INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Fm Calmy-Rey "Takes Note" of Usg Concerns

Published: Tue 11 Sep 2007 09:09 AM
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SIPDIS \
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SIPDIS \
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DEPT FOR P (SGUHA), E, ISN/RA (KKESSLER), IO/T \
(HVONBEHREN), AND EUR/AGS (YSAINT-ANDRE) \
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/10/2027 \
TAGS: MNUC KNNP ETTC IR SZ
SUBJECT: FM CALMY-REY "TAKES NOTE" OF USG CONCERNS \
REGARDING IRAN/IAEA AND IRAN/EGL \
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REF: A. STATE 124823 \
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B. GUHA-CARTER E-MAIL (07SEP07) \
C. BERN 860 \
D. STATE 123352 \
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Classified By: Charg d'Affaires a.i. Leigh Carter; reasons 1.4(b) and ( \
d). \
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SUMMARY \
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1. (S) Per instructions in reftel A, CDA met FM Calmy-Rey on \
the evening of September 7 to discuss USG concerns regarding \
the handling of the Iran case at the September 10-14 IAEA \
Board of Governors (BOG) meeting (reftels C/D). As requested \
in ref B, CDA also took the opportunity to raise USG \
objections to a pending natural gas deal between Swiss firm \
EGL and Iran. Calmy-Rey replied that Switzerland does not, \
as a general rule, discuss the Iran "dossier" in public, \
given its broader commitments and roles in dealing with Iran \
(e.g., as "protecting power" for the USG). Regarding the EGL \
natural gas deal issue, she remarked that EGL is a private \
company, and the Iran deal is very important to it. However, \
she went on to say that she takes note of USG concerns, \
particularly with regard to the timing of the deal in the \
broader political context. Throughout the meeting, Calmy-Rey \
was cordial but succinct and generally non-committal in her \
reaction to our messages. (Meeting Participants: Poloff \
accompanied CDA as notetaker. FM Calmy-Rey, also \
concurrently the Swiss Federal President, was joined by \
Yvonne Baumann, Head of the MFA's Western Hemisphere \
Division, and by Jean-Daniel Praz, Deputy Head of the MFA's \
Nonproliferation and Arms Control Division.) End summary. \
\
--------- \
IRAN/IAEA \
--------- \
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2. (S) CDA delivered the message in reftel A, noting that \
Switzerland presumably would be elected to the IAEA Board of \
Governors (BOG) later this month, and emphasizing the \
importance of the international community speaking with one \
voice in insisting that Iran meet it obligations on both the \
IAEA and UNSC tracks. Calmy-Rey "took note" of USG concerns \
and said that she would study the matter. She commented that \
Switzerland was not yet on the BOG, so would not be in a \
position to make a statement at the September 10-14 BOG \
meeting. Poloff observed that public statements by \
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BERN 00000881 002 OF 002 \
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like-minded states reiterating Iran's obligations would be \
useful, even outside of the context of the BOG. Calmy-Rey \
replied that Switzerland does not, as a general rule, discuss \
the Iran "dossier" in public, given its broader commitments \
and roles in dealing with Iran (e.g., as "protecting power" \
for the USG). \
\
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IRAN/EGL Gas Deal \
----------------- \
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3. (S) CDA underlined the points in ref B, observing that EGL \
moving ahead with the Iran natural gas deal would have a \
severe negative effect on the international community's \
efforts to keep the pressure on Tehran to achieve a \
diplomatic solution. Calmy-Rey remarked that EGL is a \
private company, and the Iran deal is very important to it. \
However, she went on to say that she takes note of USG \
concerns, particularly with regard to the timing of the deal \
in the broader political context. She concluded by saying \
that the GOS is "preoccupied" with the matter and would \
review USG concerns. \
\
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COMMENT \
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4. (C) Calmy-Rey agreed to the Friday evening meeting in \
response to our request for an appointment before September \
10 (reftel A). She was cordial but succinct and generally \
non-committal in her reaction to our messages. Post will \
