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Where is the Georgia-Armenia Border?

April 21, 2005

Where is the Georgia-Armenia Border?


On the border of Georgia and Armenia, Armenian border guards opened fire in the direction of journalists from the Georgian TV station Mze. It had come to the attention of journalist Giorgi Kalandia that the integrity of the Georgian border in the Marneuli region had been infringed upon, and he decided to go there with his camera crew. It turned out that the border has been moved by 300 meters, putting the ancient Georgian Khujabi monastery in the territory of Armenia. When the team began filming the Cathedral, it provoked fire from the Armenian border troops.

Armenian border guards opened fire towards the direction of a journalist from the Georgian TV station Mze on the Georgian-Armenian border-line. It all started when it became known to the journalist that Armenian border guards had moved the border line into Georgian territory by 300 meters. The location of the border change is evident by the fact that the ancient Georgian Khujabi monastery is now within this 300-meter span. This triggered the interest of Georgian journalists and with the aim to check on the validity of this information, Giorgi Kalandia and his camera crew went there to investigate the situation.

The camera crew managed to get to the specified location, a fact that irritated the Armenian border guards.  The guards believed that the border line had been violated by the journalists and that they had crossed the Armenian border without permission, after which they opened fire on the news team.  Though the Armenian guards were shooting in the direction of the journalists, they aimed over their heads, and were not pointing their guns at them. The fire continued for several minutes as the journalists were filming the monastery, and did not stop until the journalists finished filming and left the territory.

The Khujabi monastery is located in Marneuli Region, situated on the edge of a forest in a rather remote place where there is practically no human traffic.  The monastery was built in the 13th century and is one of the oldest monasteries in Georgia.

The incident has seriously outraged the staff of Mze. According to them, the frontier guards did not have the right to fire their weapons, even into the air, because the status of the territory has not yet been officially defined and therefore, is not technically part of Armenia. While the two sides are now working on defining the exact border, the journalists deem this kind of action as an attempt to interfere with and prevent the carrying out their professional duties.

Nino Bestavashvili