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Georgia’s PM visits Israel, meets top figures

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, July 26
Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, visited Israel and invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Georgia, who accepted the offer, highlighting the 26 centuries of friendly relations between Georgians and the Jewish community.

During the meeting, Georgia’s PM told his Israeli counterpart that the centuries of “harmonious co-existence of our peoples is deeply rooted in our national memory”.

“The personal ties and relations between the Jewish and the Georgian people are truly exemplary. In this regard, the year 2017 is of special significance, as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. During these 25 years we managed to strengthen our friendship, which was established between the Georgian and Jewish peoples 26 centuries ago,” Kvirikashvili stated.

He said that bilateral relations between Israel and Georgia “were developing very rapidly” and expressed belief that the exchange of high level visits would give additional impetus in this regard.

“We have achievements practically in all spheres, including political and economic cooperation, culture, education, tourism, agriculture and defence. Today we discussed how we can strengthen our cooperation in all those directions,” the Georgian PM said.

He added that he hoped the two countries would cooperate further in the field of new technology.

Netanyahu also stressed the centuries-long friendship, as unlike in many countries, Georgians and Jews have lived in harmony throughout their history, and called friends to those tens of thousands Jews who lived in Georgia and then moved to Israel.

He said these people were amongst those who built modern Israel.

Netanyahu stated that ongoing developments in Syria and terrorist threats from the Islamic State could create danger for any nation.

“We [Georgia and Israel] plan to boost cooperation for security, healthcare and in directions that will create better lives for our people,” Netanyahu said.

Kvirikashvili also met Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, whom he told that Israel had a very reliable ally in Georgia, in a neighborhood full of challenges.

“Georgia and Israel are connected by 2,600 years of friendship. We face positive dynamics in many directions. Our country hosts 15,000 tourists from your country annually and this figure increases from year to year,” Kvirikashvili said.

Prime Minster also stressed that in autumn, Georgia will host a Georgia-Israel Intergovernmental Commission meeting to discuss the prospects of further cooperation in agriculture, technology, education, security and other fields.

“Georgia and Israel face the same challenges and we should learn from your experience,” Kvirikashvili stated.

“We are eager to deepen relations,” Rivlin said, adding that Georgia and Israel enjoy very intensive cooperation in security and agriculture.

Patriarch Theophilos III of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine awarded Kvirikashvili with the Golden Cross with Crown, Wreath, and Star.

It was for the first time this award was granted to a high-ranking official by the Patriarch, Georgia’s Prime Minister’s press office announced.