Sheikh-ul-Islam on Results of Meeting with Kirill and Garegin

Baku / 10.09.17 / Turan: The spiritual leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia called for the release of civilians held as prisoners of war in Karabakh, as well as to prevent acts of vandalism against churches and mosques on both sides of the line of delimitation, Patriarch Kirill said after the talks with the leader of Muslims of Azerbaijan Allahshukur Pashazadeh and the Supreme Catholicos of all Armenians Garegin II. The meeting was held in Moscow on September 8.

"As a result of certain actions, people suffer, including peaceful people, who are captured by one or the other side and who have not participated in any military operations and now are held as prisoners of war. We called for the release of civilians. The rules of military actions and the rules related to keeping prisoners of war should never be attributed to people who are not of this group," Patriarch Kirill said on behalf of all the negotiators.

"In the conflict zone and not only there, on both sides of the separation, there are temples and mosques, and it is very important that they should be kept properly so that there are no acts of vandalism, so that no one can speculate on religious feelings, kindling the conflict that needs to be extinguished," he added (RIA Novosti).

Sheikh Pashazadeh noted that the Armenian Catholicos alleged that the Armenian church in Baku is also in very poor conditions. "I invited Russian Patriarch Kirill to Baku to visit the Armenian church," he said.

Pashazadeh, for his part, protested to the Armenian side in connection with the fact that Azerbaijani Muslim monuments and mosques located in the occupied lands, as well as on the territory of Armenia, are in poor condition.

In his opinion, religious leaders should contribute to the normalization of relations between the two peoples. "We must be an example for our peoples. Armenia should first of all return seven regions adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh. It is necessary to begin this process. And then the heads of states and politicians will consider the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, naturally, within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan," Pashazadeh said.

He described the very holding of the meeting as a "positive" fact. "These meetings must necessarily give results. We proposed to organize a meeting of religious leaders on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. For example, we will hold a meeting once on the Azerbaijani side, and on another occasion on the Armenian side. We decided to be more active. It was proposed to create a group for the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, including religious figures of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia, like the OSCE Minsk Group. We discussed this issue at my meeting with Patriarch Kirill. And the Russian side will discuss this with the Armenian side. This group can provide moral support in the ongoing events, for example, in violation of the ceasefire, the exchange of prisoners or bodies, etc. It is a proposal now, but I hope it will be accepted," Pashazadeh said (AzerTadj).

It should be noted that currently two Azerbaijani internally displaced persons are kept in prison in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. They were taken hostage in the summer of 2014 when they attempted to visit the graves of their relatives in the Kalbajar district. Subsequently, they were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment on far-fetched charges. -06D-

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