Heads of religious confessions in Azerbaijan make statement on Armenia's provocation on Lachin road

Politics Materials 4 August 2023 14:12 (UTC +04:00)
Asif Mehman
Asif Mehman
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details added, first published at 11:58

BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 4. The leaders of religious confessions of Azerbaijan issued a joint statement on the provocation of Armenia on the Lachin road, the Department of Muslims of the Caucasus told Trend.

According to the statement, recent prejudiced claims have been made around another provocative spectacle with trucks intentionally created by Armenia on the Lachin-Khankendi road, Azerbaijan's acknowledged sovereign territory.

"Despite the fact that the topic under discussion is not religious in nature, our task as every person who wants to establish peace in the Caucasus region and as religious figures who make great efforts on this path is to approach what is happening according to the criteria of law and justice," the religious leaders said.

The dispatch of trucks to the Lachin border gate under the cover of "humanitarian aid" from Armenia is part of an anti-Azerbaijani provocative campaign. Azerbaijani officials have frequently asked Armenians living in Azerbaijan's Karabakh to hold talks, but the suggestion was dismissed.

The fact that trucks purposefully cause problems in the direction of the Lachin border checkpoint, as well as Armenia's description of the incident as a "policy of ethnic cleansing" and a "humanitarian crisis," demonstrates the Armenian side's ability to systematically distort the facts.

The information disseminated by Armenia about the "policy of ethnic cleansing" is false and slanderous. The international community should not forget that for almost 30 years, as a result of the policy of ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenian extremists, more than a million Azerbaijanis were forced to leave their native lands, becoming refugees and internally displaced persons.

It was during the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan that mosques, temples, cemeteries, and historical monuments were destroyed and looted in the occupied territories; Christian and Russian Orthodox churches belonging to Caucasian Albania were Gregorianized; animals were kept in mosques.

Despite the end of the war, hundreds of Azerbaijani citizens are still dying and becoming disabled as a result of the explosions of mines left by Armenians along the Lachin road.

The Azerbaijani people, under the leadership of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, restored their territorial integrity and saved their ancestral lands, officially recognized by the UN and international law, from the aggression of Armenia. Today, paying attention to the restoration and reconstruction of religious and spiritual monuments along with civilian objects in the liberated territories at the state level once again confirms the tolerance of Azerbaijan, which is one of the leading centers in the process of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

"President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, known for his global thinking and humanistic ideas, as the leader who determined the fate of the region and rewrote its history, calls on the Armenian side for solidarity based on political thinking and humanistic logic, for peace and coexistence for the sake of the future of peoples," the statement says.

The Armenian revanchists continue to carry out slanderous campaigns against Azerbaijan from various international organizations and even abuse the religious platform, especially the World Council of Churches, for their insidious political purposes. The Armenian Apostolic Church takes a leading position in the Armenian revanchism, conducts propaganda against Azerbaijan at the international level.

The World Council of Churches issued three statements against Azerbaijan during the year, this indicates that one of the presidents of the World Council of Churches, Head of the Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I and Representative of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the executive management of the Central Committee of the World Council of the churches, Archbishop Vigen Haykazyan, play the main role in organizing this series of threat campaigns.

The destructive position of the organization, which, instead of making calls for reconciliation, brings the current situation to an interreligious level and provokes a Christian-Muslim conflict under the guise of "Christian compassion", as well as the anti-Azerbaijani propaganda carried out by this organization does not correspond to the goals of a religious institution seeking to serve the world, and contradicts the principles of justice of religions.

The letters sent earlier on behalf of the Caucasus Muslim Board to Secretary General of the World Council of Churches Jerry Pillay and moderator of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, as well as at the 11th Assembly of the Council and in the final document of the last meeting of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, protested against statements serving the interests of on the Armenian side, and along with the international community, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan officially recognized that there is no administrative unit called "Nagorno-Karabakh" - "Artsakh" on the territory of Azerbaijan.

Despite this, the word "Artsakh" was deliberately repeated several times in the text of the statement of the World Council of Churches on July 31, 2023. This demonstrated a clear disrespect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

The current position of the World Council of Churches, which does not express "concern" about the genocide committed by the Armenians against the Azerbaijani population during the first Karabakh war, is based on double standards and politicization.

“We strongly condemn such cases and call on Armenia, especially the Etchmiadzin and Cilician Armenian Catholicosates, to abandon military rhetoric, not to support calls for hatred between peoples and ideas of revanchism. Such a policy will eventually aggravate the situation in the region and will not benefit the Armenian people,” the leaders said.

“We have witnessed how, under the influence of the Armenian lobby, a number of European states, especially France, which incites genocide, violence and conflicts in Africa and Oceania, as well as some Western organizations, make biased, anti-Azerbaijani decisions,” they added.

The goal of Yerevan, the Karabakh separatists and their supporters, who received the "blessing" from Etchmiadzin, in this new provocation is to disrupt the signing of a peace agreement.

The activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the region are of particular concern. Earlier, Baku proved by facts that the ICRC is engaged in smuggling on the Lachin road, and exposed the direct involvement of the ICRC in the crossing of the border by Armenian war criminals and terrorists.

“We, the leaders of religious denominations of Azerbaijan, call on the world community, especially the World Council of Churches, not to follow the Armenian provocative propaganda that hinders peace in the region, and to pay attention to information based on facts. Let's not forget that the main task of the clergy is to observe the commandments, to take a conciliatory position in the name of the peace of mankind," the statement says.

The statement was signed by Chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Department Sheikh Ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, Head of the Community of Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan Milikh Yevdayev, Secretary of the Baku and Azerbaijan Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, Archimandrite Alexy Nikonorov, Head of the Baku religious Community of European Jews Alexander Sharovsky, Chairman of the Albanian-Udi Christian Community of Azerbaijan Robert Mobili.