Pope deplores ‘fragile truce’ in Karabakh
Pope Francis deplored Sunday a fragile truce between warring neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and said he was praying for victims there.
A ceasefire on Saturday was swiftly broken by more fighting, with both sides accusing the other of responsibility.
The disputed territory is an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, home to about 150,000 people, which broke from Azerbaijan’s control in a war in the 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.
Speaking after the Angelus prayer in Rome, the pontiff welcomed the ceasefire, but added: “The truce proves to be too fragile,” the Vatican news service said.
Francis urged regional leaders to resolve the conflict “not through the use of force and arms, but through the means of dialogue and negotiation,” it added.
He urged Christians to gather with him in prayer for peace for the region.
“I pray and invite you to pray for the victims and for all those whose life is in danger,” the pope said.
Hopes that a Russian-brokered ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan might hold were dashed however, with both sides accusing the other of intense shelling on civilian areas and escalating two weeks of fierce clashes.
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