Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili says that Georgia-Azerbaijan made no border agreement when she served as Georgia's foreign minister between 2004 and 2005, under the United National Movement leadership.
Zurabishvili says that the border agreement with Azerbaijan was made in 2006-2007 when she no longer served as foreign minister, adding that allegations made about her alleged participation in the agreement aim to ‘discredit the institute of the presidency.’
Zurabishvili said that as the country’s foreign minister she did her best to facilitate the demarcation of the border, but no agreement was reached.
Two officials and former members working on a state commission charged with demarcating Georgia’s border with Azerbaijan were detained last week for hiding evidence which led to the forfeit of 3,500 ha of land during the deal.
The Prosecutor’s Office claims that detainees Iveri Melashvili and Natalia Ilichova hid an original map issued in 1937-38 and instead used other maps based on which the border sections between the two countries were agreed ‘against the interests of Georgia’ in 2006-2007.
The Prosecutor’s Office says that the 3,500 ha of lands also included areas of Georgia’s 6th century David Gareji monastery complex, where the situation due to land claims flares up several times a year.
The detainees plead not guilty, and say their detention is related to the upcoming October 31 parliamentary elections and the rivalry between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the United National Movement opposition (which ran the country between 2003 and 2012).