Ambassador to Saudi Arabia: Azerbaijan demands restoration of its territorial integrity

Cairo, October 11, AZERTAC

Arab News has published an interview with Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Shahin Abdullayev.

The ambassador said that on September 27 the armed forces of Armenia, blatantly violating the cease-fire, launched another aggression against Azerbaijan — for the third time this year — by intensively shelling the positions of the armed forces of Azerbaijan along the frontline. "This new act of aggression by Armenia is a continuation of the latest provocations, including the attempted armed attack in the direction of Tovuz region on July 12-16, the sabotage-reconnaissance group’s provocation in the direction of Goranboy region, the illegal settlement policy in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as well as the provocative statements and activities of the Armenian leadership.

The clashes are the worst since the 1990s, when some 30,000 people were killed, and are spreading beyond the Nagorno-Karabakh region. By constantly violating the cease-fire achieved in 1994, Armenia tries to consolidate the existing status quo. Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that Armenia’s continuing military aggression and the presence of its armed forces in Azerbaijani territories remain a significant threat to regional peace and security."

He said for decades the one constant has been the Armenian occupation of almost all of Azerbaijan’s autonomous territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan, which together form about 20 percent of the country’s total territory. Armenia conducted a policy of ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis. "The cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people and 63 of 67 mosques in the territory of today’s Armenia have been demolished and plundered. Armenia also destroyed all Azerbaijani historical and religious monuments in the occupied territories."

The ambassador also criticizes the OSCE Minsk Group, which mediates the conflict. "The mediators — the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and the US) — are at fault. There was a formal negotiation process launched in 1992, which has produced no concrete results on the ground, in the sense that the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan has not come to an end, Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs have been prevented from exercising their right of return, and so on. In other words, for nearly three decades the Minsk Group led negotiations whose objectives were clearly and unambiguously set down on paper."

"Last week Armenian armed forces launched missile attacks on the densely populated civilian areas in Ganja, Mingachevir, Barda, Beylagan and some other cities of Azerbaijan. As a result of Armenia’s artillery and missile attacks, more than 30 Azerbaijani civilians were killed, more than 150 injured, and more than 500 residential buildings and civilian objects destroyed (as of Oct. 7)."

"Azerbaijan has a strong army, and reports that foreigners are fighting alongside Azerbaijani troops do not reflect the truth. On the contrary, Armenia recruits and uses mercenaries and terrorists from other countries against Azerbaijan. The Armenian government is using the conflict to divert attention from its economic problems and to influence public opinion in the country.

It should be once more stressed that peace and stability in the South Caucasus will be restored only after the liberation of all occupied Azerbaijani territories," Abdullayev said.

Ogtay Bayramov

Special Correspondent

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