," while others would be forced into the Abkhaz 
military.  This is the first instance of a large-scale 
enforcement action by Russians since the Border Guards 
assumed control of the boundary (ref A).  It raises questions 
about Russia's respect for the human rights of Gali 
residents, who consider themselves Georgian citizens and are 
both economically and emotionally dependent on ready access 
to the rest of Georgia.  In other developments, the 
Georgians' discovery of a transmitter in connection with the 
June 21 attack on an EUMM convoy, along with the approaching 
anniversary of the August 2008 war, convinced the EUMM to 
increase its risk assessment for the area along the Abkhaz 
boundary line.  End summary and comment. 
 
JULY 22 DETENTIONS 
 
2. (C) In its July 23 weekly briefing for EU members and 
other diplomats, EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) officials 
reported on the July 22 incident.  According to one of the 
passengers, Russian Border Guards at Meore Otobaia stopped 
one bus and one minibus intending to depart Abkhazia.  The 
Border Guards asked to see the identification of all 27 
passengers (press accounts reported 24 detainees).  Those 
with Soviet-era passports were allowed to continue, while 
nine who carried Georgian passports had their documents 
confiscated and were to be turned over to the custody of 
local Abkhaz law enforcement in the town of Gali.  One of the 
nine later escaped and crossed into Georgian-controlled 
territory on his own.  He was then detained by Georgian 
officials for not having identification.  This individual 
told EUMM officials directly of the incident at a Georgian 
police station in Darcheli.  The EUMM had no further 
information about the fate of the other 8.  Georgian TV 
station Rustavi-2, however, reported on July 24 that 24 
remained in Russian custody, of whom 13 would be released 
after accepting Abkhaz "passports," while 11 faced 
conscription into the Abkhaz military. 
 
BROADER TRENDS 
 
3. (SBU) At the briefing, EUMM officials also reported that 
in general the Russian Border Guards have imposed stricter 
control on the boundary in recent weeks.  Near Abkhazia, 
Georgian police officials have reported to the EUMM that the 
Russians have established full control of the crossing points 
at Shamgona, Rukhi, Khurcha, Pakhulani and Orsantia; EUMM 
officials themselves have observed Russian control at 
Orsantia and Eritskali.  In some cases, the Russians have 
erected additional physical infrastructure, such as fencing, 
to reinforce the crossing points.  Outside South Ossetia, 
Russian Border Guards newly established at the checkpoint at 
Perevi have proven unwilling to engage with EUMM officials; 
they have demanded that such requests for contact be conveyed 
"through official channels."  EUMM officials told PolOff that 
Q"through official channels."  EUMM officials told PolOff that 
anecdotally, cases of individuals being denied permission by 
the Russians to cross the Abkhaz administrative boundary are 
increasing and are now a daily occurrence.  The officials 
indicated the EUMM would likely raise questions about the 
Russians' actions and intentions at the next meeting of the 
Joint Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism for 
Abkhazia, scheduled for July 28 in Gali. 
 
4. (SBU) Recent Georgian press articles report confrontations 
between the Russian Border Guards and Abkhaz officials over 
respective roles in boundary control.  On July 20, for 
example, Georgian media reported shots being fired as the 
Russians assumed control of some Abkhaz points.  No injuries 
were reported.  Although these reports are difficult to 
confirm, one possible explanation for such friction is the 
potentially lucrative nature of such positions; Abkhaz 
officials used to taking even modest bribes from travelers 
could stand to lose significant sums if the Russians put a 
stop to such informal arrangements. 
 
 
TBILISI 00001358  002 OF 002 
 
 
EUMM INCREASES RISK ASSESSMENT FOR BOUNDARY LINE 
 
5. (C) EUMM Deputy Head Gilles Janvier announced at the 
briefing that the EUMM has raised its risk assessment from

"medium" to "high" (the third of four categories, with 
"critical" being highest) for the area along the 
administrative boundaries.  He explained the change was based 
on two developments.  First, Georgian police informed the 
EUMM that it found evidence of a transmitter used in the 
detonation of an explosive device that killed an ambulance 
driver in an EUMM convoy on July 21 (ref B).  The EUMM 
therefore determined that the attack was most likely 
intentional.  Second, the EUMM determined that the risk of 
incidents could increase as the anniversary of the August 
2008 war approaches.  Janvier emphasized that the EUMM's risk 
assessment had not changed for the area of Georgia beyond the 
boundary area, i.e., the vast majority of Georgian-controlled 
territory, where most EUMM personnel operate on a daily basis. 
 
COMMENT: MORE HARDSHIPS FOR GALI? 
 
6. (C) Russian officials have consistently maintained that 
the involvement of their Border Guards in the control of the 
administrative boundaries of Abkhazia and South Ossetia would 
increase security along those boundaries.  The imposition of 
an apparently stricter regime could be portrayed as an effort 
to reduce the likelihood of destabilizing incidents, as well 
as to impose a more standardized, less corrupt system of 
control.  Nevertheless, any further reduction in the local 
population's freedom of movement will impose serious 
hardships on their already precarious existence. 
Furthermore, reports of confiscated Georgian passports, 
imposed Abkhaz "passports," and compelled service in the 
Abkhaz military, if accurate, suggest that earlier concerns 
about the potential for increasingly serious human rights 
violations in Gali are beginning to be realized (refs C, D). 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1357, TERRORISM FINANCE: DESIGNATION OF QASMANI,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1357 2009-07-24 13:29 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5729
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1357 2051329
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241329Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1957
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS TBILISI 001357 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
EEB/ESC/TFS: LINDA RECHT 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EFIN KTFN PTER ETTC PHUM EAID PK GG
SUBJECT: TERRORISM FINANCE:  DESIGNATION OF QASMANI, 
MUJAHID, AND AL-PESHAWARI 
 
REF: STATE 070271 
 
1. (SBU) Post delivered reftel terrorist finance designation 
of Qasmani, Mujahid, and al-Peshawari on 17 July to MFA 
Department of the Americas First Secretary Nana Shonia. 
Shonia assured Emboff that the details would be passed to the 
proper ministries for follow on action and review. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1355, GEORGIA: INFORMING ISAF OF FUTURE OF MANAS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1355 2009-07-24 13:27 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5727
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1355 2051327
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241327Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1955
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK PRIORITY 0342

UNCLAS TBILISI 001355 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: NATO PREL MOPS MARR AF GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: INFORMING ISAF OF FUTURE OF MANAS 
 
REF: STATE 071036 
 
1. (SBU)  In response to reftel, on 17 July Post delivered 
talking points informing NATO allies and non-NATO 
contributors to ISAF about the operation of a transit center 
at Manas Airport to MFA Department of the Americas First 
Secretary Nana Shonia.  Shonia expressed interest in the 
details and promised to pass the information to the 
appropriate office in the MFA and Ministry of Defense. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1339, GEORGIA: SAAKASHVILI OUTLINES NEXT STEPS ON REFORM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1339 2009-07-21 13:18 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2427
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1339/01 2021318
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 211318Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1938
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 0259
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 4879

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001339 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/21/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL OVIP OTRA RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SAAKASHVILI OUTLINES NEXT STEPS ON REFORM 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 313 
     B. TBILISI 276 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  In a nationally televised speech 
to Parliament July 20, President Saakashvili outlined his 
vision for next steps on reform and invited all elements of 
society to enter renewed dialogue.  Key themes included the 
election code and local elections, constitutional and 
judicial reform, and media freedom.  Although few of the 
basic ideas were new (reftels), Saakashvili offered more 
concrete proposals on actual implementation.  The speech was 
followed by a four-hour parliamentary debate, to which the 
presient responded at 1:00 A.M., all carried live on TV. 
Some opposition figures focused their criticism on specific 
proposals; others called the event a publicity stunt in 
anticipation of Vice President Biden's July 22 visit. 
Saakashvili did refer to the Vice President in his speech, 
suggesting that Biden's address to parliament might be a way 
to draw the non-parliamentary opposition into the room.  The 
speech moved Saakashvili's lofty reform goals closer to 
specific and measurable objectives, and with several 
deadlines set for the next few months, the country will be 
able to gauge the government's progress.  The exchange also 
helped institutionalize the healthy precedent set in February 
(ref A) of open and respectful engagement between the 
president and all elements of the legislature.  It is 
unlikely that the non-parliamentary opposition will accept 
the president's renewed invitation to engage, but if the 
government delivers on its commitments, the non-parliamentary 
opposition will likely move even further to the sidelines. 
End summary and comment. 
 
