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Head of Caucasus Muslims Office: Religious figures must put efforts for fair settlement of Karabakh conflict

02 December 2013 [13:03] - TODAY.AZ
Religious figures must continue exerting their efforts aimed at a fair settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the international legal norms, head of the Caucasus Muslims Office, Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh said in an interview with Trend.

"At present, when our country insists on a fair settlement of the conflict within the international legal norms, we, as religious figures also continue exerting efforts in this sphere," Pashazadeh said.

According to Pashazadeh, the religious figures of the countries, which are in the middle of conflicts, always have big responsibility.

"From the very beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while realizing this mission, we gathered around a round table," Pashazadeh said. "First, we have had meetings in Rostov, then in Moscow, Montreux since 1988, that is, from the first days of the conflict."
"These meetings, except for the meeting in Montreux, were held with the mediation of the Russian Orthodox Church," he said.

According to Pashazadeh, the main mission of these meetings was to prevent turning an ethnic, territorial conflict into a religious one.

"From this point of view, the meetings of religious leaders, the obtained agreements, the signed documents have served this mission and gained historical importance," he said.
According to Pashazadeh, while coming to an agreement on mutual protection of religious and spiritual monuments, returning of captives, withdrawing of snipers from the contact line and other issues, the sides are working to build confidence between peoples.

"That's why in 2010, our meeting with the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II was held as part of the Baku summit in cooperation of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill," Pashazadeh said.

"Another meeting was held within the meeting of the presidium of the CIS Inter-Religious Council in Yerevan and the intention of the parties in holding these negotiations is to assist in the peaceful settlement of the conflict," he said.

"If these negotiations, meetings can slightly influence on this process, the sides must continue to hold them," he said. "From this point of view, the purpose of the meeting with an Armenian captive in Azerbaijan at the request of the Catholicos of all Armenians was a demonstration of the conscientious adherence to the spirit of joint statements."

"Karabakh is our historical territory," he said. "We must continue exerting efforts until our lands are liberated. This is our duty to God, the Motherland and people."
"Regarding the protection of cultural, religious and historical monuments in the occupied territories, the topic was repeatedly discussed during the meetings with the religious leader of the Armenians," he said.

"What happened can not be turned back, and our goal now is to prevent such incidents and in particular, to reconstruct all cultural, religious, historical monuments after the end of the occupation," he said.

According to Pashazadeh, this issue is clearly indicated in each joint statement, and the demonstration of the Armenian side's will is required.

"We raise the issue at all events in which we are involved," he said. "From the very significant platforms, we are trying to direct the opinion of the international community to prevent such cases."

"Islamic countries always express their support and these monuments are common Islamic monuments," he said. "The appropriate measures are being taken through the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and ISESCO and significant assistance is being rendered."



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