Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 25
By Ilhama Isabalayeva - Trend:
Azerbaijan’s goal is to achieve recognition of the Khojaly genocide throughout the world, deputy chairman-executive secretary of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov said.
He was speaking at an event entitled “We didn’t forget Khojaly genocide!” on Feb. 25.
The state is working in this direction, and some countries have already recognized the Khojaly genocide, he said.
“I believe that the number of countries that recognized this tragedy as genocide will increase,” he noted. “We must ensure that the whole world give political assessment of this tragedy.”
He added that 27 years ago one of the most terrible tragedies occurred in the history of Azerbaijan. As a result of this tragedy, 613 people were killed, 1,275 people became hostages, 150 people went missing and 25 children lost both parents.
“Peaceful, helpless people were killed,” he said. “In this sense, it is not only a tragedy that befell the Azerbaijani people - it became one of the worst tragedies of the world. The Khojaly tragedy will never be erased from the memory of our people. The Azerbaijani people never wanted revenge, we want the perpetrators of this crime to receive the punishment they deserve. As a people, we must achieve our goal.”
Ahmadov said that the state must be strong in order to ensure the safety of people.
“When a state is weak, it cannot protect its lands,” he noted. “If the state doesn’t have strength, its lands are occupied. The lack of the necessary strength of the state to protect its lands was one of the reasons for these events in the 1990s.”
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.
During the Karabakh war, on Feb. 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of 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 in the massacre. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people still remains unknown.
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.