Category Archives: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN

09TBILISI2291, GEORGIA: DASD WALLANDER LEADS BILATERAL DEFENSE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI2291 2009-12-29 12:42 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7085
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2291/01 3631242
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291242Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2640
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4973
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 002291 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS GG RS
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: DASD WALLANDER LEADS BILATERAL DEFENSE 
CONSULTATIONS 
 
REF: TBILISI 002103 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John R. Bass for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)v 
 
1. (C) Summary and Comment.  On 19-20 November, Deputy 
Assistant Secretary of Defense Celeste A. Wallander 
co-chaired with First Deputy Minister of Defense Nikoloz 
Vashakidze the 2009 U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Defense 
Consultations (BDC) in Tbilisi, Georgia.  The BDC established 
the strategic direction in U.S-Georgia defense/military 
relations for 2010.  The two sides reviewed Georgia's defense 
reform progress since the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, charted 
progress in U.S.-Georgia defense cooperation and examined 
Georgia's NATO integration efforts through the ANP/PARP 
process.  U.S. briefings included a review of U.S. defense 
cooperation activities conducted in FY09 and up-coming FY10 
activities, as well as an overview of the Georgia Deployment 
Program-ISAF (GDP-ISAF).  Results included up-dating the 
strategic end-state for the Georgian Armed Forces, reviewing 
and prioritizing Ministry of Defense/Georgian Armed Forces 
(GAF) assistance requests, reaffirming Georgia's commitment 
to the "brains before brawn" approach, and prioritizing 
defense and security cooperation activities for 2010. 
Although there are visible signs of Georgian frustration 
their inability to procure lethal weaponry from the West and 
U.S., the Georgians clearly understand the need to deepen 
defense reforms.  End Summary. 
 
GENERAL OVERVIEW 
 
2. (C) First Deputy Defense Minister Vashakidze opened the 
BDC, highlighting the link between the U.S.-Georgia Charter 
Commission Security Working Group and Bilateral Defense 
Consultations.  The latter provided an opportunity to 
establish the strategic direction of bilateral defense 
cooperation and implement the tenets of the Charter. 
Vashakidze expressed satisfaction with the strong level of 
defense cooperation since the 2008 BDC in Washington. 
Georgia's new security reality and analysis of lessons 
learned from the August war, however, dictates Georgia's need 
to develop a homeland defense capability in parallel with its 
NATO reforms and coalition contributions.  Vashakidze 
underscored Georgia's goal to boost reforms in 2010, 
referencing Georgia's commitment to the "brains before brawn" 
approach.  He stressed that Georgia will require targeted 
U.S. assistance to achieve its goals of defense modernization 
and reforms along Euro-Atlantic lines. 
 
3. (C)  DASD Wallander opened by reaffirming the U.S. 
commitment to Georgia's territorial integrity, sovereignty 
and independence.  The U.S. will continue to support robust 
areas of defense cooperation that will help Georgia modernize 
and reform its military along Euro-Atlantic lines.  She noted 
recognition that the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces are 
undergoing significant changes in a difficult security 
environment.  The U.S. will continue to refine and harmonize 
its assistance efforts based on Georgia's needs, resource 
availability and regional security concerns.  Georgia has 
been the most progressive reformer in the region, and as a 
result, expectations were high for Georgia to accelerate and 
deepen those reform efforts.  DASD Wallander noted that 
although Georgia has shown commendable restraint in the 
current stand-off with Russia, this restraint must continue 
for as long as it takes to restore Georgia's territorial 
integrity by peaceful means.  The U.S. has made clear to 
Russia that the "reset" will not come at the expense of 
QRussia that the "reset" will not come at the expense of 
Georgia.  DASD Wallander reinforced the U.S. policy of 
supporting Georgia's NATO membership aspirations, noting 
there are multiple paths to NATO membership.  Georgia needed 
to take responsibility and complete necessary reforms to meet 
NATO's performance-based standards. 
 
U.S. Assistance 
 
4. (C)  DASD Wallander expounded on U.S. assistance efforts 
since the 2008 BDC.  The United States had reoriented its 
assistance focus and placed significant resources into 
supporting a "brains before brawn" approach which will lay 
the groundwork for Georgia's defense needs, reform process 
nd NATO aspirations.  The Armed Forces Assessment Team 
report is serving as a positive blueprint for Georgia's 
defense reform and modernization needs.  Much had been 
accomplished over the past year, with the U.S. supporting 
multiple mobile training teams, dozens of military to 
military events, over a dozen DoD senior level visits, 
several ship visits, dozens of conferences supporting 
Georgia's reform process and three major exercises 
(Cooperative Longbow, Cooperative Lancer, Exercise Immediate 
 
TBILISI 00002291  002 OF 004 
 
 
Response).  Along with the multi-million dollar Georgia 
Deployment Program-ISAF program, the U.S. was apportioning a 
significant amount of resources, manpower and time to 
support
ing Georgia's defense reform efforts, modernization 
and coalition contributions.  The establishment of the first 
ever Colonels Working Group and Charter Security Working 
Group provided additional opportunities to review and 
evaluate bilateral defense and security cooperation in 2010. 
All these pointed to a strong foundation of cooperation for 
2010-2011. 
 
5.  (C)  Reflecting Assistant Secretary of Defense Vershbow's 
message in Tbilisi a month prior, DASD Wallander reaffirmed 
the U.S. was prepared for a long term commitment and 
extensive process of engagement with Georgia on defense 
reform and modernization.  Georgia must understand, however, 
that U.S. defense and security assistance is tied to 
Georgia's political and security sector reform progress, as 
well as regional security.  If Georgia makes real progress 
and meets established benchmarks, bilateral defense 
cooperation could deepen; on the other hand, lagging reforms 
will hamper deepened cooperation. 
 
Georgian Progress and Assistance Needs 
 
6.  (C)  Deputy Minister of Defense Kharshiladze and Deputy 
Chief of Defense Nairashvili recognized the strength of U.S. 
engagement, which had resulted in concrete progress and 
institutional change in the MoD that will bring lasting 
success to the GAF.  The successful completion of Georgia's 
ANP, which NATO had highlighted, was a significant step 
forward.  Kharshiladze reviewed Georgia's reform successes, 
noting the focus was on updating strategic and doctrinal 
products.  The Georgian NSC is finalizing the Strategic 
Defense Review process, which should be completed in 2010. 
DCHOD Nairashvili reviewed Georgia's extensive assistance 
needs, which broke down into the following pools: 
professional military education, lessons learned, defense 
planning and capabilities development, doctrine development, 
training areas and simulations, command, control and 
communications development and intelligence. 
 
7.  (C)  The Georgian side agreed to provide a prioritized 
list of assistance requests after the BDC.  Minister 
Vashakidze requested increased U.S. support for the National 
Defense Academy (NDA) and training centers, noting Georgia is 
dedicating $1.5 million in national funds to develop the 
Joint Command and General Staff College by fall 2010. 
Georgian funds will be used for additional support from the 
U.S. Defense Advisory Team in developing the NDA program. 
Several times during the BDC, various Georgian interlocutors 
noted that the current U.S. focus on guidance, was not 
meeting dire assistance needs.  Georgia required more 
on-the-ground long-term assistance.  In order to better 
address lessons learned from 2008, Minister Kharshiladze 
requested specific U.S. assistance on creating a lessons 
learned system for the GAF.  Minister Vashakidze also 
reaffirmed the oft-repeated request for additional support on 
updating Georgia's General Defense Plan. 
 
8.  (C)  Land Forces Commander Janjgava referred to Georgia's 
inability to procure defensive capabilities since the August 
2008 conflict.  Expounding on a common refrain heard at the 
BDC, Janjgava stressed that the embargo imposed by Russia and 
the "silent embargo" imposed by NATO countries and Georgia's 
western partners had severely degraded Georgia's self-defense 
Qwestern partners had severely degraded Georgia's self-defense 
capabilities.  There was concern that Georgia could not 
maintain capabilities that it had developed prior to the 
August conflict.  Although Georgia's leadership understood 
the U.S. was not prepared to provide capabilities, the 
signals being sent to Russia that Georgia was effectively 
being disarmed, were dangerous.  Georgia also would have a 
difficult time preparing budget and force restructuring 
decisions without an understanding of what capabilities could 
be provided. 
 
Afghanistan 
 
9.  (C)  DASD Wallander expressed U.S. and NATO appreciation 
for Georgia's significant ISAF contributions.  Georgia's 31st 
battalion was doing an excellent job in training and the 
Marines were praising Georgia's performance.  DASD Wallander 
noted the U.S. has a detailed six month training program for 
Georgia's 31st battalion and plans to train and equip three 
successive Georgian battalions for follow-on deployments in a 
two year period.  The U.S. will stay deeply engaged in 
supporting these efforts.  DASD Wallander stressed that ISAF 
efforts in Afghanistan are a vital contribution to supporting 
 
TBILISI 00002291  003 OF 004 
 
 
international security and the U.S. appreciated Georgia's 
strong efforts to support this mission.  As the President 
would soon decide on how to move forward in Afghanistan, the 
U.S. appreciated that Georgia was ready to increase its 
support alongside the U.S., Allies and partner nations.  The 
U.S. also appreciated the assistance of the Government of 
Georgia on transit of goods for Afghanistan.  Cargo volumes 
on the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) were steadily 
increasing, as all involved gain experience with the process 
and the routes.  The U.S. expected that Georgia is about to 
see a significant increase in NDN container traffic. 
 
10. (C)  Colonel Cottrell, Commander of U.S. Marines Training 
and Advisory Group, provided a brief on the progress of 
Georgia's Afghanistan deployment.  He stressed that the 
Georgian contribution was vital to the effort in Afghanistan, 
noting that when Georgia is deployed and operating in 
full-spectrum operations in Afghanistan, they will represent 
approximately 20 percent of the combat power in Helmand 
province.  In two months, U.S. Marines had seen significant 
progress in the 31st battalion, all at surprising rate. 
Colonel Cottrell noted that when compared to other partners 
he had trained around the world, Georgia's soldiers had 
positive attitudes and were proving to be the best partner he 
had worked with thus far.  Georgia would need to be prepared 
for the U.S. sponsored Mission Rehearsal Exercise in Germany, 
January-February 2010, which will replicate conditions in 
Afghanistan and help validate Georgia's forces for their 
upcoming mission. 
 
