Baku, Azerbaijan, May 17
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva – Trend:
The capitals of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Azerbaijan became brotherly cities back in 1972 as parts of two today nonexistent states – Yugoslavia and the USSR, says an article dedicated to the 45th anniversary of these relations, published by the Sarajevo Times.
Not even pedantic socialist arbitrators of that time could see all the similarities between the two cities, two cultures, and countries, says the article.
“After the collapse of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, Sarajevo and Baku found themselves exposed to great historical changes, as well as their countries Bosnia and Herzegovina and Azerbaijan, which went through the same cruel aggression of their neighboring countries,” noted the author. “One of them, unfortunately, ended in Srebrenica genocide, and the second one in terrible genocide in Khojaly town in Azerbaijan.”
According to the article, almost half a century later, besides the rich and very similar cultural heritage – medieval and Ottoman and despite everything that happened to them in the last century, these cities continue to nurture tolerance, coexistence and religious diversity, which is witnessed by a large number of religious objects.
Therefore, the number of tourists that are visiting Sarajevo and Baku is constantly growing, says the article.
Strong bilateral cooperation in fields of economy and culture testifies the current relationship between the two cities and countries almost half a century later, noted the author adding that one of the most beautiful city parks in Sarajevo, was named after the city of Baku and the central sculpture is there to remind of horrors of crimes that were committed in Khojaly, as well as crimes that were committed in other places.
Sarajevo and Baku are brother cities, as well as cities whose culture and heritage represent a valuable bridge between Europe and Asia with all of their common characteristics, concluded the author.
On February 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of the former Soviet troops, stationed in Khankendi, committed an act of genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly.
As many as 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people were killed as a result of the massacre. A total of 1,000 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 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.