Chairman of Caucasian Muslims Office addresses Pope on peaceful protests on Lachin-Khankandi road (UPDATE)

Politics Materials 22 December 2022 16:12 (UTC +04:00)

Details added: first version posted on 15:28

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 eco-terror, being 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.

The letter said that in accordance with a trilateral statement signed [between Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders following the second Karabakh war], Russian peacekeepers were stationed for a period of five years in the part of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh inhabited by Armenians.

“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.

“I would like to bring to your supreme attention that the above-mentioned road has never been blocked by Azerbaijan. Those who did this are the Russian peacekeepers, and the Azerbaijani authorities have repeatedly officially declared that Azerbaijan has not imposed any restrictions on the passing of vehicles on the Lachin road, while the traffic regime along the road remains as before. As for the organization of transition of citizens, goods, and vehicles, it is the responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping forces,” the letter’s author explained.

“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 issue,” 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 also said.

“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 obstacle 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’s author noted.

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.

Will be updated