Monthly Archives: February 2010

10TBILISI176, GEORGIA: UPDATE ON KAZBEGI/LARSI CHECKPOINT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI176 2010-02-10 14:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0593
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0176 0411446
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101446Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2839
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 TBILISI 000176 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2020 
TAGS: PREL PGOV RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: UPDATE ON KAZBEGI/LARSI CHECKPOINT 
NEGOTIATIONS WITH RUSSIA 
 
REF: TBILISI 2280 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
 and (d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: Georgia's lead negotiator for the talks with 
Russia on opening the Kazbegi/Larsi checkpoint told us that 
Georgia is waiting for Russia to respond to the most recent 
Georgia proposal that would open the border point between 
Russia and Georgia in early March.  The agreement would allow 
Georgian citizens to cross; however, they would need Russian 
visas which remain extremely difficult to obtain.  MFA 
officials speculated that Russia was generally surprised 
about the concessions made by the Georgian side, and were 
uncertain as to what to do.  While skeptical an agreement 
will be reached soon, the negotiator cited the massive 
investment by Russia on their border facility as a potential 
impetus that could contribute to an agreement.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C) Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Director 
for European Affairs Kakha Chitaia provided Poloff with an 
assessment of the current situation in Georgian/Russian 
negotiations on reopening the Kazbegi/Larsi checkpoint. 
Chitaia, who leads the Georgian negotiating team on this 
issue, noted in particular that the tentative agreement 
currently being reviewed in Moscow would allow for limited 
crossing by Georgian citizens.  Chitaia, however, stressed 
that while this might sound like a significant breakthrough 
on paper, this was more perception than reality, as Georgians 
would still need valid Russian visas which were currently 
unobtainable for all but those with Russian families or 
medical emergencies.  Georgia's main goal was to facilitate 
the crossing of Georgian citizens who live in the immediate 
area, but it remains to be seen if the final version of any 
agreement will continue to include this stipulation. 
 
3.  (C) Chitaia stressed that the ball was in the Russians' 
court, as the Georgians had sent their comments on a draft 
agreement (based on an earlier 1993 agreement) in early 
January, but had not yet heard back.  Chitaia noted that he 
did not expect a quick response, but he was growing 
increasingly worried in light of the plan to open the 
crossing at the beginning of March, and wondered if the 
Russians actually were surprised at the number of concessions 
the Georgians had made, and did not know what to do.  Chitaia 
stated his personal opinion that he would in no way be 
surprised if nothing happened in the near term, and seemed 
generally pessimistic about the situation. 
 
4.  (C) Taking his pessimism into account, he sought to 
balance this by describing his impressions of the Russian 
facility at the checkpoint.  Chitaia stressed that of all the 
Russian border crossings he had seen, including in 
Kaliningrad, there was nothing like the extensive 
construction that had taken place at Kazbegi/Larsi.  He 
estimated that the Russians must have spent upwards of USD 35 
million on the facilities, and this gave him hope that 
eventually the Russians would want it to be used.  (Embassy 
note:  The new Georgian border crossing facility was 
completed at Kazbegi was completed with USG assistance and 
formally handed over to the Georgian Government in August 
2009.  End note.) 
BASS

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10TBILISI155, GEORGIA WELCOMES THE SECRETARY’S SPEECH ON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI155 2010-02-03 15:15 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO5279
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHSI #0155 0341515
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031515Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2814
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS TBILISI 000155 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA WELCOMES THE SECRETARY'S SPEECH ON 
EUROPEAN SECURITY 
 
1. (SBU) Government and non-governmental figures alike 
welcomed the Secretary's 29 January speech on European 
security.  President Saakashvili's spokeswoman on 30 January 
noted that the remarks demonstrated Washington's support for 
Georgia.  He welcomed the "unambiguous position and support" 
from the United States, and noted that this "firm policy" 
ensures that the United States will not allow Russia to allow 
the Caucasus to be dominated as part of a sphere of 
influence.  The president also noted that the approach would 
not let the Kremlin "legalize ethnic cleansing" in its 
expulsion of "500,000" Georgians and the occupation of 20 
percent of Georgian territory.  Parliamentary opposition 
leader Giorgi Targamadze (Christian-Democratic Movement) was 
also positive, citing the speech's encouragement for Georgia 
and stressing that the Secretary's speech would serve as a 
reminder for Russia that Georgia would permanently be on the 
agenda. 
 
