Baku: Yerevan trying to distort new UNESCO mission agreement
By Sabina Mammadli
Baku has said that Yerevan is attempting to misinterpret a recently struck agreement on UNESCO missions to Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"The Armenian Foreign Ministry is trying to distort the recently reached agreement on the visits of UNESCO missions to Azerbaijan and Armenia. We condemn the Armenian Foreign Ministry's new attempt to avoid the commitments that this state has accepted," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website on February 11.
Despite Azerbaijan's repeated requests to UNESCO and countless letters, the organization's delegation was unable to arrive in the region due to Armenia. UNESCO said this in its 2005 report, the ministry added.
From the first day, Azerbaijan welcomed UNESCO's technical delegation, which is scheduled to visit the country. All preparations for it were agreed upon bilaterally by Azerbaijan and UNESCO, the report added.
Thus, UNESCO emphasized that the Azerbaijani lands were under the occupation of Armenia, and admitted that Armenia prevented the visit.
Concerning UNESCO's mission to Armenia, the Foreign Ministry stressed that Azerbaijani has constantly reminded UNESCO and the world community of the realities of the destruction of Azerbaijani cultural heritage in Armenia.
“We consider it necessary to send a mission to Armenia to investigate the facts presented to UNESCO by the Azerbaijani side. We hope that Armenia, as opposed to its previous policy, will create conditions for the UNESCO mission this time,” the statement said.
It underlined that Azerbaijani NGOs had recently given extensive information on the destruction, as well as images and other proof, to UNESCO.
During a virtual conference on February 4, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, French President Emanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan achieved an agreement on UNESCO missions to be sent to Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Azerbaijani NGO leaders have asked UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay to send an expert group to Armenia to assess the current state of Azerbaijan's centuries-old cultural and historical heritage, Azertag has reported.
NGOs said that by pursuing a policy of both ethnic and cultural genocide, Armenia has purposefully erased all traces of Azerbaijanis, the historical and ancient residents of these territories, plundered, destroyed, embezzled and distorted the Azerbaijani people's cultural legacy. At the same time, ancient place names in these areas were changed with Armenian ones.
“We provided a number of precise facts in our earlier appeals to UNESCO. For example, along with other facts, we have emphasized that the Blue Mosque, the Gala Mosque, the Shah Abbas Mosque, the Tapabashi Mosque, the Zal Khan Mosque, the Sartib Khan Mosque, the Haji Novruzali Bay Mosque, the Damirbulagh Mosque, the Haji Jafar Bay Mosque, the Rajab Pasha Mosque, the Mohammad Sartib Khan Mosque, the Haji Inam Mosque and more than 300 other mosques located in Armenia were deliberately destroyed, appropriated or used for other purposes in the early 20th century. Only the Damirbulagh Mosque functioned as intended until 1988, but it has now been completely demolished and replaced by a high-rise building,” the statement added.
It noted that over 500 Azerbaijani cemeteries in Armenia, such as Aghadada, Ashaghi Shorja, Gullubulagh and Saral have been destroyed. The tomb of great Azerbaijani poet Ashig Alasgar, whose tombstone was erected in his native village in ancient Goycha district, was also destroyed.
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