Details added (first version posted on 11:16)
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 8
If the negotiations on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict don’t lead to the end of the occupation, Azerbaijan retains its inherent rights under the UN Charter to ensure the restoration of its sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders, reads a statement of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
The statement was issued on the 27th anniversary of occupation of the city of Shusha, Trend reports May 8 with reference to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
Azerbaijan is the most interested party in the soonest negotiated settlement of the conflict, according to the statement.
"The occupation of Shusha was part of Armenia’s systematic policy of occupation and aggression against Azerbaijan,” reads 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 territories and committed other serious war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
“On May 8, 1992, the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia occupied a historical Azerbaijani city of Shusha,” the statement said. “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 went missing. More than 24,000 inhabitants of Shusha were subjected to ethnic cleansing.”
Occupation of Shusha city known as “Cradle of the Azerbaijani music”, “Conservatory of the Orient” inflicted heavy damage to the cultural, spiritual and moral heritage of the people of Azerbaijan, according to the statement.
“As part of Armenia’s deliberate policy of destruction, plundering, desecration and embezzlement of cultural and religious heritage of Azerbaijan in the occupied territories, only in Shusha more than 170 buildings with the status of architectural monument, 160 cultural and historical monuments, mosques, rare manuscripts were destroyed and subjected to vandalism or artificial change of their appearance,” the statement noted.
“The occupying Armenian side, following the ethnic cleansing conducted in course of Shusha's occupation, in contradiction to the requirements of international humanitarian law, destroys the historical and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan and gradually changes the cultural image of the city,” reads the statement. “Thus, about 4,000 people were illegally resettled in Shusha. The Yukhary Govheraga (Juma) Mosque, built by the order of Govharaga, the daughter of Karabakh ruler Ibrahim Khan, is being "restored" by the Armenians and is presented as a Persian one. But all these attempts have no prospects. The Armenian side has to understand that the occupation is temporary and the Nagorno-Karabakh region has always been and will remain inalienable part of Azerbaijan.”
The visit of the Armenian political leadership to the Shusha city, kept under military occupation by them and celebrating the so-called "victory day" is yet another provocation of the Armenian side and demonstrates once again the direct participation of Armenia in the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories, according to the statement.
“This step of the Armenian leadership proves once again that Armenia exercises the effective control over the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as it is confirmed by the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on “Chiragov and others v. Armenia” case of June 16, 2015,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry noted.
“The position of the international community is unequivocal: According to the position of all international organizations and states of the world, including the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as an integral part of Azerbaijan,” reads the statement. “The international community requires immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of occupying forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.”
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.