Statement by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom Following
Meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili
Jerusalem, October 27, 2003
It is my pleasure
to welcome Foreign Minister Menagarishvili to Jerusalem once again.
We have just concluded a very constructive meeting where we discussed
the full range of bilateral and regional issues, including the international
war on terror.
The Georgian community
here in Israel numbers 100,000 and is the largest outside the former
Soviet Union. It serves as a bridge of friendship and understanding
between Israel and the Republic of Georgia and as a basis for close
cooperation between our countries in many fields.
Israel and Georgia both
have much to gain from increased trade relations and joint economic
endeavors. I look forward to working with my colleague to advance
such initiatives, including major projects like the Baku-Tbilisi-Chihan
Regarding the situation
in the Middle East, I reiterated to the Foreign Minister Israel’s
firm commitment to ending the conflict with our Palestinian neighbors
through negotiations based on the Roadmap. The only way we can make
progress in this direction is for the Palestinian Authority to finally
take the strategic and moral decision to dismantle the terrorist
We agreed on the importance
of international cooperation in the war against terror, and we both
expressed our commitment to ensuring that the values of democracy
and stability prevail over those of tyranny and fear. I also reiterated
the importance of preventing Iran – a country committed to the destruction
of Israel and one of the world’s chief sponsors of terror – from
acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
The Iranian nuclear program
is a danger not only to the Middle East and, but indeed to the entire
world, and it must be stopped.
I asked the Foreign Minister
to extend my deep appreciation to President Eduard Shevardnadze
for the commitment to Jewish freedom that he demonstrated while
serving as the Foreign Minister of the Former Soviet Union. His
ongoing friendship and the friendship of the Georgian government
and its people continue to pave the way for our close cooperation
to the benefit of both our peoples.