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Armenia's claims on making profit off attracting foreigners to Karabakh - nonsense (VIDEO)

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 23 March 2015 10:20 (UTC +04:00)
International media, journalists, academicians and other people who would like to visit Azerbaijan’s occupied territories for professional activities should abide by the laws, regulations and procedures of Azerbaijan, Hikmet Hajiyev
Armenia's claims on making profit off attracting foreigners to Karabakh - nonsense (VIDEO)

Baku, Azerbaijan, March 23

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

International media, journalists, academicians and other people who would like to visit Azerbaijan's occupied territories for professional activities should abide by the laws, regulations and procedures of Azerbaijan, Hikmet Hajiyev, the head of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's press service told Trend during 'This Week in Focus' program episode.

He said Azerbaijan is very pragmatic and open in this issue.

"And we acknowledge that journalists and people from the academia should go there for their professional work," said Hajiyev. "Maybe they are interested in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict issue and they simply should make coverage. There is a practical and legal solution for that."

He went on to add that in order to visit Azerbaijan's occupied territories for professional activity, foreigners need to submit an appeal to Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry.

Bringing an example to this, Hajiyev said that recently The New York Times representatives wanted to make coverage about the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

"They visited Azerbaijan and also made a written appeal to the Foreign Ministry, saying they want to make journalistic and professional work in the occupied territories," Hajiyev said. "And based on that, Azerbaijan gave them permission and we also provided them with our accreditation card as they are provided for journalists making coverage in Azerbaijan."

Hajiyev further noted that a researcher from the UK was also granted a permission of the Foreign Ministry under the law and made a trip to the occupied territories.

Hajiyev said that earlier foreign journalists were not aware of the procedures needed to visit Azerbaijan's occupied territories.

"Therefore we also raise the awareness of the issue, it is crucially important," Hajiyev added.

Further speaking, Hajiyev said Armenia's statements that it is making profit from attracting foreigners to Nagorno-Karabakh are ridiculous, calling it "nonsense".

"The majority of those people, who illegally visit the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, are the citizens of Armenia," Hajiyev said, adding that the second major group of the visitors is the members of the Armenian diaspora from other countries.

Hajiyev said there are people, who are brought to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia, being misled into thinking that they are visiting another part of Armenia, and they ended up seeing that they are actually in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

"And we have a lot of appeals from this group of people," he said. "And they understand the situation, and express support to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. They respect the law of Azerbaijan and they ask to be removed from the list of the persons who are declared as undesirable in Azerbaijan."

Hajiyev said there has been a decrease in the number of people who illegally visit the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, adding that this is evidenced by the statistics.

He said that for example, in 2014, only 60-70 people were added to the list of the persons who illegally visited Nagorno-Karabakh.

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.

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 four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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Elena Kosolapova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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