2. (SBU) The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a 
statement supporting the positions laid out by the Secretary, 
particularly emphasizing the point that the cornerstone of 
European security was the "sovereignty and territorial 
integrity of all states."  The MFA noted that the Secretary 
stated her belief that the second principle of European 
security was the "indivisibility of security," and that 
common goals are best pursued using existing institutions 
such as OSCE and NATO.  Also emphasized was that the United 
States did not share Russia'ssense of insecurity over the 
expansion of NATO and the EU, believing that enlargement 
increased Russia's security and prosperity, and that NATO 
should remain open to any nation that aspires to be a member. 
 OSCE received a prominent place in the statement as well, 
with the Secretary's comments about OSCE empowerment and U.S. 
proposals for strengthening the organization having 
particular resonance in the MFA statement, in light of the 
termination of the OSCE mission in Georgia in 2009. 
 
3. (SBU) Georgian media stressed the Secretary's comments 
citing the need for Russia to honor the terms of the 
ceasefire agreement following the August 2008 war, and the 
refusal of the United States to recognize Russia's claims of 
independence for Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  Liberal daily 
"24 Hours" reported that the speech signaled a change in U.S. 
foreign policy from a pragmatic approach to one based closer 
on common values with its allies.  However, Georgian 
Foundation for Strategic and International Studies expert 
Archil Gegeshidze disagreed, stating that there was nothing 
new in the speech in regards to its criticism of Russian 
policy in the former Soviet Union.  Head of the European 
Research Center Kakha Gogolashvili said that the speech 
clearly set out the U.S. position on recent Russian 
proposals, and that it was a validation that one could not 
view Georgian security without considering the architecture 
of European security.  There did not appear to be any 
negative comments about the speech detailed in the media. 
BASS

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10TBILISI148, GEORGIA: SCENESETTER FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI148 2010-02-02 15:29 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4305
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL
DE RUEHSI #0148/01 0331529
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2806
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0356
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 000148 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2020 
TAGS: PREL PGOV OTRA OVIP RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SCENESETTER FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY 
STEINBERG'S VISIT 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John R. Bass for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (S)  Georgia is calmer and more stable than it was when 
you visited last summer, but those improvements are far from 
durable and a palpable sense of insecurity still permeates 
society and politics.  Miscalculations and provocations - 
domestically, in the territories or north across the 
mountains -  could easily spark renewed crisis.  With a 
stabilized economy and no viable rival, President Saakashvili 
is stronger politically but paradoxically more insecure, 
burdened by the fear history will judge him to have lost 
irrevocably the occupied territories and concerned our 
measured approach to defense cooperation and engagement with 
Moscow presage a deeper reorientation of U.S. interests. 
These concerns are reinforced by a steady drumbeat of Russian 
accusations about the legitimacy and behavior of his 
government and comparative silence from the West about 
Moscow's consolidation of its position in the territories. 
In this hothouse environment, your visit is an important, 
visible manifestation of our enduring commitment to support 
Georgia's aspirations to move west - and an opportunity to 
remind the president that realization of those aspirations 
ultimately depends on a renewed commitment to deeper 
democratic and economic reforms. 
 
2. (S)  Large swathes of the government, and society more 
broadly, are still motivated by the lure of Euro-Atlantic 
integration.  Fears that Georgia will remain in the West's 
waiting room in perpetuity have sparked a minority to begin 
discussing the viability of a deal with Moscow in order to 
reintegrate the territories.  These trial balloons, and 
Moscow's efforts to de-legitimize the government and create 
more palatable alternatives, further polarize a political 
environment that encourages zero-sum thinking and retards 
deeper democratic and economic reforms.  Saakashvili 
continues to cast about for the 'one big thing' that will 
secure Georgia's place in the west, adding an offer to 
provide a logistics hub for Afghanistan to his substantial 
troop commitment over the next two years.   Our challenge is 
to convince President Saakashvili that the 'one big thing' is 
a recommitment to Georgia's democratic development, 
symbolized by a competitive presidential succession in 2013, 
even while we work to prevent a slide back into conflict and 
instability. 
 
CONFLICT AND INSECURITY 
 
3.  (C)  It's hard to overestimate the extent to which an 
intense climate of insecurity permeates Georgian society and 
political culture.   Russian forces, located as close as 25 
miles from Tbilisi, are building permanent bases and 
Georgians confront a steady drip of Russian statements 
alleging Georgian aggression or announcing the latest step in 
incorporating Abkhazia into Russia's economy.  Moscow's 
statements suggesting that Georgia is planning provocations 
in the North Caucasus have raised fears among Georgian 
officials that Russia is looking for another pretext. 
Tbilisi, in turn, is overly focused on weapons acquisition as 
an antidote to its jitters. It fears our approach to defense 
cooperation (heavily focused on developing the structures and 
processes to assess threats, develop appropriate responses 
and make informed decisions about use of force before moving 
to acquisition) is a trade-off to secure Russian cooperation 
on other issues, such as Iran.  Your discussion of our 
Qon other issues, such as Iran.  Your discussion of our 
broader efforts with Moscow will help reinforce with 
Saakashvili that we do not see this as a zero-sum equation - 
and that Georgia also benefits from Moscow's cooperation on 
the wider agenda. 
 
4.  (C)  The immediate security environment has stabilized, 
with fewer incidents along the administrative boundaries. 
Shootings and explosions still occur, but much less 
frequently; in the age-old tradition of the Caucasus, 
detentions have become the major source of tension, 
especially around South Ossetia.  The Incident Prevention and 
Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) established by the Geneva talks 
have helped increase communication and decrease the 
volatility of individual incidents, especially in Abkhazia; 
the South Ossetian de facto authorities have refused to 
participate in their IPRM since October 2009, pending the 
resolution of three missing persons cases.  Overall the 
Abkhaz de facto authorities are more interested in engaging 
with partners other than Russia and are therefore more 
constructive in the IPRM and in Geneva; they continue to 
allow international partners to operate inside Abkhazia.  The 
South Ossetians are steadfastly uncooperative, even when 
proposals would benefit their own residents.  Local residents 
still face limitations on movements and other human rights 
 
TBILISI 00000148  002 OF 004 
 
 
concerns in both regions. 
 
5.  (C)  A more mature Georgian policy on the territories 
reflects growing recognition that there is no short-term - or 
military - way to reintegrate them into Georgia, but 
implementation may founder on Abkhaz, or Russian, insistence 
on first discussing the region's status.  A key question is 
the extent to which the de factos control their own fate 
versus Russia orchestrating the immediate security ups and 
downs; the Georgians are convinced the Abkhaz/South Ossetian 
good cop-bad cop routine is played at the behest of the 
Russians. No one expects much constructive reaction to the 
strategy from South Ossetia, but a positive response from 
Abkhazia, even on relatively modest activities, could 
indicate sincere interest in moving away from Moscow's orbit 
and finding some accommodation with Tbilisi.  We are 
currently developing ways the United States will support the 
strategy's objectives through its own activities. 
 
6.  (SBU) Even in Abkhazia, however, the underlying situation 
remains fundamentally unstable.  Georgia and Russia disagree 
profoundly over the source of the instability and the 
direction the parties must take toward resolution of the 
conflict.  Georgia insists Russia has not yet complied with 
its ceasefire commitments; Russia claims Georgia is preparing 
further aggression against the regions. The EUMM, with its 
extensive access to Georgian military and law enforcement 
installations, has found no evidence to support Russian 
claims. 
 
7.  (C)  This impasse has become more and more apparent in 
Geneva, where Georgia sees Russia as a party to the conflict 
and an existential threat, while Russia sees itself as a 
keeper of the peace analogous to the EUMM.  The Geneva 
co-chairs have tried to square this circle by combining 
Russia's demand for a non-use of force agreement (between 
Georgia and the regions) with Georgia's demand for new 
international security arrangements, but Russia refuses to 
contemplate any new international presence.  The Geneva 
process is having trouble addressing even practical issues; 
at the most recent round on January 28, the participants 
could not even agree to reconvene the South Ossetia IPRM. 
Even the Georgians agree the talks provide a useful forum for 
engagement among the parties, but if we continue to see no 
progress on what should be simple issues, we will have to 
reconsider the usefulness of Geneva. 
 
