Intâ€™l conference on Karabakh conflict kicks off in Baku
- 14 March 2017
An international conference, entitled “The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, origins, peacemaking and the role of civil society” got underway in Baku March 14.
Addressing the event, Fuad Akhundov, an official at the social and political issues department of Azerbaijan’s Presidential Administration, said Azerbaijan has 20 percent of its territory under occupation and noted that the time has come to liberate the lands.
“Armenians are a wise nation. Pieces of information circulating on the Internet show that they’re beginning to take a rational approach. This event today is being attended by Armenian activists. I’m giving them my special thanks,” he said.
Maksim Shevchenko, the editor-in-chief of the Russian internet portal “Caucasus Policy” and a member of the Public Chamber under the President of Russia, stressed that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be resolved only through the development of the Russia-Turkey-Iran format.
Armenian publicist, public figure Vahe Avetyan touched on the Khojaly massacre, saying an act of genocide is a shameful fact for a people.
“During my visit to Baku in 2016, I commemorated the victims of the Khojaly genocide, which wasn’t possibly approved of by all in Armenia. However, there are numerous Armenian public figures and citizens supporting me,” he said.
Avetyan noted that in order for Armenian to be able to express their opinion without fear, they have to be freed from the concentration camp dating back to 25 years ago.
“A person may get crippled or killed for having uttered a word. After the conflict which has been lasting for more than two decades, we were finally able to visit the memorial to the Khojaly victims. The purpose of my coming here is to put an end to the stereotype of murderous Armenian created by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. I’m a writer, not a historian. We must put aside the national hostilities and open a new page,” he added.
Artur Aghajanov, a Ukrainian researcher of Armenian origin, said Nagorno-Karabakh has for centuries been remaining a land of various wars and conflicts.
“Karabakh has also been a part of the ancient Caucasian Albania. This ancient state had its own culture, history, architecture, and Albanian Autocephalous Church, which was one of the oldest churches in the Christian world. However, this ancient heritage is either destroyed or introduced as Armenian culture and history,” he said.
According to the researcher, it has been already two years that Armenian refugees (representatives of Hay people) from Turkey, Iran and the Middle East have been “Armenizing” ancient Karabakh lands.
“During this period, ancient German Autocephalous Church was destroyed with the support of Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Due to destruction of patriarchal thrones of Gandzasar and Amaras monasteries and Albanian Church, numerous peoples, their culture, temples, books and heritage in Karabakh and in the South Caucasus were captured by the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Some of these people, including Kipchak Turks, Udins, Tats, Kurds, and others accepted Armenian Gregorian faith. However, they had nothing to do with Armenian people or the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. They were forced to do it. All who said Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan and the history of ancient Caucasian Albania, have faced danger to their lives. However, we shouldn’t avoid saying the truth. We are ready to make our contribution in the struggle to restore the Albanian Autocephalous Church. We were glad over hearing about the restoration of the Albanian church and worship in temples. In the near future, we will create an organization to which the people, who are not indifferent to the fate and history of Karabakh, can join,” he added.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.
A fierce war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.
The military operations finally came to an end when Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in Bishkek in 1994.
Dealing with the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the OSCE Minsk Group, which was created after the meeting of the CSCE (OSCE after the Budapest summit held in Dec.1994) Ministerial Council in Helsinki on 24 March 1992. The Group’s members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden.
Besides, the OSCE Minsk Group has a co-chairmanship institution, comprised of Russian, the US and French co-chairs, which began operating in 1996.
Resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 of the UN Security Council, which were passed in short intervals in 1993, and other resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, PACE, OSCE, OIC, and other organizations require Armenia to unconditionally withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh.