TBILISI, DFWatch — Yuval Fuchs, Israel’s Ambassador to Georgia, tells DF Watch that cooperation between Israeli and Georgia should be strengthened and he thinks Israel is able to help Georgia in terms of economic development, especially in agriculture.
But there was one issues of dispute: That Georgia recognized the change of status of Palestine in the UN Parliamentary Assembly. Also, that Georgian citizens were denied entry visas to Israel to go to Jerusalem and pray.
“Of course we weren’t happy with what happened, but everything doesn’t end here and the relations between the two countries are on a much higher level,” said Yuval Fuchs, who supports the upgrade of Palestine to the status of a national state and, he argues, the two things are not related.
Y.F: We continue cooperation. There were official visits in the past and currently there is very scrupulous works to improve relations of the two countries. Recently I gad meeting with Education Minister and I will soon have meeting with few other ministers, where we will review in details plans of our work.
In spring it Prime Minister’s visit to Israel is planned and as soon as election will end in Israel, active works will start on this visit. There are negotiations in few directions and hopefully, relations will get better. It happened, what happened, but we do not stop on this and we continue relations.
DFW: What specific projects are planned within the cooperation between the two states?
Y.F: We should find our common interest and luckily, there are many such interests. Georgia is an agricultural country and has great potential to be a strong agricultural country. However, it can neither produce for export, nor to satisfy its own needs. In this regard, Israel can help Georgia by providing technology and by sharing knowledge and conduct training. We don’t compete with Georgia and we want to have cooperation.
Our cultural relation is also important. It has a long history, but we shouldn’t be oriented only toward the past. One of the most important issues to which Israel will contribute will be translating Jewish literature to Georgian. Very little literature is translated into Georgia and Georgian into Hebrew. So we will take care of this that Georgia society got introduced with Georgian literature and we expect Georgia will do the same so that Jewish society got introduced with the Georgian literature.
I can tell the same on the other fields, whether this will be a health-care, science or some other field, where Israeli has large experience.
DFW: You’ve mentioned cooperation in politics. What is planned in this regards?
Y.F: If you will read today’s newspapers, you will see that there is a disaster taking place in Syria. Many people died already and no one knows when all these will finish. Many people say nowadays that a weapon in Syria may freely get into hands of Iran or Hezbollah. Few days ago Financial Time published article about Uranium reserves lf Syria and it says that about 50 tons of Uranium was found in Syria and there is threat that Iran will gain this Uranium after it will create great problem for international society.
Iran produces weapon, finances terrorist organizations and it is not only problem of Israel, but for the whole world. Few months ago there were explosions in Tbilisi and in Delhi in one day and then there were more explosions. Such things don’t happen randomly and this is a very big problem for the whole world. Iran releases hate speech towards each UN member country, while they call Israel ‘world’s cancer.’
If you look at the map you will simply understand that Syria, Lebanon and Iran aren’t so far from Tbilisi and you will need few hours to get to Georgia. Accordingly, they are threat to Georgia as well and that’s why we review those issues with Georgian government as well and we value their attitudes towards this problem and we will continue cooperation.
DFW: How it is interest of Iran to create problems in Georgia considering good relations between Iran and Georgia?
Y.F: Georgia and Iran have long term relations and it cannot be neglected. Even more, we had diplomatic relations with Iran. There used to be a Jewish school in Iran for diplomats. We do not have anything against Iranian people and Iranian culture. Iran’s current government policy is a problem.
We have negotiations with Georgia and we know for sure that Georgia is and will remain faithful to the sanctions which international society applied to Iran. But it is never unnecessary to once more review issues, which are actual for the whole world and which is problem to the whole world.
DFW: How do you think how correctly does the international society evaluates threats which Georgia may have due to being closer to terrorist world, which you just spoke about?
Y.F: It doesn’t matter what I think, because we deal with the real problem and we see this every day that Iran attempts to avoid the sanctions defined by the international society and also tries to hide behind certain organizations and commit some crime in their name. We should know about such type of threats and we should acknowledge that Iran truly attempts those.
As for Israel it is number one problem for us as it is matter of national security. But at the same time we think it is problem not only Israeli, but the whole region and for the international society.
There are elections in Israeli January 22 and no matter how it ends, I’m giving you guarantees on two things: first is that doesn’t matter who will come in force of the country, relations with Georgia will continue and the only one change in relations will be that it will go deeper. The other thing is that Israeli will remain supporter of peace in any case and Israeli will remain faithful to partners, who with the same efforts will act to establish peace in the Middle East, as Israeli does.