Georgia, Azerbaijan Continue Talks on Border Delimitation

Georgia-Azerbaijani Border Delimitation Commissions reconvened around two weeks ago, held meetings on May 23-24 in Baku had a detailed discussion on non-agreed sections of the inter-state border as about 2/3 of the border between the two states have been agreed but 1/3 still remains disputable.

Deputy Foreign Minister Lasha Darsalia who chaired the Georgian delegation in the commission told reporters that the road construction works near David Gareji Monastery, that raised the concern of Georgian clerics in the monastery, were carried out by the Azerbaijani side on Azerbaijani-controlled territory, adding the works have been suspended.

Darsalia explained that the discussion between the countries refers to about 14 sections, including the nearby territory of David Gareji Monastery.

“It was agreed to hold joint visits to non-agreed sections, at the level of experts and afterwards, the commission will meet to discuss the results.” He said.

Georgia’s Foreign Ministry reports that experts from both countries and representatives of relevant state agencies also participated in the meeting. “The parties agreed on the examination of non-agreed sections of the state border at the expert level. The experts will study and evaluate relevant normative-legal documents and cartographic materials relating to the state border,” the ministry added.

Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia said while commenting on the recent situation around Davit Gareji Monastery Complex that the Georgian side does its best for the negotiations to be acceptable and welcoming for the cultural heritage and church of Georgia.

“We plan to carry out the measures that are necessary and what is called inter-state communication, communicate at the Commission level within the frameworks of delimitation and demarcation of the border,” he said.

Negotiations on the border demarcation became active after Azerbaijan restricted access to some parts of the Davit Gareji monastery complex, located at the border of the two countries, in early May.

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 Aghstafa district of Azerbaijan, which has many times been the subject of a dispute.

By Thea Morrison

Related stories:

Chairs of Georgia, Azerbaijan Border Delimitation Commissions Hold Meeting

Georgia-Azerbaijan Border Demarcation Commission to Resume Work

Minister: Azerbaijan to Open Closed Points at David Gareji Complex

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

European Experts Publish Report on Georgia’s David Gareji Monastery Complex

27 May 2019 00:45