By Akbar Mammadov
Head of the Azerbaijani Community of occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region Tural Ganjaliyev has expressed Azerbaijani people's readiness to co-exist with Armenians and said that Armenia has so far refused to negotiate with the Azerbaijani community of the region.
Ganjaliyev made the remarks in an interview with French newspaper “La Baule Plus” in its monthly print issue in March.
“We have an Armenian church in central Baku, while in Nagorno-Karabakh our mosques have been destroyed by Armenian forces. It is very unfortunate, but we intend to rebuild our mosques and temples as soon as we return. There are nearly 40,000 Armenians living in Baku, which means it is possible to peacefully co-exist in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region… We are ready to negotiate, we are ready to discuss, but they must not refuse our existence, because we accept their existence,” the paper quoted Ganjaliyev as saying.
"We hope to restore peaceful coexistence with the Armenian community in the future, but first the Armenian forces must leave our territory," Ganjaliyev who is also an MP from Khankendi constituency said.
The newspaper highlighted Ganjaliyev’s statement that Karabakh’s Azerbaijani community wants peaceful co-existence with the Armenian community.
"The Minsk group (United States, Russia and France) must redouble their efforts to achieve positive results [in the conflict resolution]. We want to return to our territories, rebuild our homes and live in peace with the Armenian community. However, Armenians refuse to negotiate with us. Armenia has been illegally occupying the territory and ignoring all the relevant decisions of the UN", the newspaper article reads.
The article also mentioned that Azerbaijan is a secular state, the religious question does not arise and the two communities, Muslim and Christian, have long lived in peace. I added that around one million Muslim Azerbaijanis were expelled from their homes after the Armenian occupation and the signing of the 1994 ceasefire.
“Azerbaijani refugees can no longer go to their homes, but legally there is still a deputy from that constituency, who lives in Baku since he can no longer return to his occupied territory. This deputy is elected by refugees who can no longer return to their homes. In terms of international law, UN resolutions call on the Armenian army to leave the country and this new self-proclaimed republic is not recognized by the international community,” the “La Baule Plus” emphasized in its monthly issue.
Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s breakaway region which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The Minsk Group’s efforts have resulted in no progress and to this date, Armenia has failed to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) that demand the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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