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Patriarch talks about territorial integrity

By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 6
As part of his visit to Azerbaijan Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II met Caucasus Muslims Sheikhulislam head Haji Allahshukur Pashazade on November 5. One of the topics they discussed was the territorial integrity of Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Azeri news agency Trend News reported that the Catholicos-Patriarch stated at the meeting that war and instability will not last forever in the South Caucasus, adding that Georgia will do everything it can to restore territorial integrity in both countries.

“We live in a very difficult time,” he said. “Although we always dreamed of independence, our expectations have not been entirely met. Azerbaijan's and Georgia's territorial integrity have been violated. We will not allow Azerbaijan's integrity to be further violated. We will do everything we can to restore it,” the Catholicos-Patriarch stated, mentioning the efforts of the Sheikhulislam and the Azerbaijani and Georgian Presidents to restore peace and stability in the region.

Pashazade stated at the meeting that both neighbouring states share a ‘common fate’ and in many ways the destiny of Azerbaijan and Georgia is the same, highlighting that some forces hope to sow discord among these nations. “A major problem for both Georgia and Azerbaijan is the violation of their territorial integrity,” he said. “It is no secret that other serious problems in the Caucasus are related to Armenia’s territorial claims against its neighbours. I believe you will make every effort to establish peace in the Caucasus and eliminate separatism,” the Caucasus Muslim spiritual leader added.

Before meeting Pashazade the Catholicos-Patriarch had met Azeri President Ilham Aliyev on November 4. According to Azeri news sources Aliyev expressed his satisfaction regarding the successful development of Azeri-Georgian relations in all spheres. The Azerbaijani leader praised the participation of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia in the international conference entitled “Interreligious dialogue: from mutual understanding towards joint cooperation” to be held in Baku. Greeting President Aliyev on behalf of the Georgian Orthodox Church and people, Ilia II said that the Georgian people know the Azerbaijani leader very well and love him for conducting his wise policy at this difficult time.

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II left for Baku on November 4 to attend the 60th birthday of Allashukur Pashazade, Caucasus Muslim Council Head and spiritual leader of Azerbaijan. Russian Patriarch Kyril, Pope Benedict XVI and other spiritual leaders are also expected to attend the celebrations on November 6. Contradictory reports have been spread concerning a possible meeting between the Georgian and Russian Patriarchs, which would be their first, in Baku.