Results 
 
11.  (C)  The following outlines the BDC results: 
 
--DoD expressed support for Georgia's NATO aspirations and 
will continue to use the NATO-Georgia Commission to 
facilitate Allies' support and assistance. 
 
--DoD welcomes Georgia's significant ISAF contributions and 
will continue to support the training and equipping of 
Georgia's battalions for ISAF. 
 
--DoD and Georgia will endeavor in 2010 to conduct follow on 
working group-level consultations - in addition to Bilateral 
Defense Consultations - at the Charter Commission Security 
Working Group, Colonels Working Group and Bilateral Country 
Planning Conference. 
 
--Both sides acknowledged that deepening defense cooperation 
rests on Georgia's ability to continue its reform process and 
meet critical milestones that sup
port defense reform, 
modernization and professionalization along Euro-Atlantic 
lines. 
 
--U.S. and Georgia will continue to work together to 
implement defense and security cooperation activities that 
meet the established agreed upon end state for the Georgian 
Armed Forces: GAF that are trained, equipped and structured 
for territorial defense, while supporting Georgia's defense 
transformation priorities, NATO aspirations, and coalition 
contributions. 
 
--Both sides will explore options for expanding Georgia's 
training capacity. 
 
--U.S. and Georgia will focus on professional military 
education and training as top priorities for the GAF, two of 
which are reforming and modernizing the National Defense 
Academy and providing the GAF/MoD educational opportunities. 
 
--Georgia will continue to develop a defense reform process 
implementation plan and lessons learned program, with DoD 
assistance. 
 
--DoD will assist Georgia in developing necessary strategic 
and doctrinal products that facilitate transformation and 
Qand doctrinal products that facilitate transformation and 
modernization of the GAF along Euro-Atlantic lines. 
 
--DoD will continue to closely review Georgia's list of 
immediate needs and longer range transformation goals. 
--Based upon Georgian force structure decisions resulting 
from the SDR process, DoD will assist Georgia in identifying 
its capability gaps. 
 
--EUCOM informed the Georgian delegation of the concept 
approved by CDR USEUCOM to move Exercise IMMEDIATE RESPONSE 
to the Balkans and solicited Georgia's views on hosting 
Exercise SHARED HORIZON (SH) 11, a multi-year, interagency, 
 
TBILISI 00002291  004 OF 004 
 
 
consequence management exercise with a building block 
approach. 
 
--U.S. and Georgia updated the previously agreed upon 
strategic end-state for the Georgian Armed Forces, to include 
coalition contribution efforts:  Georgian Armed Forces that 
are trained, equipped, and structured for territorial 
defense, while supporting Georgia's defense transformation 
priorities, NATO aspirations, and coalition contribution 
efforts. 
 
--Georgia will identify the battalion for follow-on rotation 
by December 2009. 
 
--Recognized that assistance in defense planning and ISAF 
contributions are enduring priorities, and identified 
additional specific areas of assistance requests to include 
professional military education, lessons learned, doctrine 
development, training areas and simulations training 
capability development, command, control & communications, 
and intelligence. 
 
--Georgian delegation pledged to more effectively prioritize 
their requests for assistance. Both sides agreed to work 
together to identify priority activities for FY10 and 
intermediate objectives for FY11 in preparation for the 
U.S.-Georgia Colonel's Working Group in February 2011. 
 
--EUCOM and USAREUR exercise planners will follow up with 
additional consultations with Embassy Tbilisi on the proposed 
concept for Exercise SHARED HORIZON. 
 
COMMENT 
 
12.  (C)  The 2009 Bilateral Defense Consultations concluded 
successfully, setting the strategic direction of defense 
relations for the following year.  While the Georgians 
continue to request military hardware for territorial defense 
(mainly anti-tank, air defense and command and control 
systems), they haveembraced the U.S. sponsored "brains over 
brawn" approach to their defense transformation, and 
appreciate the U.S. efforts supporting reforms and 
modernization of the GAF.  Although there are visible signs 
of Georgian frustration over a perceived "silent arms 
embargo," they clearly understand at the highest levels of 
government the need to show progress on defense and political 
reforms.  Despite lingering concerns about Russia's presence 
in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, 
and fears of another invasion, Georgia is looking to the 
future as MoD leadership remains positive about U.S. 
engagement, while staying focused on the task of facilitating 
U.S. efforts to train and equip their forces as they prepare 
for their first deployment to Afghanistan as a fighting unit 
with no caveats. 
 
13. (U) This message was cleared by Deputy Assistant 
Secretary of Defense Wallander. 
BASS

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1991, GEORGIA: PRE-ELECTION VISIT TO ABKHAZIA – NEW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1991 2009-11-09 14:40 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3313
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1991/01 3131440
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091440Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2400
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0319
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4938
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 001991 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PREF MOPS EAID RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: PRE-ELECTION VISIT TO ABKHAZIA - NEW 
INTEREST IN ENGAGEMENT? 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 1745 
     B. TBILISI 1713 
     C. TBILSI 1665 
     D. TBILISI 1881 
 
Classified By: DCM Kent D. Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C)  Summary and comment.  During a meeting in Sukhumi 
with Department and Embassy visitors, mid-level de facto 
officials expressed openness to additional visits from U.S. 
officials, but were non-committal on waiving the requirement 
for a "visa" for more senior visitors.  They also expressed 
seemingly sincere interest in engagement that avoided 
contentious status issues on both sides.  They denied that 
Gali residents face human rights difficulties, but conceded 
that the authorities need to address the issue of their 
documentation and ability to vote.  The de facto officials as 
well as civil society interlocutors said that the campaign 
for Abkhazia's "presidential" elections is not quite 
underway, but that the race will be about personalities 
rather than issues.  The same interlocutors, as if reading 
from the same talking points, all showed very little 
flexibility o the issue of IDP returns, insisting instead on 
an accounting of those who have already returned to Gali and 
of the numbers and intentions of those still outside 
Abkhazia.  They also explicitly linked returns to recognition 
of Abkhazia.  Meanwhile Russian forces continue to take steps 
toward a more permanent presence in Gali, including the 
construction of buildings on an old school site in Nabakevi. 
Although these officials do not occupy authoritative, 
decision-making positions, we believe they do represent a 
real interest in renewed contacts with the United States. 
Their tough position on IDPs, however -- combined with the 
continuing entrenchment of Russian forces -- is an important 
reminder of current Abkhaz redlines.  The similar hard line 
on IDPs taken by civil society representatives, considered by 
some to be among the more thoughtful Abkhaz on the issue, 
indicates the tough road ahead on this issue.  End summary 
and comment. 
 
DE FACTO OFFICIALS -- OPEN, BUT CAUTIOUS 
 
2. (C) Viacheslav Chirikba, foreign policy advisor to the 
Abkhaz de facto "president," and Lana Agrba, head of the 
international relations department of the de facto "ministry 
of foreign affairs" -- both of whom participate in the Geneva 
talks -- met with visiting PRM desk officer and Embassy 
political officer on November 5 in Sukhumi.  The procedure 
for entering Abkhazia, once again arranged by UNHCR, was the 
same as described in ref A.  When asked about the travel 
policy, both Chirikba and Agrba said they were open to 
additional visits, including from Embassy officers on their 
own.  Agrba in fact encouraged us to visit other parts of 
Abkhazia.  The two did not confirm, however, that the de 
facto authorities' publicly stated policy of not allowing 
visits from Tbilisi-accredited diplomats has changed.  When 
asked in particular about the "visa" requirement for more 
senior U.S. visitors, Chirikba seemed to understand the 
sensitivity, but he did not offer a clear answer one way or 
another. 
 
3. (C) Regarding the status question, Chirikba was pleased by 
Secretary Clinton's recent remarks in Moscow about the need 
for "status-neutral" steps in the conflict resolution 
process.  He expressed concern, however, at the hard line 
taken by senior U.S. officials, including the Vice President 
Qtaken by senior U.S. officials, including the Vice President 
and the Secretary, that the United States would never 
recognize Abkhazia's independence.  We suggested that, 
although we clearly disagreed on this issue, the disagreement 
should not become an obstacle to engagement; we should be 
able to set aside the status discussion for now and find 
areas of common interest.  Chirikba agreed. 
 
4. (C) In fact, both Chirikba and Agrba expressed what seemed 
like sincere interest in engagement activities with the 
United States.  Chirikba agreed with us that we should seek 
to identify activities that avoid the status question.  Agrba 
encouraged us to consider working on infrastructure projects, 
noting in particular the sorry state of the roads in Gali. 
Complaining that the international community seems to focus 
primarily on Gali, however, Agrba pointed out that other 
parts of Abkhazia also face difficulties.  We said we would 
be happy to visit such places and consider their needs as we 
consider possible activities, noting that we were especially 
interested in considering the needs of communities receiving 
returns.  Agrba also expressed interest in opportunities for 
advanced studies abroad. 
 
TBILISI 00001991  002 OF 0
03 
 
 
 
ELECTION OUTLOOK 
 
5. (C) Chirikba offered an overview of the "presidential" 
election process.  With the election itself set for December 
12 (refs B, C), the official campaign is just getting 
underway.  Chirikba listed the five candidates that have 
registered: incumbent "president" Sergey Bagapsh; former 
"vice president" and 2004 runner-up Raul Khajimba; 
businessman Beslan Butba; director of the "state steamship 
company" Zaur Ardzinba; and academic Vitaly Bganba. 
Explaining that a candidate had to receive 50 percent of the 
vote plus one vote to win, he said the first three were the 
most serious candidates, and that at this point it was not 
clear who was the front runner  He said that voters were 
likely to make their decision based on the personalities more 
than their positions on issues, explaining that there was not 
much difference among the candidates on the issues anyway. 
In particular on foreign policy, Chirikba said all candidates 
agreed on the importance of establishing Abkhazia's 
"independence," maintaining good relations with Russia, 
improving relations with Georgia, and establishing better 
relationships with other countries, such as Turkey.  He 
thought that, even though some criticism of Russia and of 
Abkhazia's relationship with Russia has surfaced in civil 
society, none of the candidates would openly express such 
views. 
 
