MOSCOW (AA) – Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of spreading “false and slanderous statement” about remarks by President Ilham Aliyev at Thursday’s session of the Organization of Turkic States in Ankara.
In a statement on its website, the Foreign Ministry said Armenia “aims at covering up the occupation policy” carried out for nearly 30 years, as well as “the provocations it committed and may commit in the future against Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis during the current post-conflict period.”
“Presenting the facts of purposeful destruction of hundreds of our cities and villages, historical and religious monuments by Armenia during the 30-year occupation; the plundering of our natural resources; the disappearance of nearly 4,000 of our citizens and the discovery of mass graves; Armenia’s continued mine threats; failure to completely remove the Armenian armed forces from the territories of Azerbaijan contrary to territorial integrity and sovereignty … obstructing the opening of the Zangezur corridor; ethnic cleansing against the Azerbaijani population in Armenia and the demand for the safe and dignified return of the Western Azerbaijan Community to their native lands, as a ‘territorial claim’ and ‘preparation for aggression’ against Armenia, is completely groundless,” the ministry said.
The ministry stressed that Armenia violates international law when “carrying out ‘Armenization’ of the historical lands of Azerbaijan, to present Azerbaijan’s use of the term Western Azerbaijan Community.”
“Armenia, which plundered 9 cities and hundreds of villages during nearly 30-year occupation period, carried out ethnic cleansing against almost 1 million Azerbaijanis, deprived them of the right to return to their homes, has no moral right to talk about the rights of internally displaced persons and refugees after Azerbaijan liberated its native lands and restored these territories,” it said.
The ministry said Azerbaijan is already “taking steps towards the reintegration of Armenian residents living in its territory.”
“Azerbaijan conducts dialogue with Armenian residents, and as a goodwill step has proposed to hold the next meeting in Baku. On the contrary, the Armenian side completely rejected the dialogue proposal of the Western Azerbaijan Community. This is an indication that Armenia is not interested in peace and stability in the region and is conducting a duplicitous policy,” it said.
The ministry pledged to take “all necessary steps within the framework of international law against any provocation by Armenia.”