THE SPEECH 
 
2. (C) In his 45-minute address to Parliament, attended by 
the Ambassador and representatives of the diplomatic corps, 
Saakashvili appeared confident, offered a well-crafted 
message with both style and substance, and received a 
respectful reception, punctuated on several occasions by 
applause.  Noting several challenges that continue to face 
Georgia, he insisted that the only way forward was through 
reform, and explained his speech as an effort to move the 
discussion of reform from the conceptual to the concrete.  He 
also called for increased dialogue among all elements of 
society, including all political entities as well as the 
Georgian people, to engage constructively on implementing 
these reform proposals and identifying additional areas for 
work. 
 
3. (SBU) Saakashvili focused on five broad areas for reform 
in the next several months: elections; constitutional 
revisions; judicial independence; media; and national 
security cooperation.  On elections, he proposed completing a 
revision of the Election Code by the end of 2009, to be 
followed by early local elections, including the direct 
election of the Tbilisi mayor, in May 2010.  On the 
constitution, he suggested that the Constitutional Commission 
should energize its work and, in particular, propose changes 
that restrict the president's ability to dissolve parliament. 
 He also proposed making it easier for Georgians from abroad 
to get involved in political life in Georgia.  On judicial 
independence, he proposed increasing the penalties for those 
attempting to have improper contact with judges about ongoing 
cases, making such offenses criminal.  He said this step 
Qcases, making such offenses criminal.  He said this step 
should be taken by the end of September.  On the media, he 
suggested that all stations be given the opportunity to 
broadcast by satellite, as Maestro is in the process of 
doing.  He also proposed a nine-member board for public 
broadcasting consisting of four government representatives, 
four opposition representatives, and one civil society 
representative, a change he said would be adopted within 90 
days.  At the same time, he called on all media to be 
responsible in their broadcasts and to offer any dissenting 
views in a respectful manner.  On national security 
cooperation, he announced that the government would invite 
opposition representatives to meetings of the National 
Security Council on a monthly basis. 
 
4. (SBU) Saakashvili also proposed expanding the opportunity 
for political dialogue within the country.   He repeated his 
call to Parliament to enable those individuals who were 
elected to the legislature but refused their seats to finally 
take those seats.  He also suggested that even if those 
individuals still refused to enter Parliament, perhaps they 
would be willing to enter the room to hear Vice President 
Biden's speech this week.  The president also announced that 
members of his government and his party would be traveling to 
 
TBILISI 00001339  002 OF 003 
 
 
all regions of Georgia to
 engage in consultations with the 
people.  Based on what they hear, the government will compile 
a list of the top five concerns of the people and publish it 
by the end of September.  In response to a proposal made by a 
member of parliament to move the body to Kutaisi, Saakashvili 
proposed dividing the work of Parliament between Tbilisi and 
Kutaisi, holding committee meetings in the capital and 
plenary sessions in Kutaisi. 
 
THE RESPONSE 
 
5. (SBU) For four hours after the speech, both majority and 
minority members of parliament engaged in a lively debate 
about Saakashvili's proposals and broader policies.  To take 
several examples, Christian Democratic leader Giorgi 
Targamadze suggested that the speech was primarily a 
publicity stunt, timed to coincide with Vice President 
Biden's visit; his colleague Levan Vepkhvadze added that he 
had heard nothing new in the speech.  Another CDM member, 
Magda Anikashvili, leveled a more specific criticism about 
the inadequate health care system.  Several opposition 
members charged that the government had been overly 
aggressive in their response to the recent protests, with We 
Ourselves' Paata Davitaia, for example, calling for 
investigations into the May 6 and June 15 incidents involving 
demonstrators at police stations; Vepkhvadze voiced 
disapproval of the recently revised legal restrictions on 
political rallies.  Criticizing Saakashvili's 
"counterproductive conflict resolution policy" and "reckless 
step" in August 2008, Movement for Fair Georgia's Peter 
Mamradze called for dialogue with Russia with no 
preconditions; other members rejected Mamradze's remarks, 
including UNM member Akaki Minashvili, who declared that 
dialogue with Russia would only be possible when Russia's 
occupying forces have left Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 
 
6. (SBU) President Saakashvili concluded the session with a 
response to several of the points raised during the debate. 
In particular, he took exception to criticisms leveled at 
police conduct during the protests, saying that the police 
have played a key role in protecting Georgia and deserve the 
support of the parliamentarians.  He also defended the 
rally-related legislation as designed to protect citizens. 
He expressed great pride in the debates themselves, 
characterizing them as evidence of Georgia's new political 
culture and contrasting his willingness to engage in such 
open discussions with someone like Putin.  He praised the 
Parliament, saying Georgia has not had such a good 
legislature for years.  Looking ahead to 2013, Saakashvili 
said his goal was to ensure not the continuation of his own 
power, but a smooth transition to the next administration; he 
also said he intended to transfer his power not to Georgia's 
enemy, but to the Georgian people. 
 
