UNAOC Baku forum - important based on Azerbaijan’s experience in multiculturalism (VIDEO)

UNAOC Baku forum - important based on Azerbaijan’s experience in multiculturalism (VIDEO)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 22

By Elena Kosolapova, Aygun Badalova - Trend:

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations 7th Global Forum hosted by Baku on April 25-27 is important based on Azerbaijan's experience of multiculturalism, said Hikmet Hajiyev, spokesman for Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

Hajiyev noted that Baku UN Alliance of Civilizations is very topical event and it contributes to the goals identified by the UN including its new sustainable development goals.

Hajiyev made the remarks participating in a discussion platform of Baku Network think tank.

The participants of the event hosted by Elkhan Alasgarov, Ph.D., head of the Baku Network expert council were: Hikmet Hajiyev, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Sevil Mikayilova, editor-in-chief of Azernews newspaper and Amina Nazarli, columnist for the newspaper.

"We see that at the international level, in many societies there are certain groups that are marginalized. And with this marginalization also comes radicalization. Therefore Baku Forum is an important process based on the experience of Azerbaijani people and their rich culture of tolerance and understanding. It demonstrates that within the inclusive society you can build the patters of a successful dialogue, where different communities, confessions and religions can live side by side," Hajiyev said.

He noted that Azerbaijan contributes to the international process of building bridges of dialogue and civilization and within this process Azerbaijan hosted Baku Humanitarian Forum, Baku European Games, now is going to host United Nations Alliance of Civilizations 7th Global Forum, and then will host the Baku Formula One event in June and Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017.

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations 7th Global Forum is like a symbolic bridge between two major events, bringing two civilizations together - Baku Games in 2015 from one side and the Islamic Solidarity Game which will be held in Baku next year on the other side, Hajiyev said.

"Baku plays an important role as a diplomatic capital, brings different people together... All of these processes are complimenting one another, it is a positive contribution of Azerbaijan to the regional and global peace and security," Hajiyev said.

He noted that regarding the subject it is possible to see real difference between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"What Armenia brings to the region and what Azerbaijan brings to the region? Azerbaijan brings regional cooperation, development, prosperity, understanding and cooperation, including Dialogue of Civilizations. And Azerbaijan's contribution goes beyond regional dimension. And it is also a continuation of the process what we are seeing since the Baku Games and all of these processes complementing one another. But what we see in the case of Armenia - it is war, distraction and also undermining entire regional security structure," Hajiyev said.

He noted that it is time for Armenia to change its mind and come to join to the processes in a constructive manner.

Touching upon the recent escalation over the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Hajiyev said that it is obvious that the Armenian armed forces launched an intensive attack on Azerbaijani civilian population over the entire contact line of Armenian-Azerbaijani forces on April 2.

Hajiyev said the Armenian armed forces used artillery and other heavy weapons, and targeted defense positions of Azerbaijani armed forces.

He went on to add that in order to provide and guarantee the security of civilian population, Azerbaijan's armed forces were obliged to respond, and as a result several Azerbaijani strategic heights occupied by Armenia, were liberated.

Hajiyev also noted that the liberated strategic heights were used by Armenia to particularly target the civilian population of Azerbaijan living near the contact line area.

"As a result of such military provocation by Armenia, six civilians were killed from Azerbaijani side, and twenty more have been seriously injured," Hajiyev said, adding that these provocations from Armenia inflicted serious damage to public and private property.

The official went on to add that in sign of good will, Azerbaijan declared declared unilateral truce on April 3, but Armenian armed forces and political leadership of Armenia ignored it and continued military actions until April.

Since April 5, as a result of meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani General Chiefs of Staff, the decision was made to guarantee the cease of fire, said.

"But unfortunately, the provocations of Armenia still continue. The situation is relatively stable, but is still tense," he said.

Hajiyev said that Azerbaijan, on numerous occasions, declared its position, saying that illegal presence of Armenian armed forces on Azerbaijani lands is a major source of a threat to the regional peace and security.

It undermines the wider structure of regional peace, he said.

He added that the international community should demand Armenia to fulfill the resolutions of the United Nations' Security Council on unconditional withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

"The presence Armenian armed forces on the occupied territories of Azerbaijan continues to pose a threat, and we have witnessed once again, starting from April 2, that such kind of presence could cause further escalation of the situation on the contact line," Hajiyev said.

He also stressed that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict cannot be considered a frozen conflict.

"This conflict is alive," Hajiyev said.

He stressed that Azerbaijan demonstrated that the country is ready to start comprehensive and result-oriented political process towards the resolution of the conflict on the basis of the current proposals within the OSCE Minsk Group process.

"Unfortunately we don't see still such kind of reaction from the Armenian side," he said.

On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.

Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.

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.

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