Statement on the 25th anniversary of the occupation of the Zangilan district of Azerbaijan

On October 29, 1993, in the course of the military aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Zangilan district with a total area of 730 sq. km, outside the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of Azerbaijan, was occupied by the armed forces of Armenia. It should be noted that Zangilan, which became a siege after occupation of Jabrayil and other suburbs, has resisted the aggression for more than two months.As a result of the aggression, the population of the Zangilan district consisting of 85 settlements was subjected to ethnic cleansing. Many dwelling houses, industrial and agricultural enterprises, infrastructure facilities in the fields of education, healthcare and culture, including the museum of history with collections of ancient stone monuments, were destroyed. Armenia seriously damaged the state and private property located in the district. Currently, 45,000 residents of the Zangilan district reside in different regions of Azerbaijan as IDPs.

Like in other occupied territories, in the Zangilan district, Armenia carries out the policy of ruining, falsifying, vandalizing and changing the characteristics of the material-cultural and historical heritage of the people of Azerbaijan. In this regard such archaeological sites as jug burials between the villages of Yukhary and Orta Yemazli of the I millennium BC, the ruins of the historic settlement of Shahri-Sharifan of the 13th-14th centuries in the village of Sharifan, the Gyz Galasy monument in the village of Amirkhanly, dating back to the 12th century, the tomb of Yahya ibn-Muhammed Al-Hajj of 1304-1305 in the Mammadbayli village, as well as a number of the Caucasian-Albanian churches, numerous mosques, etc. can be noted.

The Republic of Armenia, grossly violating the obligations imposed on it by the Geneva Conventions, continues to commit such unlawful acts as the change of geographical names in Zangilan district, the looting of property there and the burning of territories. Especially, illegal resettlement of Armenian population, including the persons of Armenian origin from Syria is carried out in this area. The plans of Armenia to build a new, the third in a row road via the territory of the Zangilan district in order to create additional connection between Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh region clearly demonstrates the dirty intentions of this aggressor country to annex the occupied Azerbaijani territories.

UN Security Council resolution 884 strongly condemned the occupation of the Zangilan district of the Republic of Azerbaijan and expressed serious concern over the humanitarian emergency on Azerbaijan’s southern frontier as well as the expulsion of a large number of civilians from their places of permanent residence. The resolution demanded the withdrawal of the occupation forces unilaterally from the Zangilan district and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan in accordance with the "Adjusted timetable of urgent steps to implement Security Council resolutions 822 (1993) and 853 (1993)". Although the UN Security Council resolutions contain an unequivocal demand for the withdrawal of the occupation forces, Armenia has not complied yet with these requirements.

Armenia should realize that the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories can never lead to political results pursued by this country. Only the withdrawal of the Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and the change in the status quo created as a result of the occupation can open the way for a political settlement of the conflict, comprehensive regional cooperation and contribute to ensuring sustainable peace.

Azerbaijan, supporting the intensification of international efforts for soonest resolution of the conflict retains the right to restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty within the internationally recognized borders and the violated rights of its citizens.

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