There has been an anti-Azerbaijan policy in the region for two centuries, and Azerbaijanis were expelled from their historical lands and replaced with another people for whom a state was created therein, said Novruz Mammadov, deputy head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration and chief of the Administration’s foreign relations department.
He made the remarks at the international conference on the theme “Armenian military intervention in Azerbaijani territories: damage and casualties”, held in Baku Feb. 22, APA reported.
Mammadov mentioned that 250,000 Azerbaijanis who had been living in their homeland in Armenia were begun to be forced out of their homes in 1988. The invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts led to hundreds of thousands of people becoming IDPs.
“The acts committed during the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were not aimed at bettering the well-being of Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. The aim was to taking control of those territories. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was the last stage of Armenian authorities’ territorial claims. They even went on to commit genocide in Khojaly. These acts are in contrast with the spirit of the twentieth century. However, we have experienced it,” added the official.
Mammadov noted that the conflict has had a debilitating impact on the region’s overall development.
According to him, there are there are fertile lands in the occupied territories which could play an important role in agricultural production.
“Today 25 percent of Azerbaijani lands is impossible to be used. Seventy percent of the grazing lands are in the occupied territories,” said the official, adding. “Over 900 settlements and almost all cemeteries have been destroyed in the occupied Azerbaijani territories. It is impossible to estimate the overall damage caused by the Armenian occupation. Why don’t international organizations speak about the violation of fundamental rights of more than one million people? The EU, which proposes an association agreement, once refused to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. A number of countries recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, whereas no one thinks about imposing sanctions on the occupying country. The EU and all states mainly pursue their own economic interests.”
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.