Azerbaijan’s historic city marks 28th year of Armenian occupation
The following is the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the 28th anniversary of the occupation of the city of Shusha by armed forces of Armenia. ― ED.
As part of a systematic policy of aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan, a historical Azerbaijani city of Shusha was occupied by armed forces of Armenia on May 8, 1992. As a result of the occupation, Shusha city and 30 villages of Shusha district were destroyed, 195 innocent civilians were killed, 165 were wounded, 58 persons went missing, and more than 24,000 inhabitants of Shusha were subjected to ethnic cleansing.
The tangible cultural and spiritual heritage of the Azerbaijani people has been severely damaged as a result of the occupation of Shusha, a city of exceptional historical, cultural, spiritual and symbolic significance for the people of Azerbaijan and known as “Cradle of the Azerbaijani music” and the “Conservatory of the Orient.” More than 170 buildings with the status of an architectural monument, 160 cultural and historical monuments, mosques and a number of rare manuscripts were destroyed and subjected to vandalism in Shusha. The “Imarat of Panah khan complex” and library, Khan Palace and Karvansaray, Ashaghy Govharagha and Saatly Mosques, Mausoleum of Vagif, Natavan’s House and many others are among them.
The aggressor state Armenia, following the ethnic cleansing conducted in course of Shusha’s occupation, in contradiction to the requirements of international humanitarian law, destroyed the historical and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan and gradually changed the cultural image of the city. Thus, thousands of people have been illegally resettled in Shusha. The Yukhary Govheraga (Juma) Mosque, built by the order of Govharaga, the daughter of Karabakh ruler Ibrahim Khan, was “restored” by the Armenians and presented as a Persian one. All these clearly demonstrate the intentions of the occupiers to shadow the fact that Shusha is a prominent Azerbaijani city.
But the Armenian side has to understand that all these attempts have no prospects, and the occupation is temporary. The Nagorno-Karabakh is an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan; this region has always been and will remain an inalienable part of Azerbaijan.
According to the position of all international organizations and states of the world, in particular the resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council, Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as an integral part of Azerbaijan and immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of occupying forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is demanded.
Azerbaijan is the most interested party in the soonest negotiated settlement of the conflict and ensuring lasting peace in the region. The objective of the ongoing negotiations process on the settlement of the conflict is to ensure the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent districts of Azerbaijan, the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders and the return of IDPs to their homes. The achievement of that objective is a must, not a compromise. Azerbaijan considers no political solution to the conflict beyond this framework and participates in the settlement process on the basis of this understanding.
If the negotiations fail to bring as an outcome the ending occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia, Azerbaijan retains its inherent rights under the U.N. Charter to ensure the restoration of its sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders.