Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, Chairman of Caucasian Muslims Office in Azerbaijan Allahshukur Pashazade, and Armenian religious leader Catholicos Karekin II held a trilateral meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.
Opening the meeting, Patriarch Kirill said religions have the potential to bring peace between ethnic groups, “no matter how difficult relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia are at this stage.
"We believe that faith and love for God will heal the wounds caused by the tragic conflict that has lasted for many years," he said, referring to Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but was under Armenian occupation since 1991.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27 last year, which lasted for 44 days. The two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement in November 2020 to end the fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
Recalling that the Caucasus has always been famous for its diversity of peoples, languages and cultures, Kirill claimed there is no other future for the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples than living together.
"Today it is especially important to restore people's trust in each other, to learn again to perceive a neighbor with respect and readiness for mutual assistance," he said.
Kirill stressed on the importance of respecting religious sites, historical monuments and graves, and religious feelings of people of different faiths.
"Religious leaders are called upon to use their authority to create and maintain an atmosphere of good neighborliness between religions and peoples," he added.
Kirill urged to find out what happened with missing people in the region, to release prisoners of war and civilians, and to refrain from the use of weapons.
"Religious leaders are ready to promote reconciliation between the peoples of Azerbaijan and Armenia for the benefit and prosperity of present and future generations," he said.
The meeting of religious leaders comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin met Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Moscow to discuss a range of issues including Nagorno-Karabakh.
Pashinyan complained about the situation in Karabakh, claiming "the conflict remains unresolved" and that the situation has not been fully stabilized yet./aa