Azerbaijan rejects settlement of Syrian Armenians in occupied territories

By: Sara Rajabova

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister criticized the settlement of Syrian Armenians in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.

“The settlement of Syrian Armenians in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories is illegal under international law and must come to a stop immediately,” Elmar Mammadyarov said on May 13.

The minister made the remarks while speaking at the first session of the Arab Cooperation and Economic Forum with Central Asia and Azerbaijan in Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

Mammadyarov pointed out that Armenia continues to use force to sustain military occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories and prevent one million Azerbaijani refugees and IDP’s from returning to their homes.

He underscored that the majority of Azerbaijan’s historical and cultural monuments have been destroyed and desecrated.

“It is a matter of yet another serious concern that Armenia is expanding the settlement of Syrian Armenians into the occupied territories to change the demography on the ground. Such an activity is illegal under international law and must be stopped immediately,” Mammadyarov stressed.

Last year, a document received by RIA Novosti showed that about 200 Armenian refugees from Syria had settled in the occupied Zangilan region, which was “another clear evidence of the illegal settlement policy pursued by the Armenian state.”

Mammadyarov also expressed gratitude to the Islamic world for condemning Armenia’s aggression and supporting Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani government has repeatedly voiced concern over Armenia’s actions regarding settling Syrian citizens of Armenian descent in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.

Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said Azerbaijan is not opposed to the placement of Syrian Armenians in other areas, but is absolutely against their settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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 U.S, Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.

As a result of the military aggression of Armenia, over 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 4,866 are reported missing and almost 100,000 were injured, and 50,000 were disabled.

The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.


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