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Politicians, State Experts on Investigation into Ceding Lands to Azerbaijan

Georgian politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream and opposition parties, as well as former state experts involved in the Georgian-Azerbaijani border demarcation process, reacted to the September 29 announcement by the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) on investigating state border delimitation commission members, working on Georgian-Azerbaijani border demarcation, on suspicion of transferring lands to Azerbaijan. The POG’s statement comes in the wake of renewed large-scale armed confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Below is a compilation of some of the remarks made on September 30 by Georgian politicians and former state experts involved in the demarcation process.

Ruling Georgian Dream Party

MP Irakli Sesiashvili, Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee Chairman: “All the agreements were made to the detriment of the interests of our country, so the question naturally arose to investigative bodies as to whether there was any deliberate action here against the interests of the state. There is a map that confirms the interests of our state, this map has not been found either and, in some cases, these maps are missing, or some did not want to use them – this also raises doubts. We have very constructive cooperation with Azerbaijan, the goal is not to seize territories from each other, but our goal is to fairly determine what was achieved in the 1998 agreement.”

MP Giorgi (Gia) Volski, First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament: “The information is known to us [the ruling party] as stated by the prosecutor’s office, and preliminary data show that the negotiations were not held at a high professional level in order to protect state interests. But, neither my opinion or the opinion of my opponents has nothing to do here, nor do the pre-election topics – it is certainly an extraordinary issue of state significance that must be investigated.”


Mikheil Saakashvili, Former President of Georgia

“This is a long-planned provocation <…> They are going to first let ex-Deputy Foreign Minister Manjgaladze speak, who will say that he received some orders from me or anyone else to cede the territories. Then they are going to bring ethnic Azerbaijanis living in Moscow, who will say that they have paid money <…> for transferring these territories. And then they are going to build an entire story on how we sold the Georgian soil.”

“Completely opposite is true: under my rule, we used to raise the question in every meeting to achieve a final delimitation of the border and to confirm David Gareji as Georgian sovereign territory. And more than this, we had serious progress with Azerbaijan in this direction, and <…> in our times, nobody would dare to restrict Georgians entry to Gareji, and now, under Ivanishvili, Georgian pilgrims, Georgian citizens are barred access to one of the most significant monuments of Georgia.”

MP Davit Bakradze, European Georgia: “The fact that this [border demarcation] is recalled by the Georgian Dream 14 years later, just before the elections, speaks for itself about the type of investigation in question…” “This [the investigation] is being done today, when the Caucasus is on the verge of exploding; when there are practically full-scale hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh… Are we making a territorial claim to Azerbaijan today, when the whole Caucasus is on the verge of war? “In order to cover up the economic problems, in order to cover up the Sachkhere model, in order to fight the opposition, are we going to open a series of new claims against Azerbaijan in this tense situation?”

Labor leader Shalva Natelashvili: “If Ivanishvili’s government knew that 8-10-15 years ago someone made a change in the real state border with documents based on incorrect delimitation, then the case should have been initiated at least 8 years ago. Since this did not happen, it turns out that the government and Bidzina Ivanishvili are complicit in this heinous state crime. In fact, during Ivanishvili’s rule, sections of the monastery complex [David Gareji] were taken away, which we cannot access today.”

Former State Experts of Demarcation Commission

Nino Kalandadze, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2008-12: “There is no agreement, the commission has not finished working, the borders have not been agreed, this 70-kilometer section remains unresolved. The Commission should continue to work as this is a mutually sensitive issue. First, it concerns state territories, the concession of which is not so easy for any state, and Georgia should extend these negotiations until it [achieves a beneficial position for the country]. And secondly, it concerns a section of cultural-historical significance, the David Gareji complex, and it is inadmissible to split the David Gareji complex.”

Iveri Melashvili, Former Member of State Border Delimitation Commission: “No one was given anything, no territory was ceded, especially in favor of someone else… As for the claim that there is a historical map, everything has its name. There is a legal approach [to demarcation], which is exactly what can be used, and there is what is disadvantageous to use [so-called historical map] and cannot be used. The commission addressed precisely the material that is legally accurate during its work.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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