After the introductory remarks by Professor James Mitchell, Consul General Aghayev was invited to address the audience of around 120 students of the CSUN.
In his presentation, the Consul General spoke about Azerbaijan’s rich history, culture, its development since independence, its energy strategy, multifaceted relations with the U.S., as well as with Europe and neighboring countries. He also highlighted the long-standing traditions of ethnic and religious tolerance in Azerbaijan, and said in this regard that the Government of Azerbaijan is paying a special attention to strengthening these traditions and fostering the atmosphere of interreligious harmony in the country. Speaking of Azerbaijan’s experiences as an independent nation, Aghayev highlighted the tremendous role played by Azerbaijan’s National Leader Heydar Aliyev, whom he characterized as the “founder of modern Azerbaijan”.
Highlighting the illegal military occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories by Armenia, as well as the ethnic cleansing and war crimes carried out by Armenian army against the Azerbaijani civilian population in the occupied territories, the Consul General informed the attendees about the Khojaly massacre of 1992, which resulted in the brutal killing of hundreds of civilian Azerbaijanis, including many children, women, and elderly. Aghayev noted that the policies pursued by the Armenian government damaged primarily the people of Armenia and jeopardized Armenia’s own future as an independent nation. “As a result of the self-damaging policy of the Armenian leadership, during the last 24 years Armenia has lost around half of its population, and is now confronted with huge economic problems and remains heavily dependent on foreign remittances and assistance”, the Consul General said. The diplomat noted that the resolution of the conflict with Armenia could only be achieved once Armenia withdrew its troops from Azerbaijan’s territory and enabled the forcefully displaced Azerbaijani people to go back to their homes and lands.
The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session, during which Consul General Aghayev responded to various questions from the students.