Tbilisi, June 30, 2014
Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia has stated that such natural riches as land, water, and mineral resource deposits must not be sold or rented for a long-term lease to foreigners, reports Interfax-Religion.
“What is the main value that must be cherished by us? These are Georgian land, water, springs, rivers, deposits that must not be sold or alienated,” said Ilia II in his speech at the Sunday service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.
According to the head of the Georgian Church, these values, “by which the Georgian nation exists, may be completely lost because other people, other countries have more means, more money to purchase all this”.
“That is why all of us should think it through thoroughly. We should think not only of ourselves, but also of the future, of posterity. There are, for example, cases of not selling, but leasing of the forest for 50, 90, 100 years. If the forest is destroyed, so will be the nation,” said His Holiness.
He has noted that 100 years are not needed for obliteration of the forest. “One week will be enough for it and this is very dangerous. So our authorities should pay a special attention on this,” stressed the patriarch.
“May God enlighten our minds so that we should realize what is necessary for us, what the true values are,” he added.
The other day the constitutional court of Georgia abolished the moratorium, declared a year ago by the parliament, which prohibited foreign citizens from obtaining parcels of land for agricultural purposes until December 31, 2014.
Foreigners’ interest in obtaining agricultural lands in Georgia has intensified since 2012. In connection with this, protests began in a number of regions of the country because agricultural lands and pastures had been sold or rented for a long-term lease to foreigners, mainly farmers from India, Iran, United Arab Emirates, and China. After that it was decided to suspend the transfer.