President Rivlin receives official welcome in Georgia, speaks about the terror attack in Jerusalem
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Monday) began a State Visit to Georgia with an official welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace, hosted by President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili. During the ceremony the Presidents stood for the playing of the national anthems and together reviewed a guard of honor. The two then went on to hold a working bilateral meeting after which they delivered statements to the media.
In his remarks, President Rivlin began by speaking of the vehicular terror attack in Jerusalem the day earlier, in which four young soldiers were killed. He said, “I come here from Jerusalem. The holy city. The eternal city. A city to which the Jewish people prayed to return for 2000 years. But today once again, it is a city where we mourn the victims of terror and hatred; young men and women. Terror will never win, but will only strengthen our faith and commitment to Jerusalem.”
The President went on to thank President Margvelashvili for the warm welcome and said, “I am here today to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between our countries, but our friendship goes back much further. The Jewish community in Georgia goes back thousands of years, and we are so proud of the contribution made by Jews to Georgian culture, and by Georgian citizens to Israel. The Georgian Jewish community - here and in Israel - is a bridge between us, and an example of the warm friendship between our peoples.”
He went on to say, “During my visit, I am looking forward to learning more about your country and about how we can grow our friendship and cooperation,” and added, “I believe this is an ideal time to bring together our economic and trade authorities to consider how we can work closer on a range of issues, and strengthen the ties between our two peoples. On the issue of agriculture alone; Israel has so much to offer, with the use of new technologies to help improve harvests and crops. I would like to see more delegations and shared cooperation on this issue especially, and on the issue of cyber security, where we already cooperate closely. This is an essential need for us all today, and is part of our duty to keep our people and our countries safe and secure.
“We face shared threats - together with all the free world,” said the President and continued, “These threats are online, and in the street. We condemn all forms of terror. We condemn all forms of hatred. And we stand untied in facing these threats together.” He concluded by saying, “In times of trouble, and in good times; In the face of challenges, which are also opportunities; Israel is proud to stand with Georgia.”
President Margvelashvili welcomed the President on his arrival and said, “I want to share with you the excitement in our country in the run up to your visit. We are delighted to host you and feel the strength of the relationship between the countries. We are small peoples with great strength, living in not so simple surroundings, and the opportunities for our cooperation continue to grow.”
He went on to stress the need to increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism and said, “ISIS are phenomena which threaten the whole world and we must share our abilities in order to fight them and all who threaten the world order. Fighting against terror with a strong and united hand will enable us to overcome it. I spoke with the President about the potential to develop our cooperation in all possible areas. We are supported by the people, and our peoples want to continue to strengthen the ties, and today we discussed about all the steps necessary to be taken to develop the relationship between us. I want to the welcome all the Israeli delegation and I think the foundation of all cooperation between us is the firm friendship between the states.” President Margvelashvili added that Georgia was interested in learning more from Israel in the area of agriculture, “The miracle that you have performed in Israel in the development of agriculture in your land is an inspiration for us, and we are pleased to learn from these processes and to adopt them through the MASHAV program.”
Later President Rivlin would go on to hold working meetings with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, as well as with Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze, before both President and First Lady Rivlin will attend a state dinner in honor of their visit.
Tomorrow, the President was due to meet with leaders of Georgia’s Jewish community and lay a wreath at the national memorial, before returning back to Israel.