Georgia, Tbilisi, March 18 / Trend , J.Babayeva/
Trend interview with the department head of
Azerbaijan 's State Committee for Work with Diaspora Fizuli Najafov.
Trend : How do you assess the current situation of Azerbaijanis living in Georgia?
Fizuli Najafov: Azerbaijan has always been attentive to the problems of its compatriot living in Georgia. By 2004, Georgian Azerbaijanis left the country in mass-scale. After the State Committee for Work with the Diaspora studied the causes of all problems of our compatriots and identified ways to address them, the government presented an extensive report. Since then the process of outflow of Azerbaijanis of Georgia from the country has slowed. This results from the fact that in parallel to assistance provided by the government of Azerbaijan, Georgia displayed an interest in participation of national minorities in public-political life. More than 40 Azerbaijani NGOs function in Georgia, and about half of them are youth organizations. Active organizations such as the Cultural Center of Azerbaijanis in Marneuli, the Congress of Azerbaijanis in Georgia, Geyrat national movement, Tolerance public association, Association of Intellectuals, work closely with the State Committee and try to find solutions to the problems of Azerbaijanis living in Georgia. The State Committee is always ready to support existing and new organizations.
Q: What is the situation with restoration of a mosque in Fahraly village of Bolnisi district?
A: In December last year, the representatives of the State Committee visited the Fahraly village and got familiarized with the problem on the place. During studying the problem, it was made clear that the mosque, which has not have official registration for more than 100 years. Like all national minorities, Azerbaijanis living in Georgia, have special rights and privileges to preserve customs, traditions, language and religion. Representatives of Bolnisi executive district promised that they would help official registration of the mosque in Fahraly village. Still this problem remains unresolved. Not only the State Committee for Work with the Diaspora, but also other relevant state agencies deal with this issue. This issue was also discussed during the visit of the governor of Kvemo-Kartli region to Azerbaijan. Mutual discussion of this problem give hope for a speedy solution to this problem.
Q: The Azerbaijani schools Georgia has been a number of problems. Can these problems be the cause of the closure of schools?
A: I believe that the danger of closing Azerbaijani schools does not exist, but precautionary measures must be taken. It is important that the Azerbaijani youth who receive higher education on preferential terms were given jobs at these schools. In my opinion, this problem will be solved gradually over five years.
Age of majority of teachers at Azerbaijani schools exceed 60 years. The lack of teachers may contribute to problems with the Azerbaijani schools. I think that the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan and Georgia must find a solution to the issue.
Q: Erection of crosses in the Azerbaijanis-populated regions of Georgia has caused dissatisfaction amongst our compatriots. Did the State Committee study this issue?
A: Crosses were erected in Bolnisi. The Georgian side informed that the crosses are installed in accordance with the religion. But, of course, the erection of crosses near the Muslim cemetery and a mosque caused certain irritation. The State Committee expressed its concern and made suggestions in this regard.
In the end I want to note that the Azerbaijanis in Georgia, along with the protection of their rights, must comply with the laws of the country where they are citizens. The problems that exist throughout the country should not be considered as separate problems in the region. I believe presenting these issues as a tragedy and panic is wrong.