Nagorno Karabakh

On 25 November, the French Senate voted on a symbolic resolution to recognise the region of Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent republic. The resolution would not officially recognise the disputed Caucasus region as a sovereign state but was drafted to show solidarity with France’s large Armenian community. The resolution calls for the French government to “recognise the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and use this recognition as an instrument of negotiations for the establishment of a sustainable peace.”  It also calls for a harsher European Union response to Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan, as well as an investigation into Turkish war crimes. Renewed fighting between the two sides erupted in September, and hundreds were killed. A ceasefire agreement was signed on 9 November, which called for Armenia to give over land it occupied outside of the disputed region. Nagorno-Karabakh is recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but its population is mostly ethnic Armenian. The resolution vote came as several French towns, aid groups, and the government increased aid for those fleeing the unrest in Nagorno-Karabakh. A French cargo flight sent medical assistance and other aid relief to the Armenian capital of Yerevan, and more aid deliveries are expected. Azerbaijan has criticised France for supporting Armenia and has called for France to be removed from the peace negotiations. France’s foreign minister dismissed the vote, saying that the resolution would “contradict France’s neutral position.”

From a Christian perspective, the vote by the French Senate, to recognise the region of Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent republic, will most likely remain symbolic, but it is still a very important gesture of solidarity. At the height of the fighting in early October, an INcontext contact in Armenia commented that the Armenian Church felt like they were standing alone amid the spiritual onslaught they were experiencing through the war. He expressed his conviction that this was a spiritual battle, with the spirit of Islam trying to eradicate the Church from the region. With Azerbaijan being supported directly by Turkey, they were praying for the Church within ‘Christian’ nations to come alongside them and engage in the spiritual battle that was raging simultaneously with the physical war. As the battle intensified, and more prayers were generated, the ceasefire agreement was finally signed on 9 November. Many Armenians viewed it as a loss due to the territory they had to concede, but in the spiritual realm, victory was achieved because the fighting ceased and so too the loss of lives and souls. In this regard, our friend rightfully pointed out: “We need peace with our neighbouring countries in order to share the Gospel with them”.  Even though this resolution from France is a political one, it still sends a message to Armenians that they are not alone. May the Church similarly communicate to the Body of Christ in Armenia that they too are not alone.

Pray with us for the following:

  • For the ceasefire agreement to be maintained
  • For the Church in various nations to reach out and encourage the Armenian Church that they are not alone
  • For Armenian believers to purposefully live out a testimony of love, peace, and forgiveness towards their neighbouring countries


Image: REUTERS/Antoni Lallican