By Akbar Mammadov
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has said that Armenia seeks to strengthen the results of ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories, and preserve the status quo based on occupation by illegally settling Armenians in Azerbaijan's territories.
In a statement published on September 14, the ministry said that videos have been circulating on social networks demonstrating the continuation of the policy of illegal settlement in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding areas of Azerbaijan.
Namely, Lebanese Armenians have been recently settled in occupied Azerbaijani territories.
“After the explosion in the Lebanese city of Beirut, the aggressor state Armenia, using the tragedy in this country for its own nefarious purposes, began to implement plans to resettle Lebanese Armenians to Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas which are internationally recognized territories of Azerbaijan and currently under military occupation.“
The ministry stated that “Armenia is trying to artificially increase the number of Armenians here by illegally resettling the ethnic Armenians who have nothing to do with the region to the currently occupied lands of Azerbaijan.”
It reminded that Yerevan has been preventing the return of the Azerbaijani IDPs forcefully expelled from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas and whose human rights have been violated, to their homes and properties for nearly 30 years.
Furthermore, the ministry said that it has raised the issue of illegal settlements in Nagorno-Karabakh with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs that is mediating the conflict as well as with relevant international organizations.
The ministry also emphasized that the Armenian leadership seeks to escalate tensions in the region and has recently openly demonstrated this with its provocative actions and statements.
The Armenian leadership is undermining the negotiated settlement of the conflict with its policy of annexation, the minisry said.
”The international community will be regularly informed about the illegal activities carried out in our occupied territories, including the illegal resettlement policy, and our efforts aimed at putting an end to this illegal practice will continue within international organizations,” the ministry noted.
The ministry called on the international community to take practical steps to hold accountable the Armenian government, which keeps the Azerbaijani territories under occupation and carrying out illegal activities in these lands.
It should be noted that in August, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minstry revealed the sattelite image of a residential complex consisting of 15 houses, which began to be built in occupied Kalbajar in late 2019.
Armenia had earlier moved thousands of Syrian Armenians to the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan since the start of the Syrian war. According to UNHCR figures, at least 15,000 Syrians have found refuge in Armenia since the start of the crisis.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz