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Georgia refutes de facto Abkhazia’s accusations over destroying Christian temples

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, October 5
Georgia’s Minister of Reconciliation and Civil Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, has responded to the Charity Movement of Abkhazia’s goodwill ambassadors’ appeal to the United Nations (UN) and UNESCO regarding ancient Christian churches, calling their statement “sharply politicized.”

The minister said the charity movement in Georgia’s occupied region of Abkhazia is trying to give a distorted version of reality by accusing Georgia of damaging cultural sites there.

Tsikhelashvili says that the cultural sites and Christian churches are being destroyed by the occupation regime, and they are responsible for the grave condition of the monuments in Abkhazia.

“Black archeology, and the illegal withdrawal of artifacts from Georgia's territory is a very serious problem that has been underway in the occupied territories for years,” the minister stressed.

She added the issue was actively discussed at the 14th round of Geneva International Talks.

“We have offered the de facto authorities many times to let us enter the territory and take part in conservation or restoration works of the cultural monuments,” said Tsikhelashvili, adding that Georgia will use all means to send experts to the occupied territories.

The charity movement’s goodwill ambassadors appealed to the UN and UNESCO two days ago, saying Abkhazia is the cradle of Christianity and accusing Georgia of destroying the churches there.

The video address says that in 1992-1993 Georgian troops destroyed samples of Abkhazian culture, unique relics and ancient Christian churches.

“We hope that we will be able to attract the attention of UNESCO and other competent international structures regarding the problem of protection of unique temples in Abkhazia,” the address says.

Georgia’s Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Mikheil Giorgadze also commented on the address, Georgian side has nothing to do with the grave condition of the churches in Abkhazia.

“We continually offer both human and professional resources, including monitoring and real assessment of the current physical condition of monuments, and also restoration-conservation and rehabilitation works of the affected cultural monuments,” Giorgadze said.

He added that the accusations towards Georgia are “far from the reality”.