Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 25
By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:
The lack of serious progress in the peace talks held under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group causes serious concern, the appeal sent to the embassy of Azerbaijan by a group of U.K. parliament members said, the British embassy in Azerbaijan told Trend on Feb.25.
The appeal was sent by members of the House of Commons Bob Blackman and Stephen Hepburn and members of the House of Lords, Lord Kilclooney and Lord Flight who are the members of the UK-Azerbaijan parliamentary group.
"This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy. We remember with great sadness the death of 613 civilians as a result of the occupation of Khojaly by the Armenian Armed Forces. On these days, we remember the innocent people who died on that day. We have repeatedly visited Azerbaijan and have seen the plight of the internally displaced persons, those exiled from their native land," according to the appeal.
The MPs also pointed out that they subscribe to the calls for liberation of Azerbaijan's occupied territories through peaceful means and expressed hope that the IDPs will return to their homes.
On February 25-26, 1992 the Armenian occupation 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. Some 613 people were killed, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people. A total of 1,000 civilians were disabled during the genocide. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostages, while the fate of 150 remains unknown.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Translated by L.Z.
Edited by C.N.