Monthly Archives: September 2009

09TBILISI1786, GEORGIA: TAGLIAVINI REPORT FINDS PLENTY OF BLAME

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1786 2009-09-30 14:38 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8067
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1786/01 2731438
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301438Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2258
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0302
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4916
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 2304
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001786 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/30/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: TAGLIAVINI REPORT FINDS PLENTY OF BLAME 
TO SHARE 
 
REF: TBILISI 468 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary.  The EU-sponsored Tagliavini Commission on 
the August 2008 war, released in Brussels on September 30, 
points fingers at many parties, including Georgia, Russia, 
the de facto authorities, the United States, and the 
international community writ large.  It expressly refuses to 
identify any one party as most at fault, declaring that 
"while it is possible to identify the authorship of some 
important events and decisions marking its course, there is 
no way to assign overall responsibility for the conflict to 
one side alone."  It considers as unjustified Georgia's 
full-scale attack on Tskhinvali, Russia's invasion of 
undisputed Georgia, and Russia's recognition of the regions' 
independence.  Key themes include the steady escalation of 
tensions in the years immediately preceding the war; the 
failure of the international community to act resolutely to 
defuse those tensions; Russia's interest in establishing a 
privileged zone of interest; Georgia's forceful assertion of 
its intent to reunify the country; the identification of 
Russia and Georgia as the key antagonists; and the troubling 
degradation of key principles of international law and 
political practice that the conflict represents.  The 
Georgian Government has issued its first public reaction, 
noting its agreement with most of the report and not 
surprisingly, stressing those parts that support its version 
of the events.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment.  The Georgian Government and many Georgians 
will spend the next hours and days reviewing the report and 
making comments.  Top government officials began meeting 
immediately after the release of the report, presumably to 
formulate its response.  Reintegration Minister 
Yakobashvili's first comments are unlikely to be the Georgian 
Government's last word on the subject, but thus far the tone 
taken has been measured.  End Comment. 
 
3. (C) Post reviewed Volume I of the three-volume report of 
the EU-sponsored Independent International Fact-Finding 
Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (IIFFMCG, commonly 
referred to as the Tagliavini Commission after its head of 
mission, Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini -- see reftel). 
Volume I offers an extended executive summary of the 
Commission's findings and conclusions.  The report is 
comprehensive, candid, courageous, even-handed, and 
ambitious.  It attempts to trace the roots of the conflict 
back to well before August 7, even as far back as the 
original 1783 treaty providing for Russian protection for 
Georgia, but in particular in the post-Soviet period.  Noting 
that all sides extended their full cooperation in the 
preparation of the report, and that no side attempted to 
interfere in its work, the Commission does not back down from 
levelling frank assessments of the decisions and actions by 
various parties, including those not directly involved in the 
conflict, even though it no doubt understood it would earn 
sustained criticism for many of those assessments.  It seems 
to have tried to weigh the evidence available as objectively 
as it could, while cautioning that it can make no claim to 
complete knowledge of the events under consideration. 
Finally, it not only evaluates the specific actions of 
QFinally, it not only evaluates the specific actions of 
various actors, but it concludes with a series of 
"observations," or lessons, for the international community 
to take away from the conflict.  Perhaps recognizing that the 
report's conclusions will not resolve in any final sense the 
historical debate, the Commission recommends that the report 
be used by the international community not to apportion 
blame, but to look forward, applying the lessons of the 
conflict to efforts to find a more durable resolution of the 
still simmering conflict. 
 
4. (C) Key findings on the conflict itself include: Georgia's 
claim of provocation by an August 7 influx of Russian troops 
was unsubstantiated, and its attack on Tskhinvali was 
unjustified; immediate South Ossetian and Russian defensive 
reactions to the Georgian attack were justified, but their 
subsequent invasion of and actins in the rest of Georgia 
were not; South Ossetian irregulars were allowed to commit 
serious human rights violations, including ethnic cleansing; 
Georgia did not commit genocide; the events in South Ossetian 
and Abkhazia were separate, and the Abkhaz attack on the 
Upper Kodori Valley, supported by Russia, was unjustified. 
Key findings on legal elements of the conflict include: 
Russia's recognition of the regions as independent had no 
 
TBILISI 00001786  002 OF 002 
 
 
justification in international law; and Russia's extension of 
Russian citizenship via the
distribution of passports to 
residents of Georgia was also unjustified and need not be 
acknowledged by other countries. 
 
5. (C) The report takes a much broader view than the events 
of August 2008, however, beginning its analysis in the 18th 
century and focusing in particular on the years running up to 
the conflict, finding fault on all sides for escalating 
tensions.  It clearly identifies Russia and Georgia as the 
key antagonists, but notes that some international players, 
such as the United States and its military engagement with 
Georgia, may have contributed to the worsening of relations. 
It criticizes the Georgian government for "overplaying its 
hand and acting in the heat of the moment."  It criticizes 
Russia for employing a "great power's coercive politics and 
diplomacy."  It also draws troubled conclusions about the 
deeper meaning of the conflict for the current state of 
international relations, noting that the "political culture 
of cooperativeness" that began developing in Europe in the 
1970s has been damaged, with the "threat and use of force" 
having now returned to European politics. 
 
6. (C) In a press conference a few hours after Volume I's 
release on September 30, Georgian Minister for Reintegration 
Temuri Yakobashvili offered the government's initial 
reactions.  Maintaining a relatively dispassionate tone, 
Yakobashivili stated that the government agrees with most of 
the report.  He unsurprisingly highlighted those elements of 
the report that support Georgia's version of events, 
including in particular the fact that the conflict began long 
before August 7, that Russia had no right either to invade 
Georgian territory or recognize the regions' independence, 
and that ethnic cleansing took place.  He rejected, however, 
the report's assertions that there was no substantiation of 
the Georgian allegation of Russia's incursion on August 7, 
and that Georgia's use of force against Tskhinvali was 
excessive.  He concluded with the statement that it was 
Russia that invaded Georgia, while Georgia never crossed out 
of its own borders. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1784, GEORGIA: BURJANADZE’S TAX SAGA CONTINUES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1784 2009-09-30 05:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7582
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1784/01 2730558
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 300558Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2256
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 001784 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/28/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: BURJANADZE'S TAX SAGA CONTINUES 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 1674 
     B. TBILISI 1568 
 
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES A. I. KENT D. LOGSDON.  REASONS:  1.4 
(B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Former Speaker of Parliament, Nino 
Burjanadze (Democratic Movement - United Georgia) has 
indicated that she may challenge President Saakashvili to 
arrest her on what she believes are trumped up tax penalties 
in connection with a property she received for one lari (60 
cents) in 2008 (ref A).  Burjanadze spoke to Poloff and then 
subsequently with the Charge and indicated her frustration 
with western silence regarding what she terms Saakashvili's 
unfair and vindictive treatment of her.  The Charge 
d'Affaires raised concerns about the appearance and propriety 
of the lawsuit with Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria. 
Burjanadze has requested another meeting with the Charge to 
discuss the case further.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:  It has been an open secret that the GoG 
has been waging an aggressive campaign to collect taxes, 
which has affected more individuals than just Burjanadze (ref 
B).  If Bokeria's response is any indication, this legalistic 
argument will likely make up a large portion of the GoG's 
response to concerns about the propriety of the prosecution. 
Burjanadze's own unclean hands, particularly in accepting the 
property in the first place, hardly make her a sympathetic 
figure to the public.  Nonetheless, any arrest of Burjanadze 
or other over the top treatment of her would seem 
disproportionate to the nature of the dispute, and post will 
continue to urge the GoG to proceed in an open, transparent 
and proportional manner.  Our European colleagues are 
preparing similar approaches to the Government, but have also 
taken a private approach to the issue.  Regardless of our 
interventions, at this point, it looks likely that the GoG 
will move ahead with the seizure and auction of the property 
in question as scheduled on October 7.  End Comment. 
 
The Phone Calls 
 
3.  (C)  Burjanadaze called Poloff on September 22 to ask 
what the USG response (if any) would be regarding the GoG's 
lawsuit against her for failure to pay taxes on a dacha she 
received for one lari (60 cents) (ref A and ref B).  When 
asked as to what specific response Burjanadze wanted from the 
USG, she admitted that she was not sure.  Burjanadze 
complained about being abandoned by her western friends in 
the face of an unfair and vindictive smear campaign against 
her.  Burjanadze told Poloff she would demand that President 
Saakashvili arrest her and that "then maybe my western 
friends will comment."  During the course of the 20 minute 
phone call, Burjanadze repeatedly apologized for being overly 
emotional. 
 