continue to reiterate our concerns on these matters at \
appropriate opportunities with other Swiss officials. \
CARTER \
121752 2007-09-11 12:50:00 07TBILISI2290 Embassy Tbilisi UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY VZCZCXRO4053\
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SIPDIS \
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SENSITIVE \
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SIPDIS \
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WEBGRAM EXCLUDED ONLY \
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E.O. 12958: N/A \
TAGS: MNUC KNNP ETTC IR SZ
SUBJECT: REGIONAL GOVERNORS - WHO ARE THEY? \
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1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet. \
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2. (SBU) Summary: Following a series of scandals \
involving the misuse of public funds by newly elected \
local officials, the Georgian Parliament recently passed \
two laws that strengthen the powers of regional Governors, \
who are appointed by the President, to exercise \
"state supervision" and ensure compliance of local \
self-government bodies with the "interests, goals and \
policy" of the state. Increasing the authority of the \
Governors may help with the formulation and \
subsequent implementation of economic development of \
Georgia's undeveloped regions. However, this will need \
to be done carefully as some may claim that these new \
powers are counter to the goal of decentralizing power \
from federal to local structures. This cable \
contains a brief summary of the current regional \
Governors of Georgia, whose personalities - some of \
which tend toward that of a local prince, \
rather than an institutional manager of local \
self-governance - may prove decisive in the \
development of Georgia's regions. End Summary. \
\
Promising steps towards local self-government \
--------------------------------------------- \
\
3. (U) The ratification of the European Charter on Local \
Self-governance and subsequent adoption of the Law on Local \
Self-governance by the Georgian parliament in 2005 created \
the political and legal environment required for the \
development of full-fledged self-government institutions. \
The new legislation envisaged the termination of the \
existing subordination of local bodies to the central \
authorities, primarily through ensuring the separation \
of powers of state and local governments, bolstering \
the independence of local government bodies, and encouraging \
the participation of citizens in the exercise of \
self-governance. This marked an entirely new approach \
to local governance in the top-down world of the former \
Soviet Union. The legislation and subsequent local \
elections in 2006 were assessed by experts as the most \
promising advance towards local self-governance in \
Georgian history. \
\
Links to the non-transparent past \
--------------------------------- \
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4. (U) According to the new legislation, the main entities \
of local self-government are, "a settlement (a self-governing \
city) or an amalgamation of settlements (municipality), \
which have local self-government representative and \
executive bodies." The law does not provide for the \
institution of the PresidentQs Representative in the \
regions or a Regional Governor, though it stipulates \
state supervision over local self-government bodies, which \
has been in practice since the Shevardnadze era. At that \
time, the rationale for the state supervision by the \
President's Representative was the difficult period \
of transition towards democracy, which necessitated \
presence of a "strong presidential hand" in the regions. \
Shevardnadze also established a Governor's Special Fund \
to "implement targeted programs of regional development." \
Lacking transparency, this fund has been invalidated \
by the current government, though the institution of the \
Representative is being retained. Currently, Georgia \
has nine regions with respective entities of locally \
elected governments. However, in addition, each region \
is also governed by the superimposed authority of \
the President's Representative. \
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Links to the unclear future \
--------------------------- \
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5. (U) In order to address the existing legislative \
uncertainties surrounding the PresidentQs Representative, \
Georgian Parliament recently adopted two laws: Amendments \
