10/14/2020, 09.38
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Kirill calls for peace in Nagorno Karabakh. Fears of a 'religious' conflict

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The Orthodox patriarch of Moscow released an appeal yesterday in the wake of the Russian mediation between Armenians and Azeris. But the president of the Caucasus Muslims slams the Armenians: "The war for the fatherland is always a just war". Karekin II: “The mission to defend oyr homeland”. In recent days, the Russian Orthodox Church had been criticized for supporting the Azerbaijani president. Erdogan and Pakistan fan confessional flames.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev) yesterday addressed an appeal to Armenians and Azeris in conflict in Nagorno Karabakh, to end "this new whirlwind of conflict that has lasted for more than thirty years, in which the inhabited centres are bombed, people die, the sanctuaries and monuments of the cultural tradition are destroyed, the homes of peaceful people are decimated ”.

The patriarch assures the closeness of the Russian Orthodox Church, which together with the religious leaders of the two countries is making every effort to restore peace in the region.

Addressing the supreme patriarch, the Katolikos of all Armenians Karekin II, and the president of the Caucasus Muslim Administration, the Sheik-il-Islam Allakhshukjur Pasha-Zad - whom Kirill met in the past (see photo 2) - he remembers "the great journey travelled together, working so that this conflict does not assume the character of a clash between religions, and the problems are resolved in a peaceful way".

The patriarch invites all involved to respect the agreements reached between the foreign ministers, with the mediation of Russia, and to maintain the truce agreed on 10 October to reach a political solution. "A bad peace is worse than a good fight", recalls the leader of the Russian Orthodox, referring to popular wisdom, "in conditions of peace you can meet, communicate, seek the solution of problems ... have compassion for each other's life".

Kirill recalls that "Armenia and Azerbaijan historically have always been and will remain close, living side by side with each other throughout the territory of the two countries ... the lives of many people and the peaceful future of your peoples depend on your decisions”.

The patriarch’s intervention seeks to shore up Russian mediation in a decidedly dramatic framework, where it is evident that the fragile truce agreed is not able to withstand even a few days, given that it is not respected by either side.

On September 29, the Muslim leader whom Kirill addresses in his message had declared he would "pray to the Most High to thank him for the victory obtained in the recent battle, for the liberation of our native lands from Armenian occupation", insisting that "Our people went to war for their territorial integrity, and the war for the homeland is always a just war".

Even the Armenian patriarch has always claimed the right of Armenians to defend Nagorno Karabakh: "we are responsible for unity in the mission of defending our homeland, making Armenia and Artsakh a place of development and well-being", said Karekin during the homily of 11 October.

In recent days, the Russian Orthodox Church had been criticized for its support for the Azerbaijani president, expressed in a message from the religious leaders signed by the Russian archbishop of Baku Aleksandr (Ischein), whose signature does not appear, however, in the Russian versions of the message. The Azeris reject the accusations of the destruction of the church of Christ the Savior in Shusha, accusing the Armenians of having destroyed mosques, without however citing concrete examples. Many observers note that the conflict is becoming more and more religious, mainly due to the intervention of the Syrian mercenaries in the Azerbaijani camp, and to the news of the intervention of Greek volunteers in the Armenian camp.

Concerns about the religious nature of the war in Nagorno Karabakh are further exacerbated by reports of the ongoing collaboration between Turkish President Erdogan and the jihadists of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In the north-western territory of Pakistan, populated mostly by Pashtuns, the terrorist organization Jamaat-i Islami acts undisturbed, which constantly sends fighters to Afghanistan and Kashmir, and it seems that it has also begun to send soldiers to Karabakh, according to the information released by the Russian magazine Ogonek, in agreement with the "Turkish brothers" and their president.

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See also
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Yerevan and Baku agree to cease-fire
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