BAKU, Azerbaijan, July 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
The President of the Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan, Elkhan Suleymanv, has issued a statement criticising the "indifference of the international community" in the wake of the deaths of a grandmother and her 18-months-old grandchild, who were killed as a result of shelling by Armenian armed forces that took place on July 4th in the border region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Suleymanov, who is also an Azerbaijani MP, noted that the crimes against Azerbaijani civilians have been committed systematically by Armenian forces over the past quarter century. "Therefore the international community should stop its indifference and protection of Armenia and take real measures to stop this occupation."
The Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding provinces were occupied by Armenia during the post-Soviet power vacuum in the early 1990s, resulting in about 30,000 deaths and nearly one million refugees and internally displaced people. Many international bodies, including the United Nations, European Parliament, OSCE and most recently the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have called for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the Azerbaijani territories.
In his statement, Suleymanov recalled previous attacks that killed Azerbaijani children, including Shahmaliyeva Aygun Ziraddin, a 14-year-old who died in 2012 as a result of an explosion of a stuffed animal toy and of 9-year-old Fariz Badalov, who was killed by a sniper in 2011.
He also questioned the timing of the Armenian attack, coming shortly after the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - the mediating body consisting of the United States, Russia and France - visited the region. "Whenever negotiations intensify or important results are expected before, during or after an OSCE visit, as a rule the Armenian side violates the ceasefire," Suleymanov said. "It illustrates that they are simply not interested in putting an end to the occupation."
The Armenian shelling earlier this week was widely condemned by the international community, including the Vice President of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki, who released a joint statement with some of his colleagues, calling the attack a "grave, heinous crime."
Meanwhile Thierry Mariani, an Honorary Member of the French National Assembly urged the Minsk Group to "put an end to these inhuman acts committed by Armenia against civilians."