to the Law on Structure, Authority and the Rule of Activity \
of the Government of Georgia and Law on State Supervision \
over the Activities of Local Self-government \
Bodies. The laws provide for the institution of President's \
Representative/Governor who "shall be the representative \
of the President and the Government of Georgia in \
territorial units". As stipulated by the legislation, \
the Governor, appointed and dismissed by the President, \
shall control implementation of the laws of Georgia in \
territorial units, implement regional programs of \
social-economic development, provide recommendations on \
the suspension or termination of locals council activities, \
under circumstances threatening to the sovereignty of \
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TBILISI 00002290 002 OF 006 \
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the country, or constitutional authority of state \
bodies. Most importantly, Governors shall exercise \
"state supervision" to ensure "the legality and \
expediency of the activities of local self-government \
bodies and officials", and "legal supervision" \
to ensure "compliance of the normative acts issued \
by local self-government bodies and officials with \
Georgian legislation." Beyond coordinating regional \
interests, goals and policy with those determined by \
the federal state, Governors shall also administer state \
budget resources in accordance "with public interests." \
\
6. (U) Critics of the legislation fear that it will bestow \
too much authority to regional governors, who are not \
popularly elected and report directly to the president. \
Furthermore, opponents believe the proposed laws will \
provide little oversight of the regional administrators \
from the federal government, and even fewer checks and \
balances from the local government institutions. Supporters \
contend that the locally elected officials, most of whom \
grew up and prospered in the era of rampant corruption of the \
Shevardnadze period, need additional oversight in order \
to ensure that federal funds given to local authorities \
are spent on constituent needs. Indeed, the ruling party \
forced a group of local officials to resign after they \
spent most of the local funds from the poor area of \
Kutaisi on new Mercedes vehicles and the refurbishment of \
their offices. \
\
Personalities Gallery \
--------------------- \
\
7. (SBU) At present, the governors who will be given the \
above leverages to exercise the presidential power in the \
regions are the following: \
\
Giorgi Natsvlishvili - Kakheti region \
------------------------------------- \
\
Kakheti - a wine region of Georgia - comprises eight \
districts with the total population of approximately 407,182. \
Kakheti borders on Azerbaijan and North Caucasus and \
provides shelter to a sizable community of refugees from \
Chechnya. Gia Natsvlishvili was appointed Governor of Kakheti \
region on November 27, 2006. \
\
Natsvlishvili was born on July 4, 1963, in Tbilisi. \
In 1985, he graduated from the Technical University of \
Georgia faculty of hydro-technical facilities. Natsvlishvili \
also graduated from the secondary faculty with a major in \
English technical translation. In 1997, he was awarded \
a PhD in technical science, and in 2003 the rank \
of Doctor. He is a member of the International Association \
of Hydraulic Specialists, author of 30 scientific papers, a \
member of the International Association of American \
Scientists "Sigma XI". From 1988 to 2003, Natsvlishvili \
headed various businesses. \
\
From 1987, Natsvlishvili became involved in the National \
Liberation Movement and was one of the founders of the \
Christian-Democratic Union of Georgia. In 1992, he took \
part in the military actions in Abkhazia and is a veteran of \
the Abkhazian war. He participated actively in the \
foundation of the National Movement and was its Executive \
Secretary until 2004. In 2004, Natsvlishvili became member \
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SIPDIS \
of the Tbilisi Sakrebulo, and was a Member of Georgian \
Parliament from April 22, 2004, as the Deputy Chairman of \
the Parliamentary Committee on Branch Economy and Economic \
Reforms. \
\
According to a local NGO source, the majority of Kakheti \
residents think very highly of Natsvlishvili as a young \
and energetic leader, and he has a positive reputation \
among civil society actors in Kakheti. \
\
Vasil Maghlaperidze - Mtskheta- Mtianeti \
---------------------------------------- \
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Mtskheta- Mtianeti is rich in hydro-resources and \