6. (C) Chirikba also explained that, unlike in 2004, Gali 
residents now had to have Abkhaz "passports" to vote.  With 
some 3,000 such documents distributed among the Gali 
population of 55,000 (in Chirikba's estimate), it was 
unlikely that Gali would have a big impact on the election. 
Chirikba acknowledged that the new regulation prevented most 
Gali residents from exercising their right to vote, but 
explained that the wide range of identity documents allowed 
in 2004 had led to serious problems with fraud in 2004.  He 
also said, however, that only 6,000 residents had applied for 
the documents, so it was not clear that the Gali residents 
really wanted to participate.  We responded that the 
regulation linking the "passport" to voting had only recently 
changed, so that many residents had not had the chance to 
apply; we also noted that applying for the document required 
applicants to renounce their Georgian citizenship, which 
represented a difficulty for many.  Chirikba admitted that 
applicants in other parts of Abkhazia generally do not face 
delays in receiving the document, but he did not explain why 
the other 3,000 Gali residents who have applied for the 
"passport" have not received it. 
 
7. (C) In separate meetings, civil society representatives 
expressed similar views on the election.  Representatives of 
the Centre for Humanitarian Programmes (CHP) explained that 
they too had concerns about electoral fraud and therefore 
supported the change to accepting only the Abkhaz "passport" 
as an identity document.  They explained further, however, 
that elements of the opposition, as well as elements of 
Abkhaz security structures, had expressed concern in 
principle over the extension to Gali residents of full 
"citizenship" rights, so the government decided not to push 
the issue for now.  The opposition's criticism stemmed in 
part from basic questions about the appropriateness of 
extending "citizenship" to those individuals who loyalty to 
Qextending "citizenship" to those individuals who loyalty to 
Abkhazia was questionable, but in part also from political 
expediency, because Bagapsh was widely perceived to have won 
in 2004 on the strength of Gali votes. 
 
8. (C) The CHP representatives went on to suggest that the 
opposition would in general seize at any criticism they 
thought would stick, rather than articulate a coherent 
alternative platform.  Noting that some opposition groups had 
already criticized the de facto authorities for conceding too 
much authority to Russia in the agreement establishing the 
Russian Border Guard presence, they said that the same 
opposition groups were vigorously supportive of Russia's 
support of Abkhazia in general. 
 
IDP RETURNS -- NO WAY, JOSE 
 
9. (C) All our interlocutors stiffened up at the mention of 
the IDP issue, and especially at the suggestion of additional 
returns to Abkhazia, a natural topic for the visiting PRM 
representative.  They insisted on the need to understand the 
scale of the problem -- in particular, the number of 
potential returnees -- before Abkhazia could even begin to 
think about the issue.  In response to questions about 
international principles and standards -- in particular the 
 
TBILISI 00001991  003 OF 003 
 
 
right to return and the local government's responsibility to 
create conditions conducive to safe, voluntary and dignified 
returns -- all interlocutors pointed to the bitter history of 
the early 1990s and the difficulty in asking current 
residents of most of Abkhazia to accept the return of former 
neighbors, some of whom may have participated in the war. 
They also mentioned concerns about demographics; Chirikba 
offered a brief history lesson on Soviet policies to dilute 
the ethnic Abkhaz presence by transplanting ethnic Georgians 
to Abkhazia.  When we raised the subject with one woman, a 
representative of the Abkhazia Women's Association identified 
by an Embassy contact as a thoughtful person on IDPs, she 
said the issue was a question of time.  She mentioned by way 
of example that she lived in a house abandoned by Georgians, 
that she does not know how she would react if those Georgians 
returned -- and then abruptly cut short the meeting ten 
minutes earlier than originally planned, thereby avoiding an 
extended discussion. 
 
10. (C) Agrba resisted the notion that Abkhazia has not 
allowed IDPs (whom she called "refugees") to return, saying 
that Gali has some 50,000 returnees.  Taking a combative 
tone, she even rejected the term "spontaneous returnees," 
seeming to think that it had some negative connotation 
(Chirikba has a similar reaction).  When told it was a term 
of art that simply described those who return without 
third-party help, she objected, saying that de facto 
authorities offered as much help as they could during the 
1990s, even creating a commission to consider how best to 
help those who return.  Although Agrba mentioned returns to 
such places as Sukhumi, Gagra and Ochamchire, she said that 
the de facto authorities would consider phased returns, and 
that Gali was the first phase.  In response to a direct 
question, Chirikba clarified that, no, IDPs were currently 
not welcome to return to areas outside of Gali.  He explained 
that the Moscow Treaty of 1994 did include a provision for 
the return of displaced persons, but that that process would 
have to be gradual, and that general returns would not be 
possible under current circumstances.  He said that 
nevertheless returnees were welcome in Gali, and the Georgian 
government needed to admit that the individuals currently 
residi
ng there were in fact returnees. 
 
11. (C) Agrba also insisted that Gali residents do not face 
human rights restrictions, except possibly for the right to 
vote.  She denied that they were unable to participate fully 
in civil society without Abkhaz "passports," for example, 
saying that they could buy property, register businesses, 
etc. with existing documents, such as the old Soviet "Form 
No. 9."  She also insisted they faced no restrictions on 
crossing the administrative boundary.  (Note: These claims 
run counter to many accounts by other credible sources.  See 
for example ref D.) 
 
RUSSIANS CONTINUING TO SETTLE 
 
12. (C) During a visit to the village of Nabakevi (just 
inside the administrative boundary line, west of Zugdidi), we 
heard that the local school burned down in 1998 and has not 
been rebuilt.  Since then the village has been usng the 
former preschool as the school for all grades (1-11). 
Although there are fewer children in the village than there 
used to be (from over 200 to about 100), the current school 
Qused to be (from over 200 to about 100), the current school 
building is quite cramped.  On the site of the former school 
and a football stadium, however, Russian Border Guards, who 
currently live in a tent encampment next to the site, have 
begun construction on more permanent structures.  Those sites 
will therefore no longer be available to the village.  (See 
ref D for information on a similar Russian encampment and 
construction site in Tagiloni -- incorrectly identified in 
that cable as Nabakevi.) 
 
13. (C) UNHCR staff mentioned reports they have heard of 
Russian forces planning to take over the abandoned 
accommodations of Georgian IDPs, although they could give no 
specific examples.  They also mentioned that the de facto 
authorities approached UNHCR about taking some old UNOMIG 
containers to use as housing for Turkish contractors, whom 
the Russians intended to bring in to work on construction 
projects.  We expressed the opinion that it would be 
inappropriate for any UN entity to provide direct support to 
Russian efforts to establish itself further in Abkhazia. 
BASS

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09TBILISI1989, GEORGIA: LONDON HOSTS ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1989 2009-11-09 14:33 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSI #1989/01 3131433
ZNY CCCCC ZZH (CCY-ADXD537F5-MSI0718-413)
P 091433Z NOV 09 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2395
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0316
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4935
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001989 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
C O R R E C T E D COPY -- ADDED NOFORN PARA MARKINGS 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID CY EU GM RS UK GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: LONDON HOSTS ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY 
BRAINSTORMING SESSION 
 
REF: TBILISI 1575 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John R. Bass for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C/NF)  Summary and comment.  Participants at the October 14 
meeting hosted by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office 
featured an open and candid exchange of views among Georgian 
officials, Quad and EU counterparts, and outside experts on 
other countries that have faced protracted political 
divisions.  The goal was to generate ideas for the Georgians 
as they develop their own strategy for engagement with their 
occupied territories -- Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  The 
experts' testimony on the experiences of the divided Germany, 
Northern Ireland, and Cyprus caught the Georgians' attention 
with a number of provocative issues.  Key themes that emerged 
were the different levels of the conflict, the importance of 
focusing on people, the need for flexibility and patience, 
the question of how to present the strategy publicly, and the 
importance of strong leadership.  The Georgians will now 
proceed with a number of steps to work on their strategy and 
suggested a follow-up session around December in Tbilisi. 
Their timeline to produce a final version and receive full 
government support by the end of the year, then produce an 
action plan in early 2010, may be overly ambitious, however. 
End summary and comment. 
 
THE IDEA 
 
2. (C/NF) Georgian Minister for Reintegration Temuri 
Yakobashvili has been talking about developing a strategy on 
the occupied territories since August (ref A), and USAID 
recently agreed to provide technical assistance in that 
effort.  After a September 14 eeting between Yakobashvili 
and Quad (U.S., UK, France and Germany) ambassadors, the UK 
offered to host a brainstorming session to kick off the 
strategy development process, an offer that Yakobashvili 
welcomed.  Although the Ministry is interested in drafting 
detailed guidance on both which programs should be chosen and 
how they should be implemented, the goal of the brainstorming 
session was to raise more general issues about the shape and 
goals of the strategy.  The involvement of Quad partners 
reflected the Georgians' understanding that international 
partners will need to play a key role in the strategy; the 
involvement of outside experts reflected their interest in 
learning from the experience of other countries with divided 
communities.  Although Yakobashvili explained that the 
strategy would apply to all of Georgia -- i.e., both Abkhazia 
and South Ossetia -- most participants understood that the 
opportunities for engagement are greater in Abkhazia than in 
South Ossetia, and so most of the discussion focused on 
possibilities in Abkhazia. 
 
3. (SBU/NF) The Georgians indicated they would be working on a 
draft over the next two months, with a goal of finishing by 
the end of the year.  They found the London format useful and 
said they would host a follow-up session in Tbilisi toward 
the end of the drafting process, possibly in December.  Once 
the draft is complete, the government will draft an 
implementing action plan, probably in early 2010. 
Yakobashvili said he hopes to garner the full approval of the 
entire government for the strategy, so that it will endure as 
a guiding set of principles through future changes of 
government. 
 
THE IDEAS 
 
4. (C/NF) Yakobashvili began by describing the strategy as an 
Q4. (C/NF) Yakobashvili began by describing the strategy as an 
effort to focus on the people of the occupied territories, 
explaining that Georgia needs to celebrate and protect its 
ethnic diversity.  Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria noted 
in particular the importance of reaching out to the younger 
generations and students.  At the same time, Yakobashvili saw 
serious threats to Georgia's security and territorial 
integrity, putting the internal conflicts in the context of 
the Georgia-Russia conflict.  The strategy would therefore 
have to balance the need to protect against those threats 
while providing for engagement with the people.  He 
characterized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as "occupied 
territories" and expressly not "secessionist regions."  Later 
in the day, however, Bokeria suggested the international 
 
conflict between Georgia and Russia should not be confused 
with the internal challenges within Georgia, and Yakobashvili 
acknowledged that Georgia cannot control the former, while it 
can have an impact on the latter.  He encouraged all 
participants to think out of the box and get inventive on 
ways to engage, to be practical, and to lean more toward 
enabling rather than restricting engagement -- all the while 
 
remaining
 firm on non-recognition.  Bokeria talked about the 
need to provide incentives to the regions to engage, while 
not crossing Georgian redlines.  Both recognized that the 
international community, including NGOs, would need to play a 
big part in the process. 
 
5. (C/NF) All other participants welcomed Yakobashvili's 
emphasis on people and agreed that there were two levels of 
the conflict.  Sir Brian Fall, UK Special Representative for 
the South Caucasus, warned that focusing on the international 
level too much could have an impact on Georgia's ability to 
engage internally.  He suggested that Georgia should think 
carefully about how it unveiled the strategy publicly, so as 
not to alienate the people of the regions.  At the same time, 
he acknowledged that Russia has an interest in isolating 
Abkhazia, and one of the goals of the strategy -- and the 
international community -- should be to prevent such creeping 
annexation.  EUR's Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflicts 
Office Director Ethan Goldrich noted the importance of 
continuing with democratic reform and economic development in 
parallel with the strategy.  He also suggested that trying to 
address both international and internal levels of the 
conflict within one strategy might be too ambitious.  Several 
participants noted the importance of "strategic patience"; UK 
Ambassador to Georgia Denis Keefe said that patience does not 
have to mean passivity, however, and suggested that Georgia 
was right to choose its battles carefully, looking for the 
right opportunities to reinforce its position, such as the 
IDP resolution recently passed by the UN General Assembly. 
 
6. (C/NF) All non-Georgian participants emphasized the 
importance of remaining flexible, lest an overly dogmatic 
focus on redlines endanger the government's ability to engage 
successfully.  One particular issue that came up several 
times and illustrates the difficulties in achieving that 
balance is travel documents.  Yakobashvili raised the issue, 
suggesting that perhaps some creative solution, such as a 
UN-issued laisser-passer, could be found to enable travel 
while preventing locals from traveling on Russian passports. 
The other participants urged flexibility on this issue, 
suggesting that taking too strict a stance would endanger the 
engagement the strategy seeks to encourage. 
 
THE EXPERTS 
 
7. (SBU/NF) The most provocative and animated portion of the day 
came with the testimony of outside experts on the cases of 
the divided Germany, Northern Ireland, and Cyprus.  The 
Georgians, who had sought opportunities to learn from these 
experiences, were clearly struck by many of th parallels and 
asked several follow-up questions.  Each case raised a number 
of thought-provoking themes.  In the Germany case, West 
Germany decided in 1969 that isolating East Germany had made 
reunification more difficult, and so decided to establish 
some form of relations with its Communist neighbor.  At the 
same time, external powers played a major role in the 
process; thus, West Germany consulted with Moscow before 
taking steps toward normalization, and felt empowered to do 
so because of its membership in NATO.  Throughout the period 
of division, NATO troops in West Germany faced Soviet troops 
in East Germany, but the two militaries remained largely in 
Qin East Germany, but the two militaries remained largely in 
the background.  Although NATO membership was important, West 
Germany's relationship with the broader community of nations 
was at least as important.  Some in West Germany considered 
becoming neutral in order to pursue reunification, but this 
policy was rejected because it would have led to Germany's 
isolation from the community of nations.  Finally, 
reunification itself occurred over forty years after the 
division, and twenty years after the rapprochement between 
West and East Germany, and was enabled by changes within the 
external power, the Soviet Union. 
 
8. (SBU/NF) The Northern Ireland expert said there were three 
main elements that combined to enable peace in the region. 
First, the sides had to believe there was a better option 
than the one they faced in the existing situation.  Second, 
the sides had to clarify exactly who they were and what they 
wanted -- but also had to acknowledge the other side's own 
assessment of the same issues.  Although sides would 
generally not agree with each other's aspirations, they had 
to at least accept that those aspirations existed.  Some 
issues were kept under the table and poisoned the atmosphere 
until they were brought onto the table, at which point they 
were out and could be dealt with openly.  Finally, flexible 
leadership was essential to being ready to take the right 
steps at the right time. 
 
9. (SBU/NF) The key theme from the Cyprus case that emerged was 
the transformative nature of Cyprus's entry into the EU, 
which instantly provided a huge incentive for the residents 
of the north to reunify with the rest of the country. 
Nevertheless, full resolution has still not happened, with 
peace talks getting bogged down on contentious status issues. 
 There was a initial outpouring of optimism when the green 
line was opened, with many residents crossing back and forth 
during the first year, but since then the visits have tailed 
off, as residents of the north and the rest of Cyprus have 
discovered that many years of separation have reduced their 
commonalities.  Property issues and restitution also 
presented an interesting parallel, with some Cypriots having 
successfully pursued cases against Turkey in the European 
Court of Human Rights over lost property in the north.  The 
expert also noted that Cyprus has spent large amounts of 
money on its military, but this has not bought them anything, 
either in the peacemaking process or in security. 
 
COMMENT: A TRICKY TASK 
 
10. (C/NF) The Georgian government has set for itself a 
laudable, but ambitious goal: articulating a strategy to 
re-engage with regions that have lived a separate existence 
for over 15 years, and that have now received recognition of 
their independence by three countries.  The desire to 
re-engage seems sincere, but so do the concerns about ceding 
any more ground on Georgia's territorial integrity.  The 
somewhat self-contradictory positions taken by the Georgians 
during the conference exemplify the inherent difficulty of 
the task.  Our job will be to continue to encourage the 
Georgians to take the long view, to be as flexible as 
possible, and to learn the right lessons from other 
situations. 
 
11. (U) This message was cleared by EUR/CARC Director 
Goldrich and coordinated with Embassy London. 
BASS

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1949, GEORGIA: ASD VERSHBOW LEADS SECURITY WORKING GROUP

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1949 2009-10-29 15:55 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3690
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1949/01 3021555
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291555Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2365
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0312
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4926
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 001949 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/29/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: ASD VERSHBOW LEADS SECURITY WORKING GROUP 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John R. Bass for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary. Under the umbrella of the U.S.-Georgia 
Charter on Strategic Partnership, Assistant Secretary of 
Defense Alexander Vershbow, Ambassador Bass, and an extended 
USG team jump-started the U.S.-Georgia Charter Working 
Groups.  The meeting on October 20 with Georgian Deputy 
Defense Minister Vashakidze, Deputy Foreign Minister Bokeria, 
and other Georgian interagency counterparts was the inaugural 
meeting of the Security Working Group.  ASD Vershbow said the 
U.S. viewed the Charter as a vehicle for strengthening the 
U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership and deepening defense 
cooperation.  Vershbow expressed appreciation for Georgia's 
ISAF contribution; he also noted continued U.S. commitment to 
Georgia's security and defense reform, with an initial focus 
on doctrine, education, training and building the 
intellectual capacity of the Georgian Armed Forces. 
Vashakidze and Bokeria both emphasized the continued Georgian 
commitment to reform, and Bokeria reaffirmed Georgia's 
commitment to strategic patience and a peaceful resolution of 
the conflicts over Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  Bokeria also 
observed that Georgia still faces real and immediate threats 
that pose an existential threat to Georgia and can complicate 
reform efforts.  An international presence was required to 
prevent destabilizing actions by Russia.  Regarding NATO, ASD 
Vershbow said the U.S. supported Georgia's membership 
aspirations and encouraged continued efforts to implement the 
Annual National Program (ANP); Bokeria sought language in the 
next NATO Ministerial declaration that would reflect some 
progress since the Bucharest Summit, but said Georgia did not 
oppose MAP for Montenegro.  The sides also discussed maritime 
incidents on the Black Sea; U.S. missile defense plans; a new 
agreement on the Central Reference Laboratory; efforts to 
combat nuclear smuggling; and exchange of classified 
information. End summary. 
 
---------------- 
GENERAL OVERVIEW 
---------------- 
 
2. (C) ASD Vershbow began by echoing a central theme of the 
U.S.-Georgia Charter: that a strong, independent, sovereign 
and democratic Georgia, capable of responsible self-defense, 
contributes to the security and prosperity not only of all 
Georgians, but of a Europe whole, free and at peace.  He 
expressed continued U.S. commitment to Georgia's sovereignty, 
territorial integrity and economic prosperity.  At the same 
time, he noted the importance of continued progress on 
democratic reform and of avoiding provocative actions that 
could escalate into renewed violence.  He expressed support 
for Georgia's NATO membership aspirations, for which he 
pledged U.S. support through the Georgia-NATO Commission.  He 
also expressed appreciation for Georgia's planned 
contribution to ISAF. 
 
3. (C) Vashakidze responded with an expression of Georgian 
gratitude for the various military assistance programs the 
United States has provided since 2004, which he described as 
crucial to Georgian military development.  Noting Georgia's 
previous contribution to the effort in Iraq, he expressed 
Georgia's continued commitment to sending a series of 
battalions to Afghanistan.  He also expressed interest in 
continued U.S. support for deepened defense assistance 
programs, in terms of both military education and equipment. 
Qprograms, in terms of both military education and equipment. 
He also proposed organizing U.S. support for Georgia's 
military reform efforts under a U.S.-Georgia Defense 
Cooperation Plan. 
 
--------------- 
FOCUS ON REFORM 
--------------- 
 
4. (C) Calling for 2010 to be the "year of reform," Vershbow 
congratulated Georgia's progress thus far, but noted that 
continuing to make significant progress was a prerequisite 
for Georgia's NATO aspirations.  The U.S. stood ready to 
assist, and is focusing the first phase of assistance efforts 
on building the intellectual component of the Georgian Armed 
Forces -- the so-called "brains before brawn" approach. 
Noting that, in the whole of Eurasia, the U.S. has its 
busiest schedule of bilateral cooperation in Georgia, ASD 
Vershbow said that those programs have come under close 
scrutiny, and that their continuation depended on Georgia's 
continued progress in reform overall, including on the 
political and economic side, as well as responsible behavior 
in the region.  If Georgia made real progress and met 
established milestones, bilateral defense cooperation could 
deepen; on the other hand, lagging reforms would hamper 
 
TBILISI 00001949  002 OF 004 
 
 
deepened cooperation.  ASD Vershbow stressed the benchmarks 
of NATO's Annual National Program (ANP), such as reform of 
the acquisition and procurement process, as necessary first 
steps, emphasizing
 that the U.S. and other NATO allies were 
watching for a clear delineation of responsibility between 
the Ministries of Defense and Internal Affairs. 
 
