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Israeli Embassy closed just temporarily

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, February 22
At yesterday’s press briefing, Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze talked about the next round of Geneva talks, the visit of the General Secretary of the European Council’s monitoring mission to Georgia, issues concerning the Israel Embassy in Georgia and possible investments in the occupied region of Abkhazia.

“The next round of Geneva talks will be held on March 4. We have no special agenda for the day, as all the previous issues for debate are still in force. We are waiting for a concrete outcome from each meeting,” Kalandadze said.

The deputy foreign minister also announced the date of the visit to Georgia of the General Secretary of the European Council monitoring mission, “We expect them on February 22. In the framework of the meeting, representatives of the mission will hold meetings with the parliamentary opposition and with the members of international organisations.” She mentioned, “Holding these kinds of meetings is important as the mission should have complete information on the development of democratic processes in Georgia, on the judiciary system and on the activities of law enforcement structures. The information that they will be given will be reflected in their report.”

Regarding the Israel Embassy's issues Kalandadze reported, “We have rechecked the information reported last week regarding the closure of Israel’s embassy to Georgia. Israel’s Ambassador rejected the information and stated that the Embassy has some technical problems, which will be solved in the next few days. We have no information about the kind of technical problems the Embassy has or for how long time it will be closed.” Kalandadze stated there is nothing disturbing in the issue and that if there were serious reason, the Embassy would discuss it with them. However, “the fact itself is unpleasant and we hope that the problem will be resolved soon.”

Commenting on the news reported by the newspaper Atlanta that an American Development Company is planning to build a 5-star hotel in Abkhazia, she said, “Official Tbilisi has no information about the first American investments in the breakaway region of Abkhazia. This information needs to be looked into. Even though the development of the economy in Abkhazia is part of our policy, we have rules regarding the occupied regions. Any investment in the region must be carried out according to Georgian law. If such interest from an American company really exists, the realisation of the project will only be possible with the permission of the Georgian authorities; otherwise, we will condemn this fact and react accordingly.”

This was not the only mention of the US during the briefing; Kalandadze welcomed the recommendations worked out by American analysts regarding Georgian conflicts, “We welcome that a large spectrum of American society is interested in the regulation of conflicts in Georgia. We are closely collaborating with the United States; we are exchanging information. However, it is also very important for the Obama administration to receive information from American groups, in this case, from American analysts.”