Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the Second Meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Contact Group on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan
New York, September 19, 2017
Mr. Secretary General,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Secretary General, Mr. Yousef Ahmed Al-Othaimeen for having organized and chairing the second meeting of the OIC Contact Group on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan. Let me also warmly welcome the members of the Group and express my gratitude to each of them for participating at the second meeting of the Contact Group.
It is with deep regret I have to inform you that since the last meeting of the Contact Group, the situation around the settlement of the conflict in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan not only remains unchanged, it has even been deteriorated with intensified escalations at the line of confrontation and deliberate killing of the Azerbaijani civilians living at the vicinity of the front line.
As it is well-known the continuing aggression by Armenia against Azerbaijan has led to the seizure of a significant part of Azerbaijan’s territory, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the seven adjacent districts and some exclaves, claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, and resulted in the forcible expulsion of more than 1 million Azerbaijanis from their homes and properties, while thousands of people went missing in connection with the conflict.
Serious violations of international humanitarian law amounting to war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide were committed in the course of the aggression. This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the atrocities crime committed by the Armenian forces against the civilians of the town of Khojaly, situated in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. As a result of the attack and capture of Khojaly in February 1992, hundreds of Azerbaijanis, including women, children and the elderly, were killed, wounded or taken hostage, while the town was erased to the ground.
Using this opportunity I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all Members of the OIC for supporting the resolution “On Solidarity with the Victims of the Khojaly Massacre of 1992” adopted during the 44th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Abidjan. I invite the OIC Member States to exert due efforts for recognition of the crimes perpetrated in the town of
Khojaly and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide at the national and international levels.
The United Nations Security Council resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993) and 884 (1993) adopted in 1993 unambiguously recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and demand unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces from all the occupied territories. In other words, in response to Armenia’s territorial claims and forcible actions, the Security Council reconfirmed that the Nagorno-Karabakh region is an integral part of Azerbaijan.
Unfortunately, the Security Council’s key demands have still not been implemented, and the mediation efforts conducted for more than 20 years within the framework of the OSCE have yet to yield results.
Despite the establishment of a ceasefire, attacks on the towns and villages in Azerbaijan situated along the front line of the armed forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the border between the two States, have become more frequent and violent in recent times, resulting in the killing and wounding of Azerbaijani servicemen and civilians.
Recently, on July 4, 2017, a targeted attack on Alkhanli village of Fuzuli district, by armed forces of Armenia killed 2 civilians, including two-years-old girl and heavily wounded 1 civilian. Another provocation committed by the armed forces of Armenia on August 7 along Armenia-Azerbaijan border left 13-years-old resident of Tovuz district wounded. These all confirm the rude and the systematic violation by Armenia of its commitments undertaken in the framework of the Geneva Conventions.
Here I would like to remind the demands of the relevant OIC resolutions on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan, which urges all Member States to refrain from providing any supplies of arms and military equipments to Armenia and not to allow the use of their territories for transit of such supplies, in order to deprive the aggressor of any opportunity to escalate the conflict and to continue the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories.
Let me also refer to peremptory call of these resolutions to the Member States to use such effective political and economic measures, as required in order to put an end to Armenian aggression, including inter alia, through refraining from economic activities in and investment to the Republic of Armenia as well as through limiting overall cooperation with Armenia.
As a country suffering from the occupation of its territories and the forcible displacement of hundreds of thousands of its citizens, Azerbaijan is the most interested party in the earliest political settlement of the conflict, which would ensure peace, justice and full development of the entire region. At the same time, Azerbaijan will never compromise its territorial integrity and the rights and freedoms of its citizens. Armenia must realize that the military occupation of the territories of a sovereign State and the policy of ethnic cleansing do not represent a solution and will never produce a political outcome desired by it.
The achievement of peace, security and stability will be possible only if the consequences of Armenia’s occupation are removed, thereby ensuring that its armed forces are immediately, unconditionally and completely withdrawn from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of my country are restored, and the right of internally displaced Azerbaijanis to return to their homes is guaranteed.
The Republic of Azerbaijan relies on the continued solidarity of Islamic Ummah with its just cause and the principled position of the OIC on condemnation of the illegal use of force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and occupation of its territories.
We believe that the deliberations of this Contact Group would contribute to the implementation of the OİC documents on condemnation of aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan and will help to harmonize the individual and joint efforts of the OIC Member States to this end.