Azerbaijan community of Karabakh issues statement on Zangilan occupation
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 29
The "Azerbaijan Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh Region of Azerbaijan" Public Association has issued a statement in connection with the 26th anniversary of the occupation of Azerbaijan's Zangilan district by the Armed Forces of Armenia, Trend reports.
"For 30 years now, Armenia has been pursuing an aggressive policy in front of the whole world. In the late 80s of the 20th century, the Armenians, once again put forward groundless territorial claims against the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan," the statement said.
"Very serious, unforgivable mistakes and the pro-Armenian policy of the Soviet leadership led to a gradual aggravation of the situation in late 1990 and early 1991, and the Armenian aggression in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and in the districts bordering with Armenia took new heights. The Khojaly genocide, committed before the eyes of the whole world in 1992, has become the bloodiest page of this occupation policy."
The statement notes that 26 years ago, on Oct. 29, 1993, the Armenian Armed Forces launched a large-scale offensive in the direction of Azerbaijan's southwestern districts.
"The main objective of the offensive was to capture the Zangilan district, thereby completing the full occupation of Azerbaijan's southwestern part. As a result of the offensive, the Zangilan district, with a total area of 707 square kilometers, with a population of 32,600 people, which included one city, one urban-type settlement and 81 villages, was completely occupied. Currently, the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and seven adjacent districts including Zangilan are under the occupation of the Armenian Armed Forces," the statement read.
The statement emphasizes that the Zangilan district, located on the Baku-Julfa-Nakhchivan railway route, has important strategic importance. As a result of the occupation, architectural monuments in the district were completely destroyed, looted and burned.
"The largest plane (Chinar) forest in Europe grew in this district. The Armenians cut down the trees and sell them abroad. They continue to rob other valuable species of trees, deposits of molybdenum, marble, gold, granite of the district. The Basitchay State Nature Reserve, largest in Europe, with an area of 107 hectares; the Arazboyu Reserve with an area of 2,200 hectares; four natural monuments; a specially protected oak forest with an area of 10,000 hectares; the state forest fund with a total area of 12,964 hectares; up to 1,200 streams; the Gotursu mineral spring, the Turshsu mineral spring were located in the district," the statement said.
The statement of the Azerbaijani community noted that before the occupation in the Zangilan district there were nine pre-school institutions, 19 elementary schools, 15 secondary schools, music and vocational schools, 35 libraries, eight houses of culture, clubs and other cultural institutions.
"During the occupation of the Zangilan didtrict, 188 residents of the district were killed, 44 went missing. In 1988-1993, as a result of the military aggression of Armenia, more than 600 historical and architectural monuments were completely destroyed, of which 144 are sanctuaries, 67 mosques, 22 museums, which had 40,000 exhibits, 4.6 million books and valuable historical manuscripts and 927 libraries. As well as, samples of the historical heritage of Azerbaijan were stolen and subsequently sold at various auctions," the statement read.
The statement emphasized that as a result of Armenia's occupation policy in 1988-1993, 20,000 Azerbaijanis died, 50,000 people received various injuries.
"On the 26th anniversary of the occupation of the Zangilan district by the Armenian Armed Forces, over 80,000 members of the Azerbaijani community of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region, including the Zangilan residents, urge the international community to support Azerbaijan's fair position, call for an objective political and legal assessment of the ongoing Armenian aggression against Azerbaijani people," the statement read.
"We demand that all international organizations hear the fair voice of more than one million Azerbaijanis who have been victims of Armenian aggression, so that the criminal acts of Armenians become an object of condemnation at the international level. The Azerbaijani state and the Azerbaijani people will never accept the occupation. We believe that for a fair solution to the conflict, it is necessary to implement the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council on the withdrawal of the Armenian Armed Forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, the return of Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs to their homes and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan recognized by the international community. Only in this case is it possible to establish normal relations between two neighboring countries and ensure sustainable peace 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, 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 Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.