THE SIGNIFICANCE 
 
7. (C) With a few exceptions, Saakashvili did not introduce 
any truly new ideas in his address.  The task he set for 
himself, however -- and that he largely accomplished -- was 
to translate vague ideas about reform into concrete and 
measurable objectives with specific time frames.  On election 
reform, for example, he repeated proposals he has made 
before, but he set dates of the end of 2009 for completing 
revisions and moved an earlier pledge of fall 2010 for local 
elections up to May 2010.  On constitutional reform, he set 
before the already existing commission the specific task of 
Qbefore the already existing commission the specific task of 
limiting the president's ability to dissolve parliament.  On 
judicial independence, he introduced the new idea of 
increasing the penalties for judicial interference by the end 
of September.  On the media, he suggested expanded satellite 
access for channels and offered a very specific proposal on 
the makeup of the public broadcasting board -- and also set a 
time limit of 90 days for the latter step.  Although he has 
proposed opposition involvement in national security 
discussions before, Saakashvili extended the specific 
invitation of involvement in monthly NSC meetings.  Finally, 
even though his call for national dialogue is rather vague, 
he did set a deadline of the end of September for a summary 
of the dialogue's results.  Not only do these commitments 
promise to keep Saakashvili accountable, but, if implemented, 
they could have a substantial impact on Georgia's overall 
progress on reform. 
 
8. (C) While it is too early to gauge public reaction to 
Saakashvili's speech, his remarks are noteworthy for their 
specificity.  Saakashvili has set a number of deadlines for 
himself, and it will be easy for all political figures and 
the public itself to determine if he and the government are 
following through on their commitments.  Given their 
 
TBILISI 00001339  003 OF 003 
 
 
continuing strident rhetoric, most of the non-parliamentary 
opposition is unlikely to respond positively to Saakashvili's 
renewed call for constructive engagement.  If the ruling 
party is able to deliver on even some of these reform 
proposals, the already sidelined non-parliamentary opposition 
could lose even more of its already limited public support. 
Some, such as Irakli Alasania who are already moving toward 
dialogue, may decide that the time has come to make a final 
step away from confrontation to engagement. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1327, GEORGIA: PROTEST LAW PASSED – RAKLES OPPONENTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1327 2009-07-20 12:31 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #1327/01 2011231
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 201231Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1931
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001327 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: PROTEST LAW PASSED - RAKLES OPPONENTS 
AND CIVIL SOCIETY REPS 
 
REF: TBILISI 1250 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  The revision to the Law on Protests 
(reftel), which strengthens the Government's authorities, was 
passed July 17.  Critics have questioned the need to enact 
the law so quickly and raised concerns about the provision 
that extended the maximum term of administrative detention 
from 30 to 90 days; the provision that permits the use of 
"non-lethal" force; and the provision that makes the 
"artificial" blocking of roads an administrative offense. 
Once President Saakashvili signs the legislation it will 
become binding.  GoG officials have indicated to us and 
stated publicly that they will forward the law to the Venice 
Commission for review and comment.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:  The speed with which the law was passed 
has raised questions about the reason for the haste. 
Parliamentarians have told the Ambassador that the Government 
needs more authority to control protests should a new wave of 
demonstrations begin in September.  Notwithstanding the 
quickness of the legislative process, even NGOs critical of 
the amendments to the law acknowledge that they were given 
ample opportunity to voice their concerns to MPs, even 
gaining a concession on the ability to appeal administrative 
procedures.  Despite the criticism, in our reading of the 
text and that of our European diplomatic colleagues, the law 
appears to be within European standards and the voiced 
objections appear to have more to do with a mistrust that the 
GoG will abuse the provisions than a criticism of the nature 
of the provisions themselves.  We will continue to urge that 
the GoG submit the law to the Venice Commission for review 
and incorporate its suggestions if appropriate.  End Comment. 
 
