Georgia’s MFA Confirms Azerbaijan Restricted Access to David Gareji Complex

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has confirmed that Azerbaijani border guards restricted the movement beyond the ridge, near Georgia's David Gareji Monastery Complex, which is located at the border of neighboring Azerbaijan and has become the subject of the dispute many times.

The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vladimer Konstantinidi said the Georgian side is working with the neighboring state to solve this issue, adding his might take some time.

“An active communication process is underway and we are working to settle the issue in order to ensure the free movement of the pilgrims, tourists and parish. I would like to tell you that communication is underway in a very collaborative atmosphere, but we know that the solution of such issues needs some time,” he said.

The spokesperson called on everyone to restrain from making any statements regarding the issue in order to avoid escalation of the situation.

“We hope that the Azeri side will discuss the issue in a constructive manner,” he said.

The information about the Azerbaijani side restricting the access to one of the main monasteries of David Gareji – Udabno (desert) Monastery, was released by Archimandrite Kirion (Oniani).

He said it has been three days the clerics cannot access the Udabno Monastery because the Azerbaijani border guards are restricting the movement there.

Archimandrite Kirion says that Georgia should do something about the disputable section of the border. He believes that the situation got worse after the President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, paid a visit there with the representatives of Europa Nostra organization several days ago and called for the resolution of the border dispute.

David Gareji Monasteries and Hermitages in Georgia is listed among the 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe.

The site is a Georgian Orthodox cave monastery complex located in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, on the half-desert slopes of Mount Gareji, 60–70 km southeast of Georgia's capital Tbilisi. The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face.

Part of the complex is located in the Agstafa district of Azerbaijan.

By Thea Morrison




25 April 2019 15:22
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