Georgian and Azerbaijani border services intensify cooperation
Delegation of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan, headed by its chief Elchin Guliyev, arrived in Tbilisi on a two-day working visit. The visit itself is not unusual - neighboring countries often cooperate on border issues. However, Guliyev was met at a very high level. He had talks not only with his colleague from the border service, the head of Georgian Border Police David Nikoleishvili, but also Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili, who is considered to be "the right hand" of "Georgian Dream" coalition founder, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.
According to the report of Border Police, "the sides discussed strengthening of state border protection" with its subsequent delimitation and demarcation. Although negotiations on this subject will be continued, there are no specific problems and contradictions between the two countries on the border line issue. It's to specify this line "on the map and on the ground", but it will be done in the future.
Meanwhile, the head of the Border Service of Azerbaijan studied practical issues of border protection with his Georgian colleagues. A preliminary agreement on the establishment of "border commissioners" institute is considered to be the most important. As the head of one of the border police departments, Lasha Babilodze, who participated in the talks, explained in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, "border commissioners" or "border representatives' of both countries will be able to resolve specific issues, which arise during the protection of state borders. "They won't sit in Tbilisi and Baku, they will establish a 'hot line' between both countries, will share information and respond to border incidents," he said.
He stressed that by "incidents" he means cases when cattle cross the border (it's a serious problem for owners and border guards of the two friendly countries), the attempts of citizens to illegally cross the border, bypassing checkpoints, as well as cases when shepherds and farmers illegally cross the border, which happens quite often, since there is no demarcated line between Georgia and Azerbaijan right now. "Hotline and interaction between border commissioners will allow to resolve all issues quickly and effectively," Lasha Babilodze noted. He said that during the meeting between Elchin Guliyev and Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili, the later informed his Azerbaijani guest about large-scale works on improvement of border control. In particular, Georgian government soon plans to establish two new "border sectors" on the border with Azerbaijan along Iori river, including "Pirosmani" and "Sabatlo" in Dedoplistskaro district. "By that he meant the construction of several buildings, which will be have the newest equipment (thermal and night vision devices)," he said.