Churches call for end to Caucasus conflict

Azerbaijan forces shell Armenian targets during the fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh near the city of Terter, Azerbaijan(CNS/Umit Bektas, Reuters)

The conflict in the Caucasus is affecting many Christians and the Australasian-Middle East Christian Apostolic Churches Conference has called for an end to violence. Source: Catholic Outlook.

In a statement released earlier this month, the AMEC, which includes bishops from Eastern Rite Catholic Churches and is headed by Melkite Bishop Robert Rabbat, said the geographical and political complexities of the region have become “increasingly accentuated in the long-running dispute centred on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh”.

They said the conflict and military activity in the region have affected large numbers of Christians.

“As bishops and representatives of the Australasian-Middle Eastern Christian Apostolic Churches, it is incumbent upon us to express our concern at a situation which has the potential to develop into an international crisis,” the bishops said.

“We fear that the especially vulnerable – women and children, the elderly and the infirm – will be caught up in a conflict not of their making,” the bishops said.

The AMEC said the Armenian people “have long suffered major disruptions to their communal life”.

“In particular, it must be remembered that the Armenian nation was subjected to a deliberate, relentless, and merciless assault resulting in what is properly referred to as a genocide. That the successor state to the Ottoman Empire continues to deny the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide surely raises concerns for the safety of Armenian communities in the disputed territory.

“We urge that all involved in the present dispute abide by pertinent international treaties and conventions. Above all, the territorial integrity of the Armenian majority community must be accepted and respected ... As representatives of Christian communities, we abhor injustice and violence, and we call upon all those who determine the affairs of nations to move swiftly and definitively to restore order and to ensure continued peace.”

FULL STORY

Australasian-Middle East Christian Apostolic Churches Conference statement on the conflict in the Caucasus (Catholic Outlook)

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