Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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MEP Nathalie Loiseau calls for protection of Armenian churches in Nagorno Karabakh

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The chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence Nathalie Loiseau has expressed concern over the protection of Armenian heritage in parts of Nagorno Karabakh which have gone under Azerbaijani control after the 2020 war.

In an article for La Croix newspaper, Loiseau stated that Armenian churches such as the St. Mariam Church of Mekhakavan, the Saint John the Baptist Church (Kanach Zham) in Shushi, the St. Yeghishe Church in Mataghis have been vandalized, desecrated or destroyed after the territories fell under Azeri control.

“Every day, monuments or cemeteries are being destroyed. There are all grounds to fear that this destruction will continue at full swing,” the MEP stated, reminding the destructions of Armenian churches and monuments in Nakhichevan, and the complete demolishment of the Armenian cemetery in Hin Jugha.

The MEP highlights statements made by high-ranking Azerbaijani officials, such as Azeri leader Ilham Aliyev who called for removing Armenian writings from the churches, and distorted history by claiming that these Armenian churches are “buildings of Albanians of the Caucasus”, or the Director of Azerbaijan’s Union of Architects who expressed his desire that all churches in Karabakh will get “destroyed”.

MEP Loiseau alarmed that the international community is indifferent over the matter, instead of doing everything it can to preserve the cultural legacy. She noted that the attacks against cultural legacy is part of ethnic cleansing.

“For the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh crisis it is necessary for us to take more comprehensive actions and display greater determination, all captives must be released, all borders and exits to Karabakh must be open, the de-mining must be completed. All this requires a strong international presence,” she said.

“I am calling on the Minsk Group Co-Chairs France, USA and Russia to interfere in Azerbaijan. I am calling on the European Union to use the Eastern Partnership ties to receive clear assurances from Baku that the Armenian cultural legacy will be preserved,” MEP Loiseau said. She also addressed UNESCO, urging the organization not to give in to threats.

 “Don’t let the churches of Nagorno Karabakh get destroyed,” she said.

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