Prosecutor’s Office launches investigation into Georgia-Azerbaijan border deal ‘against Georgia’s interests’

Georgia and Azerbaijan are working together for demarcation of the state border. Photo: Associated Press/Shah Aivazov., 30 Sep 2020 - 11:49, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office has announced the launch of an investigation into the alleged unlawful giving of land to a foreign state. 

The Prosecutor’s Office says that the investigation has been launched according to information provided by the country’s Defence Ministry on August 17, 2020, referring to the activities of the Georgian, governmental commission working on the demarcation of the Georgian border with Azerbaijan. 

Based on the information, several sections of Georgia’s state border with Azerbaijan were agreed on improperly, against the interests of Georgia,” says the Prosecutor’s Office. 

The investigation will also look into the activities of several experts working on the state commission. 

In the statement the Prosecutor’s Office did not mention what time period the investigation will look into. However, it allegedly concerns the actions of the border commission under the previous, United National Movement government. 

On September 24, 2020 Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said that new map materials found by Georgia may bring about changes to the Georgian-Azerbaijani 2006-2007 agreement on border issues which was made under the UNM government. 

The clerics in David Gareji have already been interrogated. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

The third President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has called the investigation ‘a cheap Russian operation.’ 

He said that sections of Georgian territory were given to Azerbaijan under the Soviet Union and ‘during all my meetings with Azerbaijani president I raised the issue of David Gareji,’ the 6th century Georgian monastery complex located at the conditional border with Azerbaijan. 

Saakashvili told Mtavari Arkhi yesterday that he was ready to offer some other Georgian territory to Azerbaijan in exchange for David Gareji. 

Saakashvili claimed that the negotiations were in the final phase in 2012 when the Georgian Dream defeated the United National Movement in the parliamentary elections and ‘they (the Georgian Dream) disrupted the process.’ 

He accused the Georgian Dream of ‘extremely deteriorating’ the country’s relations with Azerbaijan, contradicting the statements and actions of Georgian president and the prime minister who arrived in Azerbaijan on their first foreign visits in the posts. 

Azerbaijani and Georgian FMs met last week. Photo: Foreign Ministry press office. 

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union back in 1991, out of its four neighbouring states Georgia has agreed upon its borders only with Turkey.

Only two-thirds of the state border has been agreed upon with Azerbaijan so far which on several occasions triggered tension in David Gareji last year. 

Zalkaliani mentioned the new map materials during the first official visit of Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in Georgia last week, expressing hope that the border issue will be settled through consensus. 

He stated that the materials have already been sent to Azerbaijan for examination.