By Akbar Mammadov
The Armenian authorities hamper the dialogue between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of the Nagorno-Karabakh region they have been occupying.
Head of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Azerbaijani community has said that Armenia has been rejecting the community’s proposal for the dialogue for many years now.
"The political leadership of Armenia, which has raised Azerbaijanophobia to the level of state policy, not only hinders this proposal for the dialogue but even shamelessly denies the existence of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Ganjaliyev said.
Ganjaliyev’s made the remarks in response to Armenian Ambassador to Israel Armen Smbatyan’s statement that he supported establishing contacts between the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples.
Ganjaliyev described Smbaytan’s statement as “hypocrisy” reminding that Armenia is the one refusing the dialogue.
“If Smbatyan is really in favor of a dialogue between the two peoples, then let him support the proposal of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Ganjaliyev said.
Ganjaliyev added that “the statement of the ambassador of aggressor Armenia, which occupied the territories of Azerbaijan and subjected more than a million of our compatriots to ethnic cleansing, that ‘the settlement of the conflict depends not on us, but on the OSCE Minsk Group’ is another manifestation of his country's efforts to avoid responsibility."
Furthermore, Ganjaliyev reminded that the reason for the conflict’s existence is the Armenian troops’ illegal presence in Azerbaijan.
"With the withdrawal of Armenia's army from our occupied territories, relations between the two peoples may be easily restored,” the MP said.
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.
It should be noted that recently Armenia stepped up its military provocation not only on the line of contact along the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is the main source of tension but also on the state border with Azerbaijan. On July 12, Armenian forces shelled Azerbaijan's positions in Tovuz, Azerbaijan's strategically-important district on the border. The Armenian attack killed 12 Azerbaijani servicemen, including an army general, as well as a 76-year-old civilian. Armenian forces retreated after suffering losses in Azerbaijan's retaliation.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz