Details added (first version was posted at 19:12)
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 1
By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:
Armenia, grossly violating international law and conducting ethnic cleansing policy, occupation and aggression against Azerbaijani people, has no right to talk about ethnic and religious tolerance and moral values, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Elman Abdullayev told journalists.
He made the remarks commenting on a statement made by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian at Armenian parliament on April 30.
The Azerbaijani diplomat said the Armenian FM by making such statements, once again demonstrated how he understands international relations.
"The Armenian FM, following the tradition, tends to shift the problems of his state on the other," he said. "Armenia, committing crime against humanity and occupying territory of a neighboring state, should not only be deprived of membership in the Council of Europe, but sanctions should be imposed against it."
The Azerbaijani people, have a rich tradition of statehood, and are proud of their centuries-old tradition of tolerance, according to the spokesman. This tradition, being a way of life for the Azerbaijani people, is recognized globally as progressive and as an excellent example to be followed. Armenia also should take as an example the rich tradition of tolerance exhibited in Azerbaijan.
"Armenia, a country which massively expelled Azerbaijanis from historical places of residence for their national identity, committing one of the most horrible and large-scale humanitarian disasters of the 20th century, today has turned into the most "exemplary " mono-ethnic state in the world," Abdullayev said.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the statements of the Armenian leadership on the ethnic incompatibility of Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples are a reflection of the racist thinking of the country's leadership.
"I wonder why Edward Nalbandian forgot the statement of his president so quickly ...Yerevan should finally end the policy of hatred and territorial claims towards neighboring states and peoples, to understand their responsibility for the breach of the peace in the region and to prepare his people for peace," Abdullayev said.
According to him, Armenia, under various pretexts continues to adhere to its non-constructive position, preventing dialogue between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Nagorno-Karabakh and in general promotion of the negotiation process and the restoration of peace and stability in the region.
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.
More than one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs as a result of Armenia's occupation of the Azerbaijani territories.
The two countries 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.
Translated by S.I.
Edited by C.N.