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Brussels set sights on Caucasian borders2010-03-31 00:14
UN and EU in cooperation with International Center for Migration Policy Development are launching a new border security program in South Caucasus for Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. As believed, the system will make inter-state borders both transparent and safe. The border issue is delicate for all three states. Will the West be able to help the republics?
Demarking official borders between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia has been on for many years already. As known, there are disputable sanctuaries in Georgian-Armenian and Georgian-Azerbaijani near-border zone. As for Yerevan-Baku relations, the Karabakh issue is most acute here. But let's be consistent.
Firstly, demarcation of Georgian-Azerbaijani border is connected with David Gareja monastery complex, one of the most important cultural and religious sights in South Caucasus located between Georgia and Azerbaijan. As Eurasianet.org writes, demarking borders between Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia, the USSR divided the complex in two.
After the collapse of the Union the border between two countries has not changed going along the ridge of Udabno, a 813-m high mountain range. Cave monasteries are located on the mountain top as well as on northern and southern slopes controlled by Georgia and Azerbaijan accordingly. According to the experts, from military point of view these positions are crucial to both countries since in case of an armed conflict the side that keeps these altitudes under control will have a significant advantage.
The two states are still bargaining over borders and problems are still there even after a 480-km border stretch was defined. The latest meeting of working groups for delimitation and demarcation of Georgian-Azerbaijani border was held in February. Baku and Tbilisi plan to get back to the issue during second quarter 2010. Nevertheless, there are ideas that some problems can be solved introducing simplified border control that will ensure free access to disputable territories for monks, pilgrims and tourists.
The story with Georgian-Armenian border is also tricky. Problem number one is that it's Javakhetia. There are many Armenians residing in Georgia, in Tbilisi too. But in Javakh they dominate, nasledie.ru writes. In other words, the district at the Georgian-Armenian border is a compact community of Armenians. Recently they made loud statements that Georgian authorities are putting pressure on Armenians violating their basic rights.