4.  (C)  Charge spoke with Burjanadze on September 23 and had 
a similar conversation.  Burjanadze complained that she had 
been accused of collusion with Russia, money laundering, and 
misappropriating state assets -- all without the GoG 
substantiating the allegations.  She also accused the 
Government of planting false information in the Ukrainian 
press about her recent visits to Kyiv (including allegations 
that she was trying to borrow money from Ukrainian banks and 
Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk) and said that her lawyers 
were investigating libel laws in Ukraine.  The Charge noted 
that post had regularly raised the issue privately with 
senior Georgian leaders.  Burjanadze replied that she 
appreciated the private support post provided, but since the 
people of Georgia only read "the lies" in the press, no one 
knew that post had been engaged on the issue.  According to 
Qknew that post had been engaged on the issue.  According to 
Burjanadze, her supporters routinely ask her "where are your 
western friends?"  Burjanadze said a lack of western response 
has been particularly difficult for her since some of her 
supporters have been arrested or forced to pay money to the 
tax police (to the point of having to sell their houses and 
cars to stay out of jail) over the past few months. 
Burjanadze again raised the issue of her potential arrest. 
 
DFM Bokeria Hears Concerns - Says Little 
 
5.  (C)  The Charge and Polchief relayed our concerns to 
Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria and noted that, 
regardless of the merits of the case (ref A), the optics of 
quickly auctioning off the property (scheduled for October 7) 
were not good.  The Charge stressed that arresting Burjanadze 
in connection with the tax case would also likely be viewed 
in the West as overly zealous.  Bokeria responded that the 
GoG had a legitimate legal case and pursuin it against 
Burjanadze, like any private citizen, was well within the 
GoG's normal rights.  When the Charge asked specific 
questions about the legality of moving against just this 
property or the inability of Burjanadze to provide her own 
 
TBILISI 00001784  002 OF 002 
 
 
experts' assessment of the value of the property to the 
court, Bokeria said that he could not guess as to the legal 
issues involved.  The
Charge noted that even if one conceded 
the legal argument, the GoG should consider that any arrest 
of Burjanadze would cause a political reaction from the West 
and urged the government to proceed cautiously. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1781, GEORGIA: A TALE OF TWO ETHNIC MINORITY CITIES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1781 2009-09-29 14:31 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6966
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1781/01 2721431
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291431Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2251
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001781 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/24/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: A TALE OF TWO ETHNIC MINORITY CITIES 
 
REF: TBILISI 0770 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a. i. Kent D. Logsdon for reasons 1.4 
(b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: City government officials and NGOs in the 
Samtskhe-Javakheti (S-J) cities of Akhaltsikhe and 
Akhalkalaki were upbeat about their future in Georgia, but 
worried about protecting their cultural and linguistic 
heritage.  The majority of the estimated 300,000 ethnic 
Armenians in Georgia live in these two cities located in 
south central Georgia.  The general consensus among various 
interlocutors and local staff, both this time and during our 
last visit to the region in March (reftel), was one of 
amazement at the speed with which infrastructure projects are 
moving forward.  Road development is making travel easier and 
improving connections between the region and the rest of 
Georgia.  Georgian language classes are more readily 
available and therefore better attended.  Despite this, 
language remains the most significant obstacle in efforts to 
integrate the Armenian-speaking community of S-J.  The ethnic 
Armenian community continues to call for the adoption of 
Armenian as a regional language, the resolution of church 
ownership issues, and more local autonomy.  End Summary. 
 
2. (C)  Comment:  Many of the main issues the region faces, 
including uemployment, are problems throughout Georgia and 
not exclusive to S-J.  For example, many in the region called 
for more local autonomy, which mirrors similar calls from 
other regions in Georgia which seek more control over 
budgeting and administrative resources.  Despite these 
concerns, the general atmosphere in S-J observed during this 
August 31 - September 3 trip was positive, and the standard 
of living appears to be improving visibly.  End Comment. 
 
 
MORE CONNECTED 
 
3. (C) While the mountain scenery in S-J is spectacular, all 
eyes were on the smooth black asphalt covering the road that 
replaced the once infamously pothole-laden road from 
Akhaltsikhe to Akhalkalaki.  The dilapidated roads were a 
main factor in the isolation of the region from the rest of 
Georgia.  The Millennium Challenge Corporation's (MCC) road 
project in the area has transformed what was a six-hour drive 
from Akhalkalaki to Tbilisi to three and a half hours. 
Construction crews dotted the road, and a micro-economy 
including food stands and clothes washers has developed. 
Akhalkalaki city council chairman Nairi Iritsian was 
especially excited about the MCC project to extend the 
highway to the Turkish border, which he expects will vastly 
improve trade and economic investment.  Iritsian opined that 
Akhalkalaki could be at the center of a trade corridor 
between Turkey and Armenia.  Akhaltsikhe city council 
chairman Davit Atunashvili added that the government is 
connecting natural gas to buildings throughout the city, 
which should improve quality of life and encourage investment. 
 
4. (C) Akhalkalaki Ombudsman representative Seda Melkumenian 
said that before the road improvements, the Armenian 
community felt isolated and ignored by the government, and as 
such there was no incentive to learn Georgian.  During this 
trip, however, many remarked on the increased attendance at 
Georgian language classes.  Program Coordinator for the 
Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies 
in Akhalkalaki Dali Aghdgomeladze said that, in the past, 
people would not attend classes because there was a stigma 
associated with learning Georgian.  As one of the few ethnic 
Georgians in the city, Aghdgomeladze was often asked to give 
language classes in secret.  Now many residents are openly 
taking advantage of the free language programs offered by 
Qtaking advantage of the free language programs offered by 
international organizations and NGOs.  At the office of the 
Akhalkalaki NGO Caucasus Institute, much like a grade school 
classroom, Georgian language learning tools were proudly 
displayed on the conference room walls where language classes 
take place.  Aghdgomeladze and her organization began a 
bilingual preschool program (Armenian-Georgian), which the 
local municipal office has expanded and funded.  Iritsian 
noted that many graduates from a special minority outreach 
program at the Zurab Zhvania Institute in the University in 
Kutaisi --  who were given Georgian language and public 
administration training -- have gained employment.  Veronica 
Ambari from the Armenian Association in Akhaltsikhe noted 
that the quality of the language programs has also improved. 
 
5. (C)  Iritsian pointed out that the biggest school in 
Akhalkalaki (in terms of number of students) remained the 
Russian language schools, followed by the Armenian language 
schools, and then lagging far behind were the Georgian 
language schools.  He also noted that only ethnic Georgians 
attend the Georgian schools, as ethnic Armenians fear being 
called a "traitor" by the greater Armenian community.  In 
Akhalkalaki, the city remains too small to support the job 
 
TBILISI 00001781  002 OF 002 
 
 
demands of the population.  Many young people are unable to 
seek better prospects in
Tbilisi because they lack the 
necessary Georgian language skills; as a result, the region 
is losing much of its young talent to Armenia and Russia. 
The founder of Meskhi Democrats of Akhaltsikhe said there 
were only three applications from the region for the national 
university entrance exam because of the lack of language 
skills. 
 
HOW THE GOVERNMENT CAN BUILD TRUST 
 
6. (C) Our interlocutors in S-J all emphasized three issues 
on which they hoped the government would take action.  The 
first, and by far the one most emphasized, was the acceptance 
of Armenian as a regional language.  De jure, only Georgian 
can be used by the local government and in schools; de facto 
Armenian and Russian are used.  On September 3 Armenian 
president Sarkisian stated that Georgia should recognize 
Armenian as a regional language based on the principal of 
"integration without assimilation."  The second issue was 
resolution of ownership questions concerning those churches 
claimed by both the Armenian Orthodox Church and the Georgian 
Orthodox Church.  Aghdgomeladze said that the issue is "like 
a volcano, you never know when it will erupt."  The third 
issue was a call for more local autonomy.  People complained 
of having to wait for officials to come from Tbilisi or 
having to travel to Tbilisi themselves, at great expense, in 
order to get simple administrative matters completed, such as 
obtaining passports or registering their property.  Iritsian 
also complained that the Governor of the region still has not 
filled the one deputy governor seat, out of three, 
traditionally reserved for an ethnic Armenian. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1773, GEORGIA: NATO ASSESSMENT TEAM OUTBRIEF ON HEELS OF

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Discussing cables
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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1773 2009-09-25 14:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4566
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1773/01 2681437
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251437Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2245
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001773 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/16/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: NATO ASSESSMENT TEAM OUTBRIEF ON HEELS OF 
SEPTEMBER 7-9 VISIT 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1. (C)  Summary. Frank Boland, Head of Force Planning 
Department of NATO Defense Policy and Planning Division, and 
lead for the NATO Planning and Review Process (PARP) and 
Annual National Program (ANP) assessment team, briefed NATO 
Ambassadors and defense attaches on their most recent review, 
giving Georgia a mixed score on the defense aspects of the 
ANP. The assessment, conducted September 7-11, was the first 
since Georgia's adoption of an ANP in April.  Boland 
complimented the GOG on its decision to commit forces to ISAF 
under French and U.S. command but noted that allies will need 
to examine Georgia's National Security Review (NSR) closely. 
The team's impression was that work on the NSR may be under 
way in the various ministries but that the efforts "may be 
disconnected."  According to Boland, Georgia has a long way 
to go in developing "lessons learned" from the 2008 conflict, 
and a plan for future engagement with Russia and the 
breakaway regions.  However, Boland did recognize progress in 
improving personnel administration and transparency, and when 
asked, acknowledged that Georgia was far ahead of Ukraine in 
its ANP process. End Summary. 
 
2. (C) This September 10 review covered only the defense 
aspects of the ANP, and will be followed by a second team's 
visit to Georgia at the end of September to focus on 
political, economic, resource, protective security and legal 
chapters of the ANP.  The assessment report will be prepared 
when the team returns to Brussels, and a draft copy will be 
given to the MOD for final comment. Afterwards, the report 
will be presented to the NATO Political Military Steering 
Committee on 26 October, and will be available to NATO 
Foreign Ministers before their December meeting. 
 
TRANSPARENCY 
 
3. (C) In general, Boland stated that the assessment team was 
concerned about favoritism and corruption at the Ministry of 
Defense, and that a greater change in the culture of public 
administration is necessary.  That said, Boland also stressed 
that a great deal of progress has been made, and that many of 
his interlocutors (at MOD, NSC, and Ministry of Finance) 
stressed how much work they had personally undertaken to meet 
NATO requirements. This led to a discussion on stability in 
leadership.  Though Boland said that President Saakashvili 
can make changes as he pleases, six Defense Ministers is "a 
lot for six years."  Boland emphasized the importance of 
continuity of both policy and personnel regardless of changes 
in leadership. 
 
4. (C) Boland quipped in the briefing for the diplomatic 
corps that their Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) contact 
said transparency is their "motto for 2009."  Boland reported 
that, thus far, the MOIA needed to work on transparency, and 
that its work on lessons learned from the August war has thus 
far been an "exchange of views" but nothing on paper.  He 
also urged NATO allies to pay closer attention to the 
paramilitary aspects of the MOIA, and he planned to raise the 
issue of greater clarity on the roles of MOD and MOIA in his 
forthcoming meeting with the Georgian government, as well as 
with allies in Brussels.  During the question and answer 
period he commented that clearly defined roles for each 
ministry do not exist with regards to the separatist regions. 
With this in mind, the assessment team requested 
clarification from the GOG on the roles of the ministries, 
which, according to Boland, does not even seem clear to the 
Qwhich, according to Boland, does not even seem clear to the 
Georgians. 
 
5. (C) The PARP/ANP team is still waiting for an updated 
defense budget from the Georgians beyond 2010 (the team 
currently has projected budgets). Boland said that it is 
clear that "finance is an issue" for both MOD and MOIA, 
although Deputy Minister of Finance Petriashvili told him he 
projects 5 percent growth in GDP for 2011. 
 
WORKING WITH BREAKAWAY REGIONS AND RUSSIA 
 
6. (C) Boland highlighted that the Ministry of Defense had 
not produced a lessons learned report following the 2008 
conflict.  (Embassy note: He requested this report be shared 
with NATO allies in Tbilisi once it is complete.  Subsequent 
to the NATO team's return to Brussels a copy of a lessons 
learned report was provided to the International Staff and to 
U.S. defense advisors in Tbilisi.  The report is superficial 
and is only three pages for each of the Joint Staff and 
Ministry of Defense lessons learned portions.  End note.) 
The Ministry of Defense recognizes deficiencies in the 
military education system and is addressing them, as well as 
serious equipment modernization needs which Georgia seeks to 
address.  Boland said that GEL 145 million (USD 85,798,816) 
 
TBILISI 00001773  002 OF 002 
 
 
in the 2010 defense budget could potentially be used for 
non-fixed costs such as equipment and infrastructure. 
Compared to fellow NATO aspirant Ukraine, which according to 
Boland is operating at a "survival lev
el" of just paying 
salaries and making other plans based on a "special fund" 
that is not backed by a budget, Georgia is doing well. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1772, GEORGIA: VISAS FOR DE FACTOS – THE CASE AGAINST

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. #09TBILISI1772.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1772 2009-09-25 14:11 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4541
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1772/01 2681411
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2242
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0299
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4913
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 2301
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001772 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/25/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNSC UNGA CVIS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: VISAS FOR DE FACTOS - THE CASE AGAINST 
 
REF: A. USUN 0853 
     B. 9/24/08 BRANCATO-HUNT EMAIL 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary.  According to ref A, Russia has indicated 
it intends to seek U.S. visas for Abkhaz and South Ossetian 
de facto officials to travel to New York for discussions at 
the UN.  In post's view, the issuance of such visas could 
undermine U.S. policy on the status of the regions; 
legitimize Russian actions in the regions; set an unhelpful 
precedent for analogous situations; legitimize the authority 
of the de facto officials; and reduce our leverage in future 
negotiations.  There may be situations when visas for 
residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia make sense, and post 
recommends a flexible approach on such applications.  In the 
case outlined in ref A, however, post strongly recommends 
against issuing visas to facilitate the travel proposed in 
ref A.  End summary. 
 
U.S. Policy on the Status of the Regions and Russia's Actions 
 
2. (C) As confirmed by numerous statements by the President, 
the Vice President, the Secretary and other senior officials, 
the United States considers Abkhazia and South Ossetia part 
of Georgia.  U.S. acceptance of official documents that call 
that status into question therefore could be used to question 
the U.S. commitment to its own policy, particularly in light 
of the recognition by Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela of the 
regions' independence.  Issuing a visa to an applicant from 
Abkhazia, Georgia or South Ossetia, Georgia who does not 
present a Georgian passport and who does not list his or her 
country of residence as Georgia could be interpreted as 
suggesting that the United States admits some deterioration 
of Georgia's sovereignty over those regions. 
 
3. (C) Although Abkhazia produces what it calls a "passport," 
even Abkhaz de facto officials recognize that this document 
is unlikely to be accepted by most countries as a legitimate 
travel document.  Applicants from both Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia, which does not yet issue a "passport," are therefore 
likely to apply for a visa in Moscow by presenting a Russian 
passport.  Russia began issuing passports to local residents 
years before it recognized the regions' independence, even 
though the residents are generally unable to show a clear 
claim to Russian citizenship, and has issued them to a large 
percentage of the residents of the two regions.  Accepting 
their use of Russian passports, therefore, legitimizes 
Russia's apparent effort to undermine Georgian sovereignty in 
the regions. 
 
4. (C) Russia's actions in extending citizenship benefits to 
individuals outside its borders raise troubling questions 
about its self-declared right to assert its influence 
wherever it unilaterally decides it has an interest in doing 
so.  Accepting as legitimate passports issued to such 
populations could be perceived as accepting that so-called 
right.  Post understands that, as a general rule, the United 
States does not question other sovereign states' decisions on 
who qualifies for citizenship.  At the same time, post also 
understands that there are precedents for refusing to accept 
certain travel documents on the basis of the U.S. 
government's unwillingness to accept the nationality denoted 
in the document (ref B).  Not only because of current 
Qin the document (ref B).  Not only because of current 
concerns over Russia's policy in Georgia, but also because of 
concerns over Russia's policy in other places, such as 
Ukraine, or any country's effort to assert its right to 
interfere in another sovereign nation's internal affairs to 
protect "its citizens," post urges caution in taking any 
actions that tend to suggest U.S. acceptance of such practice. 
 
Legitimizing the de factos 
 
5. (C) Issuing visas to de facto officials in order to 
facilitate their involvement in international discussions 
about Abkhazia or South Ossetia could confer upon them an 
unwarranted degree of legitimacy as representatives of the 
residents of the regions.  In Abkhazia, approximately a third 
of the current population -- the ethnic Georgians of Gali -- 
are generally treated as second-class citizens and not 
allowed full access to the political process.  A recent 
amendment to Abkhaz law that extended full Abkhaz 
"citizenship" rights to Gali residents was passed, but then 
repealed a week later by the Abkhaz legislature because of 
protests from the ethnic Abkhaz population over the "threat" 
posed by ethnic Georgians' involvement in the local political 
 
TBILISI 00001772  002 OF 003 
 
 
process.  Furthermore, a very large number of internally 
displaced persons (IDP
s) from Abkhazia -- over 200,000 
according to government figures -- remain unable to return to 
their places of residence, much less participate in the 
political process.  Thus the Abkhaz de facto authorities 
represent a very small proportion of Abkhazia's rightful 
population. 
 
6. (C) These concerns are particularly acute now, as Abkhazia 
prepares for "presidential" elections in December.  An 
appearance by a current de facto official in New York could 
influence the local population's perception of the ruling 
party's legitimacy, and likewise could be used by the 
visiting official to portray the elections as a legitimate 
reflection of the will of the population of Abkhazia. 
 
7. (C) The South Ossetian de facto authorities likewise have 
excluded ethnic Georgians from the South Ossetian political 
process by removing them from South Ossetia.  International 
organizations agree that approximately 30,000 ethnic 
Georgians were ethnically cleansed from South Ossetia after 
the August 2008 war and are currently unable to return.  The 
current population of South Ossetia is in dispute, but 
estimates range from 12,000 to 50,000.  Like in Abkhazia, the 
South Ossetian de facto authorities do not represent the 
entire rightful population of South Ossetia. 
 
