Today.Az » Politics » Azerbaijan no longer to play “public diplomacy”
12 April 2024 [10:35] - Today.Az

There was a time, when Azerbaijan had to join in meaningless games of public diplomacy. From the very beginning it was clear that the initiatives of external players would not yield any results. The result could only happen if Azerbaijan recognized the results of the First Garabagh War and renounced its lands, or if Armenia suddenly came to its senses and withdrew its troops from its neighbor’s territories. Given that neither happened, “reconciliation of the two peoples” under the ongoing occupation was a waste of grants. Someone somewhere was laundering money, and Azerbaijan was forced to engage in nonsense. He could not refuse, so as not to bring upon himself all the thunder of heaven. It’s even funny to remember - they demanded that we show mercy to the occupiers, some international organizations and NGOs wrote corresponding programs and tried to make plans for us.

Today everything has changed. The lands have been liberated, the conflict has been resolved, and an end has been put to it. Outside players have no leverage left. Now is the time for Western well-wishers to start drawing up public diplomacy projects for our region. But for some reason nothing is heard about this. I wonder why?

Until the end of 2024, a forum of religious leaders of the world will be held in Baku. As the chairman of the Caucasus Muslims Board (CMB), Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, told reporters, the issue of inviting Catholicos of the Armenians Karekin II to the meeting will be considered. At the same time, the head of the CMB expressed his opinion, emphasizing that the Armenian Catholicos is not worthy of such an invitation. Garegin spreads revanchist ideas, opposes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and disputes the results of the Second Garabagh War. The sheikh denied the slander about the alleged destruction of Christian churches in the territories liberated from occupation. And, it must be said, Catholicos Garegin plays the first violin in this slander campaign.

Most likely, there will be no invitation to Garegin. Let us repeat - times have changed. In 2010, the Azerbaijani side had to invite him to a similar event in Baku so that the World Religious Forum would not be disrupted. And it could have been thwarted by a boycott on the part of various countries and leaders of faiths patronizing the occupying country. Garegin was invited, but not because at that time he remembered Christian values ??and behaved like a true Christian. Even then he headed a heretical formation called the Armenian Apostolic Church. The AAC and its postulates have always served as a source of Armenian terrorism, cave nationalism and separatism. This is well known, and this was also true in 2010. But the trend towards “public diplomacy” imposed on Azerbaijan made the invitation of the head of the AAC inevitable. And Garegin came and did us such a favor. Important, from the height of the “winner,” he said that he dreams of “the day when the borders will open in the region and he will be able to freely visit Baku to pray in the local Armenian church.”

The dialogue between the WMC and the AAC was diligently supported by the Russian Orthodox Church in the person of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus'. The latter organized trilateral meetings, and one of them took place in Baku during the forum. At the same time, a joint declaration on the peaceful resolution of the conflict was signed. Everyone understood the meaninglessness of this document, but it was, let’s say, a diplomatic necessity. After the April 2016 battles, Garegin defiantly withdrew from interreligious dialogue. The Azerbaijani side did not have to do this itself. The Catholicos illegally arrived in the occupied territories, presented crosses to the illegally built regimental chapel, and for the first time during the years of conflict gathered the Supreme Spiritual Council of the AAC not in Etchmiadzin, but in Khankendi.

This is where “public diplomacy” at the level of the spiritual leaders of the conflicting parties ended. Today Azerbaijan has eliminated all mechanisms and instruments. which external players could use in the game against Baku in the past. Therefore, the head of the UMC calmly and openly says that Catholicos Garegin has no place in Baku as long as he spreads revanchist ideas.

By the way, the words of the Sheikh terribly offended Garegin II, and he refused the invitation, which had not even happened yet. Commenting on the words of the head of the Educational Committee to journalists, Etchmiadzin stated that the AAC has always stood for “respect for the realized fair right of the people of Karabakh to self-determination in their historical homeland.” The calls of the Armenian high clergy for war and terror in Etchmiadzin were not considered revanchism. As an obligatory point of the propaganda program, “genocide”, “monstrous barbarism” and the like were mentioned. As we see, the world is changing, but there are no changes in Armenian thinking. The spiritual leader of the Armenians, taking into account the fact that the AAC is the main nation-forming factor for the Armenian people, should have thought about the future of Armenia and his flock. Instead, Garegin and his Kodla are doing everything to ensure that the Armenian people have no future.  

In a word, in Baku we, in all likelihood, will not see the Catholicos of all Armenians. The head of a terrorist church that patronizes separatism and Nazism will not honor us with his presence. Yes, of course, it will be a terrible loss for us, but we will get through it somehow.

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