Source: Agenzia Fides – MIL OSI
Headline: EUROPE/AZERBAIJAN – Nagorno-Karabakh: Azerbaijan’s President promises protection for Armenian churches and monasteries
Stepanakert – After the signing of the armistice between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which ended the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with Russian mediation, there are fears about the fate of Armenian churches and monasteries in the regions that will be administered by Azerbaijan in the future. Concerns have increased following reports by the Armenian Apostolic See of Echmiadzin of the desecration and attacks on the Armenian Cathedral in Shushi after Azerbaijani troops took control of Nagorno-Karabakh. During a telephone call, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to respect Christian places of worship and to protect “normal church life” in areas that are said to be under direct Azerbaijani control. Azerbaijan, for its part, has guaranteed protection and free access to all churches and monasteries in Nagorno-Karabakh. At the request of the local population, Russian soldiers who were sent to the region as “peacekeepers” have stationed a military garrison in the famous Dadivank monastery in the Kelbecer area. “The Peace Forces Command”, said Russian spokesman of the Ministry of Defense, Igor Konashenkov, on Monday 16 November, “has contacted local governments to solve problems in the communities”. Unhindered visits to the monastery complex should be possible in cooperation with Russian peacekeepers.