8. (C) Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia also have 
governments-in-exile, who support and are supported by the 
government of Georgia.  Any discussions at the UN about the 
situation in the regions must be carefully calibrated so as 
to ensure that all elements of the regions' population are 
represented.  Facilitating the involvement of de facto 
officials without that calibration could suggest to the 
international community that they have some claim as the 
legitimate authorities in the regions, as well as legitimize 
the de facto authorities' action in ethnically cleansing 
their territories. 
 
Maintaining Leverage 
 
9. (C) On a more practical level, the international community 
has only begun to grapple with the long-term resolution of 
the situation in Georgia.  Both Russian and de facto 
authorities attempt to seize on any lever they can to 
increase the strength of the regions' claim to independence. 
An audience with the UN, even if it conveyed to the de factos 
no formal standing whatsoever, would be portrayed by Russia 
and the de facto authorities as a significant step toward 
their arrival as full-fledged members of the international 
community.  The international community in general, and the 
U.S. government in particular, should not concede that 
opportunity lightly.  Russia and the de factos should be 
required to make significant concessions to gain even such a 
symbolic victory. 
 
10. (C) During the recent efforts to negotiate a renewed 
mandate for a UN observer mission in Georgia, for example, 
one possibility considered was to allow the de facto 
authorities to participate in an Arria-style discussion in 
New York.  The Georgian government was adamantly opposed. 
Before agreeing to set aside some of the concerns outlined 
above and allow any such discussion to take place, the United 
States should expect concrete progress on substantive issues. 
 Russia, for example, blocked a continued mandate for both 
the UN and OSCE observer missions.  In the Geneva talks on 
Qthe UN and OSCE observer missions.  In the Geneva talks on 
Georgia, the Russians and Abkhaz and South Ossetian de factos 
have resisted discussing the implementation of a new 
international monitoring or policing force to enhance 
stability.  They have likewise resisted any serious 
discussion of IDP returns.  The Russians and South Ossetian 
de facto authorities have blocked humanitarian access to 
South Ossetia.  Granting an audience at the UN without real 
movement on some of these crucial issues would reduce the 
ability to use de facto interest in an audience to gain that 
movement. 
 
Practicality vs. Principle 
 
11. (C) Post does not believe an absolute policy prohibiting 
all travel from the regions is appropriate.  There may well 
be instances in which travel to the United States by 
residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia serves the interests 
of the United States.  In recent discussions about 
re-engagement with the regions, for example, a number of 
interlocutors -- including from within the Georgian 
government -- have encouraged us to consider re-establishing 
 
TBILISI 00001772  003 OF 003 
 
 
youth, academic, and cultural exchanges with the regions.  To 
do so, we would need to find a practical approach to handling 
travel documents and issuing visas. 
 
12. (C) Post urges the Department to seek flexible and 
creative approaches to handling visa applications from de 
facto officials, and residents of the separatist regions more 
generally, to prevent the erosion of key policy positions 
while enabling the promotion of new policy initiatives.  If 
we cannot avoid granting visas to residents of Georgia 
presenting Russian passports, for example, we may want to 
explain that we do so not because we acknowledge Russia's 
claim on those individuals as citizens, but because we do not 
recognize the independence of the regions.  We may want to 
insist on applicants noting "Georgia" as their country of 
residence -- or at least leaving the country blank.  If 
circumstances warrant, we may need to refuse applicants on 
the basis of 214(b) if they apply from out of their home 
district (i.e., Georgia); in other cases, post may be in a 
position to supply additional information supporting an 
applicant's assertion of local ties, thereby overcoming the 
out-of-area concerns. 
 
13. (C) In the case of the travel by de facto officials 
proposed in ref A, post strongly recommends against issuing 
visas to facilitate that travel. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1766, GEORGIA: DAS KAIDANOW URGES DEMOCRATIC REFORM IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1766 2009-09-25 08:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4161
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1766/01 2680820
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 250820Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2234
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 001766 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: DAS KAIDANOW URGES DEMOCRATIC REFORM IN 
GEORGIA 
 
REF: TBILISI 1739 
 
Classified By: Charge D'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  During meetings with a wide range of GoG 
officials, non-parliamentary opposition leaders, opposition 
and majority MPs, and members of civil society, EUR DAS Tina 
Kaidanow stressed to all of her interlocutors the importance 
of political engagement and the need for progress on 
democratic reforms.  She stressed the link between democratic 
reform and Georgia's security, noting that developing a 
stable democracy was Georgia's best option to make progress 
in the Euro-Atlantic context and reintegrate Abkhazia and 
South Ossetia.  Her Georgian government counterparts said 
that they remained committed to democratic reform, 
transparency, the peaceful reintegration of the separatist 
territories and cooperation with NATO.  Non-parliamentary 
opposition and civil society counterparts expressed a 
commitment to work within the system for change; only Nino 
Burjanadze argued that the government's commitment to reform 
and dialogue could not be trusted.  In discussions with 
Ministers of Internal Affairs and Defense, DAS Kaidanow urged 
transparency and continued reform, and at MOIA, asked for 
more progress in the investigations regarding arrests made 
during the spring 2009 protests.  DAS Kaidanow's meeting with 
President Saakashvili is reported septel.  End Summary. 
 
DEMOCRACY DISCUSSIONS WITH SPEAKER, MPS AND MINISTER SHASHKIN 
 
2. (C) In multiple September 14-15 meetings with GOG 
parliamentarians and ministers, DAS Kaidanow stressed the 
importance of continued democratic reforms, underscoring that 
Georgia's future relies on continued democratic momentum. 
After a breakfast meeting with American Chamber of Commerce 
members, DAS Kaidanow pointed out to her government 
interlocutors that business representatives had expressed 
repeated concern to her over the rule of law in the country 
and continuing domestic political instability.  In their 
words, political influence on the judiciary and an uncertain 
reform environment were bigger impediments to new foreign 
investment than the August 2008 war and the continued Russian 
presence in the country.  Minister for Corrections and Legal 
Assistance Dima Shashkin acknowledged that the judicial 
system was the weakest aspect of Georgia's democratic 
government. (Embassy Note:  Shashkin is the GoG's 
intergovernmental coordinator for democratic reform in 
addition to his ministerial portfolio.  End Note.)  Shashkin 
said that in an effort to clean up the court system, many new 
judges had been appointed, and many of them were still 
learning to be comfortable with their own authority and 
autonomy.  Shashkin believed that after the spring protests 
that the time was ripe for political dialogue, and that 
Georgia could not afford to miss the opportunity for reform. 
 
3.  (C) Parliamentary Speaker David Bakradze pointed out in 
his discussion with DAS Kaidanow the challenge to reform when 
the opposition does not participate in a range of fora. 
Bakradze felt that the non-parliamentary opposition's 
constant attacks and lack of involvement served to undermine 
confidence in democratic institutions.  Bakradze cited the 
example of the Electoral Legislation Working Group as a venue 
that the non-parliamentary opposition criticized, but also 
refused to participate in. Bakradze reiterated the GoG's 
commitment to working with both parliamentary and 
non-parliamentary opposition, and said the GoG wanted to move 
Qnon-parliamentary opposition, and said the GoG wanted to move 
politics off the streets and show the public that the place 
for political debate and democratic development was inside 
parliament. 
 
4.  (C) Both Bakradze and Parliamentary Foreign Relations 
Committee Chairman Akaki Minashvili maintained that all 
political parties were united in their foreign policy outlook 
and the importance of remaining united in the face of the 
Russian threat.  In that regard, Minashvili emphasized that 
the best way to achieve territorial integrity and stability 
was through economic development.  He stressed the importance 
of having a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and noted that 
at a minimum, even an ongoing negotiating process would 
provided meaningful economic benefits to Georgia.  Minashvili 
also stressed the importance of U.S. military training and 
equipment.  DAS Kaidanow agreed that a focus on economic 
development was important, but reiterated that the best way 
to bolster support for Georgia was fr the GOG to put its 
best face forward in terms of democratic reforms.  DAS 
Kaidanow also stressed the importance of working with the 
people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in any way possible in 
order to maintain ties, without which future integration 
would not be possible. 
 
 
TBILISI 00001766  002 OF 004 
 
 
OPPOSITION TALKS - APPEARS ALSO TO LISTEN 
 
5. (C) With members of the non-parliamentary opposition, DAS 
Kaidanow emphasiz
ed the importance and the benefits of 
participation within the political framework. 
Non-parliamentary opposition leader Irakli Alasania (Our 
Georgia - Free Democrats) confirmed that he was of the same 
opinion and said that his party and his larger Alliance for 
Georgia (including Republicans and New Rights) had decided to 
join the electoral code working group.  Alasania declared his 
intention to aggressively campaign in the local elections 
scheduled for May 2010.  Alasania stressed the necessity of 
developing a solid platform and working in coalitions, 
including with the parliamentary opposition Christian 
Democratic Movement, in order to create a strong opposition 
alternative to the ruling United National Movement party. 
Alasania said, however, that party development was difficult 
in this "tremendously hostile fundraising environment."  He 
noted that businesses would like to donate to his party, but 
they fear retribution by the tax authorities.  Alasania 
declared that his party was "not going back to the streets." 
He felt that the fact that the spring protests ended 
peacefully was a sign that the country had matured and the 
time was right for engagement. 
 
