By Vafa Ismayilova
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva has said that Azerbaijan is ready to accept UNESCO and UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees) missions, the Foreign Ministry reported on June 22.
She made the remarks to comment on the latest developments related to Azerbaijan's invitation to the UNESCO mission to visit war-affected territories in line with the 1954 Hague Convention "For the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict".
"We are currently awaiting a response from both organizations to complete the work related to the visit," Abdullayeva said.
She noted that following the telephone conversation between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, numerous video conference meetings were held between Azerbaijan and UNESCO in the past months.
During the last meeting on June 21, Azerbaijan reiterated its readiness to accept the UNESCO mission and called on the organization to accelerate this process. In this regard, discussions were held on the UNESCO mission's visit to liberated Aghdam and Fuzuli regions and Shusha city, she said.
"In addition, I would like to note that as a result of discussions between the Azerbaijani side and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an agreement was reached on the implementation of the UNHCR mission to the conflict-affected areas of our country. Azerbaijan is fully prepared to accept the UNHCR mission," Abdullayeva added.
In its official statement in early May, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said that 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 have become victims of Armenian vandalism.
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 resumed 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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