The World Council of Churches is gravely concerned by the renewed and very serious escalation of conflict in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region since Sunday 27 September – reportedly following an attack by Azerbaijan’s military forces – which has already resulted in dozens of casualties including civilians, and which risks provoking a wider armed conflict in the region.

I lament the tragic loss of lives, express my sincere condolences to the grieving families, and pray for the recovery of the injured.

To stop this bloodshed, the WCC calls on all combatants to desist immediately from further military action and to return to the table of dialogue and negotiation. On its behalf I appeal for urgent initiatives by the Minsk Group, under the auspices of the OSCE, for progress towards a peaceful solution to this longstanding unresolved conflict.

I am dismayed by the aggressively partisan stance taken by the government of Turkey, which as a member of the Minsk Group should maintain a neutral role, rather than that of an antagonist.

I appeal therefore to our WCC member churches from the countries in the Minsk Group to engage with their governments to convey this message and to encourage urgent and sustained diplomatic efforts for peace in the region.

Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Interim General Secretary
World Council of Churches