6.  (C) In contrast, non-parliamentary opposition leader Nino 
Burjanadze (Democratic Movement United Georgia) said that she 
has not made any decision on her participation in the May 
2010 local elections, arguing that local elections were 
irrelevant in any case because local governments had no real 
power.  Burjanadze declared that her participation in formal 
political institutions would be dependent on certain concrete 
steps by the GOG to normalize the political environment, 
including the investigation into the alleged beatings of 
opposition activists, and the return of the ownership of the 
disputed Imedi television channel to the Patarkatsishvili 
family.  Burjanadze urged that any international financial 
assistance to the GOG be conditioned on reaching democratic 
benchmarks. 
 
7.  (C) Parliamentary opposition leader Giorgi Targamadze 
(Christian Democratic Movement) similarly suggested that aid 
should be targeted at democratic reform.  Targamadze told DAS 
Kaidanow that GoG had a window of opportunity to make a 
number of necessary democratic changes before the elections 
in May 2010.  He noted that his party's platform would focus 
on strengthening Parliament and decentralizing the structure 
of the government to allow more autonomy on the local level. 
He felt that it was important for the opposition to have 
successes in May in places like Tbilisi and Batumi, and to 
that end he was "always ready to work with those who have 
concrete principals."  Targamadze mentioned his growing 
relationship with Alasania and opportunities among the larger 
opposition to coalesce around specific issues to pressure the 
GoG to reform.  DAS Kaidanow agreed that a unified opposition 
could be a powerful democratic alternative in the next 
elections and encouraged cooperation among the opposition 
where practical. 
 
FOREIGN MINISTER: WE NEED SOME SUPPORT 
 
8. (C) Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze expressed concern 
that several other countries including Belarus might follow 
Venezuela's lead in recognizing the independence of Abkhazia 
and South Ossetia.  He asked whether the United States might 
push back on those countries, wondering if some price could 
Qpush back on those countries, wondering if some price could 
be placed on a country's decision to recognize; Kaidanow said 
that the United States would do what it could, including 
making clear public statements about its position, but did 
not always have significant leverage over the countries 
likely to consider recognition.  Vashadze also suggested 
that, if Belarus recognized the regions, he would expect the 
EU to "choose Georgia over Belarus"; if it did not, he said 
Georgia would then have to reconsider its involvement in the 
EU's Eastern Partnership Initiative (reftel).  Kaidanow urged 
caution, saying that there was no guarantee that the EU would 
act in the way Vashadze was anticipating, and that it would 
be counterproductive for Georgia to withdraw from an 
important opportunity to engage with the EU. 
 
9. (C) Vashadze asked for a clear USG statement on NATO 
accession, including on the question of whether a MAP was a 
necessary step in the process, which even countries in the 
Balkans were on the verge of receiving.  He argued that U.S. 
silence would itself send a strong message to Russia that the 
United States was backing away from its commitment to support 
Georgia's NATO accession.  Kaidanow noted that the context of 
Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations was quite different than 
that of Montenegro, and said that Georgia needed to have a 
realistic assessment of its path towards NATO, utilizing 
 
TBILISI 00001766  003 OF 004 
 
 
cooperative efforts like the deployment of Georgian troops to 
Afghanistan, for which she thanked the Georgian government. 
Vashadze recognized the wide range of important issues 
currently facing the United States, but urged DAS Kaidanow 
not to expect much help from Russia on Iran, telling Kaidanow 
to "repeat as a mantra: Russia has no influence on Iran." 
 
10. (C) Vashadze said that a phone call from President Obama 
to President Saakashvili, even for five minutes, would send a 
very helpful message reflecting continued U.S. support for 
Georgia.  He asked about the schedule for U.S.-Georgia 
Charter consultations.  Both he and Kaidanow agreed on the 
need for four working groups to focus on specific issues. 
Vashadze requested that the structure of the consultations be 
formalized, because a robust format would convey a strong 
U.S.-Georgia relationship and send a useful signal to Russia. 
 He added that he was ready at any time to travel to 
Washington to conduct meetings with Assistant Secretary 
Gordon. (Embassy note:  a meeting at the UNGA was 
subsequently arranged.  End note)  The Foreign Minister 
reported that Georgia was facing serious financial 
difficulties and would likely seek additional assistance from 
the United States, possibly as much as USD 300 million, to 
help with such areas as the budget deficit and housing for 
IDPs.  Kaidanow responded that assistance at that level would 
be difficult in the current budget environment, but the 
Charge noted that USD 50 million of the recent supplemental 
assistance was likely to go toward IDP housing and other 
items that might help offset Georgian budgetary requirements. 
 
11. (C) Kaidanow also noted the USG's appreciation that 
Georgia had refrained from filing a brief in the Kosovo case 
before the ICJ, and in general for supporting many other U.S. 
goals.  She emphasized, however, U.S. concern over Georgia's 
seizures of ships in the Black Sea, which was of concern for 
legal reasons but even more problematic due to the 
potentially destabilizing effect on the security situation. 
Vashadze said that Georgia would be discussing the issue and 
looking for a peaceful solution with Turkey; h
e noted that 
ships could stop in undisputed Georgian ports and receive 
permission to continue on to Abkhazia.  He also asserted that 
no more ships would be stopped for some time.  The Foreign 
Minister also expressed his appreciation for U.S. efforts to 
support the UNGA resolution on Georgian IDPs, recognizing 
Stephen Gee and Ambassador DiCarlo by name for their 
expertise and contribution. 
 
REINTEGRATION MINISTER: THINKING STRATEGY 
 
12. (C) Reintegration Minister Temuri Yakobashvili told 
Kaidanow about his ministry's efforts to develop a strategy 
on the occupied territories. (Embassy note:  USAID is 
providing technical assistance to this effort. End note)  He 
said he hoped to draw on the experience of other countries 
with disputed territories to assemble a long-term plan to lay 
the groundwork for the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia 
to re-establish connections with the rest of Georgia. 
Kaidanow indicated a willingness to assist, both in the 
development of the strategy and in the implementation. 
Yakobashvili hoped to complete a draft of the strategy by 
November, circulate it to various stakeholders for comment, 
then finalize it by the end of the year, in order to be ready 
to implement as soon as the December "presidential" elections 
in Abkhazia are over.  He agreed with Kaidanow that there is 
Qin Abkhazia are over.  He agreed with Kaidanow that there is 
no military solution to the situation, and gradual engagement 
was therefore the only way forward.  Yakobashvili suggested 
that the de facto authorities ultimately could be convinced 
to return to the fold, but he was not sure that Russia could 
be convinced to allow it; it would depend on Russia's 
internal dynamics.  He was less sanguine about interaction 
with the South Ossetian population than with the Abkhaz, 
because he said the population of South Ossetia is down to 
12,000, most of whom work for the Russians. 
 
13. (C) Yakobashvili maintained that one area with great 
potential for re-establishing links was trade; he said one 
idea was to build a food storage facility close to the South 
Ossetian administrative boundary.  He suggested setting up 
regular transportation links, such a bus line, between 
Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia.  Another area for potential 
interaction was health care; Yakobashvili said Georgia 
already quietly provided care to Abkhaz residents, both by 
sending doctors to Abkhazia and accepting patients in 
undisputed Georgia, especially with such expensive-to-treat 
conditions as AIDS, Hepatitis C, and tuberculosis.  He noted 
that some patients travel from Sochi, Russia to Tbilisi for 
treatment.  Asked about the possibility of 
confidence-building conversations between civil society 
representative from Tbilisi and the separatist regions, 
Yakobashvili did not object to the idea, but advocated 
 
TBILISI 00001766  004 OF 004 
 
 
bringing together low-profile members of society instead-- 
suggesting members of real communities and former neighbors, 
who will be able to see the value of re-establishing 
connections without political overtones.   Kaidanow advised 
that, as the Georgians develop their strategy, they should 
adopt as flexible an approach as possible on such details as 
travel documents, in order to enable a wide range of programs 
to succeed. 
 
MOD AND MOIA: KAIDANOW URGES REFORM AND RESTRAINT 
 
14. (C) In the embassy's first bilateral meeting with new 
Minister of Defense Bacho Akhalaia, DAS Kaidanow noted the 
concern that Western governments and the USG had expressed at 
his appointment, and urged his cotinued focus on reform an 
issues related to Euro-Atlantic progress.  Akhalaia welcomed 
the chance to meet with Kaidanow and stated his plan to 
continue the reform efforts of his predecessor.  He said that 
he planned no major changes at MOD. 
 