DOMESTIC CHALLENGES 
 
8. (SBU) The Saakashvili-led United National Movement (UNM) 
continues to hold a constitutional majority in Parliament, 
and its current poll numbers reflect broad popular support. 
The government's restrained handling of the months-long 
opposition protests in 2009 reinforced Saakashvili's and his 
party's popularity throughout the country and reduced support 
for opposition leaders.  A rapidly shrinking economy, 
Saakashvili's sharpest challenge in 2009, seems to have 
stabilized in late 2009. Although consumer indicators are 
improving, the economy remains a concern, as unemployment is 
up and investments and government revenues have fallen. 
International assistance, particularly the U.S. provision of 
1 billion USD in aid following the August 2008 conflict, 
helped insulate Georgia from the worst of the global 
financial crisis and has provided a significant base for 
recovery.  The EU, other donors and international financial 
institutions are providing an additional 3.5 billion USD in 
Qinstitutions are providing an additional 3.5 billion USD in 
assistance to Georgia. 
 
DEMOCRATIC PROGRESS 
 
9.  (SBU) The government has made some tangible democratic 
progress in a number of areas, including passing a new 
electoral code on December 28, 2009, that will set rules for 
upcoming May 2010 municipal elections. The divergent 
positions and motives of the opposition (which ranges from 
"responsible" parties who sit in parliament to 
"irreconcilable" ones who insist on Saakashvili's early 
departure or removal) precluded the kind of grand bargain 
which could have turned the electoral code into an engine for 
new democratic reforms.  In the current zero-sum environment, 
the government did not stretch itself, either.  The revised 
election code has been sent to the Venice Commission for 
comment, which the Georgians expect to receive by March. 
President Saakashvili agreed to allow for the direct election 
of the Tbilisi mayor, giving the opposition a chance to 
control this politically important post. Substantial 
government influence, if not outright control, over broadcast 
and other media steepen the slope the opposition needs to 
 
TBILISI 00000148  003 OF 004 
 
 
climb. In addition, the government has formed a 
constitutional commission to review ideas for constitutional 
change to lessen the power of the president. 
 
OPPOSITION CONCERNS 
 
10. (SBU) Your meeting with opposition leaders, representing 
parties both inside and outside of Parliament, will provide 
an opportunity to hear about the current state of democracy 
and reform in Georgia, and the leaders will likely urge the 
United States and international community to do more to level 
the electoral playing field in Georgia by emphasizing the 
importance of U.S. support to strengthen civil society, 
establish a more free media environment, and foster increased 
political pluralism.  Much of the public is still looking for 
the government to make good on its promises of a new wave of 
democratic reform as articulated by Saakashvili after the 
August 2008 conflict.  The opposition argues that Saakashvili 
has consolidated power over the past seven years and is 
increasingly moving in an authoritarian direction.  However, 
there is little agreement among opposition forces as to what 
needs to be done or what a good alternative political program 
would be. 
 
MEDIA ENVIRONMENT 
 
11. (SBU) Georgian media at present reflect the polarized 
Political environment in the country, largely divided into 
pro-government and pro-opposition operations.  Nationwide 
television channels remain the main source of information for 
most people.  Television content is limited, resulting in a 
majority of the population that is poorly informed about a 
variety of issues and everyday concerns.  Limited news 
programming by the Georgian Public Broadcaster in Azeri, 
Armenian and Russian leaves members of ethnic minorities 
Poorly informed about developments in Georgia; many receive 
news via satellite from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. 
Rustavi-2, to whom you will give an interview, is the most 
popular and widely-watched of the three national 
broadcasters, all of which are perceived to be 
pro-government.  There are no hard walls separating the 
editorial and management sides of media organizations.  The 
media market is small, creating financial challenges. 
Journalists are low-paid and practice self-censorship. 
 
STILL SEEKING NATO INTEGRATION 
 
12. (SBU) Support f
or NATO remains high in Georgia.  At the 
NATO Bucharest summit in April 2008, NATO Allies decided that 
Ukraine and Georgia's bid for membership action plans would 
have to be addressed later, yet at the same time declared 
that the two countries would become members of NATO.  Since 
the fall of 2008, NATO has been working with Georgia under 
the aegis of the NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC), and through 
the NGC, Georgia and the Alliance have work closely on an 
Annual National Program (ANP) which is designed to help 
Georgia advance reforms in areas key for membership, 
including political, economic, and defense reforms.  Georgia 
continues to be a strong supporter of NATO operations and is 
a contributor to international security missions.  Georgia 
currently has troops deployed with the French and Turks in 
Afghanistan, and is scheduled to deploy this spring a 
battalion to participate in the ISAF operations, alongside 
U.S. Marines in Helmand Province.  U.S. Marines have been on 
the ground in Georgia since September 2009 training about 700 
Georgian land force troops for their deployment alongside 
U.S. troops in March 2010. 
 
RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA 
QRELATIONS WITH RUSSIA 
 
13. (SBU) While official relations between Russia and Georgia 
remain contentious, the two governments reached a preliminary 
agreement in December to reopen a border crossing for transit 
traffic to Armenia and limited access for Georgians, and the 
government has indicated that it is willing to sign a 
protocol as early as March.  Georgian Airways ran a few 
charter flights to Moscow and St. Petersburg in January -- 
the first direct commercial flights since a brief period in 
2008 -- and is negotiating for permission for more regular 
flights. 
 
A TOUGH NEIGHBORHOOD 
 
14. (C) Georgia is also concerned by a significant increase 
in military supplies from Russia to Armenia planned for 2010 
primarily via overflights between Russia and Armenia. 
Although Georgia has continued to allow the flights to 
maintain a good relationship with Armenia, it does not 
 
TBILISI 00000148  004 OF 004 
 
 
believe Armenia has the capacity to use these shipments 
itself and fears that such armaments as large-caliber 
ammunition for aircraft could be intended for Russian forces 
in Armenia, instead of the Armenian military.  Not only could 
such shipments disrupt the balance in the Nagorno-Karabakh 
conflict, but they could potentially be used to squeeze 
Georgia from the south as well. 
 
15. (S) Georgia is also trying to manage its relationship 
with Iran.  Georgia agrees with many of our concerns about 
Iran's policies, and has been willing to raise those concerns 
directly with the Iranians.  Georgia still faces lingering 
anger from Tehran for extraditing an Iranian arms smuggler to 
the United States several years ago.  At the same time, it 
cannot afford to alienate a powerful regional neighbor and 
major commercial partner -- especially as it seeks to prevent 
any further recognitions of the breakaway regions.  Although 
the government has assured us that a proposed hydro project 
does not involve Iranian banks, we continue to monitor the 
deal. 
BASS

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10TBILISI147, GEORGIA: FM VASHADZE ON NEXT STEPS WITH IRAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI147 2010-02-02 15:14 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4290
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0147 0331514
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 021514Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2805
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 TBILISI 000147 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2020 
TAGS: PREL ECON EINV PGOV IR GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: FM VASHADZE ON NEXT STEPS WITH IRAN 
 
REF: A. SECSTATE 09124 
     B. TBILISI 90 
     C. 09 TBILISI 1211 
     D. 09 SECSTATE 70201 
     E. 09 TBILISI 1738 
     F. 09 SECSTATE 132579 
     G. TBILISI 0032 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John Bass for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Ambassador discussed the summary of next steps on 
Iran (ref A) with FM Vashadze on January 31, noting that the 
new demarche echoed our discussions prior to Vashadze's 
January 18-19 visit to Tehran (ref B).  The Ambassador 
outlined that the West was prepared to move forward on the 
steps previewed earlier in the month.  Vashadze appreciated 
the update and indicated Georgia would continue to proceed 
cautiously in its relationship with Iran.  Vashadze asked if 
the demarche timing meant we had secured Russian and Chinese 
agreement to a new resolution; the Ambassador deflected by 
noting the timing hinged more on the absence of a 
constructive Iranian reaction to the IAEA,s TRR proposal and 
Washington,s conclusion that any future success on the 
engagement track now hinged primarily on increasing the cost 
to Tehran of flouting the international community. 
2. (C) Turning to a familiar theme, Vashadze opined that 
Turkey would be a complicating factor in any new sanctions 
regime, especially in the context of its deep trade 
relationship with Russia and its interest in brokering links 
between Tehran and the West.  The three countries were 
returning to old form in viewing the Caucasus and broader 
surrounding region as an area in which their interests should 
predominate, rather than those of countries in the area or 
the broader international community. 
3. (C) Vashadze asked us to flag early any concerns over the 
limited amount of current Georgian-Iranian trade, or other 
investments/specific commercial deals.  He reiterated that 
the hydropower deal announced in the Tehran Times in January 
involved a straight commercial purchase of turbine equipment 
(refs C-G). 
BASS

