Moscow, July 24, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has called on the parties of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict to have dialogue and not to follow extremists.
"Today the Russian Orthodox Church is calling on both conflict parties to have dialogue. The religious communities of Armenia and Azerbaijan have accumulated experience of building such dialogue, which is very needed now. I am calling not to follow those forces that stand to gain from increasing tensions in the Caucasus," the patriarch said in a statement posted on the Russian Orthodox Church website.
The new war in the Caucasus "will inevitably attract various terrorists and extremists, who will deprive the region of peace and calm for a long time," the patriarch said.
The Russian Church has been engaged in peacekeeping activities in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict in trilateral dialogues for many years now, the patriarch said, adding that it allows him to address the religious leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. "I am asking you, dear brothers, to keep the achievements that we managed to solidify in brotherly meetings," the patriarch said.
The Russian Church is praying hard for the conflict to end as soon as possible, he said. "We hope that the brotherly peoples of Armenia and Azerbaijan will find the resources and wisdom to end the enmity, reduce the degree of mistrust and make mutually acceptable decisions on issues that divide them," the statement said.
The clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border began on July 12 and lasted until July 15 in the neighboring areas, Tovuz (Azerbaijan) and Tavush (Armenia), which also border on Georgia and are located several kilometers from the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh, where the situation remained calm. The situation stabilized in the past few days, but it remains tense.