Category Archives: CONFIDENTIAL

10TBILISI222, GEORGIA: THREE MONTHS BEFORE LOCAL ELECTIONS –

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI222 2010-02-22 14:41 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2917
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 000222 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/16/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: THREE MONTHS BEFORE LOCAL ELECTIONS - 
OPPOSITION IN DISARRAY, UNM STRONG 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN R. BASS FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary:  Recent internal United National Movement 
(UNM) polling shows officially-undeclared mayoral candidate 
Gigi Ugulava with a commanding lead over opposition rivals. 
The trend lines indicate that Ugulava's active grassroots 
outreach has paid significant dividends while opposition 
inaction, notably by chief rival Irakli Alasania 
(Alliance/Our Georgia - Free Democrats), has eroded their 
support and widened the gap in the UNM's favor.  Former PM 
Zurab Noghaideli's decision to court Moscow has further split 
the non-parliamentary opposition and reinforced its focus on 
fruitless backroom dealings and internal squabbling rather 
than campaigning.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  Comment:  Diligent, focused efforts by the UNM 
appear likely to pay electoral dividends while the 
non-parliamentary opposition is turning what should have been 
a solid electoral opportunity into a likely failure. 
Long-simmering fissures among the non-parliamentary 
opposition have grown into public disagreements. 
Noghaideli's controversial move to embrace Russia has split 
the non-parliamentary opposition on ideological grounds, but 
personality and financial incentives still play the dominant 
role behind the scenes.  On the other hand, the 
disorganization/reorganization among the non-parliamentary 
opposition only strengthens UNM's dominant electoral 
position.  Sadly but perhaps predictably, the 
non-parliamentary opposition once again appears unable to 
learn from past failures.  Meanwhile, UNM has coalesced 
around Ugulava who is energized, and ironically, showing his 
rivals that one does not need to spend vast sums of money to 
make a discernible impact.  End Comment. 
 
UNM Strong, Facing Unlikely Opposition Problem 
 
3.  (C)  The UNM's American pollster (please protect) shared 
with the Ambassador polling for the UNM that shows currently 
undeclared UNM candidate Gigi Ugulava with a commanding lead. 
 Ugulava's raw numbers put his support at near 50 percent; 
with allocations of undecideds, Ugulava is likely to grab 60 
percent of the vote.  Alasania runs a distant second, winning 
just over 10 percent of the vote.  The rest of the vote is 
scattered among many marginal candidates.  Ugulava's numbers 
have been trending dramatically upwards in the last six 
months, while Alasania's numbers trended downwards.  Polling 
and focus groups indicate the numbers reflect Ugulava's 
engagement versus Alasania's inaction.  Alasania has done 
little visible campaigning in Tbilisi since announcing his 
candidacy months ago and spent much of December and January 
traveling abroad in Europe and the U.S..  Ugulava continues 
to work hard; he told the Ambassador he spends a chunk of 
each day meetings with 3-4 groups of citizens in their 
neighborhoods, fielding complaints and requests.  The current 
numbers have created a dilemma the UNM did not expect -- how 
to prepare to handle what is shaping up to be a resounding 
victory, yet still ensure widespread public confidence in the 
results.  The Pollster noted that, ironically, what the UNM 
needed was a semi-coherent opposition, but there was little 
indication that the non-parliamentary opposition could 
coalesce around any one leader. 
 
Noghaideli Flirts with Moscow - Other "Democrats" Follow 
 
4.  (C)  Although there have always been obvious fissures in 
the non-parliamentary opposition, former Prime Minister 
Noghaideli's embrace of a pro-Russian strategy appears to be 
QNoghaideli's embrace of a pro-Russian strategy appears to be 
the straw that broke the camel's back.  Privately, the 
general view of the UNM, CDM, Alliance and other more 
moderate political actors is that Noghaideli is a "feckless 
idiot", a "useful idiot for UNM", a "shameless clown" and so 
on.  An increasingly moderate Salome Zourabichvili (Georgia's 
Way) told the Ambassador that Noghaideli was so unpopular and 
such a perfect foil, she almost believed that he was acting 
on behalf of the UNM.  Alasania told the Ambassador that he 
has heard that Noghaideli has discussed nothing of any 
importance with Russian authorities and was "selected" simply 
because he was in Moscow when Putin thought it would be 
useful to openly interfere in Georgian domestic politics. 
Noghaideli told the DCM that he was pursuing a logical course 
by speaking to Russian officials noting that Saakashvili's 
decision to ignore Russia was a failed policy.  Noghaideli 
said he was surprised at the high level at which he had been 
received in Moscow, and noted that he only had signed a 
framework agreement with United Russia and not discussed 
thorny bilateral issues.  Noghaideli maintained that he was 
simply trying to foster communication with Russian 
authorities (and in time South Ossetian and Abkhaz) to try to 
find workable solutions to re-incorporate South Ossetia and 
Abkhazia into Georgia. 
 
TBILISI 00000222  002 OF 003 
 
 
 
5.  (C)  Wh
atever Noghaideli's motives, at present he stands 
to capture only a small portion of the Georgian electorate 
which is potentially open to closer relations with the 
Kremlin.  IRI and NDI polling on Georgian views as to who is 
to blame for the 2008 August War; whether or not Russian 
aggression continues; and whether or not Russia is a partner 
or enemy suggest that only 5-10 percent of the electorate 
would be receptive to a pro-Russian policy.  Noghaideli 
dismissed the argument saying that polls show generally that 
Georgians have anti-Russia feelings, but the reality was 
Georgian views were more complex and the public generally 
supported his initiatives because Georgians realized that 
"somebody had to speak to Moscow."  Despite Noghaideli's 
optimism, it appears unlikely that Noghaideli has any chance 
to leverage his northern turn into electoral support 
especially considering that former "pro-Western democrats" 
such as Zviad Dzidziguri (Conservatives), Koba Davitashvili 
(People's Party) and even former Speaker Nino Burjanadze 
(Democratic Movement - United Georgia) have also thrown their 
hats into the "support for dialogue with Russia" ring. 
 
AWOLasania 
 
6.  (C)  According to recent IRI and NDI polling, Alasania's 
personal numbers remain high.  However, he is a distant 
second to current Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava when viewed 
through the prism of the mayoral election.  Alasania's 
downward trend lines appear to be a troubling sign for his 
candidacy.  Internal UNM polling now shows Alasania winning 
only a shade above 10 percent for the Tbilisi mayoral race, 
nearly half of the support he enjoyed two months ago. 
Alasania faces two difficult political tasks: to turn his 
personal approval ratings into solid political support; and 
to pivot from detached, foreign-policy focused diplomat into 
a credible mayoral candidate who is able to articulate a 
coherent plan as to how he would run the city.  So far, 
Alasania has been unable to do either.  Notwithstanding a 
difficult broadcast media environment and significant 
financial disadvantage, Alasania has not focused on the 
low-cost activities he could use to generate support.  He 
spends a large share of his time outside of Georgia.  When in 
Tbilisi, Alasania rarely if ever spends time among the public 
or does any sort of retail level campaigning.  In contrast, 
Ugulava is found in all corners of the city, meeting 
residents, listening to their concerns and explaining his 
plans for improving the city and their lives.  Alasania has 
pushed back the re-launch of his campaign a number of times, 
and has effectively ceded three months of unopposed campaign 
time to Ugulava.  Unfortunately for Alasania, his absence has 
left the public with little understanding of his platform or 
why he is running.  Alasania has hired the American firm 
Aristotle consultants as advisors and plans to begin his 
campaign in earnest shortly.  Alasania's advisors maintain 
that he has plenty of time to take on Ugulava successfully. 
 
