Ahead of his two-day visit to Israel early next week, Georgia’s PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said he wants his country to be a “strategic partner” with Israel.
“My desire and dream is for Israel to become our strategic partner. I am not hiding this fact, but highlighting it. Israel and Jews are interesting for me, and it is good for my country to establish deep ties,” he said in an interview with the Israeli English-language daily Jerusalem Post.
“We need to be such friends that we look at each other as if the other is our homeland [for] any kind of recommendations, advice – strategic or practical, state relations between governments and ministries. But most important is to reestablish the relations between the nations, between the people. People are most important,” Ivanishvili said in the interview in which he spoke much about, as he put it, his and Georgians “special relationship” with and “respect” towards Israel and Jewish people.
In the same interview, Ivanishvili was quoted as saying that Iran should not become a nuclear state. “Nuclear weaponry is dangerous. We are implementing all the UN sanctions. We need to be able to manage – along with the international community – not to have a nuclear Iran. We need to unite in the fight against terrorism, and in this regard we need [to] be productive and successful in order for Iran not to become a nuclear state,” he said.
He also said that neither Israeli or Western attack on Iran nor Iran with nuclear weapon would be good for Georgia.
“A nuclear Iran should not happen, that is not in our interests, of course. Same thing with a Western attack on Iran. Of course, the ideal would be for Iran to be convinced by the West to abandon its nuclear aspirations,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Ivanishvili, who added that achieving of these goals is hard but possible.
Asked why Georgia voted in November, 2012 in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution granting Palestine a non-member observer state status at the UN, Ivanishvili responded without elaborating details: “We always support Israel, but because of a certain decision-making process regarding voting we had to decide the way we have decided.”
After the vote in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in November, 2012 a Georgian representative told the UNGA as a country in close proximity to the Middle East, Georgia was sympathetic to the aspirations of the people of the region, including those of Palestinians for statehood and those of Israelis for security. The Georgian representative also said that ending the conflict was of paramount importance and could only be based on a negotiated settlement between the parties and that the resolution adopted by the UNGA could be understood as conferring privileges and rights in line with those of non-member observer states without implying an automatic right for Palestine to join international organizations as a state.