Parliament Speaker voices support for Israel

Georigan Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili and the newly elected Israeli President Reuven Rivlin., 24 Jul 2014 - 16:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia's Parliament Speaker has reaffirmed his country's support for Israel while meeting Israeli high officials amidst turmoil in the country.

Speaker David Usupashvili is in Israel on an official visit, where he has already met a number of top officials, including newly elected President Reuven Rivlin and the chairman of Knesset, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, which is the highest legislative body of Israel.

Usupashvili told journalists his visit to Israel was "friendly” and "very timely.”

"The official visit of a Georgian Parliament representative to Israel was planned two months ago. Since then a number of important occurrences have happened,” he said.

"On the one hand, events developed in Israel. As you know, military operations are taking place very close to where we are now. And on the other hand, due to changes in the Georgian Government, Parliament is obliged to carry out new procedures. However none of these event made us rethink our visit. Because exactly in this difficult situation, when our friend - Israel and its people - are in such trouble, we have to be here,” Usupashvili said.

Within his visit, Usupashvili met with his Israeli counterpart, the chairman of Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. He thanked Usupashvili for visiting Israel regardless the volatile situation in the country.

The sides talked about security issues, the ongoing situation in Israel and deepening cooperation between the two countries. The men also agreed to strengthen inter-parliamentary and committee relations.

Georgian delegation led by Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili visiting Knesset of Israel. Photo by Parliament press-office

Edelstein noted the visit of the Georgian delegation will further strengthen the friendship between the two nations.

After this meeting Usupashvili met Israel's newly elected President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem.

The new leader congratulated Usupashvili on signing the Association Agreement and wished him and Georgia success in moving closer to Europe.

As well as discussing the situation in Israel, the President showed his interest in Georgia-Russian relations.

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet Georgian Parliament Speaker. The fact that David Usupashvili is with us in this difficult period indicates how great our friendship is,” the President noted.

"Our people, Parliaments and Governments have firm, friendly relations [with Georgia in the past] and I hope that it will continue,” he said.

Usupashvili's schedule saw him also meet other high-ranking Israeli officials, including leaders of the opposition and the head of the Georgia-Israel friendship group Avraham Michael.

In addition, the Georgian Parliament Speaker visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, "Yad Vashem" and laid a wreath at the graves of the victims.

The Georgian delegation arrived in Israel yesterday and will finish their official visit today.

David Usupashvili visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, "Yad Vashem." Photo by Parliament press-office