Levan and the Money Trail 
 
7.  (C)  Levan Gachechiladze (Protect Georgia Movement) has 
apparently not made up his mind as to what he intends to do 
regarding the May 2010 elections.  MP Paata Davitaia (We 
Ourselves), with whom Gachechiladze had a good relationship, 
told us that Gachechiladze also thought that a pro-Russia 
policy swing could potentially be a good idea for the 
non-parliamentary opposition.  Davitaia expressed his disgust 
Qnon-parliamentary opposition.  Davitaia expressed his disgust 
with Gachechiladze's willingness to embrace Noghaideli's 
position.  Davitaia said that others willing to join 
Noghaideli (Conservatives - People's Party) were doing so for 
the modest sum of about USD 50,000.  According to Davitaia 
and other sources, Gachechiladze has been mulling a run for 
mayor as the candidate of the United Opposition. 
Gachechiladze's entry into the race would certainly 
complicate Alasania's floundering bid.  Privately, Alasania's 
team has repeatedly told Poloff that Gachechiladze has 
assured them that he supports Alasania, but would only 
announce his support publicly at a "key moment". 
Nevertheless, Alasania insiders question Gachechiladze's 
commitment, noting that he could be "purchased" at any 
moment, and the Alliance simply does not have the funds nor 
inclination to meet what could be a substantial asking price. 
 
 
Christian Democrat's Candidate Underwhelms 
 
8.  (C)  Former President of the Georgian International Oil 
Corporation (which oversaw the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline 
project in Georgia) Gia Chanturia was officially announced as 
the CDM candidate for mayor on February 12.  Chanturia left 
Georgia amid controversy and allegations of corruption after 
being dismissed from his post by President Saakashvili in 
 
TBILISI 00000222  003 OF 003 
 
 
September 2004.  Since that time Chanturia has lived in Baku, 
and advised the Azeri government and SOCAR on oil and gas 
projects.  He continues to have good ties with government 
officials in Azerbaijan.  Chanturia's initial speech as the 
CDM mayoral candidate was lackluster, and he left the party's 
anniversary party mid-way through the event.  Chanturia 
admitted to an Embassy contact that he had no real interest 
in running for mayor, but had been encouraged by the GoG to 
run.  If he ran, Chanturia was reportedly told that the GoG 
would support an energy project he hopes to develop on the 
Black Sea that involves refining and transit of CNG/LNG. 
(Embassy Note:  Press is already speculating about the "real" 
reasons for Chanturia's return to politics.  End Note.) 
 
9.  (C)  Christian Democratic Leader, Giorgi Targamadze told 
Poloff that Chanturia's technocratic background and his 
ability to fund his own campaign were both appealing to CDM. 
By backing Chanturia, who is running as an independent, 
Targamadze opens himself up to criticism of being a GoG 
stooge.  However, as Targamadze told Poloff, CDM has little 
to no chance of winning the Tbilisi mayoral race and was 
committed to playing to its strengths by focusing on local 
council (Sakrebulo) elections nationwide.  Chanturia appears 
to provide the best of limited options; a self-funded 
candidate who will keep CDM relevant in Tbilisi but whose 
loss would do little to harm Targamadze personally or CDM's 
brand.  By backing Chanturia, CDM can focus on down ticket 
races; maintain its support (roughly 10 percent) in Tbilisi; 
and give its organization a good electoral test run. 
Whatever Chanturia's merits, Targamadze clearly views the 
electoral utility of running Chanturia as worth the risk. 
BASS

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10TBILISI196, GEORGIA: CHALLENGES FACING ETHNIC ARMENIANS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI196 2010-02-16 07:27 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4060
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FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2858
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000196 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2020 
TAGS: KIRF PGOV PHUM AM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: CHALLENGES FACING ETHNIC ARMENIANS 
 
REF: A. 09 TBILISI 2438 
     B. 09 TBILISI 538 
     C. 09 TBILISI 2106 
     D. 09 YEREVAN 844 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
AND (d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY. New and expanding economic opportunities 
should serve to lessen the isolation of many of the 250,000 
ethnic Armenians resident in Georgia, enabling them to branch 
out of their traditional region of Samtskhe-Javakheti and 
allowing younger ethnic Armenians to pursue their goals of 
higher education within the Georgian system (refs A and B). 
Armenian groups in Georgia report that travel for ethnic 
Armenians to and from Abkhazia is (unsurprisingly) difficult. 
 The most contentious issues remain the inability of 
religious minority groups to register as an entity of public 
law (only the Georgian Orthodox Church has that right) as 
opposed to an NGO and the claims by the Armenian Diocese to a 
number of disputed churches. While the Georgian Orthodox 
Church continues to block, from behind the scenes, government 
movement on the registration issue (ref C), a joint 
commission on the ownership of the churches is seen as a 
possible means to resolve these disputes. Many hope that a 
possible meeting by the heads of the Armenian and Georgian 
churches in the spring will move contentious religious issues 
closer to a solution.  This is a joint cable on the issue 
from Embassies Tbilisi and Yerevan.  END SUMMARY. 
 
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES 
 
2. (C) Poloff, along with visiting Embassy Yerevan Poloff, 
met with contacts in Tbilisi December 14 and 15 to discuss 
the challenges facing the ethnic Armenian communities in 
Georgia. PolOffs met with local NGOs who work with ethnic 
minorities in Georgia, a priest of the Armenian Apostolic 
Church (AAC) Diocese in Georgia, a professor of Armenian 
studies, and members of the GOG Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
who are responsible for Georgian-Armenian issues. The major 
topics of discussion were the historic churches claimed by 
both the AAC and the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) and the 
issue of religious equality for ethnic Armenians. 
 
3. (C) According to the GOG,s 2002 census, there are 
approximately 250,000 ethnic Armenians in Georgia (5.7 
percent of the population), the majority of whom live in the 
Samtskhe-Javakheti region in southern Georgia along the 
Armenian border.  Approximately 90,000 live in Tbilisi.  The 
Samtskhe-Javakheti region remains relatively undeveloped due 
to many years of geographic isolation.  Arnold Stepanian, 
Chairman of the Public Movement "Multinational Georgia" and 
ethnic Armenian himself, stated that ethnic Armenians are no 
worse off economically than Georgians in similarly isolated 
regions.  This situation should improve due to the 
construction of a new major road (an MCC project) in the 
region which will allow the inhabitants to expand their 
economic integration with regions outside of 
Samtskhe-Javakheti. 
 
