By Akbar Mammadov
Armenia's illegal settlement policy across Azerbaijan's occupied territories is a military crime, Presidential Aide, Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department of Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev has said in an interview with Azertag.
He reminded that Armenia is conducting a policy of illegal settlement across Azerbaijan's occupied territories and has recently started settling Armenians from Lebanon there.
“News of a family from Lebanon resettled in the city of Shusha – a destination of utmost historical and moral significance for Azerbaijan has been posted on social media. As the world countries, including Azerbaijan, are dealing with the issue of elimination of tragedy's consequences that befell Lebanon and offering humanitarian assistance, Armenia is exploiting this tragedy and people's hardship, pushing their sordid agenda,” Hajiyev told Azertag.
The presidential aide stressed that thereby, Armenia has once again demonstrated that it recognizes no moral values.
“I wish to emphasize that the population resettled in our occupied territories has become a victim of Armenia's reckless and adventurist policy. It must be said that the policy of illegal settlement across Azerbaijan's occupied territories has no validity, and Azerbaijan rejects its outcome categorically,” Hajiyev said.
Furthermore, Hajiyev underlined that Armenia is also using the people from Lebanon and Syria resettled in the occupied territories as mercenaries.
Thus, he pointed out that Armenia aims to alter the demographic situation across Azerbaijan's occupied territories by pursuing the illegal settlement policy.
“The same policy is a flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention of 1949. According to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the occupying power cannot transfer its civilian population into the territory it occupies. During the 1946 Nuremberg International Military Tribunal for the Trial of Major War Criminals, two of the defendants were convicted for changing the ethnic composition of the occupied territories,” the presidential aide noted.
Saying that ironically, such actions are considered a crime under Armenia's own legislation, Hajiyev highlighted that in Article 390 of Armenia's Criminal Code, the occupying power's deportation of the local population and transfer of its people to the occupied territories is a grave violation of international humanitarian law, punishable by 8-12 years of imprisonment.
The presidential aide said that Armenia's military aggression on the border Tovuz district in July as well as its attempt to carry out a subversion operation across the Line of Contact reveal that Armenia is preparing for yet another provocation and military adventurism.
Hajiyev also recalled the recent Armenian provocative statement regarding the missile attack on the second greatest city of Azerbaijan-Ganja.
“Moreover, in recent days, Armenia has once again begun to declare explicitly; through the puppet regime, it installed in our occupied territories its intention to occupy Azerbaijan's other areas and threatened to launch a missile strike on the city of Ganja.”
Furthermore, Hajiyev emphasized that Armenia's Prime Minister and Defense Minister’s recent provocative statements show that Yerevan wants to disrupt the negotiations process and secure the annexation of Azerbaijan's occupied territories.
He pointed out that the responsibility for perpetrating provocations and escalating the situation lies with Armenia's political and military leadership.
“Armenia must withdraw its troops from Azerbaijan's occupied territories to achieve progress in the resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. The conflict must be resolved only and solely in line with Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of its internationally recognized borders,” Hajiyev stressed.
It should be noted that on September 11, the “head” of the so-called regime set up in Nagorno-Karabakh shared a video post on his Facebook page about the settlement of Lebanese Armenians in Azerbaijan's internationally-recognized territory after the deadly explosion in Beirut last month.
The leader of the separatists said the first Lebanese-Armenian families are already being approved in Nagorno-Karabakh and reaffirmed that the so-called regime is interested in preserving the Lebanese-Armenian “colony”.
The separatist leader had voiced his readiness to receive Armenians, during the phone conversation with the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I who is based in Lebanon’s capital-Beirut after the explosion in that city. He offered the settling of 150 Lebanese-Armenian families in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Armenian military-political leadership seizes every opportunity to illegally settle Armenians in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories in a bid to artificially change the demographics of the region and saw the recent deadly blast in Beirut as another opportunity to illegally settle Armenians in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the adjacent seven regions.
The illegal settlement of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Armenia’s annexation policy under the guise of “repatriation” and “humanitarian assistance”.
It should be noted that 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.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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