16th Anniversary of Khojali Tragedy Marked in Vienna

Society Materials 3 March 2008 13:20 (UTC +04:00)

Austria, Vienna, 3 March / Trend corr. A.Alaskarov / An event commemorating to 16th anniversary of the Khojali tragedy was marked at the Ataturk Cultural Centre in Vienna. Representatives of Azerbaijani and Turkish Diasporas in Europe, Azerbaijani students studying in Austria and officials of Azerbaijani and Turkish Embassies attended the event.

The event participants honored the memory of the victims of the Khojali tragedy, and the Azerbaijani and Turkish national anthems were played. A documentary film dedicated to the events at Khojali was broadcast.

Araz Karimov, Chairman of Cultural Centre of Azerbaijan, stated that the Azerbaijani nation would never forget the victims of the genocide committed in Khojali. He said the main reason of the tragedy was the aggressive policy of Armenia and the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Karimov noted that the European community should condemn this genocide.

On the night of 25 to 26 February 1992 the Azerbaijani settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh, Khojali, was occupied by Armenian separatists, with the active participation of military personnel and army tanks from the 366th regiment of the Russian army. In a matter of several hours, more than 600 unarmed Azerbaijani citizens, including 106 women and 83 children, were brutally killed. The annihilation of the peaceful people continued for several days during which time the Armenians executed and killed prisoners, committed violence against women and children, cut off the heads of Azerbaijani military prisoners and had them hung up. During this crime, 487 people, including 76 juveniles were physically disabled and 1,275 people were taken prisoner. Despite the release of most of the prisoners, the fate of 150 people is still unknown.

The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988, due to the Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, the Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven neighboring districts. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement which ended active hostilities. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding the peaceful negotiations.