EUROPE/ARMENIA - Premier Pashinyan calls Pope Francis: full support for "global ceasefire"

Saturday, 9 May 2020 pope francis   area crisis   weapons   armenian genocide   coronavirus  


Yerevan (Agenzia Fides) - Full and unequivocal support "to the appeal made by the Holy Father for an immediate ceasefire in all corners of the globe and unity, as the world is exposed to an unprecedented threat". This is the key message that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wanted to communicate to Pope Francis, in a telephone conversation he had with the Bishop of Rome on Friday 8 May. The news of the telephone conversation with the Pope was given by the Armenian Premier himself, through his twitter account. Armenian media, such as armenpress, added in their reports that Pashinyan also thanked the Pontiff for the Catholic Church's efforts to mitigate the devastating economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in favor of the most vulnerable sectors of the population. According to these sources, Premier Pashinyan reiterated Armenia's commitment to a peaceful solution to the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh (the Armenian-majority region subject to Azerbaijan), while the Pope apparently "reaffirmed his position on the issue of the Armenian Genocide".
The persistent contrast between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno Karabakh (see Fides 7/4/2016) is one of the many "low intensity conflicts" scattered around the world. The issue of ethnic political tensions around Nagorno-Karabakh broke out again at the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In that region, with an Armenian majority, in September 1991 the local soviets had declared the birth of the new Republic, after Azerbaijan had decided to leave the USSR.
A referendum and the elections followed, but in January of the following year the Azerbaijani military reaction sparked a conflict which caused 30 thousand deaths and ended with a cease-fire in 1993, since then continously violated by attacks and border skirmishes.
At the beginning of April 2016, the most serious clashes in the region since the mid-1990s occurred between Azerbaijani forces and those of the Armenian separatist authorities. Those clashes several dozen deaths, which led to a truce signed on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. The state of war is still technically in force in the region. The border areas between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan remain militarized in a "ceasefire" regime often violated by both sides (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 9/5/2020)