The United States urges all parties to take steps toward a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta said.
Cekuta was delivering speech at an event dedicated to the upcoming anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy, the embassy’s Twitter page says.
“The past tragedies must be remembered,” the diplomat said. “The reconciliation efforts must move forward to prevent repeats.”
The town of Khojaly, the second largest town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, came under intense fire by the Armenian armed forces in February 1992.
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 people remains unknown. Civilians were shot at close range, scalped, and burned alive.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
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