Press Release No:19/22
15 September 2022
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) has expressed deep concern over renewed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan triggered on 12 September. CEC is closely following the developments, and has urged European Union to take necessary steps to establish peace.
CEC has asked the EU to “avert further escalation and reestablish a ceasefire conducive to the search for a lasting peace in the interest of the wellbeing of people, and the protection and enjoyment of human rights and freedoms needed for prosperity of all ethnic and religious communities and all people living in the region,” reads CEC letter to Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission.
CEC also invited the EU to “engage with and encourage religious communities in both countries to develop stronger interreligious and intercultural dialogue among each other, building supportive funding programs within the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership Cooperation.”
“It is vital to engage religious communities in the enabling process of an inclusive search for lasting reconciliation as they can bring messages of hope, faith and love when addressing the root causes of the renewed and previous hostilities,” reads the letter.
CEC and the World Council of Churches (WCC) made a joint appeal on 13 September for a cessation of hostilities between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces, and urging for dialogue to resolve the many unresolved issues following the conflict two years ago.
“Just a few days ago, the World Council of Churches 11th Assembly raised concerns about the unresolved situation following the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, and called inter alia for meaningful dialogue for a just and peaceful settlement of this conflict in the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Minsk Group,” reads the joint message.
“We urge the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Minsk Group and all members of the international community to encourage, support, and facilitate meaningful dialogue for a just and sustainable peace in the region,” reads the joint message.
In a joint letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Chairman-in Office, H.E. Zbigniew Rau, CEC and WCC have underlined, “in the intervening days, fresh conflict has indeed broken out, in which more than 100 lives have already been lost. Moreover, this renewed armed violence risks further escalation and yet more death and destruction.”
“On 31 August 2022 the Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Azerbaijan met in Brussels to discuss prospects for a comprehensive peace treaty. However, credible reports and analysis suggest that Azerbaijan is seeking – through the renewal of hostilities while the international community is focused on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine – to force Armenia into accepting a settlement on its terms.”
The WCC and CEC appealed Rau to do his “utmost to avert any such cynical misuse of the current geopolitical situation, to avoid further escalation, and to promote more rapid and effective progress towards a just and sustainable peace in the region.”
The recent clashes were the worst escalation of hostilities between the two countries since a 2020 war over Nagorno-Karabakh.
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
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