Baku eyes legal action against scientists working in occupied lands (UPDATE)
Details added (first version posted on 15:06)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 28
By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:
Azerbaijan is considering taking a legal action against a group of foreign researchers who illegally conducted archaeological excavations in the Azykh Cave in the Armenia-occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, told Trend Nov. 28.
Earlier, Armenian media reported that a group of foreign researchers is conducting archeological excavations in the Azykh Cave located in the occupied Azerbaijani territories.
According to the report, the group included researcher of Spain’s National Museum of Natural Sciences Dr. Yolanda Fernandez-Jalvo, research associate at the UK’s Blandford Town Museum Dr. Tania King, and research scientist at the Natural History Museum, London, Dr. Peter Andrews.
These people illegally crossed the state border of Azerbaijan, without a license of the country’s relevant authorities, conducted archaeological excavations in the territory of the Azykh Cave in Azerbaijan’s Khojavand District, and took the objects of historical and cultural heritage, found during excavations, out of the country by fraud and secretly, without customs control, said Hajiyev.
Such illegal actions of the researchers are violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, he added.
Hajiyev said these persons, with their illegal actions, also violated the international humanitarian law.
Hajiyev noted with regret that the Spanish Museum of Natural Sciences, Blandford Town Museum and the British Museum of Natural History don’t take the necessary measures to prevent their employees’ illegal actions that are contrary to the international humanitarian law.
The spokesperson said that one of the "leaders" of these illegal actions in the Azykh Cave is Levon Yepiskoposyan, an employee of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences.
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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.