The European Commission deplores the Azerbaijani attacks on Shushi Cathedral during the 2020 war

In the response to an urgent written question sent to the European Commission by the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Loucas Fourlas (Cyprus, EPP), EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell stated on behalf of the European Commission that the latter deplores the damages caused to the Shushi Ghazanchetsots Cathedral by the Azerbaijani armed forces,  reports the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD).

In the urgent written question addressed by MEP Fourlas, it is mentioned that the Azerbaijani armed forces targeted and attacked Shushi’s Ghazanchetsots Cathedral on 8 October 2020, in violation of international rules of war. The MEP asks the European Commission whether the latter is planning to take steps “to protect both the civilian population and places of worship” in Artsakh/ Nagorno Karabakh that are currently under the Azerbaijani control.

Responding to the MEP, the European Commission stated that it deplores the destruction of religious and historic monuments in Nagorno Karabakh and underlines the importance of preserving and restoring the cultural and religious heritage.

Furthermore, in his answer the High Representative refers to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347 (2017), which gives the definition of the war crimes, targeting of the religious, educational and cultural centers.

The European Commission also welcomes the mission initiated by UNESCO to the regions of Nagorno Karabakh currently under the Azerbaijani control aimed at establishing a first factural assessment of the Armenian cultural heritage. It will also contribute to supporting the preservation and restoration of the cultural sites.

Commenting on the response of the written question, the EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian stated: “Azerbaijan has to bear full responsibility for the gruesome war crimes committed during and after the 2020 war in Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh, including targeting civilian settlements as well as religious sites i.a. the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi. Shushi has undeniably been a historical Armenian city, an important center for culture and education, and the symbol of the Armenian revival of Artsakh. The international community and the relevant organizations must closely follow and monitor the preservation of the Armenian religious and cultural heritage in the region. We should not allow yet another act of cultural genocide, such as the destruction of thousands of Armenian medieval cross-stones in Nakhijevan by the Azerbaijani authorities in 2006. Any attempt of demolition of historic Armenian presence in Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh must be prevented and strongly condemned.”

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