By Vafa Ismayilova
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has urged Armenia to apologize for the grave consequences of 30-year occupation and vandalism in the Azerbaijani territories.
The commentary was made in response to the Armenian Foreign Ministry statement on the reconstruction work carried out by Azerbaijan in Shusha city liberated in a 44-day war with Armenia in autumn 2020.
In a statement posted on its website on May 5, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said: "Today, Azerbaijan is eliminating the grave consequences of Armenia’s aggression policy and vandalism, so in this case, it would be more correct for the Armenian Foreign Ministry to make an apology statement, rather than baseless allegations."
The ministry said that with the liberation of its lands from Armenia's occupation, Azerbaijan has begun to restore and reconstruct those territories.
"At present, huge reconstruction works are being carried out in these territories, including the restoration of our historical, cultural and religious heritage, which was destroyed during the decades-long Armenian occupation," the ministry said.
It stressed that mosques, historical monuments, mausoleums, house-museums, as well as the Gazanchi Church are being restored as part of the large-scale reconstruction in Shusha.
"We would like to note that, this reconstruction is carried out in accordance with the original architectural style in order to restore the historical image of Shusha. At the same time, we would like to emphasize that the discovery of the remains of the Iskander-M rocket 200 meters from the Gazanchi Church in Shusha and, fortunately, the fact that this tragedy did not happen, showed that Armenia is ready to destroy the entire city, including the church it 'values'," the ministry said.
It recalled the Armenian Foreign Ministry that unlike Armenia, which held the neighboring country's territories under illegal occupation for decades, "every monument, building, and stone on its territory is so valuable for Azerbaijan that liberated its lands; their reconstruction and protection are important at the state level".
The Foreign Ministry said that the atrocities committed by Armenia on Azerbaijani territories are obvious.
"Armenia has systematically and deliberately destroyed or altered the nature of the cultural and historical heritage in these areas, annihilated the museum-owned manuscripts and other valuable exhibits or put them up for sale in black markets by stealing them, looted the valuable art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving, and hundreds of cultural institutions, 927 libraries with a book fund of 4.6 million, 22 museums and museum branches with more than 100,000 exhibits, 4 art galleries, 8 culture, and recreation parks, as well as one of the oldest settlements in the world in Fuzuli district - Azykh Cave, Shusha State Historical and Architectural Reserve has become a victim of Armenian vandalism," the statement noted.
The ministry said that a country that has caused all these atrocities and violated international obligations has no moral or legal basis to comment on the reconstruction work carried out by Azerbaijan on its territory.
The scale of destruction in Azerbaijan’s formerly-occupied territories suggests deep hatred and animosity against Azerbaijanis, with many experts describing these mass destructions as genocide.
Azerbaijan and Armenia entered the second war after that latter started firing at Azerbaijani civilians and military positions starting September 27, 2020. The war ended on November 10 with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centres and historic Shusha city. 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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