|The Israeli-Abkhaz Defense Partnership Not To Be|
|April 18, 2011|
By Joshua Kucera
So, the prospect of an emerging Israeli-Abkhaz defense alliance  didn't last long. Israel's ambassador to Georgia has said that, contrary to reports  last week in Abkhazian media, Israel is not  going to sell weapons to the de facto authorities in Sukhumi:
“We do not recognize them as independent states and we are not going to sell them any kind of arms. It is possible that some private businessmen visited Abkhazia, but they cannot speak under the name of the [Israeli] Government. I reiterate, we are not going to sell arms to them,” information agency Interpressnews quoted Ambassador [Itzhak] Gerberg as saying.
The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Gerberg over the allegations, and is apparently satisfied  with what it heard:
Georgian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Israeli ambassador in Tbilisi and had “a detailed discussion” over visit to breakaway Abkhazia by executives from the Israeli security consulting firm, Global CST, Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on Monday.
“Both privately and in his public statement the Ambassador unequivocally confirmed, that Israel has no intention whatsoever to have any military cooperation with de facto [Abkhaz authorities],” Kalandadze said.
It's worth remembering here that Israel did  sell $400 million worth of drone aircraft to Russia. The degree to which Abkhazia's defense and security services are under Moscow's control is a big question , and one wonders what the Russian role in this aborted deal might have been.
Meanwhile, Georgia is denying  claims by the Israeli company Elbit that it owes $100 million  for a 2007 drone deal:
“We know that a lawsuit has been filed [by Elbit Systems], but we have not been formally notified about this lawsuit from the arbitration,” Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on April 18.
“According to the information available to us, the Georgian Ministry of Defense not only does not have any amount in arrears, there are number of defense companies, which, unfortunately, themselves owe to the Georgian side,” she added without elaborating further details.
More even than most defense stories in this part of the world, I think it's safe to say that there is a lot more to this story than we're hearing.
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