Statement on White House website calls on Obama to announce Khojaly memorial day

28 January 2013 15:32 (UTC+04:00)

Sara Rajabova

A statement calling on US President Barack Obama to announce an official memorial day for the victims of war crimes committed by Armenian armed forces against Azerbaijanis in Khojaly during the 1990s war has been posted on the White House's website.

"On February 26, the Azerbaijani-Americans and all friends of the U.S. Azeris Network will mark the 21st anniversary of one of the most horrific events of the 1990s, the Khojaly Massacre - the biggest war crime in ex-USSR in the second part of the 20th century," said the proclamation, published in the website's section of public initiatives.

"This crime against humanity was perpetrated and acknowledged by the president of Armenia," it said.

Several countries as well as the US states of Massachusetts, Maine, Texas and New Jersey have introduced resolutions and proclamations commemorating Khojaly Massacre.

"On behalf of a group of Azerbaijani-Americans and our friends throughout the nation and the world, on the eve of the 21st anniversary of this tragedy, we hereby call upon you to help us commemorate Khojaly Massacre and its victims with a Presidential proclamation," the statement said.

On massacre day in Khojaly, a town within the administrative borders of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, which is currently occupied by Armenia, 613 civilians were killed, including 106 women, 70 elderly and 83 children, in just a few hours. A total of 1,000 civilians were disabled. 56 people were killed with outrageous brutality, eight families were totally exterminated, and 25 children lost both parents, while 130 children lost at least one parent, in what became the most brutal crackdown on civilians during the three years of the military phase of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 remains unknown.

Also, an appeal calling on the Obama administration to pay close attention to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was published on the White House website.

The appeal said the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict became one of the most tragic conflicts in the history of the 20th century. As a result of the conflict, 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands, including Nagorno-Karabakh and the adjacent seven regions, were occupied by Armenian armed forces and more than one million Azerbaijani people became refugees and displaced persons.

The statement noted that the UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenia's withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but the Armenians have not followed them to this day.

It also said that the U.S. as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, which is brokering peace talks, should take an active role in resolving the long-standing conflict.

If these proclamations draw 100,000 signatures, the issue will be discussed at the US presidential administration.

The Armenian occupation of a part of Azerbaijan's territory has persisted since the brutal war between the two South Caucasus republics that concluded with the signing of a fragile cease-fire in 1994. Peace talks, brokered by Russia, France and the U.S., co-chairs of the Minsk Group, have been mostly fruitless so far.