YEREVAN, November 28 (Itar-Tass) — Head of the Armenian Apostolic Church Catholicos Garegin II thanked Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and the Russia Orthodox Church for their mediation to settle the Karabakh conflict and restore peace in the region.
“I want to express gratitude to you and the Russian Orthodox Church for mediation efforts to settle the Karabakh conflict and restore peace,” Garegin II said in a tripartite meeting with the Russian patriarch and Sheikh Allashukyur Pasha-zade, chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims on Monday.
The catholicos said he “hopes that the Karabakh problem will be settled by joint efforts and that our peoples and states – Armenia and Azerbaijan – will succeed in restoring good-neighbourly relationship.” He stressed, “Our duty is to exert maximum effort to ensure peace and stability in our region, and to strengthen cooperation and solidarity between the peoples.”
“Due to the peacekeeping mission – the OSCE Minsk Group for Nagorno-Karabakh [Russia, France and the United States] – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s personal efforts, the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents continue their meetings in order to settle the Karabakh conflict and ensure the peaceful coexistence between our peoples,” he said.
Garegin II said, “There is no alternative to peace for the peoples of Armenia and Azerbaijan living side by side and seeking to build a prosperous and happy society.”
Garegin II said the Religious Leaders Forum in Yerevan “will have a positive chord in the souls of our peoples and give good fruits”. The forum “is designed to strengthen our cooperation for the benefit of the lives of our peoples and for the sake of moral values, to reaffirm spiritual progress and peace”, he said.
“God makes our meeting possible to help us find ways to counter the imperatives of our peoples’ life by keeping them in peace and gracious living,” the catholicos said.
In his view, “the CIS countries represent a multinational and multi-cultural world with the centuries-long traditions.” “These traditions consolidated in the Soviet times and should develop today when our peoples restore their spiritual life in free and sovereign countries and seek to live with the faith in God,” Garegin II said.
The head of the Armenian Apostolic Church stressed, “Cooperation between the religious leaders is significant for countering the existing imperatives and settling conflicts, spreading humanitarian values, respecting the God-given right to the peoples’ free life and unhindered confession of their faith.”
The catholicos said, “In my view, moral principles, goodwill, mutual understanding and tolerance, the respect of other peoples and cultures have a big significance for resolving the gnawing problems.” “Today the world faces new challenges. Amidst globalisation, the economic, scientific and cultural achievements we voice serious concern over violence and war, the global economic and financial crisis, the social and political disturbances in North Africa and the Middle East,” Garegin II said.
Meanwhile, Garegin II, Patriarch Kirill and the chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims signed a declaration on the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict. They urged the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to stop bloodshed.
“The three parties are committed to the peaceful resolution of the problem. They say this decision should be taken on the basis of international law,” the Russian patriarch said.
The religious leaders of the three parties hope that these measures will facilitate the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The CIS Inter-Religious Council is a public organisation, which involves the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Buddhist Sangha, the Georgian Orthodox Church, the spiritual boards of Muslims of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the Congress of Jewish Religious Organisations, the Coordinating Centre of Muslims of the North Caucasus, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Council of Muftis of Russia, the Board of Muslims of the Caucasus, the Federation of CIS Jewish Communities and the Central Spiritual Board of Muslims of Russia.