News — 17 March 2017

A conference titled “The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, origins, peacemaking and the role of civil society” kicked off in Baku on March 14.

A number of scientists, politicians, public figures and researchers from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Uzbekistan and Armenia attended the event.

Famous Russian TV presenter and former member of Russia’s Civic Chamber, Maksim Shevchenko, addressing the event, said that deportation and ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenia against Azerbaijanis should not be left without attention.

He recalled that hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis were expelled from Karabakh and Armenia.

Speaking about Azerbaijan, he noted that it is a multinational state, which, despite all the experience, is not preparing for war. As for Armenia, Shevchenko noted, if the Dashnaktsutyun party wins elections there, war will become the basis of the political course of Armenia.

Moreover, Shevchenko emphasized that many Armenians left their country due to the country’s political course.

The expert went on to say that the OSCE Minsk Group, established to broker a peace between the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, cannot consider a solution to the conflict without taking into account the interests of the region.

“The proposals put forward by the OSCE Minsk Group do not work. The MG is an instrument of containment of a disaster, but not a way to resolve the conflict,” said Shevchenko.

In this context, the expert added that it is necessary to create new tools to resolve the conflict.

Deputy Department Head of the Presidential Administration Fuad Akhundov, for his part, said that the Armenian leadership deceives its people for more than 25 years by saying that the world has begun to recognize the “independence” of Nagorno-Karabakh, while in fact no country, including Armenia itself, recognizes it.

“Today, researcher-historians should express their stance against fake Armenian historiography,” he added.

Akhundov also noted that the Armenian people have already moved into the phase of understanding the need for a change. “People in Nagorno-Karabakh are under the fear of terror, but the Armenians beyond the region have begun to actively engage in the settlement process. They arrive in Baku and express their opinions,” Akhundov said.

Arthur Aghajanov, representing Ukraine at the conference, said that the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in a positive way is close.

Armenian human rights activist Vahe Avetyan, in turn, said that the history of Azerbaijan or Armenia has nothing to do with international law and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“We are old nations but young states and we should not begin our history with genocide, said Avetyan while speaking about the genocide committed by Armenians in Khojaly.

Avetyan reminded that several Armenian human rights activists and writers have recently apologized to the Azerbaijani people because of the Khojaly genocide.

He added that raising hatred between two nations will solve nothing.

Azerbaijan and Armenia must find the strength to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on their own, Elkhan Alasgarov, PhD, head of the expert council of the Baku International Policy and Security Network (Baku Network), said.

“The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has remained unresolved for a long time,” Alasgarov said. “The activity of the OSCE MG co-chairs, big states to settle the conflict has given no results.”

The expert added that the Azerbaijan-Armenia Platform for Peace, initiated by Azerbaijan, is of great importance.

“Sometimes Azerbaijan is accused of being supporter of military solution to the conflict,” Alasgarov said. “However, it is not so, because Azerbaijan is taking concrete steps to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully, and the conference being held in Baku today is one of such steps.”

Russian political analyst Oleg Kuznetsov said at the conference that the Karabakh clan in Armenia is the enemy of the Armenian people.

“This is a puppet regime, which is aimed to outbreak the conflict to ensure geopolitical interests of third forces outside the Caucasian region,” Kuznetsov said.

He added that the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh has been destroyed entirely.

On the sidelines of the conference, Kuznetsov told reporters that until the world recognizes the Khojaly genocide, it will be impossible to prevent such crimes.

“Crimes committed in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly are being committed today in Syria and Iraq,” he said.

Kuznetsov stressed that on March 6 he initiated a petition for recognition of Khojaly genocide in the Russian Parliament. The petition is addressed to the MPs of Russia’s State Duma and the Federation Council.

The genocide committed in Khojaly by Armenian separatists is a crime against humanity, he said.

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