Azerbaijani ambassador: Armenians try to represent Karabakh conflict as religious to Europe
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb.1 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /
Russia has recently proved that it wants the OSCE Minsk group to promote the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, the Azerbaijani ambassador to Italy Vagif Sadikhov said in an interview with the Italian Limes newspaper.
"Russian presidents have organised over 10 meetings between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents over the years. Unfortunately, the Minsk group has worked since 1994 but hasn't achieved any tangible results," inosmi.ru website quotes Mr Sadikhov as saying.
It should be remembered that the Armenian army occupies 20 per cent of the Azerbaijani territories, the ambassador said.
"As a result of the aggression, ethnic cleansing took place in Armenia where 250,000 Azerbaijanis, who had lived there for centuries were forcibly driven out. Thus, it is possible to consider Armenia a monoethnic state. On the other hand about 30,000 Armenians and many interethnic Azerbaijani-Armenian families live in Baku," Mr Sadikhov said.
"Ethnic cleansing and expatriation of Azerbaijanis living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, became the second stage. The matter is that 70,000 people are forcibly displaced persons, " he said.
Occupation of seven provinces around Nagorno Karabakh is the third element of Armenian aggression.
"These people also became victims of aggression and deportation. Thus, we have 250,000 people deported from Armenia, 70,000 from Nagorno Karabakh and 700,000 from surrounding provinces. In total there are about one million refugees and displaced persons," the diplomat said.
Mr Sadikhov said the situation hasn't changed since 1994 and this one of the outrageous violations of human rights when there are four UNSC resolutions on the issue.
"It is very important that all people should know about it because our Armenian opponents try to represent this conflict in Europe and in Italy in particular as one between small Christian Armenia and large Muslim states, namely Azerbaijan and Turkey.
However among the victims killed by Armenians in Azerbaijan there were not only Muslim Azerbaijanis but also Jews and Orthodox Russians. Therefore, there has never been a religious component in the conflict. Armenians try to represent the conflict in this way but in fact and our position is very clear on this issue. The matter is a classic conflict, based on the territorial claims of one state to other," the ambassador stressed.
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, 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.