Chairman of Caucasian Muslims Office informs Pope on peaceful protests on Lachin-Khankandi road

Politics Materials 22 December 2022 15:28 (UTC +04:00)
Chairman of Caucasian Muslims Office informs Pope on peaceful protests on Lachin-Khankandi road
Elchin Mehdiyev
Elchin Mehdiyev
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, December 22. Chairman of the Caucasian Muslims Office Allahshukur Pashazade sent a letter on peaceful protests [of Azerbaijani non-governmental organizations] on Azerbaijan’s Lachin-Khankandi road against the environmental terrorism committed by Armenia, to Pope Francis, the office told Trend on December 22.

According to the letter, as a result of the 2020 second Karabakh war, the people of Azerbaijan liberated their ancestral lands, recognized by the international community, which were occupied by neighboring Armenia for nearly 30 years.

“For us, it is obvious that your concern comes from the false, and, as usual, biased appeal addressed to Your Holiness and to the other Heads of Religious Centers and Churches by Catholicos-Patriarch of Armenians Garegin II regarding the so-called blocking of the humanitarian Lachin-Khankandi road connecting the Armenian minority in Karabakh with Armenia,” the letter noted.

“...the above-mentioned road has never been blocked by Azerbaijan. Those who did this are the Russian peacekeepers (temporarily stationed in the area), and the Azerbaijani authorities have repeatedly officially declared that Azerbaijan has not imposed any restrictions on the passing of vehicles on the Lachin road. As for the organization of transition of citizens, goods, and vehicles, it is the responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping forces,” the letter said.

“However, aiming to defame Azerbaijan in the eyes of the World Community and trying to portray it in inhumane character, the Armenian side spreads insidious misinformation, conducts biased propaganda against our country and makes false claims. We are very sorry that the Armenian Apostolic Church under the influence of Armenian politicians is particularly active in this,” the letter pointed out.

The verity, according to the conducted investigations, is illegal exploitation activities that are carried out in the ‘Gizilbulag’ gold field and the ‘Damirli’ copper-molybdenum field of the Karabakh region where the peacekeepers are temporarily deployed, the letter emphasized.

“Despite the prior agreement on the monitoring of this activity, reached by independent activists through the peacekeepers, the separatist regime did not let the eco-activists enter those facilities,” the letter further noted.

Besides, according to the letter, the rally of the representatives of the civil society, which is going on for more than a week, under the slogans against the looting of natural resources and serious damage to the environment, is a peaceful one and doesn’t create an obstacles related to the Lachin-Khankandi road.

“The peaceful protestors demand an on-the-spot inspection of the said fields, the cessation of illegal exploitation, monitoring and inventorying in various directions, assessment of potential risks to the environment and elimination of the consequences of damage,” the letter said.

Claims of the Armenian side, and the Etchmiadzin [the governing body of the Armenian Apostolic Church] in particular, that the peaceful protest rally of the eco-activists caused a humanitarian crisis is completely false, as the humanitarian corridor is active, the letter said.

The Pope was also informed that the videos from the protest site show that humanitarian cargo trucks and emergency ambulances pass unhindered along the road. In case of humanitarian problems, a hotline has been established for Armenians living in Karabakh for the prompt resolution of their appeals.

It is no coincidence that around 300 Azerbaijani civilians suffered from the newly planted landmines after the signing of the trilateral statement – they were either killed or disabled for life. A total of 350 Armenia-made mines produced in 2021 have recently been detected in the Azerbaijani lands. Eight compatriots became the latest mine victims in Kalbajar district on December 14, said the letter.

"You have been to Azerbaijan, got acquainted with the multicultural values and traditions of our multi-ethnic, multi-confessional country, and have had an opportunity to observe how citizens of different ethnic and religious identities live happily and practice freely their spiritual customs, equally enjoy the attention and care of the state. You are a living witness of Azerbaijan's respectful attitude and attention to traditional religious values in our country and worldwide," the letter said.

Pashazade wrote that like more than 30,000 Armenians living in multicultural Azerbaijan, Armenians living in Karabakh are also citizens of the country, however, they have become hostages of the separatist regime.

"The rhetoric of some political figures in Armenia, pressure from the diaspora, as well as the statements of the Armenian church increase revanchist sentiments that threaten peace. Such statements do not promote the dialogue of the Azerbaijani authorities with local ethnic Armenians. However, Azerbaijan is the most interested party in such a dialogue to complete the reintegration process. We wish peace and are engaged in peace-building. We're working hard to revive Karabakh, which was turned into ruins during the occupation. This will allow the entire region to benefit from large-scale projects that serve common security and economic well-being of Azerbaijanis and Armenians living together in Karabakh. Our supreme hope is to establish lasting sustainable and tranquility," the letter stressed.