Nathan Deal, the Governor of the U.S. State of Georgia signed a statement recognizing the Khojaly massacre and honoring its innocent victims.
"I wish to express my own sympathies for the senseless loss of life that transpired 24 years ago. On behalf of the State of Georgia, I join you in mourning their loss," reads the statement, which has been received by the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles.
Khojaly, the second largest town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, came under intense fire from the towns of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by the Armenian armed forces in 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.
" Azerbaijan experienced a brutal massacre resulting in the death of over 600 civilians. Events like this are important to remember, and the lives lost in this tragedy should be honored as we strive to ensure that similar act of horrendous violence do not happen again. I hope that the Azerbaijani community continues to educate Georgians and others about this day in our past that can teach us much in the present," the document further notes. The Governor concludes his statement by stressing "May we never allow such a tragedy to stain the pages of our history again."
This is the second statement by the Governor of Georgia on the Khojaly massacre. The first document was issued in 2015.
To date, 21 U.S. states have issued gubernatorial proclamations/statements or passed resolutions recognizing the Khojaly massacre.
Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that caused a brutal war in the early 1990s. Long-standing efforts by the U.S., Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.
The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenia's withdrawal from Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.
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