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Jerusalem Patriarch Denies Information about Negotiations on Jvari Monastery

“It is conflict escalation policy,” Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem evaluated the statement of the Georgian party during his interview with the online edition “Izru.”

The Jerusalem Patriarch said he learned about the position of the Georgian government after the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili made statement in Gori.

“I have no idea what Saakashvili, Kalandadze and Rurua are speaking about,” the Patriarch said and added that the Israeli government, who has close relation with the Patriarchate, has never assigned the land to any other party without having agreed the issue with the Patriarchate. He added that the Israeli government would have never made similar decision with regard to Jvari Monastery either “our government was also surprised with this statement.”

Theophilos III also noted that during Georgian Patriarch’s visit in Israel, who was invited by the Israeli party, nobody mentioned anything about purchase of Jvari Monastery. He added that nobody spoke about the issue during Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze’s visit in Israel.

The Foreign Ministry of Georgia spread opposite information “The issue of transfer of Jvari Monastery was officially discussed during Grigol Vashadze’s visit in Israel,” deputy minister Nino Kalandadze stated at the weekly briefing on March 5.

The deputy ministry said the information spread by Georgian media [the Israeli Foreign Ministry did not have information about the transfer of Jvari Monastery] was misunderstanding.

On February 25, President Mikheil Saakashvili said a special group is working on the return of the Jerusalem Monastery during his speech in the Defense National Academy in Gori.

The Georgian Minister of Culture and Monument Protection Nika Rurua also confirmed the information though he said the names of group members cannot be published due to safety of negotiations’ results.

Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II did not have information about the negotiations either. After his visit in Jerusalem, his secretary Mikael Botkoveli told Netgazeti that nobody spoke about Jvari Monastery during the visit.


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