Georgian Prime Minister’s Official Visit to Israel Print Version



On July 24-25, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held an official visit to Israel.

The Prime Minister's official visit started with a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The conversation's key topics included the positive dynamics of bilateral relations, 25 years of diplomatic relations, and experience-sharing in various areas.

The Prime Ministers discussed the partnership between particular of the two countries' institutions and prospects of further deepening these relations.

Special emphasis was placed on the importance of boosting economic cooperation. The growing dynamics in the trade turnover between the two countries was pointed out, along with the great untapped potential in this regard.

The Prime Ministers also discussed the two countries' security cooperation. The Prime Minister of the State of Israel reiterated support for Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Giorgi Kvirikashvili invited Benjamin Netanyahu to Georgia and the Prime Minister of Israel accepted the invitation. The Prime Ministers made a joint statement for the press.

Patriarch Theophilos III of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine awarded Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili with the Golden Cross with Crown, Wreath, and Star, marking the first time this award being granted to highest-ranking officials by the Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine.

According to Theophilos III, it is an honor hosting the Prime Minister of Georgian in the Holy Land.
"Your country and your people, Georgia and the Georgians, have a special link to Jerusalem, the Holy Land, and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. According to certain legends, Saint Nino, the patron saint of your country, was a niece of Patriarch Juvenal of Jerusalem. Of course, there are many other historical and cultural factors that link us. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem has played an important role in guarding and protecting the Orthodox Faith," the Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine stated.

During the conversation the Prime Minister emphasized the contribution of Theophilos III to keeping peace and stability in the region, and invited the Patriarch to Georgia.

"Allow me to invite you to Georgia. Although the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia has already invited you, I will be happy to have an honor of hosting you," the Prime Minister addressed the Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem.

During his official visit, the Prime Minister of Georgia honored the memory of the victims of the Holocaust by visiting the Holocaust Museum, laying a wreath at the Memorial of the Holocaust Victims, and recording his impressions in the guestbook.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili also visited the Grove of Nations in Jerusalem where he, together with Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, planted a tree.

On July 25, the Head of Georgian Government was hosted by President Reuven Rivlin of the State of Israel.

The parties discussed the positive dynamics of bilateral cooperation in particular areas and prospects of deepening these relations further.

The Prime Minister emphasized the special relations between Georgia and Israel and pointed out that the history of the two nations' friendship goes back 2,600 years.

"You can find the most positive sentiments among the Georgians toward the people of Israel. We are so glad to see more than 150,000 visitors a year. It is growing month by month. We have a number of areas of very fruitful cooperation with Israel. We warmly recall your visit just months ago to our country where we had an opportunity to discuss extending our cooperation, and we are going to host the Intergovernmental Commission this autumn, where we will able to discuss opportunities to deepen our cooperation. There are a number of areas, being it agriculture, technical, education, hi-tech cooperation, and security. The challenges we face are quite similar, and we need to learn from your experience. Of course, Georgia is a reliable partner of Israel in this challenging neighborhood," the Prime Minister said.

The President of the State of Israel underlined the special friendly relations between the two countries.

According to Reuven Rivlin, the Georgian people and the Jews have much in common.

"We have a large community of Georgians here in Israel, as much as you have a wonderful Jewish community in Georgia. I know that we have a lot of connections between our peoples. There are more than 150,000 tourists moving from Georgia to Israel and from Israel to Georgia. We are very happy about these connections, connections in agriculture and homeland security, which is so very important for both of us and the entire free world, and we are doing a lot. I know that you are going to meet the Prime Minister, and you are going to have different meetings, and your Foreign Minister is here. We are looking forward to extending our relationship, and the very visit of your here, along with the Foreign Affairs Minister, is very important for both people and shows the willingness and wish for extending our relationship. We welcome you from the bottom of our hearts and a lot of respect to your people and to the connection between our peoples. Welcome," the President of the State of Israel addressed the Prime Minister of Georgia.

The Prime Minister of Georgia also visited the headquarters of the Jerusalem Venture Partners international foundation. Noa Segre, the Head of the Investor Relations at the JVP as well as other representatives of the foundation briefed the Prime Minister on the main working directions and specifics of the organization in a detailed manner.

Prospects of future cooperation were also discussed during the meeting. Representatives of JVP also expressed readiness to share their experience to their Georgian counterparts. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili noted that development of the knowledge and education based economy is a high priority for the Government of Georgia. The Prime Minister also discussed activities undertaken by the Georgian Innovations and Technology Agency and discussed the mechanisms aimed at fostering startups as well as Georgian Technology Park.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili also held meetings with Speaker of Knesset of the State of Israel Yuli Edelstein and Isaac Herzog, the leader of the parliamentary opposition.

At the conclusion of the official visit, the Prime Minister met with Georgian Jews. According to him, Georgia's great closeness to Israel covers both emotional and strategic levels, and these relations must be reflected in economic partnership as well. The Prime Minister emphasized the great role they play in further deepening Georgia-Israel bilateral relations. He also spoke of the high-level political partnership between the two countries.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili commended the growing tourism statistics as an important step forward, also stating that, last year, 100,000 tourists visited Georgia last year, and that their number is expected to exceed 150,000 by the end of 2017.

"We also enjoy interesting cooperation in a number of directions, but the main goal of our visit today is to strengthen our economic relations and security cooperation. I was excited to invite Mr. Netanyahu who is held in high esteem in both Georgia and worldwide. He is one of the distinguished global leaders, and we will be honored to host him in Georgia with an Israeli business delegation. We want this visit to take place very soon because, as I am convinced, there are several promising directions for cooperation. We also discussed the challenges facing Israel and Georgia. I am proud to say that we, together with our Jewish friends, prayed by the Wailing Wall for peace in both Israel and Georgia. It was a sense of that exceptional unity and consolidation that our nations share. This unity is centuries-old, but a day will come when we will have to excel what we have achieved so far, and we will have to build upon our special friendship and transform it into special economic partnership, as befits our political relations," the Prime Minister stated.

During the meeting with Georgian Jews, the Head of Georgian Government spoke of prospects of deeper relations with Israel stemming from centuries-old friendship.

"Of course, I do not mean to say that we will start something new. Of course, it will build upon our centuries-old friendship. We cherish this friendship, but it also important to have large-scale partnership with the State of Israel and to develop directions with untapped resources, such as trade and investment relations, cooperation in the areas of education, innovation and high technology, and security. Of course, tourism and agriculture already have a good record of successful development, but even there we have great resources," the Prime Minister said.

The Georgian delegation consisted of Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and the Prime Minister's Foreign Adviser Tedo Japaridze.


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