A security consulting firm, whose top executives visited breakaway Abkhazia last month, had not requested permit from Israeli authorities for any type of security-related activities in that region, a source from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, said on May 1.
The company has not approached the Israeli Ministry of Defense with such a request and even if it will, “I do not believe that such a permit will be given,” the source, who declined to be identified, told Civil.ge.
A founder and owner of Israeli security consulting firm, Global CST, Israel Ziv, accompanied by the company CEO, Meir Klifi, met with the Abkhaz leadership in Sokhumi on April 14. Ziv is retired major general and a former head of operations at the Israeli General Staff and Klifi was Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s military aide until 2009.
“We know that this visit was civilian-related and not related to security issues,” the source said, but he declined to specify whether the Israeli authorities were notified in advance about this visit.
Global CST was involved in training of the Georgian troops, but the company wrapped up their operations in Georgia shortly before the August, 2008 war.
Beyond security and defense consultancy and trainings the Global CST also has a civil division offering strategies in various fields ranging from agriculture to communication and infrastructure.
By law companies need a permit from the Israeli Ministry of Defense to export arms and security-related items or consultancy. The source from the Israeli Ministry of Defense said that the relevant Israeli authorities were “very strict” in applying those rules, which, he said, had become even “more strict” since 2008. The Ministry of Defense, however, has no authority over any company about their civilian-related activities, the source said.
Few days after the visit of Global CST executives in Sokhumi, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Israeli ambassador in Tbilisi and had “a detailed discussion” about that visit. In the remarks for the press, Israeli Ambassador to Georgia, Itzhak Gerberg, said last month, that his country had no intention of supplying weapons to Abkhazia.
As some commentators in Tbilisi suggested the visit should be viewed in the context of worsened ties between Georgia and Israel following arrest and then conviction of two Israeli businessmen in Georgia over bribery charges.