European journalist: Azerbaijani historical buildings in Armenian occupied territories are in bad condition
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 25 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /
Azerbaijani historical buildings and cemeteries in the territories occupied by Armenia are in bad condition, freelance journalist for Wochenzeitung and Neues Deutschland Andre Widmer told Trend.
Widmer paid his last visit to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Agdam region in late March 2010. The Armenian authorities denied a visa to Widmer in early March because of his publications about Nagorno Karabakh and he was deported straight from the airport in Yerevan.
During the recent visit of Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey, Parliamentary Speaker of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Vasif Talibov emphasized Widmer's role in informing the public about the realities of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the occupation of Azerbaijani territories.
Stressing that Switzerland is known worldwide as a just state, Talibov said Widmer published articles about the Agdam region occupied by Armenia in a Swiss weekly newspaper.
These materials were posted on a number of Swiss websites and reflect the atrocities committed by Armenia in the Agdam region, he added.
Talibov thanked the Swiss government and Widmer for their just position and invited him to visit Nakhchivan.
"My main purpose then was to visit Agdam because I missed it 2008. In May 2008, I visited some other places in Karabakh, too. Both times I was in Shusha," Widmer wrote Trend in an e-mail.
He said settlements on the occupied territories are ongoing.
"I also think that - like the OSCE fact-finding mission's 2005 report confirms - the population in Karabakh and the surrounding territories is lower than the separatist regime's official number. The only place with a significant level of development is Khankendi," he added.
Widmer also visited a large Azerbaijani cemetery in the outskirts of Agdam.
"I cannot confirm vandalism here, but there was no one caring for the cemetery, so it is in very bad shape. The tombstones have been fallen to the ground," he stressed.
Widmer added that many Azerbaijanii cultural buildings in Shusha and Agdam have been destroyed or badly damaged. Agdam lies in ruins due to incidents of robbery, he said.
"The robbery was confirmed by Robert Avetisyan, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic representative in the United States," he added.
Widmer said the Azerbaijani mosque in Agdam is also in very poor condition, as well as the mosque in Shusha. They still exist, but in poor condition.
"Only one mosque has a new roof, but unfortunately it's an artificial roof, so I am not sure that it can be used for protection," he added.
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 7 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 the 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.