Pope Francis appealed for peace as on September 19, Azerbaijan made an offensive against the Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh, located inside its own territory.
Russia has reportedly brought both sides to a cease-fire this September 20, however the presence of Russian peacekeepers in the region has not previously brought results.
At the end of the general audience, the Pope said:
Yesterday I received disturbing news from Nagorno Karabakh, in the South Caucasus, where the already critical humanitarian situation is now aggravated by further armed clashes. I make my heartfelt appeal to all parties and to the international community to silence the weapons and make every effort to find peaceful solutions for the good of the people and respect for human dignity.
Armenia is the first state to have accepted Christianity, dating back to the 4th century. It continues to be almost exclusively Christian. Meanwhile Azerbaijan is predominantly Shia Muslim (more than 97%).
The enclave is populated by some 120,000 ethnic Armenians who reject Azerbaijan’s rule.
Aleteia has previously offered an explainer about what’s going on in the region: