Azerbaijani part of the "David Garedja" monastery complex. Photo: press service of the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan, http://mct.gov.az

08 May 2019, 11:06

Azerbaijan excludes concession of monastery to Georgia

The Azerbaijani part of the "David Garedja" cave complex is connected with the history of Christianity in Azerbaijan and cannot be transferred to Georgia, the Baku experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" have stated. There are forces in Georgia seeking to aggravate the border conflict, but the authorities of both countries are not interested in it, they assert.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 25, it became known that for several days, monks, pilgrims and tourists could not get to the "Udabno" Monastery, located on the territory of the oldest Georgian cave complex "David Garedja", which was blocked by Azerbaijani border guards. The conflict was resolved after negotiations at the level of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) of the two countries.

The dispute over one of the most important cultural and religious landmarks of Georgia, the "David Garedja" Monastic Complex, continues because of the unresolved issue of the demarcation of the Georgian-Azerbaijani between. The issue of the common border section will be resolved by the end of the year, the Georgian President, Salome Zurabishvili, stated during her visit to Azerbaijan in February.

Natig Djafarli, the Executive Secretary of the "Republican Alternative" (ReAl) Party, a native of Georgia, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that Georgian authorities had not voiced out the demand to transfer the monastery, although religious, public and political figures are talking about it. The transfer of the "Udabno" Monastery to Georgia is unacceptable for Azerbaijan, among other things, because of the military-strategic importance of this territory, Mr Djafarli has noted.

He has added that Azerbaijan treats the "Udabno" as part of its own historical and cultural heritage. "This is a monument associated with the Christian Caucasian State of Albania that existed in the early Middle Ages," said Djafarli.

Zalimkhan Mamedli, the head of the Baku-based "Borchali" Society of Azerbaijanis-natives from Georgia, believes that the issue of the "David Garedja" monastery complex has been artificially inflated in Georgia. "Provoking Georgia to conflict with Azerbaijan is intended to undermine bilateral relations," he said.

If territorial claims are put forward to Azerbaijan, then, there will be grounds for counterclaims, Mr Mamedli has stated. "But I hope that sober politicians of the neighbouring country will take a pragmatic stance," he told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 8, 2019 at 00:31 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Inna Kukudzhanova, Faik Medjid; Source: CK correspondents

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