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10TBILISI146, GEORGIA: RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI146 2010-02-02 14:42 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4232
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL
DE RUEHSI #0146 0331442
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 021442Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2804
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

S E C R E T TBILISI 000146 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2020 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR MOPS KG KZ TI TX UZ GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON 
NORTHERN DISTRIBUTION NETWORK, C-RE9-02185 
 
REF: A. 09 STATE 123007 
     B. 09 TBILISI 2239 
 
Classified By: DCM Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (S/NF)  In response to ref A the following is further 
information regarding the Northern Distribution Network in 
Georgia. 
 
A.  (C)  PLEASE DESCRIBE THE HOST COUNTRY LEADER VIEWS ON THE 
US MILITARY LOCAL PURCHASE PLAN'S PROGRESS AND ANY BENEFIT TO 
THE HOST COUNTRY'S ECONOMY. HOW SATISFIED ARE HOST COUNTRIES 
WITH THIS PROGRAM? 
 
There is no U.S. Military local purchase plan in Georgia. 
DLA has reviewed outlets to purchase goods in Georgia and 
Georgian companies ar interested in pursuing opportunities 
to sell goods to the U.S. military. 
 
B.  (C)  PLEASE DESCRIBE ANY INSTANCES OF HOST COUNTRY GRAFT 
AND CORRUPTION IN THE US LOCAL PURCHASE PLAN, INCLUDING ANY 
INDICATIONS THAT HOST COUNTRY SENIOR LEADERSHIP IS INVOLVED. 
WHO IN THE HOST COUNTRY -- LEADERS, MINISTRIES, CLANS -- 
BENEFITS THE MOST? 
 
There are no known instances of host country graft, as there 
is no purchase plan. 
 
C.  (C)  HOW DO HOST COUNTRIES LEADERS VIEW EXPANDING THE NDN 
TO INCLUDE TRANSITING MILITARY SUPPLIES CONSIDERED "LETHAL"? 
 
The GOG is eager to expand their transport of military 
supplies and has put no restrictions on cargo. 
 
D.  (C)  PLEASE DESCRIBE ANY EXTERNAL POLITICAL OR ECONOMIC 
PRESSURE FROM RUSSIA, CHINA, ETC., TO ALTER OR TERMINATE 
PARTICIPATION IN THE NDN. 
 
Given the tense relations with Russia and Russia's own supply 
transit role, the Russians would be pleased for Georgia to 
cease participating in the Northern Distribution Network. 
However, Post is unaware of Russian pressure on Georgia on 
this particular issue.  Russia and Georgia broke diplomatic 
relations after the August 2008 war. 
 
E.  (C)  WHAT PLANS DO HOST COUNTRIES HAVE IN PLACE FOR 
RESPONDING TO ATTACKS AGAINST COALITION SUPPLY LINES? HOW 
WOULD TERRORIST ATTACKS OR OTHER SABOTAGE INCIDENTS AGAINST 
SUPPLY LINES INFLUENCE THE HOST COUNTRY'S RESOLVE TO CONTINUE 
PARTICIPATING IN THE NDN? 
 
There are no specific plans in place to repair supply lines, 
but the GOG would act quickly to repair any kind of damaged 
infrastructure (for example, rail lines) in the case of 
damage.  They have demonstrated their willingness and ability 
to do this as recently as the war in August of 2008, and we 
would expect the same in case of a terrorist attack. 
 
F.  (C)  WHAT ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE POINTS -- POLITICAL, 
ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, OR PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE -- IN THE HOST 
COUNTRY THAT, IF CHALLENGED, WOULD AFFECT ITS WILLINGNESS TO 
CONTINUE NDN COOPERATION WITH THE US? 
 
None of the aforementioned potential vulnerabilities affect 
Georgia's willingness to participate in the Network. Georgia 
is eager to demonstrate its continued willingness to 
contribute to the Allied effort in Afghanistan, including by 
committing a battalion (approximately 750) of troops to serve 
alongside the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan with no caveats 
(ref B), so we would not expect any of the factors listed to 
deter Georgia from participating. 
BASS

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