The Azerbaijan State News Agency

POLITICS

Azerbaijani Deputy Premier meets Norwegian and Icelander parliamentarians and PACE representatives

Baku, May 21 (AZERTAC). Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the State Committee for Refugee and IDP affairs, chairman of the Republican Commission for International Humanitarian Assistance Ali Hasanov has met members of the Norwegian and Icelandic Parliaments, as well as representatives of the PACE.

Ali Hasanov gave detailed information about the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the historical roots of the dispute, the state of the refugees and IDPs in the country.

He noted that as a result of complicated political processes in the South Caucasus region, Azerbaijanis have undergone the policy of forced migration, ethnic cleansing and deportation several times in the last two centuries.

The Deputy Premier noted that 20 per cent of Azerbaijani lands, including Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts, were occupied, over 1 million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs, the country’s national and cultural legacy and the whole infrastructure was destroyed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region as a result of the military aggression of the Armenian Armed Forces against Azerbaijan.

Ali Hasanov said the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions demanding the liberation of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, and the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes.

He noted that Armenia’s aggressive policy had also been condemned in the resolutions and documents of the OSCE, PACE, OIC and other international organizations.

Ali Hasanov expressed regret over the fact that those resolutions still remain unfulfilled.

“Armenia ignore views of the international community and still has been continuing its illegal activity in the occupied Azerbaijani lands,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Mr. Hasanov noted the OSCE Minsk Group had been mediating the peace talks for over 20 years, but “there have been no results”.

Saying that official Baku is interested in fair settlement of the conflict peacefully, Mr. Hasanov noted the Azerbaijani government had carried out great work in the legal as well as socio-economic fields in order to meet the needs of refugees and internally displaced persons.

The Deputy Premier said the Azerbaijani government had spent $5.4 billion to tackle problems of refugees and IDPs in the last 20 years.

He noted that 82 modern towns with state-of-the-art social and technical infrastructure had been built for refugees and IDPs, describing this as “a strong signal of the President’s attention to their problems”.

Mr. Hasanov said that the housing conditions of over 180,000 refugees and IDPs were improved and the process had been going on.

He noted that in 2003 the poverty rate was 49 percent in the country, and 75 percent among refugees and internally displaced persons.

The Deputy Premier pointed out that as a result of the measures taken by the government the poverty rate had been reduced to 5 percent in the country and to 15 percent among refugees and internally displaced persons.

He also spoke of Azerbaijan’s targets in this regard.

Saying that Azerbaijan has been dynamically developing since it gained independence, the European Parliamentarians noted that they would increase efforts towards solving the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully.

The Parliamentarians stressed the importance of the supporting Azerbaijan’s fair position on the dispute much deeply and noted that they would try to inform the European society much more widely about the conflict.

Members of the Norwegian and Icelandic Parliaments hailed the works done to improve social and living conditions of the refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan.

They also discussed other issues of mutual interest and the European Parliamentarians were presented the “Presidential care to Refugees and IDPs” book and DVD.

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