ArmInfo. Churches and historical monuments on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh controlled by Azerbaijan are under threat, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II told Izvestia.
According to him, Baku refuses to allow UNESCO representatives to personally assess the situation around the heritage. At the same time, the Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church noted, Russian peacekeepers are making every effort to ensure the preservation of historical and cultural monuments. Karekin II expressed gratitude to Vladimir Putin for his personal contribution to ending the war in the region.
A special department has been formed in the Armenian Apostolic Church, the task of which is to control the preservation of monuments of international importance, Karekin II told Izvestia. According to him, the clergy appealed to religious leaders, international cultural organizations and bodies, as well as to UNESCO. However, he added, the proposal to admit UNESCO observers to the territories controlled by Baku did not find support from Azerbaijan.
The Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church expressed the hope that the efforts of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, including Russia, would be possible to take immediate steps to preserve the monuments.
Izvestia sent inquiries to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense and UNESCO to clarify the situation with the admission of international experts to inspect objects of historical and cultural heritage.
During the hostilities, religious sites have come under fire more than once. Thus, the Holy Savior Cathedral of Shushi (Ghazanchetsots) was subjected to a rocket attack. As a result of one of the raids on this settlement, Russian journalists Levon Arzanov and Yuri Kotenok were injured. A significant role in the preservation of monuments and religious shrines, according to the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, is played by Russian peacekeepers, who are making every effort for this.
The Catholicos of All Armenians expressed gratitude to the President of the Russian Federation for his personal contribution to ending the war and settling the issues that arose after it. Among the problems that concern the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Primate voiced the status of the region, the timing of the return of prisoners of war and the demarcation of borders.
"Back in December, the expert community discussed issues related to Armenian historical and cultural monuments", Inna Vetrenko, Head of the Department of Social Technologies of the North-West Institute of Management (NWIM) of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), told Izvestia. "Concerns have been raised that religious and cultural differences may lead some people to misunderstand the significance of these monuments. There are a lot of Armenian sites of universal significance on the territory of Azerbaijan and Nagorno- Karabakh. And the only international body that could monitor the preservation of monuments is UNESCO", Inna Vetrenko said.
"And now, when Azerbaijan has taken a position not to allow experts to visit Karabakh, this causes even more concern. And not only from the Armenian side. In this situation, Moscow can contribute to resolving the situation, because Russia acts as an arbitrator in the negotiations. Our country could undertake this mission: lobby for the decision to let UNESCO observers in and enter into a dialogue with the Armenian side, give them some guarantees".