4. (C) In the political arena, interlocutors claim ethnic 
Armenians in Tbilisi are integrated into the political 
process, but those living in Samtskhe-Javakheti (S-J) are 
less so. In addition to their location, ethnic Armenians in 
S-J have trouble participating in the national political 
system because so few of them speak Georgian. Stepanian 
believes that the new road will encourage ethnic Armenians to 
integrate into broader Georgian society once they see the 
economic advantages of learning the Georgian language. The 
GOG recognizes the problem and is sending Georgian-language 
instructors to Samtskhe-Javakheti to aid in that integration 
(refs A and B). Stepanian pointed out that the ethnic 
Q(refs A and B). Stepanian pointed out that the ethnic 
Armenians in Tbilisi have accepted the reality that their 
options for higher education greatly increase by speaking 
Georgian. Students who wish to study at non-technical 
universities cannot be admitted without knowledge of 
Georgian. According to Stepanian, interest in speaking only 
Armenian has waned in Tbilisi as witnessed by the closing of 
five of the eight Armenian-language schools. 
 
5. (C) Professor Lela Jejalava of Tbilisi State University is 
an Armenia expert and works as a mediator on religious 
tolerance issues. She argued that Georgian society has 
trouble fully accepting the ethnic Armenians (as well as 
other ethnic groups) because of Georgia,s history of fending 
off occupying forces. She argued that, while the Georgian 
people outwardly boast of their tolerance, they view minority 
religious groups -- at least subconsciously -- as agents of 
outside influence and objects of foreign political 
manipulation. And as the GOC is seen by many as an essential 
part of the national identity, those who disagree with or 
battle the GOC are enemies of the state. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000196  002 OF 003 
 
 
ETHNIC ARMENIANS IN ABKHAZIA 
 
6. (C) Estimates of the number of Armenians resi
ding in the 
separatist region of Abkhazia range from 14 percent of the 
population to as much as a third.  (Although precise numbers 
are unavailable, most estimates put the total population of 
Abkhazia around 200,000.)  Stepanian, whose group maintains 
contacts in the region, claimed that the Government of Russia 
(GOR) was providing privileges to ethnic Armenians over 
ethnic Abkhaz and encouraging ethnic Armenians from Sochi and 
surrounding areas in Russia to settle in Abkhazia to increase 
their number. According to Stepanian, the ethnic Abkhaz, 
while more than happy to take Russian money to support the 
local economy and their separatist cause, are not actually 
friendly to their Russian neighbors, and the GOR believes it 
strengthens its support in the region to have a greater 
concentration of ethnic Armenians. 
 
7. (C) Our interlocutors agreed that it is unfortunate that 
ethnic Armenians in Abkhazia face difficulties traveling 
between there and Armenia, through undisputed Georgia. Many 
ethnic Armenians travel through Russia and then by a 
circuitous route to Armenia.  Some observers in Armenia seem 
to believe that it is also illegal to enter or leave Abkhazia 
via undisputed Georgia.  Kakha Chitaia, Deputy Director in 
the European Deparment of the GOG Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs, clarified that any Georgian citizen, including 
ethnic Armenians from Abkhazia, can use the official Georgian 
checkpoints when leaving Abkhazia, and Armenian citizens can 
also do so as long as they have obtained the necessary 
permissions.  (Note: Although the Georgian government does 
not restrict the right of its own citizens, including 
residents of Abkhazia, to cross the Abkhaz administrative 
boundary, the Abkhaz de facto authorities and Russian Border 
Guards have imposed strict limitations on movements across 
the boundary in both directions.  It remains a violation of 
Georgian law for foreigners, including Armenian citizens, to 
enter Abkhazia from Russia.  End note.) 
 
RELIGIOUS EQUALITY AND THE DISPUTED CHURCHES 
 
8. (C) The issue of registration of the Armenian Apostolic 
Church (AAC) and the dispute over a number of historical 
churches dominated the conversation in almost all meetings 
(ref D). The consensus was that many of the ongoing problems 
faced by the AAC in Georgia are caused by the growing 
conservatism of the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) (ref C). 
Ethnocentrism and strong nationalism in the GOC leads it to 
oppose registration of religious minorities on a basis of 
equality to the GOC.  The Georgia Orthodox Church uses its 
influence over the Georgian government to block any 
liberalization of government policies on these issues. 
Jejalava believes that the Patriarch of the GOC is open to 
conversation and closer relations with religious minorities, 
but conservative elements of the GOC prevent him from acting. 
Others, such as Stepanian, argue that the Georgian church as 
a whole is not yet ready to accommodate religious minorities' 
requests. 
 
9. (C) Father Narek Kushyan, of the Armenian Apostolic 
Church, Diocese of Georgia, lamented the power of the GOC and 
stated that the GOG was prepared in the past to allow 
minorities to register their religious organizations on par 
with GOC registration, but that the GOC opposed the action. 
Based on his conversations with GOG officials, he raised the 
possibility of the GOG making a separate bi-lateral agreement 
with each religious organization as it had done with the GOC. 
On the subject of maintenance of the disputed churches, Fr. 
QOn the subject of maintenance of the disputed churches, Fr. 
Kushyan stated that the Armenian Church could not legally 
protect or restore those churches because (1) the GOG has 
legal title to the building and so maintenance is their 
responsibility and (2) ethnic Armenians could not obtain the 
necessary permits to do the work. However, it does not appear 
that the ethnic Armenian community has ever tried to obtain a 
permit to restore any of the disputed churches.  The AAC 
completed their own restoration of an Armenian Apostolic 
Church in Tbilisi on January 10. 
 
10. (C) Georgian contacts were in agreement that a joint 
commission composed of religious representatives, historians 
and scientists is a good means to resolve the issue of 
ownership of the disputed churches. Although they all said 
that the Armenian side refused to participate when this idea 
was raised last year, no one could say who actually turned 
down the offer. Fr. Kushyan said that the Armenian Diocese in 
Georgia is willing to join the commission and present 
historical records to prove their claims of ownership, but 
only to discuss those disputed churches outside of Tbilisi. 
Fr. Kushyan stated that the five churches in Tbilisi and one 
church in Akhaltsikhe are clearly Armenian and that they will 
not participate in any commission until that concession is 
made.  Fr. Kushyan also doubted the fairness of any 
commission that would take place in Georgia.  According to 
 
TBILISI 00000196  003 OF 003 
 
 
Prof. Jejalava, the GOC Patriarch will invite the Catholicos, 
the head of the AAC, to Tbilisi after Easter in 2010 to 
discuss the idea of a joint commission. 
 