The Controversial Provisions - Not So Controversial 
 
3.  (C)  The most controversial provision is the extension of 
the maximum term of administrative detention from 30 to 90 
days.  GoG interlocutors argue that the change only allows 
judges more discretion.  The GoG has clearly not convinced 
its critics as to why the change was necessary, largely 
skirting public discussion of the issue.  Executive Director 
of Open Society Georgia Foundation Keti Khutsishvili told the 
DCM that she had not received an adequate explanation of why 
the amendments needed to be adopted in the first place. 
Khutsishvili argued that the current law would have allowed 
the GoG to remove "cells", prosecute wrongdoers, and remove 
people from blocking major thoroughfares.  Khutsishvili 
opined that lack of political will and not the legal 
framework was the reason the GoG did not/could not disband 
the protesters and the cells quickly. 
 
4.  (C)  GYLA director Tamar Khidasheli explained that she 
was concerned about a lack of due process in the 
administrative penalty regime itself.  Khidasheli said that 
unlike ordinary detention which was governed by a clear code 
of procedures, administrative detainees did not have similar 
protections (such as access to lawyers, showers, exercise 
time, clergy, phone privileges etc.), and were subject to the 
whims of the MoIA.  Khidasheli said that an expansion of the 
administrative law regime, in the absence of clear 
protections for administrative detainees, represented a step 
backwards.  Khidasheli noted that the provision allowing 
appeals was positive though expressed doubt that it would 
provide adequate safeguards against abuse of judicial 
discretion.  According to Khidasheli, the provision only 
allowed appellate review if new evidence was presented, 
Qallowed appellate review if new evidence was presented, 
thereby limiting the ability of administrative detainees to 
appeal.  (Embassy Comment:  Both Khidasheli and Khutsishvili 
made rational, solid arguments about their concerns with the 
protest law.  The main thrust of their arguments was not that 
the law was objectively poor; but rather it expanded 
discretion which would likely be abused by the GoG without 
adequate safeguards.  End Comment.) 
 
5.  (C)  NGOs also raised issue with the provision regarding 
the use of non-lethal force in dispersing illegal 
demonstrations.  Khidasheli and Khutsishvili both expressed 
their concern that MoIA officers lacked the training to carry 
out the use of non-lethal force in an effective, professional 
manner.  Both also were concerned that the law granted the 
MoIA the authority to outline the types of non-lethal weapons 
and circumstances in which they would be used.  Neither 
Khidasheli nor Khutsishvili had seen a draft or were 
confident that the process in which the draft was written 
would be transparent.  Lastly, both said they felt the 
provision outlawing the artificial blocking of roads was 
insufficiently clear and could lead to arbitrary enforcement. 
 
Christian Democratic Movement Stages Walkout 
 
6.  (C)  A clearly frustrated Giorgi Targamadze (CDM leader) 
told Poloff that the law should not have been pushed through 
Parliament in such an expedited manner.  Targamadze, who met 
Poloff about one hour after CDM stage
d an impromptu walkout, 
said he was disappointed that the ruling UNM party did not 
address significant and legitimate questions about the law. 
Like Khidasheli and Khutsishvili, Targamadze was concerned 
about the administrative detention portion of the law above 
all else. 
 
7.  (C)  Targamadze expressed his disappointment and 
disbelief that Parliament could not have waited until after a 
Venice Commission review to pass the law.  Targamadze told 
Poloff that he would focus his attention on trying to 
convince President Saakashvili to veto the legislation, an 
eventuality he did not deem likely.  Khutsishvili and 
Khidasheli said that they were also likely to appeal to the 
President on behalf of civil society organizations o 
postpone signing the legislation into law until after the 
Venice Commission provided comments.  The Ambassador in fact 
asked several MPs why the legislation was passed so hastily 
before Venice Commission review.  The answer was quite clear 
- the GoG wanted the law on the books in anticipation of 
possible further autumn protests.  As a result, we believe 
that President Saakashvili is likely to sign the law in short 
order and then seek a Venice Commission review.  We 
understand that a Venice Commission review would likely take 
some time and probably not be completed until late fall at 
the earliest. 
TEFFT

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