Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 18
Governor of the US State of Montana Steve Bullock signed an official declaration addressed all Montanans in connection with the anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, Azerbaijan's Consulate General in Los Angeles told Trend.
Bullock encouraged Montanans to acknowledge Feb. 26, 2016 as "Khojaly Remembrance Day."
This is the first document recognizing Khojaly genocide adopted by the State of Montana.
"As Montanans, we join with our Azerbaijani brothers and sisters in Montana to remember this day while also seeking to find understanding that surpasses the violence so often associated with conflict," said the document.
The number of states recognizing Khojaly genocide has reached 20 together with the State of Montana.
On February 25-26, 1992, the Armenian military, together with the 366th infantry regiment of Soviet troops stationed in Khankendi, committed genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly. Among those 613 killed in the massacre, there were 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people.
Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both. A total of 487 civilians became disabled as a result of the onslaught. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people still remains unknown.
The event became the largest massacre in the course of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
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 the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.