Australian senator addresses parliament on Khojaly tragedy
“In two weeks time the people of Azerbaijan will remember the 25th anniversary of what has been one of the more bloody events in their country's history, when more than 600 civilians, including women and children, were killed. The 1990s war, as we all came to expect, had catastrophic effects, which continue today. A ceasefire was brokered by Russia in 1994, and it is estimated now that the population of this region is 100,000 ethnic Armenians”, said the senator.
“We know that without successful mediation ceasefire violations and renewed tensions will continue to threaten to reignite a military conflict in this place, as it will in others, between these countries and in this particular case that will only serve to destabilise the Caucasus region”, said Chris Back.
Senator stated that the region of Nagorno-Karabakh is now controlled by Armenia, and obviously ethnic Azerbaijanis believe they should have the opportunity to reside in this place.
The Australian Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. There are a total of 76 senators: 12 senators are elected from each of the six states.
On February 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of Soviet troops, stationed in Khankendi, committed an act of genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly. As many as 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people were killed as a result of the massacre. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both. A total of 487 civilians became disabled as a result of the onslaught. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people still remains unknown.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.
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