Following the pardon and release of two Israeli businessmen sentenced to lengthy prison terms in Georgia for attempting to bribe a deputy finance minister, President Shimon Peres phoned his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili to thank him "from the bottom of my heart" for the pardon.
"I know this was your personal decision," he said. "It was a generous gesture and I have tremendous respect for it."Peres said now that the episode was over Israel and Georgia could "return to the good and deep ties that were significant for both sides."
According to a statement put out by the President's office, Saakeshvili said he respected Peres as a world leader and a "big friend of Georgia."