By Akbar Mammadov
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has said that the Sumgayit events of 1988 were a provocation masterminded by extremist Armenian organizations to justify Yerevan’s intention to illegally annex Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia. The ministry made the remarks in its Twitter account on March 12.
Twenty-six Armenians and Azerbaijanis were killed during the ethnic violence in Azerbaijan’s Sumgayit city in February 1988.
“An official investigation has established that Sumgait unrest in Feb 1988 had been a well-prepared provocation masterminded by Armenian extremist organizations to discredit Azerbaijan & cover-up Armenia’s unlawful annexationist intentions,” the Foreign Ministry’s said in its Twitter post.
The ministry also said that Azerbaijani’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations has submitted a letter to the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly in connection with Sumgayit events.
The ministry attached the letter that was submitted to the UN on March 5.
The letter was written by Yashar Aliyev with reference to the letter dated 28 February 2020 from the Permanent Representative of Armenia, containing as its annexe the statement of the MFA of Armenia on the commemoration of the so-called “anti-Armenian pogroms in the city of Sumgait” in February 1998.
“No doubt, the said statement, which cynically alleges that ‘Sumgait pogroms marked the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict when Azerbaijan responded to the peaceful appeal of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to self-determination’, is yet another illustration of a blatant falsification and deliberate distortion of facts,” the document by the Azerbaijani representative reads.
In the first part of the document, it was emphasized that the unrest in Sumgait, stirred up during the existence of the Soviet Union in February 1988, was preceded by carefully orchestrated attacks at the end of 1987 on the Azerbaijanis in Khankendi and in Armenia itself, resulting in a flood of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons. In addition to that, the document mentioned that the forcible deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia started in its Kafan and Mehri districts in November 1987. It reminded that on February 22, 1988, Armenians opened fire on a peaceful demonstration, killing two Azerbaijani youths in Azerbaijan near the settlement of Asgaran on the Khankendi-Aghdam highway.
The second part of the document stresses that Armenia’s claims for self-determination in Azerbaijan are groundless and flawed for a number of reasons. “The illegality within the Soviet legal system of the attempted separation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Azerbaijan was confirmed at the highest constitutional level."
Moreover, the resolutions (822, 853, 874, 884) on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict adopted by the UN Security Council were noted in the letter that Armenia’s territorial claims and actions are unlawful and incompatible with the prohibition of the use of the armed force in international relations, and have nothing in common with the right to self-determination.
In the conclusion, the document emphasizes that the official investigation established that it had been a well-prepared provocation masterminded by the Armenian extremist organizations “Karabakh” and “Krunk” to discredit Azerbaijan and cover-up Armenia’s unlawful annexationist intentions and violent methods for their achievement.
“The investigation found that one of the organizers and perpetrators of criminal acts committed in Sumgayit, which claimed the lives of 26 Armenians and Azerbaijanis, was Eduard Grigoryan, an Armenian and resident of the city. Among the evidence collected by the investigation, the testimonies of the witnesses, including Armenians, provide irrefutable proof of his role and direct participation in violence. E. Grigoryan was sentenced to long-term imprisonment. Besides him, in all, 92 persons were brought to justice for offences in Sumgayit,” the document reads.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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