Baku, January 12, AZERTAC
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is well aware of the fact that Armenia has been pursuing a policy of aggression against Azerbaijan. As a result of this policy, the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and seven adjacent districts were occupied, more than one million people were subjected to ethnic cleansing and became refugees and IDPs. As a result of the Khojaly genocide committed by the Armenian armed forces on February 26, 1992, 613 civilians, including young children, women and the elderly were brutally killed. The four resolutions of the UN Security Council adopted in 1993 (822, 853, 874 and 884) demand the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and the return of those forcibly expelled from these territories to their native lands. The Russian Federation, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, voted for the adoption of these resolutions. However, the Azerbaijani lands have been under occupation for more than 25 years and the requirements of these resolutions have not been fulfilled,” said Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva as she commented on the remarks made by official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova about the non-admission of citizens of the Russian Federation of Armenian origin to the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic.
Azerbaijan is globally recognized as the center of multiculturalism, Abdullayeva said, adding that Azerbaijan, unlike Armenia, is a multinational country.
“Representatives of various nations, including Armenians, live together in the conditions of peace and tranquility in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Currently more than 30,000 Azerbaijani citizens of Armenian origin live in our country. This is while Armenia is a mono-ethnic state. The activities and efforts of Azerbaijan in this regard have always been highly appreciated by Russia in numerous bilateral meetings at the level of presidents. While children of Armenian origin face restrictions in receiving education in Russian-language schools in Armenia, there are more than 340 Russian-language educational institutions operating in Azerbaijan. Such schools can be counted on the fingers in Armenia,” she said.
“Azerbaijan is always open to Russian citizens. Only in 2018, 880,000 Russian citizens visited Azerbaijan, and there were no complaints by them on the issue raised.”
“The overwhelming majority of the citizens of Russia were pleased with their visit and expressed gratitude for the hospitality. We would like to note that there were also Russian citizens of Armenian origin among the visitors. At the same time, not only Russian citizens of Armenian origin, but also citizens of Armenia attended international events, sports competitions and cultural events held in Azerbaijan, and they had no problems," Abdullayeva said.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation have made statements contradicting the spirit of bilateral strategic relations. On the background of development of the Azerbaijani-Russian relations, this statement and attempts to exaggerate some particular case, taking it out of the general context, are another manifestation of the general trend we have indicated.”
Maria Zakharova said that "the Azerbaijani side promised that this situation would be corrected”. "We strongly refute this. Azerbaijani-Russian relations are based on equality, and the expression “correct the situation” contradicts the essence of bilateral relations. We are convinced that the next provocative and anti-Azerbaijani statement by the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry will not have a negative impact on relations between Azerbaijan and Russia. Azerbaijani-Russian relations are determined not by the foreign policy structures, but by the presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia, and both sides are very interested in developing these relations and are making efforts in this direction," FM spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva added.
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