15.  (C) Minister of Internal Affairs Merabishvili told DAS 
Kaidanow that the MOIA was largely focused on providing 
security on the administrative boundary lines (ABL) with 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  In response to a question about 
Georgia's assessment of the role of the EUMM, Head of the 
MOIA Analytical Department Shota Utiashvili described the 
EUMM as playing an important role which has reduced tensions 
over the last six months.  Utiashvili described them as the 
"eyes and ears" of the international community.  Kaidanow 
noted that all her Georgian interlocutors had agreed that 
there was no military solution to Georgia's current 
challenges, and she emphasized to the minister that stability 
was needed in order for Georgia to extend a hand to the 
people on the other sides of the ABLs.  Utiashvili said that 
Georgia was powerless to help Georgians on the other side of 
the Enguri River and expressed frustration with Russian 
recalcitrance to discuss easing border crossings.  DAS 
Kaidanow underscored again that the ship seizures by 
Georgia's Coast Guard (under the authority of the MOIA) were 
potentially destabilizing, and she also urged transparency 
from the MOIA in dealing with incidents resulting from the 
spring 2009 protests and encouraged the MOIA's continued 
dialogue with members of the opposition. 
 
16.  (U)  DAS Kaidanow has cleared this message. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1765, GEORGIA: SAAKASHVILI EXPRESSES CONCERN TO DAS

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. #09TBILISI1765.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1765 2009-09-25 08:05 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4141
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1765/01 2680805
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 250805Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2231
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001765 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/21/2019 
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PREL BR RU AM AZ GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SAAKASHVILI EXPRESSES CONCERN TO DAS 
KAIDANOW ABOUT FUTURE RECOGNITIONS; DEFENDS NEW MOD 
 
REF: TBILISI 1739 
 
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES A.I. KENT LOGSDON FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) 
AND (D). 
 
1. (C)  Summary.  During her September 15 introductory call 
on President Saakashvili, EUR DAS Tina Kaidanow urged him to 
make progress on democratic reforms as a way to increase 
support for Georgia within the international community and 
shore up domestic stability, echoing earlier comments from VP 
Biden.  Saakashvili expressed concern about Venezuela's 
recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the likelihood 
of additional countries joining the chorus.  DAS Kaidanow 
reiterated U.S. commitments supporting Georgia's territorial 
integrity.  DAS Kaidanow also raised deep U.S. and 
international concerns about the potential danger and 
legality of Georgian seizures of ships in the Black Sea 
illegally trading with Abkhazia.  She also expressed concern 
about the recent appointment of a new minister of defense in 
Georgia, Bacho Akhalaia, with a particularly bad human rights 
reputation; in response, President Saakashvili urged the U.S. 
to give Akhalaia a chance to prove his commitment to reform. 
End Summary. 
 
RECOGNITION: VENEZUELA AND BELARUS 
 
2.  (C) A relaxed President Saakashvili, well-briefed on DAS 
Kaidanow's Tbilisi meetings the day prior (reported septel), 
was accompanied at this meeting by Amcit Advisor Daniel 
Kunin; DAS Kaidanow was accompanied by the Charge, EUR/CARC 
conflicts advisor Birner and A/DCM Fisher (notetaker). 
Saakashvili began by expressing concern that Venezuela's 
decision to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South 
Ossetia would lead to further recognitions, noting his belief 
that Belarus was on the verge of making its own decision 
regarding recognition and saying he hoped the West would act 
quickly to prevent this step.  He claimed that Lukashenko 
"hates Vladimir Putin," which is why he refused to ban 
Georgian imports in 2006.  Nevertheless, Belarus was under 
enormous economic pressure from Russia and would not be able 
to hold out much longer.  DAS Kaidanow told Saakashvili that 
Belarus is an inconsistent and unpredictable interlocutor, 
but promised that the United States would do what it could to 
discourage recognitions generally and would confer with the 
Europeans specifically on the question of Belarus. She urged 
that any recognitions be met with a restrained response, and 
noted that EUR A/S Gordon had been clear in public remarks 
that Venezuelan recognition was not a significant threat to 
Georgian sovereignty. 
 
3.  (C) Saakashvili appeared less concerned about the 
possibility of recognition from African countries, but told 
DAS Kaidanow that if Belarus moved forward with recognition, 
Georgia would be unable to work with Belarus in the context 
of the newly created EU "Eastern Partnership Initiative" 
(reftel).  If the EU did not expel Belarus from the Eastern 
Partnership, then Georgia would have to withdraw.  DAS 
Kaidanow urged Saakashvili to coordinate closely with the EU 
and not to take hasty action that could counterproductively 
damage Georgia,s relations with the European Union. 
 
THE CHALLENGES OF THE CONFLICT ZONES 
 
4.  (C) Saakashvili told DAS Kaidanow that he hoped the 
United States would not view the conflicts as permanently 
frozen; the situation, he said, would continue to be in flux. 
 The explosion in Zugdidi on September 14 was evidence of 
ongoing instability.  To illustrate the type of pressure he 
Qongoing instability.  To illustrate the type of pressure he 
believed the Russians were willing to exert, Saakashvili told 
DAS Kaidanow about what he considered to be a revealing 
conversation he had with then-Russian President Putin in 
February of 2008.  According to Saakashvili, Putin had told 
him to "prepare himself" because it was clear that the West 
intended to recognize Kosovo.  Putin suggested that if 
Georgia, at that time, were willing to forego NATO 
aspirations, perhaps Russia would not recognize Abkhazia and 
South Ossetia.  Saakashvili maintained that Putin has ongoing 
challenges in the rest of the former Soviet Union due to 
Russia's tension with Georgia, and specifically mentioned 
increased Russian presence in Turkmenistan in recent months. 
He said, "Russia wants to surround us on all sides." 
 
5.  (C) DAS Kaidanow asked President Saakashvili for his 
views on how the United States and Georgia could implement 
concrete programs to re-engage people across the 
administrative boundary lines (ABL).  Saakashvili urged a 
nuanced approach, saying he believed that permanent contact 
with the leadership in Sukhumi was important, but 
people-to-people contacts needed to be crafted so that they 
did not confer any elements of statehood on the de facto 
 
TBILISI 00001765  002 OF 0
03 
 
 
authorities.  He claimed that in the past, he had blocked 
arrest warrants which some in the Georgian government had 
wanted issued against the de facto leaders, and said he was 
willing to do whatever he could to reach out.  DAS Kaidanow 
told Saakashvili that the United States wanted to be 
consonant with Georgia in its approach to re-starting any 
U.S. assistance across the ABL, but pointed out that the 
Georgian government would have to address seriously some 
important issues, like that of permitting travel for Abkhaz 
residents on Russian passports.  Saakashvili noted that he 
was unimpressed by EU ideas for opening an office in Sukhumi 
- such an action would send exactly the wrong signal and 
appear just like an embassy. 
 
6.  (C) Saakashvili expressed appreciation for U.S. support 
on a recent UN General Assembly resolution.  DAS Kaidanow 
noted that Georgian flexibility on the language had been the 
key to its success. 
 
7.  (C) DAS Kaidanow raised the issue of Georgian ship 
seizures in the Black Sea, telling President Saakashvili that 
the United States saw the issues as a matter of serious 
political concern, even more than a legal issue (though she 
noted concerns on this score as well), and cautioned that 
such actions could easily escalate into something far more 
serious.  Saakashvili avoided a commitment to stop the 
seizures entirely, but said that Georgia has been working 
closely with Turkey to prevent future sailings which violated 
Georgia's law and noted recent Russian statements which 
constantly painted Georgia as the provocateur.  Saakashvili 
tacitly acknowledged the danger of escalation, saying "We 
would be crazy to get into such a confrontation." 
 
REGIONAL CONCERNS 
 
8.  (C) Saakashvili told DAS Kaidanow that he viewed 
Turkish-Armenian reconciliation as a positive step and hoped 
that recent developments would encourage Armenia to move 
beyond Russia's sphere of influence.  He said he expected 
short term fears to emerge from Azerbaijan but that the 
Azeris would be able to view improved relations as progress 
in the long term.  DAS Kaidanow agreed that the opening of 
Turkish-Armenian relations could have a positive effect 
throughout the South Caucasus, particularly on the economic 
development of the region. 
 
DEMOCRATIC REFORMS: CRITICAL TO GEORGIA,S SUCCESS 
 
9.  (C) DAS Kaidanow told President Saakashvili that she had 
met with board members from the American Chamber of Commerce 
during her Tbilisi visit and they had agreed that the primary 
obstacle to further economic development was not the threat 
of Russia,s military presence, but a lack of progress on 
rule of law issues and concerns about domestic political 
stability in Georgia.  She noted that the business community 
had specifically referenced the direct influence of the 
government in the judiciary as a hindrance to good government 
and rule of law.  Saakashvili replied that Georgia's 
judiciary was less corrupt than others in the neighborhood, 
including Turkey's.  He described Georgia's reform efforts as 
a "process."  He said that Georgia has young, ambitious 
judges who are paid well, but they need further education and 
more exposure to the West in order to improve judicial 
independence.  He noted that there was no longer any 
presidential involvement in the judicial appointment process. 
 
