Azerbaijan continues making anti-Armenian eloquent speeches on international platforms

Against the background of the attacks caused by Azerbaijan in September, the aggressors have recently intensified making anti-Armenian statements on various international platforms. In particular, the Minister of Culture of Azerbaijan Anar Kerimov has made a speech at the thematic session of "Heritage and cultural diversity in times of crisis" held within the framework of the "UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policy and Sustainable Development" in Mexico City on September 28-30, 2022. In his report, he accused the international community of "not properly responding to the ethnocultural genocide carried out by Armenians for the last 30 years, as well as to the destruction by Armenians of many mosques, historical monuments and cultural sites in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan".

Besides making a speech, the minister invited UNESCO representatives to the territories of Azerbaijan liberated from the Armenian occupation to carry out a technical mission there. It should be mentioned, that the conference was attended by ministers of culture from 160 countries and about 1,500 guests from all over the world.

This speech was followed by the Azerbaijan National Urban Development Forum held on October 6 on the theme of "Sustainable Development Goals" and "New Urban Agenda as a Leading Force in Post-Conflict Recovery and Reconstruction". At the forum, in the presence of many foreign guests, Anar Kerimov stated that “the cultural monuments and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan in these territories have been destroyed for 30 years, details of their origins have been changed, and illegal archaeological excavations have been carried out, which is contrary to international conventions. After the territories were liberated from occupation, ruins and traces of acts of vandalism were documented here”.

According to him, even during the occupation, with the help of satellite images, Azerbaijan had facts of damages caused by the Armenian side: “during preliminary monitoring, 403 out of 706 monuments included in the state register were examined. In addition, 864 cultural institutions were monitored, and 162 new cultural monuments were discovered.” Anar Karimov also added that they have difficulties with monitoring, which is associated with insecure environment.

The minister also noted that "three mosques and two churches are being restored in Shusha, this is an example that Azerbaijan does not discriminate against cultural heritage, and each cultural heritage is important and valuable for Azerbaijan, because it is not only the property of Azerbaijan, but also belongs to humanity." According to the minister, a roadmap has been approved for the protection and restoration of historical and cultural monuments of the territories liberated from occupation, which was developed in cooperation with local and foreign experts.

Our response

Although the Minister of Culture of Azerbaijan speaks on international platforms about his readiness to invite a UNESCO mission, the fact is that it is Azerbaijan that prevents the visit of representatives of a supranational organization with a primary mandate to protect cultural heritage in the conflict zone, to monitor the monuments ruined, destroyed, and desecrated by Azerbaijan itself, and to identify and to document damage.

It is easy to see that an attempt is being made to convince the international community that Azerbaijan is a multicultural country, where even Christian buildings are being restored, but in reality we have repeatedly witnessed the illegal restoration of Armenian churches (Surb Amenaprkich (Holy Savior) Ghazanchetsots, Kanach Zham in Shushi), which were damaged. Azerbaijan continues to undermine the authenticity and integrity of the heritage, causing serious damage to the natural process of passing it from generation to generation in the traditional way.

It should be noted that Azerbaijan, which often recalls the international conventions, at the same time violated the conventions and international treaties adopted by UNESCO and the Council of Europe (being a member of those) more than others, taking the advantages of international silence.