5. (C) Deputy Defense Minister Nodar Kharshiladze offered an 
update on Georgia's efforts at military reform.  In terms of 
broad planning, he said the government is in the process of 
updating its threats assessment and completing both a 
Strategic Defense Review (SDR) and a National Strategic 
Review (NSR), all with a view to determine what the Georgian 
Armed Forces should look like in 2015.  He said a top 
priority was to develop an efficient use of resources, in 
order to be in a position to respond to threats while 
reflecting budget realities.  The military is working on 
doctrine development, with a view in particular toward a 
doctrine that reflects Georgia's unique needs.  Military 
education is a primary focus, with three specific objectives 
described: the establishment of a four-year officer academy; 
a Command General Staff College (CGSC); and training for 
NCOs.  Other areas of focus include human resources reform 
and cooperation with NGOs on strategic planning. 
 
----------------------- 
REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE 
----------------------- 
 
6. (C) Head of the Georgian Joint Staff's Strategic Planning 
and Military Policy Department, Col. Nikoloz Janjghava, 
listed a number of areas in which Georgia requires additional 
U.S. assistance.  Janjghava reiterated Georgia's capability 
gaps as a result of the August 2008 war, in particular, 
anti-air, anti-tank and radar capabilities.  Not only did 
Georgia lose equipment, but the lack of spare parts has 
further decreased the level of operational capacity. 
Janjghava also requested additional U.S. assistance in 
educational programs, as Georgia continued to strive to 
develop its military education system on western models. 
Finally, Georgia needed additional U.S. assistance in 
developing the General National Defense Plan (NDP).  This was 
particularly important request, as it would affect Georgia's 
force structure, training plan and procurement requirements. 
The U.S. DATT and ODC Chief noted U.S. cooperation efforts, 
 including the CGSC, initial consultations on the NDP, 
doctrine development, and International Military Education 
and Training (IMET) slots. 
 
7. (C) Deputy Minister Bokeria indicated that there was wide 
acceptance within the Georgian government of the approach of 
"strategic patience" on the conflicts, and that they could 
not be resolved militarily.  Acknowledging current 
geopolitical considerations, Bokeria reiterated Georgia "got 
the message" on the brains before brawn approach. 
Nevertheless, he pointed out that such development of 
intellectual capacity without some kind of accompanying 
development of actual physical capacity could not continue 
forever.  U.S. assistance with Georgia's NDP is particularly 
vital at the current time.  ASD Vershbow acknowledged the 
perilous situation facing Georgia, including the damage done 
during the war, but made clear that the preliminary stages of 
reform had to be done right first, so that, when the time 
came, it would be possible to incorporate new equipment into 
Qcame, it would be possible to incorporate new equipment into 
the military more effectively. 
 
------------------ 
AFGHANISTAN UPDATE 
------------------ 
 
8. (C) Janjghava reflected on the ISAF deployment, noting 
preparation was well underway to send a Georgian battalion to 
ISAF.  He also noted that Georgia had plans to send personnel 
to serve with French, Turkish and Lithuanian units as well. 
Bokeria added that Georgia was ready to increase its 
contribution to the transit of military supplies to 
Afghanistan, so that Coalition partners would have a number 
of different alternatives.  Vershbow agreed that a variety of 
routes was desirable and welcomed Georgia's proposals. 
 
---- 
NATO 
---- 
 
9. (C) Bokeria reaffirmed that Georgia has not changed its 
goal of NATO membership, which he described as crucial to 
Georgia's existence as a state.  He asked for additional 
clarity on a possible path for Georgia to membership. 
 
TBILISI 00001949  003 OF 004 
 
 
Expressing an understanding that a breakthrough at this time 
may not be possible, Georgia needed to have some indication 
that it has moved further down the road since the Bucharest 
Summit -- otherwise, the perception that Russia has an 
effective veto over Georgia's (and Ukraine's) membership will 
be strengthened, with resulting effect externally and 
internally in Georgia.  Expressing his support for NATO's 
overall expansion, and for the possible extension of 
Membership Action Plans to additional countries at the 
upcoming summit, Bokeria nevertheless suggested that, if 
Georgia would not be receiving a MAP, then it needed at least 
a change in language from the NATO ministers indicating some 
progress.  One possibility would be a statement that MAP is 
not the only path to membership.  Finally, Bokeria said that, 
in the context of the discussions in Geneva about a non-use 
of force (NUF) agreement, Georgia might be willing to go 
forward with such an agreement if it received a clear message 
from NATO on its path forward. 
 
10. (C) ASD Vershbow encouraged Georgia to stay engaged with 
NATO, in particular by responding to the areas for 
improvement expressed in the ANP.  By continuing to 
demonstrate its seriousness, Georgia would be in a good 
position when the situation for a political decision matured, 
although it was not clear when that would be.  ASD Vershbow 
confirmed that the U.S. believes there are multiple paths to 
NATO membership, and the Bucharest Summit, by declaring that 
Georgia and Ukraine would gain membership, had established 
these two countries as unique cases, with ANPs and 
Commissions that could serve as functional equivalents to 
MAP.  ASD Vershbow affirmed the U.S. will work with the 
Alliance toward adopting such a position.  Regarding a NUF 
agreement, ASD Vershbow said that Georgia should not have to 
meet additional standards to gain membership, but suggested 
that Georgia might want to hold on to that idea in case it 
became useful. 
 
-------------------- 
SECURITY ENVIRONMENT 
-------------------- 
 
11. (C) Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Eka Zguladze 
offered an overview of the current security situation. 
Pointing to the presence not only of some 8,000 Russian 
forces in the occupied territories but also large amounts of 
heavy armaments, Zguladze said that Russia was in a position 
to take further action in Georgia at any time.  The Russian 
presence in South Ossetia is close to sensitive targets, 
including the main East-West highway, and Georgia was 
therefore vulnerable to terrorist attacks coordinated from 
within the occupied territories.  Zguladze reflected on the 
recent attack on electrical power lines in Georgia as a case 
in point.  Georgia's ma
in concern at the moment, however, was 
the ethnic Georgian population of Gali; Russian Border Guards 
were making it increasingly difficult to cross the 
administrative boundary, and that population was therefore 
increasingly vulnerable.  Although the EU Monitoring Mission 
(EUMM) had been effective within the limits imposed on it 
(primarily its inability to enter the occupied territories), 
and the frequency of security incidents had gone down, 
Georgia was worried by recent Russian statements that Georgia 
was fomenting terrorist attacks in the North Caucasus. 
 
12. (C) Bokeria acknowledged that the Georgian government 
considered the threat of a large-scale invasion by Russia 
Qconsidered the threat of a large-scale invasion by Russia 
unlikely (due largely to political support from the United 
States); he pointed out, however, that a Russian policy of 
small-scale provocations would nevertheless greatly 
complicate Georgia's reform efforts.  Accepting the logic of 
focusing on the further reform and development of undisputed 
Georgia for the time being, he suggested this logic was 
flawed if Georgia did not have a stable environment in which 
to pursue reforms and development.  Georgia would itself 
refrain from provocative actions, because any headlines of 
destabilizing events in Georgia -- no matter who provoked 
them -- were damaging to the international perception of 
Georgia.  Bokeria suggested that some kind of international 
presence to guarantee stability was crucial to Georgia's 
security and progress (although not at the price of degrading 
Georgia's territorial integrity), and that even discussion of 
a possible departure of the EUMM was harmful to Georgia's 
security.  Bokeria encouraged the United States to be open to 
any invitation by the EU to participate in the EUMM; ASD 
Vershbow said the United States had not received any such 
invitation, but would consider one if asked. 
 
13. (C) On the Geneva talks, Bokeria described a positive 
process which was a good deterrent.  While expressing 
 
TBILISI 00001949  004 OF 004 
 
 
skepticism that it would lead to anything substantive in the 
near future, with neither the Russians, Abkhaz nor South 
Ossetians ready to discuss serious issues at the moment, 
Bokeria said the establishment of the Incident Prevention and 
Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) was positive.  Russia's recent 
unwillingness to respond to an urgent call on the hotline 
indicated continued problems.  Bokeria explained that a clear 
redline for Georgia was full implementation of Point 5 of the 
August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement (which calls for the 
withdrawal of Russian forces to previously held positions). 
Not only did the Russians need to fully comply, but the 
Georgians could not accept any additional agreements or 
arrangements that undercut that commitment, made by the 
Russian president, or otherwise legitimized the current 
Russian presence. 
 
14. (C) The Director of State's Office of Caucasus Affairs 
and Regional Conflicts, Ethan Goldrich, expressed U.S. 
support for the Geneva process and looked forward to 
coordinating with the Georgians on how best to proceed.  The 
United States supported an international presence, although 
not at the expense of Georgia's territorial integrity.  The 
Ambassador noted that, in the past, the OSCE's Border 
Monitoring Mission had helped alleviate concerns about 
movements into the North Caucasus, suggesting that perhaps a 
preliminary discussion about a similar arrangement to help 
prevent pretexts would be useful. 
 
------------ 
OTHER TOPICS 
------------ 
 
15. (C) Regarding maritime incidents on the Black Sea, 
Bokeria explained that Georgia was currently in discussions 
with Turkey to find a way to enable vessels to travel to 
Abkhazia within the scope of Georgian law.  He also explained 
that Coast Guard personnel now have orders not to engage in 
hot pursuit and not to take any actions in Georgia's economic 
zone, (i.e., beyond the 24 nautical miles of Georgia's 
territorial waters), so that there was little likelihood of 
provocative incidents.  Nevertheless, he pointed out that 
Georgia still had concerns about smuggling.  A ship on the 
way to undisputed Georgia was recently detained by Abkhaz de 
facto naval forces for 30 minutes (then fortunately released 
with no further consequences); thus it was not only Georgia 
that needed to avoid provocative actions.  Ultimately it was 
Russia that was occupying Georgian territory, and public 
condemnations of Georgia for questionable actions in defense 
of its territorial integrity were in danger of distracting 
the world's attention from Russia's fundamentally illegal 
actions. 
 
16. (C) ASD Vershbow offered an overview of the new U.S. 
approach to missile defense, noting the United States had not 
yet begun consultations on the placement of land-based SM-3 
missile sites or other elements, with the exception of Poland 
and the Czech Republic, but that in any case the United 
States was not discussing the placement of elements of the 
new system with any non-NATO members. 
 