11. (C) COMMENT. The growth of economic and higher education 
opportunities should lead to greater integration of ethnic 
Armenians into broader Georgian society, as they see the 
benefits of learning the Georgian language and participating 
in civil society. This integration could also ease the 
tensions over the ownership issue of the disputed churches as 
ethnic Armenians and ethnic Georgians recognize their joint 
heritage in buildings that have been used by both groups for 
hundreds of years and their joint responsibility to maintain 
those churches as part of Georgia's patrimony. A joint 
commission composed of all interested parties may be the best 
option to resolve the issue, and Embassy Yerevan and Embassy 
Tbilisi will continue to suggest this to the Armenian 
Apostolic Church, the Georgian Orthodox Church and the two 
governments. END COMMENT. 
BASS

Wikileaks

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
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FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2839
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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

Wikileaks

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

Wikileaks

10TBILISI126, GEORGIA: FM EXPRESSES CONCERNS OVER ARMENIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI126 2010-01-29 15:31 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1582
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0126 0291531
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 291531Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2784
INFO RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN IMMEDIATE 2440
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000126 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/GORDON AND KAIDANOW 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2020 
TAGS: PREL PGOV AR GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: FM EXPRESSES CONCERNS OVER ARMENIAN 
MILITARY COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John Bass for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (U) This is an action request.  Please see paragraph six. 
 
2.  (C) FM Grigol Vashadze called the Ambassador in to 
underscore the GoG's deepening concern over Armenian military 
cooperation with Russia.   He reiterated past notice of 
concern that the Armenians have requested more than 500 
overflights for 2010, essentially a ten-fold increase over 
last year.  Vashadze stressed that Georgia has not agreed to 
the entire volume of flights for 2010, but has agreed to 
continue overflights through the next month.  Vashadze shared 
an internal Georgian Ministry of Defense report detailing the 
contents of one recent shipment as evidence of the GoG's 
concerns.  The shipment showed a large quantity of large 
caliber ammunition (25mm and 30mm), apparently for 
aircraft/helicopters.  In violation of the Georgia-Armenia 
MOU on overflight, both the shipper and recipient were listed 
as the Russian Federation.  Vashadze expressed concern that 
the amount of arms flowing into Armenia could further 
destabilize the region, as well as be used by the Russians to 
squeeze Georgia from both sides. 
 
3.  (C)  Vashadze stressed that Georgia had agreed to the 
overflights to further cooperation with Armenia.  However, 
Georgia is concerned that Russia is using this agreement to 
introduce significant quantities of weapons into the region. 
Given this apparent reality, he said that Georgia would have 
to reconsider its permission for overflights.  The FM said 
that between the weapons sold to Azerbaijan and now the 
weapons being shipped to Armenia, he fears that disagreements 
over Nagorno-Karabakh could quickly escalate.  Georgia is 
worried that the Russians are using these overflights as a 
way to increase capabilities at Gyumri.  This would allow the 
Russians to squeeze the Georgians from the North and South, 
if they so chose. 
 
4.  (C)  Georgia, Vashadze said, is sending additional 
military staff to their embassy in Yerevan to help review 
cargo given the massive increase in overflights.  The memo he 
passed to Ambassador provided a manifest of one shipment that 
included considerable amounts of high caliber ammunition for 
airplanes/helicopters.  (Note:  A translation of this memo 
was e-mailed to EUR-CARC and Embassy Yerevan.  End note.) 
Vashadze questioned why the Armenians could possibly need 
this quantity given the small size of their air force.  He 
said that the Georgian DATT found multiple inconsistencies in 
the cargo manifests, including who was the destined end user 
for the weapons.  The Georgians believe, given that the 
Russian Federation was listed as both sender and recipient 
for the shipment, that it is actually intended to 
reinforce/resupply the Russian base at Gyumri. 
 
5.  (C) Vashadze also raised concerns about Azeri reaction to 
the Russian shipments into Armenia.  He said that while the 
Georgians don't want to get in the middle, they are concerned 
about balancing the neighbors.  He said that at some point 
soon Azerbaijan will start to question the large number of 
overflights and wonder what is being shipped to Armenia. 
 
6.  (C)  Action Request:  Embassy Tbilisi requests an 
assessment, though appropriate channels, of what we 
think/know about the Armenians acquisition strategy and the 
extent to which these shipments are destined for them or 
others. 
BASS

Wikileaks

10TBILISI125, GEORGIA APPROVES STATE STRATEGY ON OCCUPIED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI125 2010-01-29 14:37 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1510
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0125/01 0291437
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291437Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2782
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0354
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4986
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000125 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/28/2020 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PBTS EAID RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA APPROVES STATE STRATEGY ON OCCUPIED 
TERRITORIES 
 
REF: A. 09 TBILISI 2204 
     B. BASS-KAIDANOW EMAILS 12/21/09 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John R. Bass for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1. (C) Summary.  The Government of Georgia approved the 
"State Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement Through 
Collaboration" on January 27.  The strategy presents the 
government's vision for engaging the disputed territories of 
Abkhazia and South Ossetia and preventing their isolation. 
State Minister of Reintegration Temuri Yakobashvili 
coordinated his efforts on the strategy with international 
partners, including the United States, who provided 
suggestions at several stages during the drafting of the 
document.  The government now plans to focus on the 
development of an Action Plan for implementation of the 
strategy, which the Georgians expect to take approximately 
six months.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) Comment.  The final version of the strategy does 
incorporate a number of the Quad's suggestions and is a 
considerable improvement over earlier drafts (reftels).  It 
begins with a positive vision for Georgia's future and 
emphasizes Georgia's commitment to the non-use of force to 
reintegrate the territories up front in the preamble.  The 
strategy also acknowledges past mistakes made by all parties 
and the resulting suffering of the civilian population on all 
sides.  While contentious phrases still remain in the 
document, the language overall reflects the most 
forward-leaning step toward the separatist regions that we 
have seen from this government. 
 
3. (C) Several concerns remain, however.  While the current 
status review section, which details Georgia's version of the 
history of the conflict, was shortened and revised to present 
more factual circumstances, the very existence of such a 
section may be viewed as provocative and may shift discussion 
of the strategy aay from the future and back to the past. 
In addition, in a section on human rights, the ethnic 
cleansing of ethnic Georgians is singled out as a focus of 
special concern, undermining the claim made in the document 
of equal treatment. The final version also includes a 
glossary, not seen in earlier drafts, which uses 
controversial and non-neutral language, clearly intended to 
appease some government hardliners.  End comment. 
 
GOVERNMENT APPROVES AND PRESENTS STRATEGY 
 
4. (C) On January 27, the Government of Georgia announced its 
approval of the "State Strategy on Occupied Territories: 
Engagement Through Collaboration."  In statements to the 
press, Yakobashvili said the strategy outlines peaceful 
measures for the de-occupation of the separatist regions, IDP 
return and safety and the restoration of territorial 
integrity.  He added that "we are saying no to the isolation 
of the populations in the breakaway regions...We will ensure 
conditions for their education, healthcare, cultural and 
economic development....A neutral status working group will 
be formed and headed by an international organization to 
coordinate the strategy."  According to the government, the 
strategy will be presented to the international community, 
first to the Council of Europe, as well as to OSCE, the UN 
and the EU.  Yakobashvili told the Ambassador that now that 
the strategy is in place, we can begin to plan projects, even 
without an Action Plan.  The document is available publicly 
on www.smr.gov.ge/uploads/file/SRM-Strategy-en.p df. 
Qon www.smr.gov.ge/uploads/file/SRM-Strategy-en.p df. 
 
YAKOBASHVILI TRIES TO DEFLECT HARD-LINERS 
 
5. (C) Yakobashvili told the Ambassador that during 
discussions with the government, he was surprised at some of 
the wild suggestions he received from hard-liner colleagues, 
such as that the text should refer to the de facto 
authorities as "puppet regimes."  The addition of a glossary, 
which incorporates some of the suggestions the Ministry 
received from the government, was included as a way to pacify 
these colleagues while avoiding the use of potentially 
controversial language in the text of the strategy itself. 
 
COORDINATION WITH THE ABKHAZ? 
 
6. (C) Yakobashvili speculated that, although Abkhaz de facto 
"minister of foreign affairs" Sergey Shamba may feel 
constrained in his public comments about the strategy at 
first -- especially right now when he is seeking the de facto 
"prime minister" position -- Shamba can nevertheless accept 
much of the strategy in the long term.  Yakobashvili 
indicated that he has been in close contact with the Abkhaz 
 
TBILISI 00000125  002 OF 002 
 
 
de facto authorities, primarily Shamba, during the 
preparation of the strategy, who have reacted positively in 
particular to some of the concrete proposals in the strategy. 
 
THOUGHTS ON IMPLEMENTAT
ION 
 
7. (C) According to Yakobashvili, a major challenge now will 
be organizing implementing mechanisms.  The Ministry will 
form working groups to address different elements of the Plan 
and Ministry officials plan to travel extensively during the 
next several months to gather suggestions from around the 
world.  Yakobashvili is currently leaning toward UNDP as an 
umbrella organization for implementation; while they would 
not necessarily implement projects, they could provide 
transportation and other logistical suggestions.  The Abkhaz 
de facto authorities proposed a "Commission for Humanitarian 
Programs" under the Geneva process to oversee activities. 
While the Georgians do not necessarily object to such a 
formulation, they do not like the idea of putting this under 
Geneva, which would inject the Russians into the process. 
BASS

Wikileaks

10TBILISI103, GEORGIA: NEW DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS IN PEREVI AND

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI103 2010-01-27 14:50 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9399
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0103/01 0271450
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 271450Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2762
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0351
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4983
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000103 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2020 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PBTS MOPS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: NEW DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS IN PEREVI AND 
AKHALGORI 
 
REF: A. 09 TBILISI 2131 
     B. 09 TBILISI 2276 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
 and (d). 
 
1. (C)  Summary and comment.  The EUMM reported new Russian 
requirements that local residents of Akhalgori (an ethnic 
Georgian city on the South Ossetian side of the 
administrative boundary line) and Perevi (in undisputed 
Georgia, but occupied by Russian forces) must have documents 
in Russian or English to enter their villages.  Detentions 
continue in January, but the numbers are down significantly 
from December; two controversial cases involving a Russian 
asylum seeker and a South Ossetian security guard remain 
unresolved.  The EUMM opened a forward operating base in 
Pasanauri, which will enable better monitoring of areas east 
and northeast of South Ossetia and outside the Larsi border 
crossing with Russia.  The new document requirements, while 
possibly introduced for operational reasons (Russian 
officials probably can not read Georgian), could be a 
political step to reinforce the reality of the administrative 
boundary -- especially if the Russians insist on passports. 
They also impose an additional burden on local residents. 
The decrease in detention numbers is welcome and has extended 
beyond the expected holiday hiatus.  End summary and comment. 
 
RUSSIANS IMPLEMENT NEW DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS 
 
2. (C) EUMM staff have reported new document requirements 
imposed by Russian Border Guards on local residents to access 
their homes in Akhalgori and Perevi.  The two regimes are 
slightly different, although the EUMM has only been able to 
confirm the regime for Akhalgori.  There, the Russians told 
the EUMM that as of January 15, if local residents only 
possess an identification card in Georgian (as many do), they 
must also have a notarized translation of the document into 
Russian or English for it to be acceptable.  The Russians 
said their forces would have discretion to be flexible in 
individual cases for one month, but as of February 15, the 
requirement would be strictly enforced.  EUMM Head of Mission 
Haber speculated that the new requirement did not reflect any 
political agenda on the Russians' part, but rather the 
operational difficulty facing border guards who cannot read 
Georgian. 
 
3. (C) In Perevi, the EUMM has reported that the Russian 
Border Guards are also seeking additional documentation from 
local residents; one step the Russians have apparently taken 
is compiling a list of individuals with ties to Perevi for 
use in making decisions on access.  It is seeking to confirm 
rumors that the Russians will require locals to show 
passports (as opposed to internal identification documents). 
In response, the Georgian government has apparently begun 
issuing passports to local residents.  EUMM staff speculated 
that the passport requirement in Perevi, if true, may reflect 
the same basic operational difficulty of individual border 
guards being unable to read Georgian documents.  Other 
diplomats at a January 14 EUMM briefing wondered whether the 
specific requirement that a passport be presented might have 
a political objective -- i.e., to make the point that 
Georgians are crossing an "international border."  (Note: 
Although they have not done so publicly, Russian officials 
have in private conceded that Perevi is not inside South 
Ossetia, so imposing a passport requirement in Perevi would 
QOssetia, so imposing a passport requirement in Perevi would 
seem an odd place to make such a political statement. 
Akhalgori would seem the more likely candidate, but the 
Russians have not imposed such a requirement there.  End 
note.) 
 
4. (C) EUMM staff also noted that the Russians continue to 
refuse access to Perevi to staff from the World Food Program 
and UNHCR bringing humanitarian assistance; they must leave 
the deliveries outside the village, and the locals must come 
out of the village (mostly on foot) to recover the supplies. 
In addition, the EUMM reported that the Russians blocked a 
side path into Perevi (which local residents had until 
ecently been using to bypass the Russian checkpoint) with 
barbed wire, thereby forcing residents to cross the 
checkpoint.  An Estonian diplomat at the January 14 briefing 
asked whether the EUMM planned to take any further steps to 
encourage the Russians to leave Perevi.  Ambassador Haber 
noted that the EUMM issued a public statement on December 11, 
the anniversary of the Russians' one-day departure from 
Perevi, calling on the Russians to honor their cease-fire 
commitments and withdraw from Perevi.  He added that he would 
welcome additional engagement by EU member states with Russia 
on the issue. 
 
TBILISI 00000103  002 OF 003 
 
 
 
DETENTIONS DOWN, BUT STILL HAPPENING 
 
5. (C) The EUMM noted that, so far in January, the number of 
detentions has been way down compared to December, when 67 
individuals were reportedly detained -- although the EUMM 
cautioned that this number was based on compilations of press 
reports and unconfirmed.  Russian Border Guards have made 
some temporary detentions, including on December 18 and 
January 2, releasing the individuals within a few hours.  On 
January 3, six persons were detained inside Abkhazia; three 
minors were released that evening, and three adults were 
released the next day.  On December 23, Georgian law 
enforcement officials detained an ethnically Georgian 
resident of Akhalgori for allegedly possessing counterfeit 
U.S. currency.  On January 4, Georgian officials detained a 
Russian citizen who crossed into undisputed Georgia from 
Abkhazia; he was reportedly mentally challenged, and the 
Georgians returned him to Abkhazia in a process facilitated 
by the ICRC.  The EUMM has been unable to confirm whether the 
individual was a resident of Abkhazia who happened to carry a 
Russian passport or a resident of Russia who happened to be 
present in Abkhazia. 
 
6. (C) The EUMM also offered updates on two politically 
charged cases of boundary crossings.  On January 4, South 
Ossetian resident Gennadiy Pliyev was detained by Georgian 
law enforcement officials for allegedly carrying machine guns 
and grenades.  The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs 
(MoIA) announced he was detained in the town of Nikozi, just 
outside the South Ossetian administrative boundary; South 
Ossetian de facto officials announced Georgian officials 
crossed the administrative boundary line to detain Pliyev 
forcefully in the Shanghai neighborhood of Tskhinvali.  The 
MoIA described Pliyev as a member of South Ossetian de facto 
"president" Kokoity's security team; announcements on the de 
facto authorities' websites identified him variously as an 
official with the de facto "state" protection service and a 
military serviceman. 
 
7. (C) South Ossetian de facto officials used the hotline to 
request EUMM in the case and (unusually) permitted EUMM staff 
to cross into South Ossetia to visit the site of Pliyev's 
alleged detention.  After discussing the case with Georgian 
and de facto South Ossetian officials, the EUMM issued a 
press release on January 6 indicating their inability to 
determine the facts of the case, but calling for a special 
meeting of the South Ossetia Incident Prevention and Response 
Mechanism (IPRM) on January 11 to discuss it.  The de facto 
authorities refused to participate because of long-standing 
concerns (see ref A).  The EUMM interviewed Pliyev himself on 
January 6 and 8; he said he had drunkenly crossed out of 
South Ossetia to visit a friend and was detained on 
undisputed Georgian territory.  He also told the EUMM he 
received a "mild beating" at the time of his detention, but 
since his arrival in a Tbilisi detention center has been 
treated well; he did complain that he had been asked to sign 
a statement in Georgian, which he could not read.  On January 
25, the EUMM released a second press release in which it 
announced "serious reservations" about the case.  Based on 
its investigation, the EUMM has "serious doubts" about both 
the South Ossetian allegation that Pliyev was abducted and 
the Georgian allegation that Pliyev was carrying a weapon at 
Qthe Georgian allegation that Pliyev was carrying a weapon at 
the time of his detention. 
 
8. (C) On December 21, Russian Border Guard contract employee 
Vitaliy Khripun left his post near Perevi (just outside the 
western boundary of South Ossetia) and requested political 
asylum; he remains in Georgia while the UNHCR considers his 
case (see ref B).  The EUMM met with him on December 22. 
Russian officials activated the IPRM hotline in connection 
with the case, and the EUMM monitored a meeting between him 
and Russian officials on December 23.  In the EUMM's 
judgment, Khripun will not drop his asylum claim.  On January 
21, the EUMM reported to diplomatic colleagues that Russia 
was increasing the number of Border Guards on duty at any one 
time in Perevi, apparently in an effort to prevent further 
desertions. 
 
NEW EUMM FORWARD OPERATING POST IN PASANAURI 
 
9. (SBU) The EUMM also announced that it has opened a new 
forward operating post in Pasanauri, along the Russian 
Military Highway north of Dusheti and east of South Ossetia, 
which would normally be staffed by one patrol (about four 
individuals).  The new post, subordinate to the EUMM's 
Mtskheta Field Office, will allow better monitoring of areas 
east and northeast of South Ossetia and around the Larsi 
 
TBILISI 00000103  003 OF 003 
 
 
border checkpoint with Russia, if the Georgians and Russian 
agree to reopen the border crossing. 
BASS

Wikileaks

10TBILISI72, GEORGIA: TRYING TO WORK WITH TURKEY ON SHIP ISSUES

WikiLeaks Link

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI72 2010-01-15 15:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9619
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0072/01 0151520
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151520Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2729
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0349
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 2315
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4979
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000072 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/14/2020 
TAGS: PREL PBTS PHSA EWWT MOPS RS TK GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: TRYING TO WORK WITH TURKEY ON SHIP ISSUES 
 
REF: A. EMBASSY TBILISI - EMBASSY ANKARA EMAILS 
     B. TBILISI 1665 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for Reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d) 
 
1. (C) Summary and comment.  Georgia is willing to negotiate 
with Turkey to find a way forward on Turkish commercial 
vessel travel to Sukhumi, but is looking for cooperation from 
the Government of Turkey to resolve technical issues. The 
only Georgian redline is that all vessels stop at a port in 
undisputed Georgian territory before traveling on to 
Abkhazia.  The question of ship transit to Abkhazia is only 
one of many issues brewing in the Black Sea. Another issue 
that will undoubtedly spark controversy, especially when/if 
drilling occurs or discoveries are made, is the recent 
agreement between the Russian and Abkhaz authorities and 
their respective commercial interests to research and explore 
for oil and gas off the Abkhaz coast.  The Georgians appear 
sincere in their desire to work with the Turks on vessel 
travel to Sukhumi, but are frustrated with what they see as 
the Turks' lack of engagement on practical issues that still 
must be resolved.  The GoG acknowledges our strong advice to 
find a practical solution, with all Georgian government 
agencies aware of U.S. concerns to avoid provocations. 
However, in return for their restraint, the Georgians seek 
corresponding pressure on Russia to discontinue their 
provocative economic activities in Abkhazia.  End summary and 
comment. 
 
MAKE IT WORK 
 
2. (C) In a December 13 meeting, we emphasized to the MFA's 
Director for European Affairs Shota Gvineria and Director of 
Americas Division Otar Berdzenishvili the need for Georgia to 
find a practical resolution with Turkey to commercial vessel 
travel to Sukhumi.  After consulting with colleagues in 
Embassy Ankara (ref A), we relayed that the Government of 
Turkey supports Georgia's territorial integrity and is 
willing to agree to the stipulation that ships call first at 
Poti or Batumi, but is looking for flexibility in the type of 
shipments allowed - specifically, assurance that cargoes 
other than humanitarian will be allowed.  Poloffs also 
conveyed the message that clearing the board of past 
transgressions with some form of amnesty could be very 
helpful to negotiations and urged the GOG to consider 
carefully the negative ramifications of auctioning seized 
Turkish ships back to their owners. 
 
