The religious leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia met in Moscow on Wednesday and discussed issues related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its settlement process.
Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians and Azerbaijan’s supreme spiritual leader Allahshukur Pashazade are in Moscow at the invitation of the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kiril I to discuss ways to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Following the meeting Patriarch Kiril I expressed gratitude to the religious leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan for their willingness to meet and discuss complex issues that concern the residents and religious communities of the two countries.
“We are convinced that our religions have a unique peace-making potential, especially in such a delicate and sensitive area as inter-ethnic relations. No matter how difficult the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations are at this stage, we believe that it is faith in God and love that can help heal the wounds inflicted by many years of tragic confrontation. This is a very difficult path, which requires spiritual wisdom and foresight,” Patriarch Kiril I said.
Catholicos Karekin II stressed that there is no alternative to a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict in terms of establishing stability and peace in the region in an effort to guarantee a safe and secure life.
He added, however, that despite the willingness of the Armenian side to reach a final settlement of the issue and the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, the situation in the region remains worrisome and tense due to the degrading, unacceptable rhetoric and non-constructive policies adopted by the Azerbaijani authorities.
The Catholicos stressed that the Karabakh conflict cannot be solved as long as Azerbaijan continues to be guided by the principle of use of force and maximalist aspirations.
“State-level anti-Armenian propaganda, violence and killings of civilians, the so-called ‘Trophy park’ in Baku are evidence of the fact that the people of Nagorno Karabakh can never live safely and survive in Azerbaijan,” he added.
The Catholicos noted that prisoners of war and civilian detainees are frequently subjected to humiliation and torture and emphasized that the need for their soonest release.
Kiril I met with Karekin II and Pashazadeh separately on Tuesday.