ARTSAKH: Concerns about future of churches and monasteries, French Senate considers recognizing Artsakh independence

ARTSAKH / NAGORN-KARABAKH – Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) have opened a military post in the ninth century Dadivank Monastery, now in territory controlled by Azerbaijani forces, to facilitate access to the Monastery by local Armenians. After the signing of the ceasefire agreement between Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, concerns had been raised about the fate of the Armenian churches and monasteries which have come under Azerbaijani control.

At the request of the local population, the Russian peacekeeping mission send a military garrison to the famous Dadivank Monastery to protect the historical monastery and open it for visitors. Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov stated that “the leadership of the peace forces has contacted the local authorities to solve problems in local communities”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had specifically asked the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to respect the Christian places of worship and stressed the necessity of preserving normal ecclesiastical life in the lands that will come under direct Azerbaijani control. Aliyev, in turn, guaranteed the protection and freedom of access to all churches and monasteries in Artsakh.

Thursday morning, for the first time, Russian peacekeepers escorted an Azerbaijani army convoy that set off from the city of Shusha towards one of the villages of Artsakh. Russian News Agency TASS, quoting the Russian peacekeeping mission command, reported that the convoy included three KAMAZ trucks with unarmed persons on board. Two Russian Tiger armoured vehicles accompanied the trucks.

In France, French Senator Bruno Ritayo, with a group of senators, put forward a draft resolution urging Paris to recognize the independence of Artsakh. Senator Ritayo said via Twitter that the Senate will consider the draft on the November 25. French Senate decisions are considered as recommendations and the executive authority is not obligated to comply with them.