Khaindrava made the announcement in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where he was meeting with representatives of the Meskhetian community.
Azerbaijan is home to some 70,000 Meskhetians who settled there after the 1960s. Other Meskhetian communities live in Central Asia, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey. Only a few individuals have returned to Georgia.
Of all the Soviet peoples exiled during World War II, the Meskhetians are the only ones who remain barred from returning to their former homeland. Local populations and many Georgian politicians argue that their return could destabilize the country.
The Council of Europe, of which Georgia is a member, has given Tbilisi until 2011 to repatriate the Meskhetians.
(Novosti-Gruziya, Prime News, Turan)