The President of Georgia met with his counterpart from Azerbaijan at the NATO Summit in Chicago. Besides issues regarding joint cooperation of the two countries, the heads of state discussed more controversial matters, for instance, the problem with David Gareji monastery complex.
The monastery complex has been formally split by the Azerbaijani-Georgian border since 1991. Georgian monks consider the dispute a legacy of Soviet times – and an intrigue – which could be ended through an exchange of some territory in another place for the part of the complex on the Azerbaijani side. Yet despite negotiations opened by Georgian MFA, Baku does not accept the terms, claiming that this particular spot is of military and strategic importance.
At the meeting during the NATO Summit, Presidents Mikheil Saakashvili and Ilham Aliyev discussed another round of talks that are to be led by diplomats from the two countries, members of a special border commission. In their opinion, a workable solution is needed in the context of future cooperation between both states.
Grigol Vashadze, the Foreign Minister of Georgia, announced: “I want to stress that this is not a new problem; during the Soviet times, intentionally or unwittingly, the administrative border was drawn in a way that 2 percent of this monastery complex fell on the Azerbaijani side of the administrative border. I want to stress that as soon as we return back to Georgia we will demand upon the President’s instruction to immediately hold a meeting of the [bilateral Georgian-Azerbaijani border delimitation] commission in order to continue working on this issue with doubled efforts”.
Translated by KD