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 Thursday, January 14 2021 13:53
Alexandr Avanesov

Catholicos: UNESCO experts are not allowed to visit churches in  Karabakh

Catholicos: UNESCO experts are not allowed to visit churches in  Karabakh

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". 


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