Head of the Press Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Leyla Abdullayeva, answers the media's question on the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia on the events in Sumgait
Question: The Armenian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the events in Sumgait, Azerbaijan SSR, and made accusations against Azerbaijan. We would like to know your comment on this.
Answer: Unfortunately, we are again talking about the statement of the Armenian side, which is full of lies and fabrications. We have repeatedly responded to the groundless claims of the Armenian side regarding the events in Sumgait, and today I would like to emphasize once again that the bloody events in Sumgait in late February 1988 in the Azerbaijani SSR were a premeditated and well-planned provocation against Azerbaijan. As it is known, a criminal case was opened by the USSR Prosecutor General's Office in connection with the incident, an investigation was carried out, and as a result, the perpetrators and accomplices of the riots, a total of 32 victims were identified; I would like to emphasize that 6 of them were Azerbaijanis. Numerous testimonies of Armenians living in Sumgait were collected regarding the culprit of the events, Eduard Grigoryan, an Armenian by nationality, who led the procession and personally killed 6 people and raped 3 women of Armenian nationality. Eduard Grigoryan, sentenced by a court decision to 12 years in prison, was transferred to Armenia to serve his sentence, and later released.
As a result of the trial in Sumgait in connection with the events of February 27-29, 1988, 92 people, found guilty, were sentenced to imprisonment and one was sentenced to death. For comparison, I would like to note that in the late 1980s, no action was taken against those responsible for the deaths of 217 Azerbaijanis in the Armenian SSR during the forcible expulsion of Azerbaijanis from their historically densely populated areas.
What happened before and after the Sumgait events (mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from the Armenian SSR, the rise of aggressive separatist tendencies of radical Armenian nationalists in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, the murder on the territory of the Azerbaijan SSR of two Azerbaijanis who became the first victims of the Armenian aggression in Nagorno-Karabakh) clearly shows that these events were links in one chain, and the main goal was a plan to forcibly sever the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Azerbaijan and annex it to Armenia.
Armenia, which held Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent regions of Azerbaijan under military occupation for almost thirty years, committed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the Khojaly genocide, as part of its aggressive policy. However, none of those who committed these crimes have yet been brought to legal responsibility.
At the present time, when real opportunities for cooperation appeared in the region with the achievement of an agreement on the cessation of hostilities, official Yerevan, instead of constructiveness and respect for international law, again made slanderous statements that incite hostility, which indicates that the country's ruling circles still lack common sense.
We remind the Armenian side that the Republic of Azerbaijan has put an end to decades of Armenian military occupation of part of the internationally recognized sovereign territory, ensured the implementation of the related UN Security Council resolutions of 1993, and a trilateral statement of 10 November 2020 established a new security format in the region. In this case, it is the choice of Armenia either to take practical steps to implement this statement for its future development and pursue a policy of good-neighborliness based on strict observance of the principles of international law, or throw its people into the abyss in spite of its obligations.