PanARMENIAN.Net - Pope Francis has appealed to Armenia and Azerbaijan to "accomplish concrete deeds of goodwill and fraternity" for a peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying that he is praying for peace in the region, Vatican News reports.
Speaking on Sunday, September 27 after the Angelus prayer, the Pope said he has had worrying news of clashes in the Caucasus region and that he is praying for peace.
His comments came hours after Azerbaijan launched a large-scale offensive along the Karabakh contact line and has been shelling civilian settlements since early morning. At least two civilians - a woman and a child - have been killed, while two others have been injured.
The pontiff urged leaders to find a solution "not through the use of force and arms, but through the means of dialogue and negotiation" and he asked all Christians to gather with him in prayer for peace for the region.
The Nagorno Karabakh Defense Army said on Sunday that helicopters, drones, tanks and infantry armored vehicles belonging to the Azerbaijani military have been destroyed since morning.
Armenian Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan has already briefed Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office, on the situation along the Karabakh contact line.
Karabakh President's spokesperson Vahram Poghosyan has said the Azerbaijani military has been shelling the civilian settlements of Karabakh, including the capital Stepanakert.
The last major escalation on the Karabakh contact line was in April 2016 when Azerbaijan resumed hostilities against Karabakh. Throughout the four-day military campaign, 64 soldiers, 13 volunteers and four civilians, including a child, were killed and more than 120 people were wounded on the Armenian side. According to information from the U.S. Department of State, Azerbaijan lost more than 270 people in total.