Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 4 / Trend S. Agayeva /
"The Armenian authorities continue conducting a policy of artificial and illegal settlement in Azerbaijan's occupied territories. They ignore the fact that these actions committed on historical Azerbaijani lands and the promotion of this process by the Armenian leadership contradicts all norms and principles of international law", a spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Elman Abdullayev told Trend on Friday.
A programme called Armenia-3500 has begun in connection with the 20th anniversary of Armenia's independence. It aims to convince 3500 Armenians living abroad to move back to live in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, the Armenian media said.
"The expulsion of the local Azerbaijani population from their native lands, is ethnic cleansing and putting newly arrived Armenians on these ancestral lands must be condemned by the international community, " Mr.Abdullayev said. "This is disrespect for international law and all the values governing the system of international relations."
The issue of the Armenians' settling in Azerbaijani occupied territories must be seriously discussed in the world arena. International organisations must condemn such a policy.
The Foreign Ministry official said that the OSCE Minsk Group repeatedly confirmed the evidence of the Armenians' settling in the occupied territories during its missions to assess the situation in the occupied territories.
"The Armenian leadership's attempts to change the demographic situation in the country unilaterally and using illegal actions cause great harm to the negotiation process to resolve the conflict," he said. "Thus, the Armenian leadership once again demonstrates its destructive position."
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent 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 namely 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.