Deputy-chairman of Azerbaijani delegation to PACE: Ongoing Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories poses huge threat to regional peace

Strasbourg, April 25, AZERTAC

"The ongoing Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories poses a huge threat to peace in the region," said deputy-chairman of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE Vusal Huseynov as he addressed the free debate of the spring session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

"Since our past session on February 26, Azerbaijani people commemorated the 25th anniversary of tragic genocide committed by Armenian regime against civil population in Khojaly occupied region of Azerbaijan in 1992. I would like to draw your attention to such crime against humanity and pay tribute to the victims of genocide. More than 600 hundred people, including women, children, elderly were killed, 487 people were severely wounded and 1275 people were captured and subjected to torture, the fate of 197 people remains unknown. Not only these people and their families are the victims of this crime, I believe everyone, including us are and will be the victims of this crime against humanity until the impunity goes on and those liable are not brought to justice," Vusal Huseynov said.

"Armenian colleagues here are well familiar with this tragedy as those represented in the leadership of their country today are liable for the killings and in fact are not denied. The current President Sargsyan, in his interview which can be easily found in the internet, notes and I quote him: "Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that they can joke with us; they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that stereotype. And that's what happened." These are the words of a president of a country which is a CoE member state. Armenia presents itself to the world as "a victim of the so-called genocide" but the world should know the true face of it and crimes committed in occupied territories of Azerbaijan," Azerbaijani MP Huseynov said.

"Therefore, it's very important that we speak up and act for justice for prevention of similar tragedies in the future. As the ongoing occupation by Armenia of Azerbaijani territories continues, which poses a huge threat to peace in the region, there can't be guarantee of safety."

"Azerbaijan supports peace and is willing to resolve the conflict by peaceful means. But let's look at the attitude of Armenian authorities to peace. I want to give an example of a civil society peace initiative recently launched by Armenian and Azerbaijan civil society activists called Armenia –Azerbaijan peace platform.”

This was the first initiative of this nature since the conflict began and laid the foundation for further peace activities. Several human rights defenders in Armenia joined it from the beginning, took part in the joint conference and campaigned for its expansion.

However, this civil peace initiative also was oppressed by Armenia. The Armenian authorities launched a dirty campaign against those seeking a civil dialogue with Azerbaijan. Under different pretexts representatives of civil society organizations, activists were arrested for carrying out peace-building projects and for having contacts with the platform."

"Armenian media named these people "traitors" and called for their punishment and encouraged to murder the Armenians who joined the conference in Baku. These were the actions of a state, which talks about peace and human rights. How we can expect peace and dialogue, if ordinary civil initiatives are oppressed," Huseynov added.

Shahla Aghalarova

Special Correspondent

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