A conclave of religious leaders in Etchmiadzin, led by Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, issued a statement Friday urging Armenia’s authorities to be vigilant in face of foreign and domestic challenges and to “not takes steps that may endanger Armenia’s independent statehood and Artsakh’s future.”
Citing Azerbaijan’s continued hostility toward Armenia and Artsakh, as well as the geopolitical developments in the region, the Supreme Religious Council of Etchmizdzin called on the authorities to ensure that Artsakh’s right to self-determination does not become a bargaining chip in the myriad negotiations that Yerevan has pledged to engage in.
Below is the text of the announcement, which was publicized by the Etchmiadzon press office.
The Azerbaijani authorities continue their condemnable hostile attitude toward Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian people. After the signing of the trilateral statement, Azerbaijan regularly resorts to provocations on the borders of Armenia, Artsakh, targets the civilian population, continues to hold prisoners of war, and destroys and appropriates Armenian religious and cultural landmarks in the territories that have passed under its control.
In light of geopolitical developments, the Armenian authorities and national structures must be vigilant so that the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination does not become a bargaining chip.
Peace cannot be established at the expense of the humiliation of national dignity, under the conditions of incessant encroachments on the territorial integrity of the Homeland, the existence of prisoners of war, the constant threats of Azerbaijan and its anti-Armenian propaganda. Peace should be based on the principles of justice, dignity and respect for rights.
Regardless of the existing pressures, external threats, especially given the climate of internal social polarization, the authorities of Armenia and Artsakh should not take steps that may endanger the independent statehood of Armenia and the future of Artsakh. There should be no compromise in the commitment to the fundamental rights of the nation, the pursuit of historical justice.
The Supreme Religious Council, deeply concerned with the current complicated situation, as well as the domestic political developments in the homeland, and by relying on the mercy of the Supreme Commander and the wisdom of our people, urges:
- To prioritize national-state interests, act responsibly and conscientiously, seek comparable solutions to problems exclusively within our common will and consensus;
- To make every effort in the Homeland and in the Diaspora to strengthen our national unity by eliminating divisive fragmentation in an effort to strengthen the homeland and protect national-religious values;
- To show tolerance, abide by the rule of law, respect for individual’s rights, exclude any kind of violence, disproportionate use of force, provocation or violation of the law in domestic political processes, peaceful assemblies, regardless of political views or official functions. Hate speech, insult, incitement of enmity are never good;
- The Supreme Religious Council calls on our faithful people all over the world to continue to support our sisters and brothers in Artsakh, to contribute to the strengthening of the Artsakh Republic, to its peaceful and secure life.
We pray for peace and progress of our country. We ask for the blessing and support of the Heavenly Father to our people. Let prayers for the homeland be constantly on the minds of our nation.