Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3
By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:
The UK parliament has put forward Early Day Motions on Khojaly genocide aimed at raising awareness of social and political circles of the country to the tragedy, according to a message on the parliament's website.
The author of one of the Early Day Motions is Chairman of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Azerbaijan Bob Blackman.
The document expresses sympathies to the people of Azerbaijan who are commemorating the 24th anniversary of the attack on the town of Khojaly by Armenian forces on February 26, 1992; and calls on the UK government to play a more active role in encouraging the peaceful settlement to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan based on the resolutions and decisions of international organizations, in particular the UN Secretary Council resolutions.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
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 were killed, 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 remains unknown.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
The author of the second Early Day Motion is the UK Scottish National Party MP Patrick Grady. Other MPs also joined the motion.
Grady notes that UN Security Council resolutions, which call on the Armenian forces to end the occupation of Azerbaijan, remain unfulfilled, he is concerned about the recent escalation in tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan and calls on the UK government to use the anniversary of this tragedy as an opportunity to renew international efforts to find a lasting peaceful resolution to this long-standing conflict.