TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian Speaker of Parliament, Davit Bakradze, March 12 began an official visit to Israel.

Bakradze has been invited by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, according to the parliament press office.

During his stay, Bakradze will have meetings with Israeli government officials. The meetings will deal with existing bilateral relations between the two countries.

In addition, Bakradze will raise the issue of the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem, Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said at Monday’s traditional briefing.

On February 25, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili said that a task group is working towards a handover of the monastery to Georgian management, after which liturgy will be conducted in Georgian again. Monastery of the Cross was built as a Georgian monastery but sold to the Greek church in 1685.

Saakashvili said that the Georgian embassy in Israeli is also involved in this issue and is instructed to have close relations with the Israeli government.

After his statement, an Israeli official said he knew nothing about such negotiations.

In addition, Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos III stated in an interview with Izrus.ru that he also knows nothing about the negotiations regarding Cross Monastery. He said that this issue was not raised during neither the Georgian Patriarch’s nor the Georgian Foreign Minister’s visits to Israel.

But Nino Kalandadze says that there is a negotiation process on an institutional level.