Photo: Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
Press Release No: 19/23
12 October 2023
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) express grave concern to the European Union on the situation in the Caucasus related to the exodus of almost the entire ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
A joint letter from CEC and the WCC was sent on 12 October to Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, signed by CEC General Secretary Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen and WCC General Secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay.
“In light of the subsequent developments, especially the massive exodus of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh, we appeal to the EU and to all members of the international community to provide immediate and sustained humanitarian support for the refugees, especially the most vulnerable and the poorer members of the community who still lack adequate assistance to meet their basic needs for food, shelter and medical care, and for education for their children.”
The letter asks the EU to substantially increase financial support for the provision of essential humanitarian assistance.
“We also wish to draw your attention to the fears of possible further territorial incursions by Azerbaijan in southern Armenia, with the intention of forcible establishment of territorial connection with its enclave Nakhchivan,” the letter continues. “In this context, the role of the EU in Armenia takes on a much greater significance.”
CEC and the WCC express great appreciation for the important contribution already made by the EU Mission in monitoring the situation along a part of Armenia’s eastern border with Azerbaijan. “However, with the dramatic shift in circumstances in the region, we are convinced that a substantial strengthening of the EU Mission’s personnel and resources will be needed to mitigate the risk of any such incursion and to help restore confidence among the people of Armenia,” reads the letter. “A further key factor for future relations in the region will be the manner in which Azerbaijan now treats Armenian religious and cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh.”
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
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