By Akbar Mammadov
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry has said that Armenia has constructed a new illegal settlement in occupied Kalbajar region as part of Yerevan’s artificial settlement policy aimed at consolidating the occupation.
In a press release issued jointly with Azerbaijan’s satellite operator Azercosmos, the ministry said that the monitoring carried out via the «Azersky» satellite has revealed that a residential complex, which began to be built in Kalbajar in late 2019, now consists of 15 houses.
“The speed and the continuation of construction work make clear that this settlement will be further expanded. Thus, if in January 2020, 6 houses were completed, in March - 10 houses, in April - 14 houses, and in August this figure reached 15,” the ministry said.
The ministry said that the settlement was part of an “artificial settlement policy of Armenia”, adding that new settlements were constructed in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, including the residential complex "Aracamux" in Jabrayil and "Ariavan" in Lachin region, as well as in Zangilan and Khanlig village of Gubadli region.
The fact of the construction of new settlements in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as seen from the analysis of satellite images, proves that Armenia continues its illegal activities in violation of international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, as well as the human rights norms, the ministry said.
“This illegal activity is aimed at continuing and strengthening the occupation of the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of Azerbaijan, the annexation of our territories and the prevention of the return of Azerbaijani IDPs to their homes and properties,” the statement reads.
The ministry stated that Armenia, its individuals and legal entities carrying out illegal activities in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of our country in gross violation of the international law, and the legislation of Azerbaijan, as well as all other individuals and companies participating in illegal activities in the occupied territories, “bear administrative and legal responsibility.
In the statement, the ministry stressed that the right of the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of Azerbaijan to return to their homes will be ensured, and the aggressor state Armenia will be held accountable for all its illegal actions.
It should be noted that earlier, the Armenian leadership saw the recent deadly blast in Beirut as another opportunity to illegally settle Armenians in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the adjacent seven regions.
Thus, the leader of the separatist regime set up in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan offered the settling of 150 Lebanese-Armenian families in Nagorno-Karabakh. The separatist leader voiced his readiness to receive Armenians on August 5, during the phone conversation with the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I who is based in Lebanon’s capital-Beirut.
Armenia had earlier moved thousands of Syrian Armenians to the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan since the start of the Syrian war. According to UNHCR figures, at least 15,000 Syrians have found refuge in Armenia since the start of the crisis.
Kalbajar was occupied by Armenain forces in April 1993.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh 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 OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France has been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. 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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