forest parks, and has good prospects for livestock, grain \
harvesting and beer production. The region of Georgia's \
ancient capital Mtskheta also has a significant \
potential for tourism development. It comprises \
five districts with the total population of \
approximately 125,443. Vasil Maglaperidze was \
appointed Governor of Mtskheta- Mtianeti on March 1, 2005. \
\
Vasil Maglaperidze was born in Tbilisi, on September 5, 1958. \
In 1980, he graduated from the Tbilisi State University \
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TBILISI 00002290 003 OF 006 \
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faculty of philology. In 1989, Maglaperidze was awarded a \
PhD in philology. From 1988, he worked as a researcher \
at the Tbilisi State University department of \
ancient Georgian literature, and from 1984 to 1999 \
was a teacher of Georgian language and literature at a \
secondary school in Tbilisi. In 1999, and again in \
2004, Maglaperidze was elected as a member of Parliament. \
In 2004, he was elected Chairman of the Georgian \
ParliamentQs temporary Commission on restoration of \
territorial integrity of Georgia. \
\
Maglaperidze is generally perceived as an obedient and \
decent public servant who will neither do any damage, nor \
be proactive to achieve independent results. \
\
Mikheil Kareli - Shida Kartli \
----------------------------- \
\
Shida Kartli has a strong potential for fruit and vegetable \
processing industry development. The region actually \
encompasses the conflict zone in South Ossetia and comprises \
four districts under Georgian jurisdiction, with a total \
population of approximately 314,039. Mikheil Kareli was \
appointed Governor of Shida Kartli in January 2004. \
\
Kareli was born on September 3, 1975, in the city of \
Gori. He graduated from the Gori State Economic \
Institute's economic records faculty with a major in \
accounting and economic analysis. He also graduated \
from the Tbilisi State University faculty of law, \
majoring in jurisprudence, and was awarded the \
qualification of a lawyer. Kareli worked from 1998 \
to 2001 as the Sakrebulo Chairman of the Tkviavi \
community of Gori district. Between 2002 and 2003, \
he was the Board Chairman of the NGO "Union of Fighting \
Against Corruption". From 2003 to 2004, Kareli was the \
executive secretary of the Gori branch of the United \
National Movement. \
\
Kareli, said to be protigi of the former Minister of \
Defense Irakli Okruashvili, is also known for his \
autocratic ways of management. Some believe he rules as \
a prince of a fiefdom, rather than as a high executive. \
However, his position, which is owed to an earlier promotion \
by Okruashvili, has become quite precarious recently. \
\
Zurab Melikishvili - Kvemo Kartli \
--------------------------------- \
\
Kvemo Kartli borders Armenia and Azerbaijan and \
comprises a major portion of GeorgiaQs ethnic Azeri Muslim \
population. The region is rich in arable land and \
pastures for livestock breeding. It consists of six districts \
with the total population of approximately 497,530. \
Zurab Melikishvili was appointed Governor of Kvemo Kartli \
in December 2004. \
\
Melikishvili was born on February 15, 1971, in Tbilisi. \
In 1993, Melikishvili graduated from the Javakhishvili \
Tbilisi State University faculty of chemistry, and later \
in 1997 from the faculty of jurisprudence of the \
Nutsubidze Institute "Ritorika". Between 1993 and \
1996, Melikishvili worked as the chairman of the \
Georgian International Red Cross Society organization \
in Vake district; vice-president of the youth organization \
of the IRCS. From 1999 to 2000, he served as an \
invited specialist at the Georgian Parliament. Between \
2000 and 2001, Melikishvili worked at the Ministry of \
Justice of Georgia, Head of the Minister's office. \
Melikishvili was one of the founders of National \
Movement, as a coordinator of organizational issues. \
From December 2003 to January 2004, Melikishvili was \
Governor of Kvemo Kartli. In early 2004, he was \
appointed First Deputy Head of the PresidentQs Office, \
and served later that year as the State Minister on Regional \
Issues. \
\
Melikishvili, though a good "apparatchik", makes very \
rare public appearances and his role in the region is \
nearly invisible. \
\
Aaki Bobokhidze -Imereti \
------------------------- \
\
Imereti is rich in coal, manganese, limestone, mineral \
waters and hydro resources. The region of Georgia's \
second largest city of Kutaisi comprises eleven districts \
with the total population of approximately 699,666. \