 
10.  (C) DAS Kaidanow asked how the United States could help 
empower Georgia's media.  Saakashvili said that the 
Qempower Georgia's media.  Saakashvili said that the 
fundamental problem is that journalists do not speak English 
and therefore were highly limited in their ability to 
research.  He said Georgian journalists fundamentally 
misunderstood the role of a free press but he hoped further 
exposure to the West could help remedy this problem.  He 
noted that during the protests the opposition had threatened 
journalists, and he reiterated previous requests for a 
USG-supported nationwide program of English language 
training. 
 
NEW MINISTER OF DEFENSE 
 
11.  (C) DAS Kaidanow expressed concern about the recent 
selection of Bacho Akhalia as Defense Minister, noting his 
poor human rights record.  Saakashvili immediately said he 
did not understand international criticism of his ministerial 
pick; as head of the prison department, Akhalaia had been 
responsible for tackling the mafia in Georgia, and as a 
result, Georgia had had more success in fighting organized 
crime than any other country of the former Soviet Union. 
Saakashvili went on to argue that former Defense Minister 
 
TBILISI 00001765  003 OF 003 
 
 
Sikharulidze had not made real progress on reform, that he 
had been a better diplomat than minister, and that he as 
President was obligated to hold Sikharulidze responsible for 
the attempted Mukhrovani coup attempt.  Saakashvili urged DAS 
Kaidanow and other officials to keep an open mind regarding 
Akhalaia's appointment and he invited DAS Kaidanow to provide 
an assessment of his performance.  DAS Kaidanow urged 
President Saakashvili to understand how this appointment had 
impacted on Georgia,s international reputation, and 
emphasized the importance of avoiding such actions in future. 
 
12.  (U)  DAS Kaidanow has cleared this cable. 
 
 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1760, GEORGIA: MINISTER EXPRESSES GRATITUDE FOR U.S.

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1760 2009-09-24 12:25 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3351
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #1760 2671225
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241225Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2229
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEANFA/NRC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS TBILISI 001760 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KNNP PARM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: MINISTER EXPRESSES GRATITUDE FOR U.S. 
COOPERATION IN NUCLEAR AND RADIATION SAFETY 
 
REF: TBILISI 0019 
 
1. Summary. USG agencies and programs provide significant 
assistance to the Government of Georgia in the fields of 
nonproliferation, as well as nuclear and radiation safety. 
This assistance is provided by several different programs of 
the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security 
Administration (DOE/NNSA), the Export Control and Related 
Border Security program (EXBS), Georgia Border Security and 
Law Enforcement program (GBSLE), the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC), and others.  Minister of Environment and 
Natural Resources George Khachidze recently sent letters 
thanking the United States for this assistance, one addressed 
to the Ambassador and one to NRC Chairman Jaczko. End summary. 
 
2. In the first letter, the Minister thanks the Ambassador 
for the recent donation of scientific equipment and vehicles 
by EXBS to the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Service (NRSS) of 
the Ministry.  This equipment will be used by a western 
branch office of NRSS currently being established in Poti 
(reftel).  The establishment of this office was recommended 
in the Joint Action Plan to Combat Nuclear Smuggling signed 
between the USG and Government of Georgia in 2007 and will 
allow the NRSS to more quickly respond to and control 
incidents involving nuclear and radioactive material that 
occur in western Georgia.  The letter also expresses 
gratitude to the U.S. for all assistance provided in nuclear 
safety, stating that "as a result of the cooperation with the 
U.S. Department of State, Department of Energy, Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, and other U.S. institutions, the 
regulatory control and response capacity of Georgian 
Government agencies in this field has substantially improved 
over the past few years, thus approaching the level necessary 
to implement accepted standards as well as to comply with our 
international obligations in this area."  The Minister 
further assures the United States that the Ministry "will 
take necessary steps to facilitate full implementation of the 
existing bilateral agreements by the Government of Georgia, 
including the 2007 agreement." 
 
3. The second letter is addressed to NRC Chairman Dr. Gregory 
Jaczko, congratulating him on his appointment, outlining the 
history of regulatory control over radiation sources in 
Georgia after the fall of the Soviet Union, and thanking the 
NRC for assistance provided in nonproliferation and nuclear 
safety over the past several years.  The letter details the 
following results of this assistance, including "completion 
of country-wide inventory of radiation sources...development 
of the National Registry of the radiation sources...increased 
cooperation with the regulated community that resulted in 
licensing of more than 100 user organizations so 
far...relocation of 826 radiation sources to the Interim 
Storage Facility in Mtskheta from poorly secured locations in 
Georgia...drafting of the new framework Law on the Nuclear 
and Radiation Safety (to be submitted to the Georgian 
Parliament soon) and development of the several basic 
regulations for safe use of radiation sources."  The Minister 
also thanks NRC for the workshop it conducted in Tbilisi in 
June that described NRC's physical protection requirements. 
He expressed appreciation for NRC's support in establishing a 
NRSS office in Poti.  The Minister further points out that 
"it is important that the U.S. NRC program approach gives due 
consideration to the integration of our activities with that 
Qconsideration to the integration of our activities with that 
of our neighbors and colleagues from several countries of 
former Soviet Union that participate in similar regulatory 
activities." 
 
4. Copies of these lettes have been emailed to EU/CARC, 
DOE/NNSA, and NRC/OIP. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1757, GEORGIA: RADICAL ORTHODOX GROUP STOPS MOSQUE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1757 2009-09-23 14:38 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2514
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1757/01 2661438
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231438Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2225
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 001757 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2019 
TAGS: KIRF PGOV PHUM PREL AZ GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: RADICAL ORTHODOX GROUP STOPS MOSQUE 
CONSTRUCTION; LOCAL AUTHORITIES SUPPORT AZERI COMMUNITY 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  On September 16, representative of two 
radical fundamentalist Georgian Orthodox groups, the "Society 
of Saint David the Builder" and "Union of Orthodox Parents" 
stopped construction on a mosque in the village of Talaveri. 
The groups demanded to see the villagers' construction permit 
and threatened residents with violence if the construction 
did not cease.  The people of the traditionally ethnic Azeri 
village were making repairs on their 104 year-old mosque and 
had not obtained official permission for the work.  The 
Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) and the 
Sheik-Ul-Islam for Muslims of the Caucuses negotiated a 
suspension of the construction until official permission 
could be obtained.  Officially, only the permission of the 
Ministry of Culture is required as this mosque has been 
designated as a historical building.  However, the unofficial 
blessing of the Patriarch is generally required on any 
building or modification of religious buildings.  A decision 
on the mosque by the Patriarch is still pending.  These two 
fundamentalist groups have recently become more active 
including organizing boycotts against an Azerbaijani company 
and disseminating disinformation about the Roman Catholic 
Church.  End Summary. 
 
2. (C)  Comment: While local authorities have been responsive 
to the actions against the Talaveri villagers, the GOG 
appears reluctant to criticize or question the authority of 
the highly popular Patriarch Ilia II and break with the 
unofficial tradition of obtaining GOC "permission" before 
making any decisions concerning religious institutions. 
These regulations demonstrate that a separation of church and 
state has yet to be achieved.  The harassment of religious 
minorities continues to be a problem that by all appearances 
the GOC would rather ignore.  End Comment. 
 
They Are Just Fixing a Roof 
 
3. (C)  Talaveri is a small, rural, traditionally ethnic 
Azeri village located in the Bolnisi district of Kvemo Kartli 
in southeastern Georgia.  Poloff visited the village and its 
mosque to participate in the Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday 
celebrating the end of Ramadan, on September 20.  Villagers 
explained that their mosque was built in 1905.  Local 
residents, with help from Azerbaijan and Russia, were able to 
raise funds to make repairs to their mosque, including 
replacing the roof.  Their goal was to have the repairs 
completed in time for the Eid.  According to the villagers 
the local Gamghebeli (district governor) was aware of the 
project and did not object.  However, on September 16, 14 
SUV's descended on the village filled with people 
representing the radical Georgian Orthodox groups, "Society 
of Saint David the Builder" and "Union of Orthodox Parents." 
Representatives from the groups demanded to see the 
villagers' permit for construction on the mosque.  The 
villagers had not obtained any official permission for their 
work because they viewed it as simple repairs.  The radicals 
also were reportedly threatening villagers with violence if 
the construction did not immediately cease.  Local police 
authorities arrived on the scene and took action to diffuse 
the situation and the Georgian Orthodox group members left 
peacefully. 
 
