Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh region protests against illegal visit of Saint-Étienne mayor to Armenia-occupied territories

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The Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan has made a statement on the illegal visit of the mayor of the French city Saint-Étienne to the Armenia-ocuppied territories.

Commenting on the statement, chairman of the Coordination Council of “Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh Region of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, professor Elchin Ahmadov said:

“According to the Armenian media, a Declaration of Friendship has been signed between the occupied Shusha city of Azerbaijan and French city of Saint Etienne. To this end, the mayor of the city of Saint-Étienne is accompanied during this illegal visit by François Rochebloine, a person notoriously known for his bias position against Azerbaijan and acting under influence of the Armenian lobby in France.”

“The Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan strongly condemns the illegal visit of the mayor of French city of Saint Etienne to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and signing an illegal declaration of friendship with the occupied Shusha city and expresses its anger in this regard.”

“Despite the Circular instruction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Internal Affairs of France, the mayors of some French cities illegally travel to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan under the influence of the Armenian lobby in France and sign various illegal documents with the cities under military occupation. Unfortunately, although being the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the central government of France has shown a passive attitude in respect of such illegal acts and does not take effective steps.

Such illegal steps of some Mayors of the cities of France, including the city of Saint Etienne, support and vindicate the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, the occupation of Azerbaijani territories and bloody ethnic cleansing against more than one million Azerbaijanis in the occupied territories,” Elchin Ahmadov said.

“The armed forces of Armenia occupied an ancient Azerbaijani city Shusha on May 8, 1992. As a result of the occupation, Shusha city and 30 villages of the region were destroyed, 195 innocent civilians were killed, 165 were wounded, 58 persons still remain missing, and more than 24 thousand inhabitants of Shusha were subjected to ethnic cleansing.”

“Along with being an inalienable part of the internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan, Shusha city, which is under occupation, has high historical, cultural, moral and symbolic meaning for the people of Azerbaijan. Occupation of Shusha city, which is called “Cradle of Azerbaijan music”, “Conservatory of the Orient” inflicted heavy damage to the cultural, spiritual and moral heritage of Azerbaijani people.

In the framework of Armenia’s deliberate policy of destruction, plundering, desecration and embezzlement of cultural and religious heritage of Azerbaijan in the occupied lands, only in Shusha more than 170 buildings with the status of architectural monument, 160 cultural and historical monuments, mosques, rare manuscripts were destroyed and subjected to vandalism. “Imarat of Panah khan complex” and library, Khan palace and Karvansaray, Yukhari and Ashagi Govharaga, Saatli Mosques, Mausoleum of Vagif, Natavan’s House and many others are among them.”

“Fundamental human rights are universal and must be applied on an equal basis. Speaking only about the rights of the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh in the conditions of gross violations of the most fundamental rights of the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, including more than 33,000 inhabitants of Shusha, by Armenia’s ethnic cleansing policy is unjust and disrespect to human rights.

The policy of the Armenian side to hide behind the cease-fire regime and to promote by such dishonest and feeble actions the illegal regime created in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, will never give the expected results.”

In order to achieve progress in the settlement of the conflict in accordance with the demands of the UN Security Council resolutions, Armenia must withdraw its troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, and ensure the return of internally displaced persons as well as, the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region to their native lands.”

“We believe that the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno-Karabakh will live in peace and reconciliation again within the borders and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Only in this case, it will be possible ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region.”

As the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group we call on the Government of France to take effective steps to prevent such illegal acts that undermine the resolution of the conflict and to strengthen efforts for solving the conflict together with the other co-chairs,” professor Ahmadov added.