MOSCOW – On September 8, as a result of the trilateral meeting of the spiritual leaders of the region in Moscow, Russia; His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; His Holiness Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; and Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, Grand Mufti of the Muslims of the Caucasus, issued a joint statement.
Below reads the full text of the statement reads.
“Today, we the spiritual leaders of Azerbaijani and Armenia, once again met in Moscow at the invitation of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, to discuss ways of a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict, without which it is impossible to achieve reconciliation and comprehensive security in the Caucasus.
We attach a special significance to the consistent development of the peacekeeping dialogue, the continuation of the negotiations, and the international community’s mediatory efforts which will help to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the conflict.
We are convinced that disagreements can be overcome, relying on the moral values of kindness, love for thy neighbor, mutual forgiveness, and benevolence; propagated by the principles of good-neighborliness and traditional religions.
The Armenian and Azeri peoples will always live side-by-side, therefore there is no alternative to peace and cooperation. Facing many challenges, we, the spiritual leaders of our nations, are obliged to seek joint responses.
We pray for peace, and for a quick solution to all humanitarian issues related to the conflict, and accordingly urge all the political and public figures of our peoples.
Together, we are called to care for the poor and the afflicted, to testify about the spiritual and moral values, and seek a peaceful and just way of resolving conflicts. It is extremely important to refrain from militant and hostile rhetoric.
We appeal to the relevant persons to contribute to the release of all peaceful residents who did not participate in military operations and are being held in captivity.
As religious leaders, we are called to protect churches, mosques, and other sanctuaries. Therefore, it is essential to ensure the preservation of religious monuments, and a respectful attitude towards them.
We appeal to our people to bring up and educate the youth in the spirit of goodwill and mutual respect, peace and traditional morality.
We, as spiritual leaders, express our readiness to defend the peacekeeping initiatives to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The history of the trilateral meetings of the spiritual leaders testifies to the positive impact of such contacts on the conflict settlement process, which should never turn into a religious conflict. We have great hopes in the negotiation process. The responsibility and duty towards our people motivate us to pursue tireless and consistent efforts for the long-awaited victory of the ideals of peace and goodness. We are ready to use all available opportunities for peace in the region.
We convey to all our community children peace, welfare, and success in their endeavors. We offer our prayers to the Almighty to overcome disagreements and to protect our people from evil and sin. May blessed peace be established on the ancient and sacred land of the Caucasus, and the people of our countries will live in peace and harmony and by God-given moral laws.
The delegation of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church, led by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; and the delegation of the Caucasus Muslims Administration, led by Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade; express special gratitude to the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia for the organization of the trilateral meeting for the important contribution to a peace settlement in the Caucasus, and wish His Holiness the support of the Almighty to continue this godly mission.”
The peacekeeping efforts of the Moscow Patriarchate on the Nagorno-Karabakh problem were initiated in 1988. The first tripartite peacekeeping meeting of the heads of the three religious communities was held in May 1993 in the Moscow Danilov Monastery. Previous tripartite meetings of religious leaders of Russia and Transcaucasia took place within the framework of interreligious forums in 2010 in Baku and 2011 in Yerevan.