Details added (first version posted on 12:28)
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 8
Azerbaijan calls upon the international community to exert serious political and diplomatic pressure on Armenia so that the country withdraw its troops from the occupied Azerbaijani lands, and engage constructively in the negotiations over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of occupation of the country’s Shusha city by Armenia.
“The armed forces of Armenia occupied an ancient Azerbaijani city Shusha on May 8, 1992,” said the statement. “As a result of occupation, Shusha city and 30 villages of Shusha district were destroyed, 195 innocent civilians were killed, 165 were wounded and 58 persons still remain missing. More than 24,000 inhabitants of Shusha were subjected to ethnic cleansing.”
The occupation of Shusha was part of Armenia’s systematic policy of occupation and aggression against Azerbaijan, according to the statement.
As an outcome of this policy, Armenia by use of force occupied the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts of Azerbaijan, conducted notorious ethnic cleansing against more than one million Azerbaijanis in the seized lands and committed serious war crimes and crimes against humanity, the statement noted.
Shusha city, which has been under occupation for 25 years, is an inalienable part of the internationally recognized territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, the country’s Foreign Ministry said.
“The international community supports and respects in an unequivocal and principled manner the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan,” said the statement. “It makes clear to Armenia that the current status-quo achieved as a result of occupation will never be accepted. Moreover, it demonstrates that the international community does not and will not accept attempts to change the internationally recognized borders by use of force.”
In total disregard of the position of the international community and in flagrant violation of the international law, Armenia still refuses to withdraw its troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, changes demographic situation in the seized lands, and tries to further consolidate the status quo of occupation, according to the statement.
“Azerbaijan is the most interested party in the soonest negotiated settlement of the conflict,” said the statement.
“However, if the negotiations fail, Azerbaijan retains its inherent rights under the UN Charter to ensure the restoration of its sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders,” according to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
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.