Resolution Hinges On Patriarchate 
 
4. (C)  Lela Jejelava, founder of the religious issues NGO 
"Conciliation," said that she facilitated a phone call 
Q"Conciliation," said that she facilitated a phone call 
between Patriarch of the GOC Ilia II and Sheikh-Ul-Islam 
Allah-Shukhur Pasha Zade, the spiritual leader of Caucasian 
Muslims, about the incident.  The two religious leaders 
decided that construction work should be suspended until 
official permission could be obtained.  As Beka Mindiashvili, 
in charge of religious and minority integration issues at the 
Public Defender's Office (PDO), explained, officially these 
radical orthodox groups have no legal right to demand the 
villager's permit for construction.  The "ownership" of the 
hundred year-old mosque should fall to the Ministry of 
Culture as a historical building and any necessary building 
permits should come from them rather than the GOC. 
Mindiashvili said, however, that unofficially any work on any 
religious building in Georgia requires the blessing of the 
patriarchy of the GOC and that local government officials are 
reluctant to allow any project to proceed without it. 
Mindiashvili said that a decision on the mosque has been 
tabled until the Patriarch returns from a trip to western 
Georgia.  Despite the incident, the villagers said that they 
are pleased with the support of the local government.  During 
the Eid, the head of the local police for the district (not 
an ethnic Azeri) joined the celebration and announced that 
the villagers could commemorate the day in peace.  He assured 
 
TBILISI 000
01757  002 OF 002 
 
 
them that the local police would ensure that they would not 
endure harassment from radical Georgian Orthodox groups. 
Poloff did note at least three police cruisers parked outside 
the village.  Regional Deputy Governor Hussein Iusubov 
attended the Eid festivities and said that he was personally 
engaged in discussions with the patriarchate about the issue. 
 In the meantime, one SUV from the radical Georgian Orthodox 
groups remains posted outside the village to ensure that 
construction does not resume. 
 
Who Are These Guys? 
 
5.  (C)  It is unclear what formal ties these radical 
Georgian fundamentalist groups have with the GOC hierarchy. 
Mindiashvili expressed his belief that these groups would not 
operate without at least tacit permission from the GOC.  GOC 
officials said that they could not meet with Poloff to 
discuss the incidnt until September 25 saying they needed 
more time to gather information.  The "Society of Saint David 
the Builder," made up of GOC priests, and the "Union of 
Orthodox Parents," made up of lay persons preaches a return 
to fundamentalist, conservative and nationalistic values 
including conducting services in Greek instead of Georgian. 
According to Mindiashvili, these groups have well-known 
patrons including Ilia II's nephew, Dmitri Shiolashvili, and 
former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili  (Embassy Note: 
Post can not confirm that either individual has any relation 
with the groups.  End Note.) 
6.  (C)  Mindiashvili also cited speculation that the radical 
groups are funded by the Russian oil company Lukoil in an 
effort by the Russians to create internal conflict.  On 
September 15, the two groups picketed nine Socar gas stations 
in Tbilisi.  A pamphlet the groups distributed called on 
drivers to boycott the Azerbaijani company, a direct 
competitor of Lukoil, because the company is a "facilitator 
in the construction of mosques" which was "strengthening the 
Muslim element" in the country.  Mindiashvili also reported 
that the radical groups are distributing pamphlets warning 
Georgian Orthodox parents about pedophilia in the Roman 
Catholic Church.  A copy of the pamphlet was provided to the 
Poloff, which includes a translation of a BBC report on "Sex 
Crimes and the Vatican" and a picture of Pope John Paul II 
touching the forehead of a child during what appeared to be a 
blessing.  Mindiashvili felt that the radical groups are 
becoming more aggressive and are now turning their attention 
to more "traditional" groups in the country, like the Roman 
Catholics and the Muslims. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1756, GEORGIA: TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS TBILISI

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1756 2009-09-23 14:35 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2512
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1756/01 2661435
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 231435Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2223
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0297
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 0429

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001756 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/23/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL TU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS TBILISI 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 1729 
     B. TBILISI 1665 
 
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES A.I. KENT LOGSDON FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) 
AND (D). 
 
1. (C) Summary.  Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu 
paid an official visit to Tbilisi September 7-8 and was 
joined by his Deputy Under Secretary for the Caucasus and 
Central Asia, Ambassador Unal Cevikoz; Cevikoz later visited 
Sukhumi on September 10.  Davutoglu met with President 
Saakashvili, Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, Deputy Foreign 
Minister Giga Bokeria, Prime Minister Nika Gilauri, and 
Speaker of the Parliament David Bakradze.  Davutoglu 
expressed support for Georgia's territorial integrity and 
Turkey's desire to act as a leader in resolving the conflict 
in Abkhazia; the Georgians resisted the latter overture. 
Davutoglu also raised the status of Turkish ship captain 
Mehmet Coskun Ozturk, who had been jailed on smuggling 
charges and for violation of Georgia's law on occupied 
territories and later released.  The Georgian side raised the 
issue of repairing Georgian cultural monuments located in 
Turkey.  Following his visit to Tbilisi, Ambassador Cevikoz 
traveled to Sukhumi where he met with Abkhaz de facto 
"foreign minister" Sergey Shamba.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) Comment. Davutoglu's agenda of promoting Turkey as a 
leader in the region and in resolving the conflict did not 
resonate with the Georgians.  The Georgians appear wary of 
Turkey increasing its ifluence in the region and do not want 
the Turks "negotiating" on their behalf with the de facto 
authorities.  The Georgian Government would rather see only 
the United States and EU as leaders in defending its 
interests in the disputes with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 
However, as reported ref a, the Georgians do believe that the 
visit resulted in a serious Turkish commitment to discuss the 
problem of Turkish commercial vessels visiting Sukhumi.  End 
comment. 
 
GEORGIA SAYS THANKS, BUT NOT THANKS, TO TURKEY'S OFFER TO 
ENGAGE IN ABKHAZIA 
 
3. (C) On September 7, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu 
arrived in Tbilisi where he was met by Georgian Foreign 
Minister Vashadze.  This was the first visit of a Turkish FM 
to Georgia since 2003.  Over the course of Davutoglu's 
two-day visit, he met with Saakashvili, DFM Bokeria, PM Nika 
Gilauri, and Speaker of Parliament Bakradze.  According to 
Natia Sekhniashvili, desk officer for Turkey at the Georgian 
MFA, Davutoglu and Vashadze discussed bilateral and regional 
cooperation and agreed to institutionalize relations between 
the two countries' foreign ministries. 
 
4. (C) Davutoglu also reiterated Turkey's support for 
Georgia's territorial integrity, and stressed that the 
current conflict should be resolved through peaceful means. 
The Georgian side thanked Turkey for its support and for 
their funding of the construction of 100 homes for IDP 
families.  Davutoglu emphasized the Turkish desire to 
strengthen their role in Abkhazia through economic 
integration and cooperation with the de facto authorities. 
According to the Georgian MFA, the Turks are especially keen 
to establish businesses in Abkhazia.  Davutoglu suggested 
that by doing this, the Turks would be able to strengthen 
their presence and political influence in Abkhazia and show 
the de factos that there is an alternative to Russia.  The 
Georgian side told Davutoglu that they do not support this 
approach and do not see how Turkey could manage to promote 
such a process successfully.  Sekhniashvili told poloff that 
Georgia does not consider Turkey a reliable partner in 
resolving the conflict, and it prefers to rely on the support 
Qresolving the conflict, and it prefers to rely on the support 
of the United States and EU. 
 
RELEASE OF SHIP CAPTAIN 
 
5. (C)  During his meeting with Saakashvili, Davutoglu 
discussed the status of Turkish ship captain Mehmet Coskun 
Ozturk.  Ozturk and the cargo vessel he was operating were 
detained by Georgian authorities on August 16 for attempting 
to deliver fuel to Abkhazia.  Ozturk was charged with 
smuggling and violating Georgia's law on occupied territories 
and was sentenced to 24 years in prison.  Davutoglu spoke 
with Saakashvili about possible terms for Ozturk's release, 
and on September 8 the Supreme Court of Georgia announced 
that Ozturk would be released on a three-year conditional 
sentence and with a 30,000 GEL fine.  Davutoglu and the 
Georgian side also agreed to work together to elaborate 
modalities for the passage of Turkish ships to Abkhazia. 
 
RESTORING CULTURAL MONUMENTS 
 
 
TBILISI 00001756  002 OF 002 
 
 
6. (C) The two sides discussed the issue of cultural 
monuments.  The Georgian side asked permission from the Turks 
to take measurements and assessments of Georgian monasteries 
in Turkey which need repair.  The Turkish side said that this 
would be acceptable, on the condition that Georgia undertake 
repairs to the mosque in Batumi.  Sekhniashvili told poloff 
that this would es
sentially involve building a new mosque, 
which the Georgian side is currently not willing to do.  The 
two sides were unable to reach agreement on this issue. 
 
TRIP TO SUKHUMI 
 
7. (C) Davutoglu asked the Georgian side for permission for 
Ambassador Cevikoz to visit Sukhumi following the trip to 
Tbilisi.  Georgia granted this permission, and Cevikoz 
traveled to Sukhumi on September 10.  Davutoglu billed the 
visit as part of Turkey's continuing effort to help resolve 
the conflict through talks and negotiations with the de facto 
authorities.  Shamba, on the other hand, portrayed Cevikoz's 
visit in Abkhaz press as a positive signal that Turkey would 
soon recognize Abkhazia as independent.  According to a 
Turkish news article, a spokesman for the Turkish foreign 
ministry denied this claim, stating that Turkey has not 
changed its policy in the Caucasus. 
LOGSDON

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