By Rashid Shirinov
An international conference entitled “Azerbaijan’s multiculturalism model: ethno-cultural diversity” kicked off in Baku on November 28.
Since ancient times, Azerbaijan has been a place where people of many religions and cultures lived together in peace, and today the country already acts as a role model in multiculturalism.
However, the situation is the other way around in the neighboring Armenia. This is a mono-ethnic state, and this stems from the aggressive position of its leaders towards the neighboring countries.
“The Armenian government is a threat to Europe, the whole world,” American political expert Peter Tase said, addressing the conference in Baku.
He noted that the Azerbaijani people suffered a lot due to Armenia’s actions, adding that Armenia destroyed Azerbaijan’s ethnocultural heritage and caused great harm to the country’s environment.
“Unfortunately, the EU, the U.S., the world main forces remain silent at the violence against humanity committed by Armenia against the Azerbaijani people,” said Tase. “I call on the world community to pay attention to the crimes committed against humanity by the Armenian fascist regime.”
The genocide in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly in February 1992 takes its place among the most terrible crimes Armenia committed against Azerbaijani people. The town came under intensive fire from the occupied towns of Khankendi and Askeran. Then, the Armenian armed forces occupied Khojaly, which was ruined by heavy artillery shelling. Of 3,000 people who were in the town at that time, 613 were killed, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elders. 487 people were severely wounded, including 76 children. 1,275 people were captured and subjected to unprecedented torture.
Arye Gut, head of the Israel branch of the Baku International Center for Multiculturalism, also addressed the conference in Baku.
“Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan proved by his deeds that he is the successor of fascist Garegin Nzhdeh,” he said.
Today it is obvious that Armenian authorities glorify Nzhdeh, as the government establishes monuments to this fascist, and the country’s president personally participates in their unveiling.
Gut stressed that Armenia occupied Azerbaijan’s lands, and today there are over one million refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan.
Artur Agajanov, Armenian historian and a member of the board of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Civil Peace Platform, in turn, noted in his speech that people-to-people diplomacy plays a leading role in the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
He noted that all options for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement have been put forward, but none of them was useful.
“The only positive thing is that large-scale military operations were not launched,” he added.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Until now, Armenia controls fifth part of Azerbaijan's territory and rejects implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.
Touching upon the activity of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Civil Peace Platform, Agajanov said that there are both positive and negative attitudes towards the platform’s activity.
“However, people are gradually joining us, and this makes us happy,” added the historian.
The process of bringing together the people of Azerbaijan and Armenia on boosting the settlement of the conflict started in December 2016, when the Armenia-Azerbaijan Civil Peace Platform was founded in Baku by a group of Azerbaijani and Armenian public figures and peacekeepers. The aim of the Platform is to bring together representatives of civil society of the two countries for creating dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the sides to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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