Akaki Bobokhidze was appointed Governor of Imereti in \
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TBILISI 00002290 004 OF 006 \
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November 2006. \
\
Bobokhidze was born on September 14, 1964, in the village \
Gord, Khoni district. In 1986, he graduated from the \
Tbilisi Javakhishvili State University faculty of mechanics \
and mathematics. From 1986 to 1990, Bobokhidze worked at \
the Kutaisi Polytechnics Institute. In 1990, \
Bobokhidze became a member of the Supreme Council \
of Georgia, and later in 1992, a member of the State Council \
of Georgia. From 1992 to 1995, he served in the Georgian \
Parliament. Between 1998 and 2001, Bobokhidze was the \
Ombudsman's Trustee on Political Issues. From 2001 \
to 2004, Bobokhidze served a second term in Parliament. \
In 2005, he was appointed Governor of Imereti. One year \
later, he resigned from the post to become Head of the \
National Guard Department. On November 10, 2006, he was \
re-appointed Governor of Imereti. \
\
At various times, Bobokhidze was a member of both the \
Republican Party and People's Party, finally joining \
the National Movement later in his career. His \
resignation from the GovernorQs position stemmed from a \
scandal involving BobokhidzeQs assault of a \
journalist following a television interview. The \
episode further damaged Bobokhidze's public reputation, \
which was already held in low esteem due to endeavors \
seen as opportunistic and self-serving. \
\
Giorgi Khachidze - Samtskhe- Javakheti \
-------------------------------------- \
Samtskhe-Javakheti borders Turkey and Armenia and \
comprises the largest portion of GeorgiaQs ethnic \
Armenians. The region has a strong potential for \
meat and dairy-products development. It consists \
of six districts with the total population of \
approximately 207,598. Giorgi Khachidze was appointed \
governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti in March 2005. \
\
Khachidze was born on February 9, 1974. In 1997, \
Khachidze graduated from the Tbilisi State University, \
majoring in biology and journalism. Between 1994 and 2000, \
he worked for state-run Channels I and II on \
Georgian Television, as well as for the television \
companies "Ibervizia", "Rustavi-2", "202". During \
this time, Khachidze also worked in the press-service \
of the Ministry of Defense, as well as for \
radio station "105", radio "Rezonansi", and \
newspaper "Rezonansi". In November 2002, he founded \
the Khashuri office of the "United Democrats" \
party. From November 2003 to March 2004, he was \
the Deputy Gamgebeli of Khashuri rayon. From March \
to October, 2004, he was a Member of Georgian \
Parliament, elected through National Movement \
party lists. From October, 2004 to March, 2005 he \
was appointed Governor in Mtskheta-Mtianeti region. \
\
Khachidze was also a relatively popular pop-singer \
and managed to transfer his personable qualities to \
his managerial work as well. Khachidze is quite liked \
by the local NGO community, which stresses his \
regular work with civil society organizations and \
his focus on concrete achievements. Khachidze's \
strongest asset is said to be his ability to \
work with people, despite their religion or ethnicity. \
\
Zaza Gorozia - Samegrelo and Upper Svaneti \
------------------------------------------ \
\
Samegrelo and Upper Svaneti border on the conflict \
zone in Abkhazia, and is presently home to the largest \
share of Georgia's IDPs from Abkhazia. The region is \
rich in hydro-resources, non-ferrous metals, \
and arable land for citrus cultivation. It \
comprises eight districts, including the industrial \
port town of Poti, with the total population of \
approximately 466,100. Zaza Gorozia was appointed \
Governor of SamegreloQZemo Svaneti in July 2005. \
\
Gorozia was born in Martvili district, Samegrelo on \
February 11, 1975. In 1999, he graduated from the \
Medical Academy of Tbilisi, and later continued \
post-graduate studies with the major in healthcare \
management. From 2000 to 2001, Gorozia worked \
as an intern at the healthcare department of the \
Ministry of Justice of Georgia. In 2003, Gorozia \
served on the Central Elections Commission. From \
2003 to 2005, he was appointed as Deputy, and later \
promoted as Head of the Tbilisi City HallQs Healthcare \
and Social Services. He is currently member of \
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TBILISI 00002290 005 OF 006 \
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the United National Movement. \
\
