By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan’s former president Ayaz Mutallibov has described as "absurd" the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement regarding the massacre of Azerbaijanis by Armenian forces in 1992.
"Pashinyan’s statement, in which he claims that as if I said Azerbaijanis were involved in committing the Khojaly genocide is absurd. His remarks lack any real grounds,” Mutallibov told local media.
On February 15, during the panel discussions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the participation of President Ilham Aliyev in Munich Security Conference, Pashinyan voiced a conspiracy theory, saying in the mid 1990s former President of Azerbaijan Ayaz Mutallibov gave an interview to the Russian paper “Argumenti I Fakti” saying that the provocation in Khojaly was allegedly organized by Azerbaijani opposition to overthrow him.
"In an interview with a Russian newspaper [to which Armenian PM refers], I stated that definitely, there was Armenian trace in Khojaly events. I noted that Armenia was trying to further destabilize the situation in Azerbaijan then. Furthermore, the local opposition was also interested in complicating the situation within the country. I have repeatedly stated that I did not say Azerbaijanis committed the Khojaly genocide. This is ridiculous," Mutallibov emphasized.
He pointed out that the “Argumenty i Fakty” newspaper itself, to which Pashinyan referred in Munich, is unfriendly towards Azerbaijan.
"From the very beginning the issue was formulated in a way to “associate” me with this topic. Then I didn’t have time to polemize on this interview. The situation in the country was so difficult that there was no time for this. I have repeatedly stated and I am saying it directly: I have never said that Azerbaijanis did it. By referring to this interview, Armenians try somehow to rehabilitate themselves," he concluded.
President Aliyev also commented on Pashinyan’s claims during the panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference.
“To say that Azerbaijanis themselves brutally killed 63 children, 100 women and 1000 people are still missing, is a peak of cynicism,” Aliyev said.
“Who committed the genocide in Khojaly, their names are well known. They were local Armenians, Armenians from Armenia and Armenians from diaspora. The names of these people are well-known, and many books and international articles were published about that. ,” Aliyev stated.
On the night of February 26, 1992, Armenian armed forces, directly supported by the 366th regiment of the former USSR, stationed at that time in the town of Khankendi in Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan attacked, from five directions, the town of Khojaly.
About 613 civilians mostly women and children were killed in the massacre, and a total of 1,000 people were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, 25 children lost both parents, and 130 children lost one parent. Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, and the fate of 150 of them remains unknown.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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