A BIT OF THE BLAME GAME 
 
3. (C) Gvineria said that the Government of Georgia has 
already made the political decision to reach a resolution 
with Turkey on this issue and is determined to find a 
mutually acceptable way forward.  He said that Georgia's only 
redline is that all vessels stop in Poti or Batumi before 
proceeding to Sukhumi, and that all other issues are 
negotiable as long as Georgian law is not violated.  He said 
that currently the government is working to establish the 
technical mechanisms without violating Georgian legislation. 
According to Gvineria, the Georgians have attempted to bring 
Turkish experts to the table for over three months to work on 
these technical issues without success.  He charged the Turks 
with trying to raise the level of negotiations by keeping the 
discussions at a political level (thereby delaying progress 
on technical issues), citing the anticipated February visit 
Qof Turkish MFA Deputy Undersecretary Unal Cevikoz as an 
example.  Gvineria stressed that the only obstacle to a 
solution is the lack of engagement from the Turks on the 
technical mechanisms. 
 
BLACK SEA OIL EXPLORATIONS 
 
4. (C) Russia continues to pursue a myriad of economic 
activities in Abkhazia.  An agreement signed on December 24, 
2009 between Russian company Rosneft, Abkhaz company 
Abkhaztop, Abkhazian de facto ministry of economy and the 
company RN-Abkhazia gave Rosneft the right to begin research 
and exploration activities to looks for oil and gas on the 
Black Sea continental shelf at Gudauta.  The Georgian MFA 
strongly protested this agreement, citing violation of 
international laws, as well as the Law on Occupied 
Territories, which imposes restrictions on entrepreneurial 
activity in the disputed territories.  The agreement is also 
in violation of Georgia's Law on Oil and Gas, which states 
that oil and gas resources in the territory of Georgia are 
considered state property and only the state has exclusive 
 
TBILISI 00000072  002 OF 002 
 
 
right to exploit these resources. 
 
COMMENT: PRESSURE ON GEORGIA NOT ENOUGH 
 
5. (C) Georgia has shown itself responsive to international 
concerns over ship seizures in the Black Sea by ceasing
 those 
seizures and entering discussions with Turkey.  While it 
acknowledges the problematic legal basis of and dangerous 
potential for escalation from seizures, Georgia also insists 
that its right to govern economic activity throughout its 
territory -- including Abkhazia -- be respected.  In order to 
muster enough political will to achieve a workable system 
that satisfies Turkey and enables shipping to Abkhazia -- 
such as one that includes an amnesty for previous incidents 
-- Georgia will likely need reassurance that the 
international community also recognizes its concerns about 
encroachments on its economic sovereignty. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

10TBILISI71, GEORGIA: VERDICT ANNOUNCED IN MUKHROVANI ATTEMPTED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI71 2010-01-15 15:18 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9617
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0071/01 0151518
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151518Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2727
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 02 TBILISI 000071 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2020 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: VERDICT ANNOUNCED IN MUKHROVANI ATTEMPTED 
MUTINY TRIAL 
 
REF: A. 09 TBILISI 857 
     B. 09 TBILISI 866 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d) 
 
1.  (C)  Summary and comment.  Verdicts in the trials of 20 
people accused of participating in the attempted mutiny at 
Mukhrovani military base in May 2009 were announced on 
January 11.  One defendant, retired General Koba Kobaladze, 
was cleared of coup charges but found guilty of possession of 
illegal firearms and grenades; he was sentenced to time 
served and released.  The government considered Kobaladze one 
of the ringleaders of the mutiny, but the prosecution's 
evidence against him was reportedly limited.  The other 
nineteen defendants were found guilty of various charges, 
including three found guilty of mutiny and sentenced to 29, 
28, and 19-year prison sentences.  The judge has not yet 
released a comprehensive justification of the verdict, but 
after he does, those convicted are expected to appeal the 
decision.  The fact that the trial was closed makes it 
difficult for local observers and the Embassy to analyze the 
proceedings and the result.  At the same time, the fact that 
one of the alleged ringleaders was largely exonerated and 
that the sentences given to other defendants differed widely 
suggests the trial did reflect some respect for due process. 
More information may become available as the appeals process 
moves forward.  End summary and comment. 
 
BACKGROUND 
 
2.  (C)  On May 5, 2009 a mutiny attempt took place at the 
Mukhrovani military base, near the Vaziani Airbase and 
approximately 10 miles outside of Tbilisi.  The Georgian 
government alleged at the time that the organizers of the 
mutiny had ties to Russia and that Russia was involved, 
including by funding the organizers of the mutiny (Ref A). 
Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze at the time also described 
the attempt as "designed to disrupt the NATO Partnership for 
Peace exercise" (Ref B) which was underway.  At a briefing 
for the diplomatic corps onthe same day Vashadze offered his 
assurances that the investigation would be conducted in a 
transparent fashion.  Although the events that actually took 
place on May 5 of last year remain unclear, there is 
plausible evidence that some kind of conspiracy was in the 
works. 
 
THE VERDICTS 
3.  (U)  Not all defendants were listed by name in the 
verdict. Those who were are listed by name and the others by 
the description provided.  The verdicts on the twenty 
defendants were as follows. 
A.  Retired General Koba Kobaladze was cleared of coup 
charges but found guilty of keeping illegal firearms and 
grenades. He was sentenced to eight months in prison; as he 
has already been in detention since May fifth and was 
therefore given credit for time served and released.  The 
prosecution had sought a 13-and-a-half-year sentence for the 
combination of both charges. 
 
B.  Koba Otanadze, a retired army Colonel and named by the 
prosecution as one of the key organizers of the mutiny, was 
found guilty of all charges including mutiny to overthrow the 
government, organizing an attempted coup, illegal possession 
of arms and disobedience.  He was sentenced to 29 years in 
prison. 
C.  Levan Amiridze, who at the time was a Commander of a 
rangers' battalion, was found guilty of mutiny to overthrow 
the government and disobedience and sentenced to a 28-year 
prison term. 
D.  Shota (Mamuka) Gorgiashvili, who was at the time a 
commander of the tank battalion in Mukhrovani, was found 
Qcommander of the tank battalion in Mukhrovani, was found 
guilty of mutiny to overthrow the government and disobedience 
and sentenced to a 19-year prison term. 
E.  Kakha Kobaidze, a former Commander of the Kutaisi-based 
3rd brigade, was found guilty of not reporting the crime and 
sentenced to a three-year prison term and a GEL 10,000 (5,882 
USD) fine. 
F.  Davit Sulkhanishvili, a former Commander of the 
Gori-based first brigade, was found guilty of not reporting 
the crime and sentenced to a three year conditional prison 
term and GEL 20,000 (11,764 USD) fine.  Unlike Kobaidze, who 
pleaded not guilty, Sulkhanishvili pleaded guilty. 
G.  Zurab Chalatashvili, a former helicopter pilot who served 
at the Alekseevka air base, was found guilty of not reporting 
the crime and sentenced to three years in prison. 
H.  Zurab Bzishvili, a former tank crew member from the 
Mukhrovani base, was found guilty of disobedience and illegal 
relocation of an armored vehicle and sentenced to nine years 
in prison. 
 
