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Deputy FM: Georgian sailors freed in India

Tuesday, May 24
Georgian sailors detained in India a month and a half ago have been released, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze said on Monday. Speaking at a routine press briefing, Kalandadze told journalists that 8 Georgian sailors have already left for Istanbul from India. A ship, owned by a Turkish company, carrying processed scrap metal and oil from India to Pakistan was detained on April 4. According to the Georgian officials the Georgian sailors will stay in Istanbul for several days to meet the ship owner and get their salary for April.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister said the court hearing of Georgian citizen, Babutsa Gordadze, detained in Malaysia on drug trafficking charges might be delayed once more. She said the process had to resume on Monday, however, Kalandadze noted that there were “some technical problems” still to be solved.

Kalandadze informed journalists about the launch of political consultations between Israel and Georgia. She said the consultations taking place on May 23-24 are being held for the first time since 2009. According to the Minister, the sides will sign a memorandum, envisaging holding political consultations between Georgia and Israel on a regular basis. Answering the question whether the sides will talk about an Israeli arms company's visit to Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia, Kalandadze said that the Israeli officials have already expressed their position over the issue that military cooperation between Israel and Abkhazia cannot happen without the approval of the state.

“The official statement of the state of Israel indicates that the state itself is against such relations. At the same time, Israel has repeatedly expressed its support towards Georgia’s territorial integrity and does not recognize separatist regimes, as independent states,” Kalandadze noted, adding that possibly the Israeli officials will reiterate their position over the issue in frames of the political consultations with Georgia.

Members of the Israeli delegation are planning to meet Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze and the National Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria. “Restoration of this tradition [of political consultations] is really timely,” Deputy Foreign Minister noted “We consider these consultations very important, as far as we have special relations with Israel and we hope that after this 2-day meeting we will be able to discuss wide range of important subjects,” she added.

Georgian officials will hold two more political consultations this week, Kalandadze noted: one with the French authorities and a second one with Swiss officials. The French delegation is headed by the Deputy French Foreign Minister, who will meet his Georgian counterpart and the NSC Secretary, according to Kalandadze.

As for the Swiss-Georgia consultations, the Deputy Minister said it will be held in Bern and refer to the issues related to mutual relations and economy as well as the Swiss role as mediator between Georgia and Russia.