Azerbaijani and Armenian religious leaders to meet in Moscow for sake of Karabakh peace
Chairman of the Caucasian Muslims Office, Sheikhulislam Allahshukur Pashazade and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II will hold a meeting in Moscow on September 4.
The sides will discuss the settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and regional issues, the spokesman of the Catholicos of All Armenians Vahram Melikyan said.
The Caucasian Muslims Office also confirmed the information about the meeting, saying that the meeting will be organized through the mediation of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.
In April, Karekin said that the meeting with Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill II and Allahshukur Pashazade was being prepared, RIA Novosti reported.
The former head of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, vice-president of the Russian Council on International Affairs, Alexander Dzasokhov, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, hailed the meeting of Azerbaijani and Armenian religious leaders.
"I perceive the news about the forthcoming meeting of high representatives of the clergy of Azerbaijan and Armenia not only as a hope that this meeting can make a significant contribution to the political settlement of the protracted conflict. That's sacred. I have known Allahshukur Pashazadeh for a long time not just as a spiritual leader, but also an authoritative peacemaker. I've heard kind words from many friends about the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church Karekin II - therefore we have the right to believe in the success of this meeting, especially as it will be held with the mediation of Patriarch Kirill," he stressed.
"In Russia this meeting is perceived as the high attention of the Russian Orthodox Church to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the opening of the prospect of a long-lasting good-neighborliness between the peoples of Azerbaijan and Armenia. I am sure that a high meeting of religious leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia will be an important addition to the actions of the heads of the two neighboring states and the Russian president in the interests of the Karabakh settlement. If the clergy took over this good cause, then it is required by the circumstances and time," Alexander Dzasokhov said.
The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov stressed that the meeting of the spiritual leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia is especially important now, while it is not possible to agree on a new round of talks between the presidents, and the political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not moving forward.
"The meeting of Allahshukur Pashazade and Karekin II is very necessary and useful. Now we obviously witness the revival of religious values, and therefore spiritual leaders have become very authoritative. Their statements may have a positive impact on preventing a new war, on people in finding certain forms of peaceful interaction. The meeting of spiritual leaders is especially necessary now, as conflict relations are not only at the level of states, but also at the level of peoples. The population's attitude towards the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict sometimes is even more uncompromising than the authorities'," he pointed out.
"As the peoples are in a very conflict situation, such efforts of those who can influence public opinion are urgently needed to reconcile the people. The influence of spiritual leaders could play a very important role in mitigating this public opinion and preparing the ground for the subsequent political settlement of the conflict," Sergei Markov explained.