Head of the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan Tural Ganjaliyev has sent a letter of protest to Per-Anders Blind, President of the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA), Trend reports with reference to the community’s website.
The letter expresses the deepest concern and resentment of the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region with regard to the information published on CONIFA's website that the Confederation will host “2019 European Football Cup” in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan in June 2019.
“Armenia’s military aggression led to the occupation of 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan – Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts,” reads the letter. “Armenia carried out a total ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani population in the occupied territories, including Nagorno-Karabakh. Conducting of that policy culminated in ethnic cleansing with over one million of Azerbaijanis becoming refugees and IDPs. More than 80,000 members of the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region were forced to live as IDPs in different regions across Azerbaijan for more than 30 years.”
The letter stresses that the organization of this tournament by CONIFA blatantly violates the norms and principles of international law and contradicts the official stance of the world community and the international organizations that support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.
"This provocative act by CONIFA not only endangers the regional peace and stability, but also undermines the peace process and negotiations being held between the parties," the letter says.
“I would like to remind you that there is only one professional football club, Qarabag FC, representing the Azerbaijanis from the occupied territories,” reads the letter. “This club currently hosts its home matches in Baku, far away from the city of Aghdam, which is completely destroyed and is under occupation by the Armenian troops. Nonetheless, Qarabag FC has been forced to live and play outside of Aghdam, the club has achieved the world prominence by participating in the group stage of the Champions League of UEFA. Here we see that CONIFA’s action is in full contradiction to the rules and regulations of UEFA and shows a complete disrespect to the European and world sports communities.”
“I urge you to recognize the inappropriate and harmful nature of your planned tournament and to cancel it immediately,” says the letter. “This provocative action gives publicity to the illegal regime in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, therefore encouraging separatism and irredentism in the region already devastated by Armenian military occupation. By organizing this tournament in the war-torn region, CONIFA and you, as its President, bear a heavy responsibility for the lives of the tournament participants, foreign journalists and other media representatives for sending them to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.”
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries 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 districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.)
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