Gorozia is seen by many not only as a good party \
functionary, but also as a good manager enthusiastic \
about local projects and capable of delivering results. \
At the same time, Gorozia still has to overcome \
another existing perception which holds him as a "cocksure" \
young guy, "having his fling" while he is still the \
ruler of Samegrelo region. \
\
Mikheil Svimonoshvili - Guria \
----------------------------- \
\
Guria holds strong potential for agricultural \
development of tea, citrus, hazel nuts, and mineral water. \
The region comprises three districts with the total \
population of approximately 143,357. Mikheil \
Svimonishvili was appointed Governor of Guria in November \
2006. \
\
Svimonishvili was born on April 7, 1976, in Tbilisi. \
In 1993, Svimonishvili attended technical college of \
the German city of Bruchsal, majoring in trade economy, \
and later pursued post-graduate studies at the Ivane \
Javakhishvili State University of Tbilisi, with \
the major in business-information technology. Between \
1997 and 1999, he studied in Switzerland at the economic \
faculty of the Zurich University. In 1998, he took a \
one-year qualification improvement course at the Swiss \
Banking School. In 1997, together with Swiss \
partners, Svimonishvili founded the company "Tskali \
Margebeli", Ltd., which produces the mineral water \
Nabeghlavi. At the same time, he is a founder of the \
Ltd. "Alami" and "Ali Georgian Motors". Until December \
2004, he worked as the Head of the Tbilisi City Hall \
Service of city planning. On December 17, 2004, he \
was appointed the Minister of Agriculture of Georgia. \
\
Svimonishvili is not perceived as a person wholeheartedly \
dedicated to the region, but rather as a temporary "fixture" \
who was assigned to this position against his will and \
who would be looking for the first feasible opportunity \
to turn a "new leaf" in his career. \
\
Otar Siradze - Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti \
--------------------------------------------- --- \
\
Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti holds good prospects \
for tourism and recreational development. Its rich \
mineral water resources holds strong potential for \
the bottled water industry . It comprises four districts \
with the total population of approximately 50,969. \
Otar Siradze was appointed Governor of Racha-Lechkhumi \
and Lower Svaneti in March, 2005. \
\
Siradze was born in 1975 in the town of Ambrolauri, \
Racha region. In 1997, he graduated from the Humanities \
Institute of Georgia with the qualification of the manager \
of economic relations. He later continued post-graduate \
studies in economics at the State University of Tbilisi. \
Between 1995 and 2002, Siradze worked as the Deputy \
Director of company Laba, Ltd., and as Assistant Head \
of the Office of the Minister of State Property Management. \
From 2003 to 2004, he was the Head of the Office of the \
Agency of Enterprise Management, a public legal entity. \
In 2005, Siradze was appointed the Deputy Head of the \
Georgian GovernmentQs Department on Regional Policy. \
\
Siradze is probably the least known Governor of the \
regions of Georgia, apparently shunning any public \
appearances. Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti, one of \
the most beautiful parts of Georgia, would benefit \
tremendously from having energetic leadership focused on \
intensive road development and local tourism/recreation \
development projects. \
\
Comment \
------- \
\
8. (SBU) Comment: Strengthening of the institution of \
regional governors Q unelected officials appointed by \
and directly subordinate to the president may help with the \
development and subsequent implementation of comprehensive \
strategies for the economic development of GeorgiaQs \
regions. It is also a way to provide oversight over the \
fledgling and inexperienced (at least in democracy) local \
officials. Based on a review of qualifications, background, \
and performance in current and previous positions, there \
is some question as to whether the actual incumbents can \
\
TBILISI 00002290 006 OF 006 \
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\
be expected to perform their mandates effectively. \
It will be important that implementation of these laws is \
done in a way which allows for the continued \
decentralization of federal structures, empowerment of \
locally elected officials, and deferral of decisions to \
the local level. We will actively encourage such an approach. \
End \
comment. \
TEFFT \
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