By Sara Rajabova
Representatives of radical Armenian organizations in the United States failed to prevent an event dedicated to Azerbaijan organized at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), which is one of the most prestigious universities in California.
The event was held on February 27 by the Council on International Affairs at UCI, and attended by students and professors of the university.
Consul General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev addressed the audience, at the invitation of the Council.
Highlighting the illegal military occupation of Azerbaijan's territories, as well as the ethnic cleansing and war crimes carried out by Armenia against Azerbaijani civilian population on the occupied territories, Aghayev informed the attendees about the Khojaly massacre of 1992, which resulted in the brutal killing of hundreds of civilian Azerbaijanis, including many children, women, and elderly.
The Armenian armed forces, supported by the ex-Soviet 366th regiment, occupied and ruined by heavy artillery shelling the town of Khojali on February 26, 1992.
As many as 613 civilians mostly women and children were killed in the massacre, and a total of 1,000 people were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, 25 children lost both parents, and 130 children lost one parent.
Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, and the fate of 150 of them remains unknown. Civilians were shot at close range, scalped, and burned alive. Some had their eyes gouged out and others were beheaded.
Aghayev noted that as much as Armenia tries to deny the responsibility for this massacre, the facts speak for themselves and cannot be changed.
In this regard, he mentioned the admission of culpability for this mass killing expressed by Armenia's current president Serj Sargsyan in an interview given in 2000.
Moreover, Aghayev drew the attention to the book written by Markar Melkonian, brother of the ASALA terrorist Monte Melkonian, who was directly involved in the Khojaly massacre.
He said that "this book vividly illustrates how brutally the Armenian forces carried out this massacre."
Aghayev noted that after all these confessions and facts, including an assessment by Human Rights Watch, it is ridiculous to deny the responsibility for the Khojaly massacre.
He also said it is also unfathomable that "this terrorist Monte Melkonian was declared National Hero of Armenia and his statue was erected in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan."
During the presentation, Aghayev also spoke about Azerbaijan's history, culture, its development as an independent nation, its oil strategy, relations with U.S., Europe and neighboring countries.
He also highlighted the long-standing traditions of ethnic and religious tolerance in Azerbaijan and said the Azerbaijani government is paying a special attention to strengthening these traditions.
The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session, during which Consul General Aghayev responded to various questions from American students as well as from Armenians.
Brochures, booklets, articles and journals regarding the military occupation of Azerbaijan's territories by Armenia as well as the Khojaly Genocide, were distributed at the event.
A number of representatives of radical Armenian organizations tried to obstruct the event, in the end, by making much noise, but failed to achieve their goal.