Bakradze postpones official visit to Israel
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, March 11
A visit to Israel, which was planned for next week, by Georgian Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, has been postponed, his spokesperson confirmed on March 11. There is all sorts of speculation about the reason for the postponement.
According to Ynetnews.com, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin asked his Georgian counterpart, David Bakradze, to delay his visit to Israel – scheduled for next week – to a later date.
Rivlin explained that the request is a product of internal and external political circumstances, and that they relate in part to Israeli businessmen detained in Georgia. Rony Fuchs and Zeev Frenkiel have been in custody since October, when they were accused of offering a bribe to the Georgian official.
Maka Gigauri, the parliamentary chairman’s spokesperson, said that the reason for the visit’s postponement was only related to Israel’s internal and external political issues.
“The Georgian embassy in Israel was contacted by the Israeli Knesset to request postponement of the visit; two reasons behind this request have been named: debates on internal political issues planned for next week [in Knesset] and planned talks with the Palestinian side; these are the reasons behind postponement of the visit,” Gigauri said, adding that there was nothing special or surprising in the postponement of the visit.
“We have friendly relations with Israel and serious investments continue to come from Israel,” Giorgi Baramidze, the Georgian deputy PM and state minister for Euro-Atlantic integration, said and added that, “businessmen may be influential with connections including in the Parliament, but when one offers a bribe to a high-ranking official it is illegal and naturally the law enforcement agencies should act appropriately.”
Comment has also been made by Minister of Reintegration, Eka Tkeshelashvili, “it frequently happens when such a visit is postponed, it happens due to several reasons, I also had such situations and I can’t see anything unusual in this.”
Some from the Georgian opposition have several times stated that the detention of the businessmen would impose straining of relations with Israel and demanded the urgent release of the businessmen. When the Israeli Embassy stopped functioning (as the Embassy representatives and Georgian officials have stated due to some technical problems), the opposition connected the fact with the detention.