Baku, March 11, AZERTAC
The Committee for International and Inter-Parliamentary Relations of the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan has issued a statement concerning the European Parliament’s resolution dated 10 March 2022.
The statement reads:
“The European Parliament passed yet another biased resolution directed against Azerbaijan on 10 March.
This resolution, which is entirely based on the false information fed by Armenia and the Armenian Lobby in the European Parliament, distorts the realities emanating from the 30-year-long period of occupation of the Azerbaijani lands, including the facts of vandalism towards our cultural heritage situated in those areas, and calling into question the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan whilst also damaging the efforts made to establish lasting peace and stability in the region, also contains a number of dangerous elements and casts a shadow on the efforts of the humankind to eradicate religious and racial discrimination and intolerance. Only devised to mislead the international community, this resolution could safely be referred to as ‘yet another collapse of the European democracy’. The indifference and disregard of the European Parliament that brings together representatives of the individual European nations to universal values truly gives rise to certain serious questions.
Whilst it is alien to our thoughts to comment on this partial resolution of the European Parliament in any detail, we would still wish to emphasize the certain points made in it.
First of all, it should be mentioned that the resolution of the European Parliament denies completely the vandalism of Armenia towards the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan during the 30-year-long occupation timespan. The war period was marred by the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Armenia. Together with destroying towns and villages deliberately, Armenia also decimated the entire cultural heritage that belonged to the Azerbaijani nation and had been situated in those areas. The scale of the destruction is beyond imagination. The numerous monuments of history, culture and religion, archaeological excavation sites, libraries and museums as well as museum artefacts, unique handwritten documents and tombs had been turned to ruins on purpose. Mosques had been razed to the ground or desecrated by being turned to cowsheds or pigsties. And it was not only the Islamic shrines and temples that had been ravaged: the Albanian and other Christian churches had been destroyed, too and more – attempts had been made to Armenianize them through architectural disfigurement. Armenia had been doing all that with the sole reason of erasing the trace of the Azerbaijani nation from those lands entirely.
Armenia had prevented heritage status appraisal visits by the UNESCO and other specialized international entities to those lands despite the repeated urges of Azerbaijan during the occupation period. Not only had that, but the indecision of the international entities encouraged Armenia to enlarge the scale of destruction. And all that constitutes a gross violation of the international humanitarian laws including the 1954 Hague Convention c/w the Protocols on the part of Armenia. It is really rather thought-provoking that the European Parliament, which refers to the UNESCO in its resolution repeatedly but denies the aforementioned and accuses Azerbaijan of obstructing the UNESCO mission, has not once in recent years raised the issue of the consequences of Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijani lands and the vandalism to which the heritage of Azerbaijan had been subjected. Not only does the present resolution of the European Parliament contradict the international humanitarian law, but it also happens to be at discrepancy with the European Union’s own adopted principles opposing destruction of monuments of culture and religion.
Another fact that needs citing is the accord to send a UNESCO mission to Azerbaijan and Armenia that was reached at the video meeting of 4 February 2022 participated by President of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev, President of France Emmanuel Macron (chairing the European Union), President of the EU Council Charles Michel and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. That arrangement came as proof of the necessity of determining the condition of the cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani nation situated within the territory of Armenia. And yet, the European Parliament does not mention this matter at all somehow.
The European Parliament presents the monuments of culture that it claims belong to the Armenians as parts of the ancient Christian Heritage and the general humankind heritage, too. The mentality that denies the 67 mosques either demolished or gravely damaged and the monuments of the Islamic culture torn to the ground during the occupation period – this manner of mentality promotes very hazardous tendencies by fostering religious and racial discrimination. Indeed, it is deplorably impossible to find a single expression denoting the heritage of Azerbaijan in any part of this resolution.
At the same time, the resolution distorts the import of the December 2021 ruling of the International Court of Justice in that it cites in entirety the claims filed by Armenia before the Court but dismissed by the latter ultimately.
In general, this resolution of the European Parliament completely contradicts the recent goodwill and efforts by the Leadership of the European Union to maintain peace, stability and security in the South Caucasus.
The European Parliament ought to accept a number of facts already.
Led by the victorious Commander-in-Chief, President Ilham Aliyev, the valiant Army of Azerbaijan put an end to the occupation of our lands and restored our territorial integrity consequent to the 44 days’ Patriotic War. Today, in the post-war period, Azerbaijan has incepted the phase of large-scale restoration and building. Practical steps are being taken towards assessment of the damage inflicted upon all the religious and cultural monuments and sites – including those that pertain to the Christian religion – in the formerly occupied territories, registration of those facts and restoration of the harmed monuments and sites.
This is not surprising, given that, contrary to the monoethnic Armenia, Azerbaijan is a multicultural and tolerant country where representatives of different religions and nations have lived in peace, dignity and kindness for centuries. All the religions’ temples and all the heritage objects found in the territory of Azerbaijan are protected and restored as necessary by the state.
The resolution of the European Parliament will fail to darken the elevated national, moral and cultural values of the people of Azerbaijan. It is merely a scrap of paper.
We strongly condemn the attempt by the European Parliament to spread false claims in a most biased fashion and we call for the avoidance of provocations liable to harm the process of normalization in the region.”
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