17. (C) Vashakidze noted the recent conclusion of the 
Umbrella Agreement between the United States and Georgia for 
the Central Reference Laboratory, agreeing to continue to 
hold bilateral consultations to work on the details of 
implementation.  Deputy Director of the Georgian Foreign 
Ministry's International Security Policy and Euro-Atlantic 
Integration Office Giorgi Dolidze expressed his appreciation 
QIntegration Office Giorgi Dolidze expressed his appreciation 
for U.S. support of efforts to combat nuclear smuggling and 
noted that President Saakashvili planned to participate in 
the Nuclear Security Summit in 2010.  Finally, Deputy 
Minister Kharshiladze proposed an agreement on the exchange 
of classified information, which he described as a practical 
step to legalize the exchange of information necessary for 
deepened cooperation. 
 
18. (U) This message was cleared by Assistant Secretary of 
Defense Vershbow. 
BASS

Wikileaks

09TBILISI1880, GEORGIA: UN REP VERBEKE RAISES QUESTIONS ON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1880 2009-10-09 14:44 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6883
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1880/01 2821444
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091444Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2307
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0308
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4922
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001880 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/09/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNSC RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: UN REP VERBEKE RAISES QUESTIONS ON 
GENEVA, UN ROLE 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 2551 
     B. GENEVA 822 
     C. USUN 809 
     D. TBILISI 1810 
     E. TBILISI 1772 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1. (C/NF)  Summary and comment.  In an October 7 meeting with 
the Charge, UN Representative Johan Verbeke asked about the 
U.S. commitment to the Geneva talks -- in particular whether 
A/S Gordon would be attending the November 11 round.  He said 
Russia was looking for an excuse to downgrade the process, 
let it drift into irrelevance and die a quiet death. 
Admitting that the talks have gotten bogged down, Verbeke 
blamed EU Special Representative Morel for focusing more on 
process than content.  Verbeke said that the new UN roving 
team in Georgia is in place and ready to begin work, but 
cautioned that any weakening of Geneva or the IPRMs could 
jeopardize the new team's mandate.  He also warned that 
Russia would advocate naming a lower-level successor for his 
own position, due at the end of the year, thereby reducing 
Georgia's profile at the UN.  He advocated a flexible 
approach toward an Abkhaz/South Ossetian de facto authority 
appearance at the UN, but did not offer a clear suggestion on 
what gain would be worth such a concession.  End summary and 
comment. 
 
GENEVA'S UP IN THE AIR 
 
2. (C/NF) UN Representative Verbeke (whose title has been 
downgraded from "Special Representative of the Secretary 
General") asked the Charge very directly whether Assistant 
Secretary Gordon would be attending the next round of the 
Geneva talks on November 11.  He explained that Russian 
Deputy Foreign Minister Karasin is looking for an excuse to 
end his own involvement and in general diminish the 
prominence of the forum, and that A/S Gordon's presence would 
help counter this tendency.  (Note: In a separate meeting 
with MFA, the Georgians have also suggested that Karasin is 
looking for an exit.  See also ref A.  End note)  Verbeke 
thought that Russia would be content to see Geneva become an 
"Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism-Plus" (IPRM ), 
i.e., a forum for interactions barely more significant than 
the IPRMs' -- in which case the very need for Geneva would 
come into question.  He noted that Russian Permanent 
Representative to the UN Churkin, in discussing the IPRMs, 
asked "Do we need Geneva?" (apparently hypothetically).  The 
Charge replied that in general, we consider Geneva a priority 
and intend to participate at the highest appropriate level, 
and in fact A/S Gordon was literally on the plane for the 
previous round before he was asked to remain in Washington on 
urgent business.  However, the size and scale of A/S Gordon's 
portfolio made his participation dependent to a great deal on 
scheduling. 
 
3. (C/NF) Verbeke noted that the Russians have a point in 
their skeptical attitude toward Geneva, because in fact not 
much has been accomplished since February, when the IPRMs 
were first established.  He suggested that they were applying 
typical American pragmatism in their evaluation of the 
process -- "We work with what works" -- and Geneva was not 
working.  Verbeke placed the blame for this primarily on EU 
Special Representative for the Conflict in Georgia Pierre 
Morel.  He said that Morel focuses almost exclusively on the 
format of the talks, to the near exclusion of content.  As an 
example, he noted that in the preparation for the previous 
Qexample, he noted that in the preparation for the previous 
round, Morel had been more concerned about the arrangements 
for the dinner the night before the talks, and the lunch 
during the day, than about the agenda.  He called the 
document on the non-use of force prepared by Morel's staff as 
the basis for discussion at Geneva the "work of a first-tour 
diplomat," and criticized the fact that it was distributed 
only a couple days before the talks. 
 
4. (C/NF) In more general terms, Verbeke pointed out that a 
non-use of force agreement -- the main subject for Working 
Group 1 at the previous round (ref B) -- was clearly going 
nowhere.  Morel therefore needed to take the initiative to 
set a more formal agenda and focus on more limited but 
achievable objectives.  Verbeke said that Morel would be in 
Tbilisi the week of October 19 and suggested arranging a Quad 
meeting to strategize on the future direction of Geneva. 
 
UN ROLE UNCLEAR 
 
 
TBILISI 00001880  002 OF 002 
 
 
5. (C/NF) Verbeke explained that the new UN roving team for 
Georgia was in place and ready to begin its duties (ref C). 
(Note: According to a UN staff member, although UNOMIG ceased 
operations in June, it has gradually been disposing of 
equipment, emptying locations and in g
eneral shutting down 
operations; its official last day is October 31, and the new 
team's first day will be November 1.  Even so, the new team 
is already in place and operating.  End note.)  He expressed 
concern, however, that the OSCE's poorly conceived efforts to 
establish a similar presence, which had not taken Georgian 
government concerns into account, could backfire on the UN 
team.  He himself had been discussing the UN team's 
modalities with the Georgians for months, and he was not 
surprised that the Greek effort to make arrangements at the 
last minute had not been successful (ref D). 
 
6. (C/NF) In this case too, Verbeke was worried that Russia 
would try to diminish the UN's role.  He explained that the 
Secretary General (SYG) sent a letter to the UN Security 
Council (UNSC) informing it of the establishment of the new 
team.  According to Verbeke, however, the Russians do not 
want the UNSC to reply, because they want to downplay the 
UN's presence and role in Georgia.  Likewise he suspects that 
when he completes his tenure on December 31, the Russians 
will seek a lower-level replacement to succeed him in order 
to diminish the position's authority.  His title has already 
been downgraded from Special Representative of the SYG to 
simply UN Representative.  Finally, Verbeke drew a link 
between his concerns about Geneva and his concerns about the 
UN, explaining that if the Geneva process loses prominence or 
shuts down completely, or if the IPRMs decrease in profile, 
then the reason for the new UN team could be questioned. 
 
DON'T FORGET THE DE FACTOS 
 
7. (C/NF) Verbeke encouraged the United States to consider 
allowing Abkhaz and South Ossetian de facto officials to 
travel to New York to provide information in an informal 
setting.  He understood that this would be difficult for the 
Georgians, but suggested that doing so could provide an 
opening toward a better relationship with the de factos.  He 
argued that they (in particular the Abkhaz) really did want a 
relationship with the west, and indulging them with an 
inconsequential meeting in New York could reap benefits. 
 
COMMENT: MAINTAINING GENEVA'S -- AND GEORGIA'S -- PROFILE 
 
8. (C/NF) Ever since the de facto authorities gained the 
status of de facto members of the Geneva talks, the Georgians 
have been wary of the process, because they fear it gives the 
de factos too much stature.  Nevertheless, the Georgians do 
appreciate the continued attention the talks give to the 
unresolved situation in Georgia.  They also appreciate U.S. 
involvement.  If the Geneva process were to lose prominence 
or cease functioning altogether, and the IPRMs -- where the 
United States does not have a seat -- were to be put forward 
as a replacement, the Georgians could well pull out of both. 
Allowing this to happen would play right into Russia's hands 
by killing off the fora, but pinning the blame on Georgia. 
 
9. (C/NF) Verbeke is correct, however, in his assessment of 
Geneva's unimpressive record.  Geneva remains the one forum 
where all parties sit down together, and where the 
international community is reminded on a regular basis of the 
Qinternational community is reminded on a regular basis of the 
unresolved conflict in Georgia, but so far it has little to 
show in the way of success.  The United States will have to 
decide if Geneva is worth the effort.  If it is, we will need 
to make a concerted effort to maintain it and make it more 
relevant by focusing on concrete, achievable objectives. 
Otherwise Russia will likely succeed in allowing it to fade 
into oblivion. 
 
10. (C/NF) It will be important to follow through at the UN 
to keep the spotlight on Georgia.  One step might be to seek 
periodic reports from the new roving team.  In post's view, 
however, the de factos will need to offer a serious 
concession of their own before we should accept Verbeke's 
recommendation and invite them to provide a briefing in New 
York (ref E). 
LOGSDON

Wikileaks

09TBILISI984, GEORGIA: FM VASHADZE UNDERLINES REDLINES ON UN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI984 2009-05-29 14:36 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO6012
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0984 1491436
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 291436Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1634
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 0230
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4848
RUEHUNV/UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 4037

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000984 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/29/2019 
TAGS: PREL UNSC UNOMIG RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: FM VASHADZE UNDERLINES REDLINES ON UN 
MANDATE 
 
REF: A. GEHRENBECK-EUR/CARC/DL 5-26-09 EMAIL 
     B. TBILISI 942 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C/NF) On May 29, Georgian Foreign Minister Vashadze 
called in the Ambassador to ensure the United States 
understood Georgia's redlines regarding a new UN mandate. 
Referring to his May 22 letter to the Secretary, Vashadze 
emphasized Georgia's absolute commitment to the following 
minimum requirements: 1) the August 12, 2008 ceasefire 
agreement must be the basis for a new mandate; 2) the mandate 
must include an international police component; and 3) the 
mandate must provide for fully demilitarized zones in Gali, 
Ochamchire, and the Kodori Valley.  Vashadze also insisted 
the name of the mission must contain a reference to Georgia. 
A mandate that did not meet these conditions -- especially a 
basis in the ceasefire agreement and a continued reference to 
Georgia in the name -- would be "absolutely unacceptable." 
Explaining that Georgia must have security, but must also 
avoid any step by the international community away from its 
territorial integrity, Vashadze said that Georgia is ready to 
refuse home country consent if the mandate does not include 
these key elements. 
 
2. (C/NF) Vashadze noted that a mandate without these 
elements would present enormous problems for Georgia, both 
internally and externally.  In addition to the aftermath of 
war, an economic crisis, massive unemployment, and a huge 
loss of trade, Georgia would have moved that much farther 
away from the international community's recognition of and 
support for its territorial integrity.  Explaining that 
Georgia looks to the United States as the cornerstone of its 
international suppor, Vashadze said that Georgia is not 
willing to give Russia the slightest hint that it is willing 
to compromise on these fundamental points. 
 
3. (C/NF) In the case of the OSCE, Vashadze explained that 
Georgia, as a full-fledged member with equal status as all 
other members, was more able to be flexible and take 
positions that avoided any blame for the defeat of the 
mission.  In New York, however, Georgia does not have a seat 
at the main table, and so has less flexibility.  He said that 
if Georgia has to take on the role of blocking an 
unacceptable mission, then it will.  If a draft mandate that 
is acceptable to Georgia goes forward, he noted two possible 
scenarios: either it passes, or Russia vetoes it.  If a draft 
mandate goes forward that is unacceptable to Georgia, 
however, Vashadze said that his country is prepared to block 
it.  He noted that it will be important for Russia to 
understand that a no to an unacceptable mission does not 
imply an acceptance of further Russian provocations, but 
nevertheless, Georgia cannot compromise on the points above. 
 
4. (C/NF) Vashadze expressed concern that the British and 
French seem to have moved away from some of these positions. 
He also expressed his disapproval of the circulation of 
non-papers on a possible mandate that have not been shown to 
the Georgians, noting in particular a recent German draft. 
Once again, he said he looked to the United States for 
support in the process. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

09TBILISI389, GEORGIA REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO JOINING NATO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI389 2009-02-26 14:15 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3351
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0389/01 0571415
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 261415Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1068
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 000389 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/26/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO JOINING NATO 
 
REF: A. HTTP://WWW.MOD.GOV.GE/2007/DOWNLOADS/VISION(P ERCE- 
        NT SIGN)20ENGLISH(UNDERSCORE)2009.PDF 
     B. TBILISI 313 
     C. TBILISI 23 
     D. TBILISI 169 
     E. TBILISI 165 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C/NF) Summary and comment.  Georgian officials continue 
to express through both public and private channels their 
continued commitment to NATO membership.  On February 17, the 
Minister of Defense released his "Minister's Vision 2009," a 
public document that identifies NATO membership as one of 
Georgia's top foreign and security policy priorities.  The 
Defense Minister and the Chief of Defense have privately 
expressed this same commitment to the DATT; the Foreign 
Minister reaffirmed Georgia's commitment in a February 25 
meeting with the Ambassador; and President Saakashvili did so 
publicly in his February 12 state of the nation address. 
Although the President's message did not focus on membership 
to the same extent his 2008 address did, this change in 
emphasis reflects the prominence of the economic difficulties 
currently facing Georgia as well as advice from the Allies 
not to raise expectations unrealistically.  The Government 
has also made a more general shift from public, political 
pronouncements about NATO membership to a more practical 
focus on taking the specific steps required to join the 
alliance.  Government efforts are currently focused on the 
internal reforms necessary to prepare for membership and the 
adjustments necessary to move from the Individual Partnership 
Action Plan (IPAP) to the Annual National Plan (ANP).  End 
summary and comment. 
 
DEFENSE MINISTER'S VISION: NATO MEMBERSHIP IS CENTRAL 
 
2. (SBU) On February 17, Defense Minister Sikharulidze 
publicly unveiled his "Minister's Vision 2009" (ref A), which 
lays out the Minister's key priorities for improving the 
Ministry's ability to provide for Georgia's defense and 
security.  The document notes in particular the importance of 
balancing longer-term strategic interests with more immediate 
needs arising from the still unstable post-war environment. 
An entire section of the document is devoted to NATO 
membership: "One of the main priorities of Georgia's foreign 
and security policy is integration into NATO."  While 
membership itself is clearly a strategic goal, the steps 
necessary to qualify for membership appear as prominent 
shorter-term objectives.  The NATO section's specific 
objectives include several that focus on continuing to work 
through bilateral and partnership programs to prepare for 
NATO integration.  The document notes the importance of using 
both ongoing and new formats, such as the Planning and Review 
Process (PARP), the Annual National Plan (ANP) and the 
NATO-Georgia Commission, to improve compatibility and 
interoperability. 
 
OFFICIALS REINFORCE COMMITMENT 
 
3. (C) Both Sikharulidze and Chief of Defense Chachibaia have 
told the DATT in recent conversations the Ministry and the 
Government remain fully committed to NATO membership.  The 
Ministry of Defense continues to listen carefully to NATO 
international staff suggestions on developing the ANP, a 
process with which the government of Georgia is still 
unfamiliar.  U.S.-funded defense advisors indicate that 
Ministry officials continue to dedicate a lot of effort to 
understanding what the ANP calls for.  During a February 16 
NATO Ambassador's briefing, NATO SYG Special Representative 
Bob Simmons noted that the Georgian first draft of an ANP 
QBob Simmons noted that the Georgian first draft of an ANP 
needed more work, mainly to include longer-term goals. 
According to Simmons, there were no fatal flaws in this first 
draft and he found continued Georgian commitment to produce a 
good document.  While guilty of not understanding how the ANP 
differs from the IPAP, there is no less staff effort to make 
the kind of process reforms required than there has been in 
the past.  Both the Minister and the Chief of Defense agree 
that NATO membership is the only realistic strategic security 
provider.  Both are eager to contribute forces to work in 
ISAF as a way of proving to the Allies that Georgia would be 
a useful member of the Alliance. 
 
4.  (C)  Foreign Minister Vashadze likewise reaffirmed to the 
Ambassador on February 25 Georgia's continued commitment to 
NATO membership, and pledged that the Government would do its 
best to draft a good ANP. 
 
5. (SBU) On February 12, in his state of the nation address, 
President Saakashvili reaffirmed Georgia's goal of 
integrating into NATO in order to ensure Georgia's security. 
 
TBILISI 00000389  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
He spent little time discussing NATO membership, however, 
devoting most of his attention to meeting Georgia's economic 
challenges.  This represented a marked contrast to his 2008 &#x000A
;address, in which he made NATO membership the centerpiece of 
his remarks (ref B).  This shift in emphasis is not 
surprising, considering that Georgia faces serious economic 
difficulties, and that polls consistently show economic 
issues to be among the chief concerns of the population (ref 
C).  Government interlocutors, including the president, have 
made clear they intend to focus first on those concerns (ref 
D). 
 
FOCUS ON CONCRETE PROGRESS 
 
6. (SBU) In addition, the lower-key public approach on NATO 
reflects a more practical focus by the Government on the 
concrete work required to prepare for membership.  For 
example, at the parliamentary address (ref B), Saakashvili 
spoke of increasing transparency in government, strengthening 
the judiciary and reforming the national security structure. 
In another move reflective of Alliance advice, Saakashvili 
engaged members of the opposition and took questions from 
them following his speech.  He has visibly increased his and 
his parties' efforts to engage in a dialogue on a range of 
domestic reforms, including: improving the media climate, 
bringing the Criminal Procedure Code in line with western 
standards, and adopting a new election code (ref E).  In 
short, the Georgian Government appears to be taking the kind 
of holistic approach to NATO membership that the U.S. and 
other Allies have long advocated. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

08TBILISI2203, GEORGIA: DETAILED ACCOUNT OF SHOOTING NEAR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2203 2008-11-25 14:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9241
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2203/01 3301445
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251445Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0457
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 4734
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE IMMEDIATE 2220
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002203 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/25/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS PL RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: DETAILED ACCOUNT OF SHOOTING NEAR 
PRESIDENTS 
 
REF: TBILISI 2193 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C/NF) Summary and comment.  A more comprehensive readout 
of the November 23 incident at the South Ossetian 
administrative boundary (see reftel) indicates the motorcade 
went right up to a combined Russian/Ossetian checkpoint on 
the administrative boundary of South Ossetia, and the 
presidents themselves approached the checkpoint on foot.  The 
ride toward Akhalgori was not part of the original itinerary 
for the two presidents, and Polish officials did not know 
about it until the motorcade took the turn to the north.  It 
appears that the Georgian side may have planned the side trip 
toward Akhalgori slightly ahead of time, but probably not 
very far in advance, and the Polish side was unaware of the 
plan at all.  The shooting, however, turned what President 
Saakashvili probably conceived as a unique opportunity to 
underline the plight of Georgian sovereignty into something 
far more provocative than perhaps even he intended and could 
reinforce his image as impulsive.  End summary and comment. 
 
Surprise! 
 
2. (C/NF) The Polish Charge in Tbilisi (please strictly 
protect), who rode in one of the rear vehicles of the 
approximately 12-car motorcade on November 23, offered the 
following details of the evening's events in a November 25 
meeting with PolOff.  According to the original itinerary for 
President Kaczynski's visit to Georgia, President Saakashvili 
was scheduled to meet Kaczynski at the airport at 1700, then 
escort him from there to a new settlement for internally 
displaced persons (IDPs) in Metekhi.  For unknown reasons, 
Saakashvili did not meet Kaczynski at the airport, but rather 
joined him in the presidential limousine at the presidential 
administration building in Tbilisi. 
 
3. (C/NF) Sometime after joining the Polish president, 
Saakashvili apparently proposed to Kaczynski a side trip up 
the road that leads to Akhalgor to see the checkpoints on 
the South Ossetian border.  Polish officials, including the 
Charge and presidential security personnel, did not know 
about the change in plans until the motorcade took the turn 
to the north off the main highway that leads to Akhalgori. 
Meanwhile, a bus of about 15 journalists, which was the last 
car in the motorcade, was sent ahead of the entire motorcade 
to arrive at the destination ahead of time.  Two security 
cars from the front of the motorcade joined the journalists' 
bus. 
 
