Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy: Knesset Channel)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin renewed an invitation to his Georgian counterpart
David Bakradze to visit the Knesset on Thursday, signaling improved ties between
Israel and the country following Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s pardon
of two Israeli businessmen earlier this week.
The two men, Roni Fuchs and
Ze’ev Frenkel, began serving a six-and-a-half- to seven-year sentence in April
for bribery. They were suspected of offering Georgia’s deputy finance minister
$5 million in December 2010, so he would accelerate the payment of $100m. owed
to them by the Georgian government following the cancellation of an oil and gas
In March, Rivlin asked Bakradze to postpone his
visit to Israel, saying that the timing was inappropriate, because many Israelis
were concerned about the fate of Fuchs and Frenkel, but on Thursday, he invited
the Georgian Parliament chairman once again.
The Knesset speaker pointed
out that in 2012, Israel and Georgia will mark 20 years of diplomatic
“I am confident that your visit here will help foster the good
relations already existing between our two countries and our two nations,”
Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze is expected to
visit Israel in two weeks, following an invitation from Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman immediately after the two businessmen were pardoned.