Merab Kokochashvili: "Monastery complex on border between Georgia and Azerbaijan should be accessible to everyone"
Another attempt of extremists to provoke conflict between Tbilisi and Baku over the Keshikchidag monastery complex (David Gareji) located on the Georgian-Azerbaijani border hurt both peoples, including cultural figures. Vakhtang Kikabidze, Polad Bulbuloglu and other prominent figures have already called for elimination of any possibility of conflict. Georgian film director Merab Kokochashvili, who is familiar with many distinguished figures of Azerbaijani art, told Vestnik Kavkaza that he is very worried about what is happening around monastery complex of international significance and in Georgian-Azerbaijani friendship.
- People believe that someone is trying to provoke conflict between Azerbaijan and Georgia, because the issue of David Gareji complex (Keshikchidag) is very sensitive for both states and peoples. Can such provocations affect traditional relations between Georgians and Azerbaijanis?
- This monastery complex is of great importance for both of our peoples, Georgians and Azerbaijanis. It's a pearl of world culture and history, a valuable monument of early Christianity. We should treat all historical monuments with great care, and the David Gareji monastery complex (Keshikchidag) is evidence of ancient unique history and culture of both Georgia and Azerbaijan.
- There are already proposals to sign agreement on rules of joint use, protection, restoration of the monastery complex, which can held to make it more accessible to people. What do you think about these proposals?
- Any person, whether he's a citizen of Georgia or Azerbaijan, should be able to visit this monument, which is a single entity, despite the fact that parts of it are located on the territory of Georgia, and some parts are on the territory of Azerbaijan. In my opinion, governments of both countries should respect the right of peoples of both countries and reach an agreement that would allow monastery complex to be opened for both Azerbaijanis and Georgians, as well as for citizens of any other states. I mean the possibility of free access for Azerbaijanis to the entire complex David Gareji (Keshikchidag) with the same right for Georgians.