YEREVAN – Azerbaijan continues its policy of depopulating Artsakh by subjecting the Armenians of Artsakh to ethnic cleansing, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the 35th anniversary of the Sumgait massacre.

“Azerbaijan continues its policy of depopulating Nagorno Karabakh by subjecting the Armenians of Artsakh to ethnic cleansing, which requires the direct condemnation of the international community and the use of relevant international mechanisms,” the Ministry said.

Below is the full text of the statemet:

35 years ago, on February 27-29, 1988, at the instigation and criminal inaction of the Azerbaijani authorities, mass killing of Armenians took place in the city of Sumgait, which saw hundreds of Armenians, including children, women and the elderly killed, thousands were forcibly displaced.

The pogroms planned in advance by the Azerbaijani authorities were carried out to brutally suppress the civilized struggle of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to live with dignity and create peace in their historical homeland.

This mass crime committed on the grounds of national identity received a wide response and was condemned by the international community, including by the adoption of relevant resolutions by the European Parliament. However, the real organizers and perpetrators of the crime not only did not take responsibility, but also, encouraged by impunity and indulgence, raised a new wave of Armenian hatred and intolerance, carried out new pogroms and massacres of Armenians in Baku, Kirovabad and other Armenian-populated areas of Azerbaijan.

As a result of these bloody events, hundreds of thousands of Armenians had to quickly leave their homes, leaving behind their possessions and property, and during these years they never got a chance to exercise their violated rights.

The subsequent events showed that the aforementioned crimes of the Azerbaijani authorities were not isolated episodes, but vivid examples of state-planned Armenophobia.

35 years after the Sumgait crime, for about 80 days, Azerbaijan has illegally blockaded the Lachin Corridor and the purpose of this operation is to deport the remaining 120,000 Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh as well.

Thus, Azerbaijan continues its policy of depopulating Nagorno Karabakh by subjecting the Armenians of Artsakh to ethnic cleansing, which requires the direct condemnation of the international community and the use of relevant international mechanisms.

Even today, ignoring the rulings of the prestigious international courts, Azerbaijan openly continues to destroy, desecrate and vandalize the Armenian historical and cultural monuments and sanctuaries, with the aim of erasing the Armenian trace in the territories under its control. At the same time, the propaganda of hatred towards Armenians continues at the highest level, which aims to prevent the two peoples from overcoming the atmosphere of hostility.

Today, paying tribute to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian pogroms in Sumgait and other settlements, we emphasize once again that in response to the efforts of the Armenian side to build stability and peace in the region, Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian rhetoric and fanatical aspirations and aggressive actions are unacceptable.

At the same time, the Republic of Armenia expresses its commitment to the peace agenda, considering the establishment of long-term and comprehensive peace and security in the region as an urgent imperative.

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