Encounter at the Checkpoint 
 
4. (C/NF) Because the Charge was near the back of the 
motorcade, he did not directly witness much of what happened 
next, but he received a readout from a Polish journalist who 
was on the bus.   The Charge also noted that it was already 
dark by the time they reached the checkpoint, so it was 
difficult to see.  After traveling at a very high rate of 
speed, the bus and two security cars arrived at a checkpoint 
on the South Ossetian boundary a minute or so before the rest 
of the motorcade.  The checkpoint is directly north of 
Odzisi, on the administrative boundary; OSCE reports it is 
staffed by both Ossetian and Russian forces.  The forces 
staffing the checkpoint (it is unclear whether they were 
Ossetian or Russian), upon seeing one bus full of people and 
two cars full of security personnel pull up, appeared to the 
Polish journalist to become agitated.  The journalists were 
advised by the Georgian security personnel to stay on the 
Qadvised by the Georgian security personnel to stay on the 
bus, which they did.  The Polish journalist also noted a few 
Mercedes parked along the right side of the road, pointed in 
the opposite direction, back the way they had come.  (Embassy 
note: Based on previous presidential events we have observed, 
these vehicles were probably a security advance team.  End 
note.) 
 
5. (C/NF) A minute or so later, the main motorcade arrived, 
and the two presidents exited their vehicle and approached 
the checkpoint.  The two sides exchanged words, although it 
is not clear to what extent the presidents themselves were 
involved in this exchange.  Very soon after the presidents 
approached the checkpoint, however, three short bursts of 
automatic gunfire rang out to the northwest of the 
checkpoint.  Altogether the shooting likely lasted on the 
order of ten seconds (not several minutes, as reported by 
some press).  The Charge was at this point walking toward the 
checkpoint, but he was still several cars back.  He estimated 
that the shots, although some distance away from him 
personally, could have been fairly close to the checkpoint, 
 
TBILISI 00002203  002 OF 002 
 
 
and possibly as close as 100 feet, as reported in some press 
reports -- but he cautioned that the physical layout of the 
area, including hills to the east, made any estimates 
difficult.  He als
o said the shooting was almost surely in 
the air, dismissing as highly unlikely any suggestion that it 
was targeted at anyone. 
 
6. (C/NF) As soon as the shooting started, members of the 
motorcade, including the presidents, scrambled to return to 
their cars and leave the scene.  The two presidents did not 
re-enter their limousine, however, which was still pointed 
north and would have had to turn around, but entered one of 
the Mercedes on the right side of the road, which was able to 
depart immediately.  The Polish journalist, not the Charge 
(who was still too far back), witnessed this change of cars, 
but the Charge later saw the presidents emerge from a 
different car than the limousine when the motorcade finally 
arrived at Metekhi.  All the cars turned around and headed 
south, back toward the main highway, and continued to their 
originally planned first stop at the settlement for IDPs. 
 
Comment: Misha Being Misha 
 
7. (C/NF) The presence of cars at the checkpoint ahead of 
time indicates some amount of planning on the part of the 
Georgian side may have taken place.  The fact that the press 
bus was sent ahead of the motorcade only after they departed 
Tbilisi, however, suggests that the side trip was not planned 
very far in advance.  It is likely that, as has happened on 
previous occasions, Saakashvili was at the last moment seized 
with what seemed like a great idea: to give Kaczynski a 
graphic illustration of the ongoing insult to Georgia's 
territorial integrity -- and not to miss a great photo 
opportunity.  From the Polish Charge's description of the 
shooting, it almost surely came from an area controlled by 
the Russians and Ossetians, so any suggestion of Georgian 
involvement in the shooting itself is fanciful.  We will 
likely never know whether the forces at the checkpoint knew 
the exact identity of their visitors, but it would have been 
obvious that this was an important group of well-secured VIPs 
-- and still somebody pulled the trigger.  Although it did 
not harm anyone, the shooting made clear how precarious the 
situation on the boundary still is, however, and could give 
the opposition -- not to mention the Poles -- fodder for 
criticism of the president.  Politicians such as Nino 
Burjanadze have used similar incidents in the past to suggest 
that Saakashvili lacks restraint, and we would not be 
surprised if we soon heard similar accusations. 
TEFFT

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08TBILISI2017, GEORGIA: RED CROSS STAFF MEMBER SHARES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2017 2008-10-30 13:51 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO9335
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2017 3041351
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301351Z OCT 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0310
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 002017 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: RED CROSS STAFF MEMBER SHARES 
OBSERVATIONS ABOUT IDPS 
 
Classified By: CDA Kent Logsdon for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) Begin Summary and Comment:  A Tbilisi-based 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff member 
shared her observations about IDPs and GoG efforts to address 
their situation with Poloff during an October 22 meeting. 
ICRC is currently the only international organizations that 
has country-wide access or presence; therefore, IDPS have 
been seeking assistance from ICRC regarding their return. 
ICRC is usually cautious about sharing information.  The 
surprising openness reflects ICRC's serious concern for the 
situation of IDPS who live in Gori and about the lost 
livelihoods of Georgians who previously traveled to 
Tskhinvali but no longer can.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
2.  (C)  Dka Dulic (please protect), ICRC Protection 
Coordinator, shared with Poloff the following observations 
with regards to displaced persons as a result of the August 
hostilities.  ICRC has access all over the country including 
the  buffer zone, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia.  Her staff is 
international, but does not include any Russians. 
 
3.  (C)  According to Dulic, Georgians (or so it appeared 
from their names) have been coming to ICRC offices asking for 
help to cross into South Ossetia.  Some of them before lived 
in Gori and traveled everyday to Tskhinvali for work.  Now 
their jobs and livelihoods are gone as they cannot pass 
through the checkpoints. 
 
4.  (C)  There is some opinion among ICRC staff members that 
GoG did not properly consult with IDPs before busing them 
back to their point of origin.  She specifically mentioned a 
quote in the press from parliamentarian Koba Subeliani (who 
was named on October 29 as the new Minister of Refugee 
Affairs), who stated, "Damage to houses are less than what we 
expected--we expected more damage.  It is safe for IDPs to 
return as Georgian police have taken control over de-occupied 
areas."  She suggested that he issued this statement to give 
legitimacy to GoG actions to get IDPs out of the camps and 
back home very quickly.  (Comment:  Poloff also heard this 
from a visiting academic, who said the GoG chose not to issue 
remuneration to families hosting IDPs in order to discourage 
lengthy stays. End Comment.) 
 
5.  (C)  According to Dulic, when Georgian police were able 
to return to the former "buffer zone" in undisputed Georgian 
territory located behind the Russian checkpoints, they 
arrested any South Ossetians they found there, and some 
remain in detention.  She didn't have specific numbers, but 
was planning to visit detention facilities to get a better 
idea.  Those IDPs from the Abkhaz war in the 1990s have been 
very dissatisfied with what they believed was preferential 
treatment from the government in settling the August 7 IDPs. 
IDPs from Kodori in the Abkhazia region, estimated to be 
about 2000 people who were also displaced in August, were 
particularly bitter about the lack of inclusion in 
resettlement discussions and actions. 
LOGSDON

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08TBILISI1862, GEORGIA: UPDATE ON THE CURRENT RUSSIAN DIPLOMATIC

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Discussing cables
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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1862 2008-10-07 15:30 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0370
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1862 2811530
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071530Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0227
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001862 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/CARC AND GCG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/06/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL CVIS RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: UPDATE ON THE CURRENT RUSSIAN DIPLOMATIC 
PRESENCE IN TBILISI 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
 1.  (C) Although the Russian Embassy in Georgia officially 
closed on September 3, 2008, a fairly sizable Russian 
diplomatic presence remains in Tbilisi.  According to press 
reports, only the Russian consul, two vice-consuls, and a 
small technical staff have remained behind.  There is 
actually a much larger presence, however, according to 
Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chief of the Russia 
desk, Irakli Toronjadze (please protect).  According to 
Toronjadze, most Russian Embassy employees flew to Moscow on 
a plane provided by the Russian Ministry of Emergency 
Situations on October 2.  Sixteen diplomats remain, six of 
whom are consular officials.  Toronjadze was not certain what 
the names or functions of the remaining ten are or why they 
are still in Georgia.  An undetermined number of "technical 
personnel" also remain.  The term "technical personnel" 
refers to employees serving in administrative and security 
positions, much like Locally Engaged Staff except that these 
are Russian citizens.  Toronjadze said the Russian DCM, 
Andrey Vasilyevich Smaga, would provide him a dip note with 
the names, positions, and details of the remaining Russian 
personnel within the week.  Toronjadze claimed that Georgia 
currently has nine diplomats in Russia, including the Charge 
and other staff, six of whom are consular officers. 
 
2.  (C) According to Toronjadze, the Swiss Embassy will open 
a Russian interests section.  The interests section will be 
located in the former Russian Embassy.  The only difference 
will be that there will be a Swiss flag flying on the flag 
pole.  Toronjadze expected to know the exact number of 
Russian employees working in the interests section by October 
16.  Once the Georgian MFA learns how many Russian diplomats 
will work in the Swiss interests section, they will 
reciprocally station the same number of diplomats in the 
Georgian Embassy in Moscow.  Post will follow-up with more 
detailed information as it becomes available. 
 
3.  (C) The Russian government's current consular services in 
Georgia remain an enigma.  Toronjadze was unaware of any 
consular activities, but said he would look into the matter 
and provide an answer as soon as he speaks with Smaga.  Press 
reports state Georgian citizens can receive Russian visas for 
emergency situations and to see family members in Russia. 
According to press reports, the Swiss Embassy stated it will 
provide no consular or visa services on behalf of Russia 
until the end of negotiations between all sides concerned. 
On October 3 and again on October 6, Post tried calling the 
former Russian Embassy's consular section to ask about visa 
services for U.S. citizens.  On both occasions, Post received 
a constant busy signal. 
 
4.  (C) We heard one amusing anecdote about the continued 
presence of the Russian Ambassador in Tbilisi.  Ambassador 
Kovalenko departed with the rest of the staff on October 2. 
However, many were puzzled by his decision to remain in 
Tbilisi the entire month of September, conducting low-profile 
meetings and often being spotted around town.  On October 4, 
Georgian DFM Vashadze, who had stayed in touch with Kovalenko 
in September, told the Ambassador that Kovalenko had been 
eager to remain in Tbilisi after his Embassy had closed in 
order to finish up some ongoing dental work.  Presumably, 
with his dental work completed, Kovalenko was ready to head 
home when the main group of diplomats departed on October 2. 
TEFFT

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