By Vafa Ismayilova
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has admitted that Shusha has always been an Azerbaijani city and its Azerbaijani population made up over 90 percent before the city was occupied by Armenian troops in 1992.
Pashinyan made this statement in the Armenian parliament on January 20, while answering MPs' questions.
"During the entire period of the negotiation process, there was not a single option (settlement) that did not provide for the return of Azerbaijani refugees to Shushi [Shusha]. The Azerbaijani population of Shushi exceeded 90 per cent before the start of the conflict and its liberation (editorial note: the occupation of the city by Armenian forces in 1992). That is, you want to say that the city of Shushi, which has over 90 per cent of the Azerbaijani population, is Armenian in this status?" Pashinyan said.
He also stressed that it was impossible to stop the war in Nagorno-Karabakh with less "territorial losses".
Pashinyan made the remarks after Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan alleged that "Shusha is the centre of Armenian culture".
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that on October 19-20, he had a series of telephone conversations with both Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Pashinyan. He said that in general, he managed to convince Aliyev that it is possible to stop the hostilities, "but the return of refugees, including to the city of Shusha, was an obligatory condition set by the Azerbaijani president".
President Ilham Aliyev recently announced the city of Shusha the capital of Azerbaijani culture. Azerbaijani armed forces liberated Shusha from Armenian occupation on November 8, 2020. This day went down into history as Azerbaijan's Victory Day. Azerbaijani mosques, historical and cultural sites in Shusha were destroyed by the Armenian troops during 30 years of occupation. Azerbaijan started the construction of the Ahmadbayli-Alkhanli-Fuzuli-Shusha road and plans to build the Fuzuli-Shusha railway.
It should be noted that Azerbaijan will allocate AZN 2.2 billion ($1.3bn) for reconstruction works on the liberated territories in 2021. In particular, these funds will be used to restore the infrastructure (electricity, gas, water, communications, roads, education, health, etc), as well as cultural and historical monuments.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10 brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
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