TBILISI 00000071  002 OF 002 
 
 
I.  The judge ruled that seven unnamed civilians who were 
charged with mutiny to overthrow the government sho
uld 
instead be qualified as providing assistance to disobedience. 
 They were sentenced to prison terms varying from 10 to 15 
years and also found guilty of charges related with illegal 
possession of firearms. 
J.  Five other unnamed civilians were found guilty of 
disobedience and illegal possession of firearms and sentenced 
to prison terms varying from nine to ten years. 
4.  (U)  In a plea bargain deal with the prosecution also 
announced on January 11, Zaza Sandodze, a relative of Koba 
Otnadze, also was sentenced to two years in prison for 
charges including illegal possession of arms, not reporting 
the crime and resisting police orders. 
GYLA WEIGHS IN 
5.  (C)  Representatives of the Georgian Young Lawyer's 
Association (GYLA) offered a limited assessment of the 
process because the trial was closed.  GYLA noted to us that 
none of the defendants asked for their help or accepted it 
when offered to them, so GYLA could not get directly 
involved.  They did agree with press commentary that 
Kobaladze's case was the weakest point of the prosecution, as 
it was based on the testimony of only one person, a man named 
Gia Gvaladze, who was convicted of two years in prison for 
attempted mutiny charges in a plea bargain in early October 
2009. 
6. (C) More information may become available as the appeals 
process moves forward.  Defense lawyers for Otanadze, 
Amiridze and Gorgiashvili said they would appeal the coup 
charges in a higher court, and would in part base their case 
on the judge having turned down Gvaladze's testimony in the 
Kobaladze case.  If the defense lawyers or the Ombudsman's 
office choose to do so they have the right to request all 
documents from the trial from the judiciary. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

10TBILISI70, GEORGIA: CONSIDERING ENERGY COOPERATION WITH

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. #10TBILISI70.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10TBILISI70 2010-01-15 15:17 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #0070/01 0151517
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 151517Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2725
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000070 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2020 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON ENRG IR GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA:  CONSIDERING ENERGY COOPERATION WITH 
IRAN, FM HEADS TO TEHRAN 
 
REF: A. A) 09 TBILISI 1211 
     B. B) 09 SECSTATE 70201 
     C. C) 09 TBILISI 1738 
     D. D) 09 SECSTATE 132579 
     E. E) TBILISI 0032 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1.  (U) This is an action request.  Please see paragraph 5. 
 
2.  (C) Summary:  Foreign Minister Vashadze told the Charge 
that during an upcoming trip to Iran he intends to discuss 
Iran's non-recognition of the separatist territories and 
economic ties.  He has promised a full readout upon his 
return.  In order to maintain a neighborly relationship with 
Iran, he feels he must visit, especially as he has already 
turned down two invitations and the Iranian FM has visited 
Georgia twice since the Russian invasion in 2008.  On energy, 
Vashadze responded to our demarche (reftels) that the Iranian 
Export Development Bank is not financing hydropower 
development.  In separate discussions, Minister of Energy 
Khetaguri asked for U.S. opinions on exporting electricity to 
Afghanistan and Iraq through Iran.  END SUMMARY. 
 
FM TO TEHRAN, FEARS IRANIAN RECOGNITION OF TERRITORIES 
 
2.  (SBU) In advance of his January 18-19 visit to Iran, 
Foreign Minister Vashadze told the Charge that he was under 
great pressure to visit Tehran.  The FM said that the Iranian 
Foreign Minister had twice visited Georgia and that he had 
already put off two past invitations.  He stressed that he 
wanted complete transparency with the United States on this 
visit, and offered an in-depth readout upon his return.  His 
discussions with Tehran will focus on non-recognition for the 
separatist territories and economic ties.  He added that 
Georgia is still facing  repercussions of the Ardebili 
extradition to the United States in its relations with Iran 
-- the relationship has been strained since Georgia 
cooperated with the United States to extradite the convicted 
Iranian arms dealer.  Simultaneously, he believes that the 
Russian-Iranian relationship has weakened significantly, due 
to Russian missteps, presenting an opportunity for the 
Georgians. 
 
IRANIAN HYDROPOWER DEVELOPMENT IN GEORGIA 
 
3.  (SBU) In a follow up to our demarche (reftels) on Iranian 
investment in the Georgian energy sector, Vashadze said the 
Tehran Times incorrectly reported that the Iranian Export and 
Development Bank was involved in financing hydropower 
development in Georgia.  He said the deal is between a 
private Georgian company (with significant Iranian ties) and 
an Iranian commercial bank.  The Charge thanked Vashadze for 
this information, but stressed that, regardless, the USG is 
not enthusiastic about energy deals involving Iranian 
entities. 
 
POSSIBILITY OF ELECTRICITY EXPORT TO AFGHANISTAN/IRAQ? 
 
4.  (C) On January 12, on the edges of a preparatory meeting 
for an energy conference, Minister of Energy Khetaguri 
mentioned to econoff an interest in exploring the possibility 
of exporting excess electrical power to Afghanistan and Iraq 
through Iran.  He said that while this would require a 
transit payment to Iran, it would help get power to energy 
starved markets further afield.  During the visit of Special 
Envoy for Eurasian Energy Morningstar (septel), Khetaguri 
discussed this idea further, noting that Georgian power could 
be purchased in Afghanistan and Iraq instead of the Iranian 
power that is currently being supplied to these markets. 
Khetaguri said that he welcomed U.S. thoughts on this idea, 
and added that high voltage lines connecting Georgia, 
Qand added that high voltage lines connecting Georgia, 
Azerbaijan and Iran already existed that would allow for such 
export.  He stressed that none of the electricity would 
benefit Iran.  Morningstar cautioned Washington has strong 
feelings about activity in Iran, and that there could be 
political ramifications to such a project.  Khetaguri 
stressed that Georgia would not do anything without U.S. 
agreement and that he would welcome an official position on 
the idea. 
 
5.  (C) ACTION REQUEST:  Embassy Tbilisi requests Department 
guidance in responding to the Minister of Energy's request 
for an official U.S. position on the idea of exporting 
Georgian electricity to markets in Afghanistan and Iraq 
through Iran. 
 
COMMENT ) BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE 
 
6.  (C) After a period of strained relations with the 
Iranians, due in large part to Georgian assistance to the 
U.S. on law enforcement matters, the Georgians now see the 
possibility of limited engagement.  Georgia's fear of Iranian 
recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are driving these 
discussions, as are recent Iranian statements on building 
economic ties with and investing in Abkhazia.  In addition, 
electr
icity is rapidly becoming Georgia's biggest export, and 
the government is searching out new markets to diversity away 
from its current exports to only Russia and Turkey.  Knowing 
this, at least in the case of hydropower, the Iranians 
approached the Georgians.  The FM's pledge to give us a 
readout of his trip and the Energy Minister's clear desire to 
have U.S. input into ideas for energy engagement in Iran, 
indicate that Georgia wants to stay on the right side of this 
issue.  However, as the Iranians push harder, recognizing 
Georgia's extreme concern about territorial integrity, the 
government will likely find itself in a more and more 
difficult position to balance between competing interests. 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks