Baku, Azerbaijan, March 17
By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:
A book by famous Swiss journalist Andre Widmer titled "Forgotten Conflict: Two Decades after the Nagorno-Karabakh War" was presented in Los Angeles, Azerbaijan's consulate general in Los Angeles said.
The presentation that took place at the Consulate General of Azerbaijan was attended by officials of the U.S. State Department and Los Angeles County, foreign consuls general, academicians, community members and others.
Opening the event, the Consul General of Azerbaijan, Nasimi Aghayev spoke about the illegal military occupation of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory by Armenia, as well as ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed against the civilian Azerbaijani population in the occupied regions. Reminding the four legally binding resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council in 1993, which condemned the occupation and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijan, the Consul General stressed the utmost importance of international law principles of teritorial integrity and inviolability of state borders for maintaining peace and security in the world. Speaking of the hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani refugees, the Consul General informed the audience about the measures taken by Azerbaijan's government to improve their situation, especially the massive replacement of tent camps with regular housing with all utilities.
The consul general praised Widmer's audacity noting that unlike the traditional Western mainstream media, Widmer courageously highlighted the truth on the conflict, especially the destruction carried out by Armenia in the once-Azerbaijani populated areas, such as Shusha and Aghdam, as well as the humanitarian consequences of the conflict.
In his presentation, Widmer said that his views on the conflict dramatically changed when he visited Azerbaijan's occupied regions in 2008 for the first time. He noted that the cities and villages, which were once populated by Azerbaijanis, are heavily destroyed, some of them even leveled to the ground. Widmer mentioned that "the city of Aghdam, for instance, which had an Azerbaijani populatin of 50,000, does not exist today and the majority of the destruction was carried out after the city's occupation by Armenia."
Highlighting also the destructions in the city of Shusha, the journalist noted that these actions were not only moral crimes, but also flagrant breaches of international law.
Speaking of his meetings with Azerbaijani refugees living in frontline regions, Widmer said that these people were subjected to great injustice, and the international community did not pay enough attention to this tragic humanitarian consequence of the conflict. Noting that the Government of Armenia is doing its best to conceal the truth, the journalist said that truth can be suppressed for a while, but not eliminated. "My goal with this book is to highlight the injustices committed against Azerbaijani refugees," Widmer concluded.
Speaking afterwards, the professor of the University of California, San Diego, and former U.S. diplomat Dr. James Coyle drew the attention to the geopolitical aspects of the conflict.
The presentation was followed by a photo-exhibition "Hiroshima of the Caucasus", dedicated to the destroyed city of Aghdam. Photos reflecting both the pre-war and post-occupation views of Aghdam were presented.
During his visit to California, Widmer presented his book also to the professors and students of the Chapman University.