BAKU (Combined Sources)–At the opening ceremony Tuesday of a conference of culture ministers of the Council of Europe, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, once again, went on the offensive, alleging that "Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan is a threat to peace and stability in the region."
The two-day conference, taking place in Baku, is also being attended by Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis, who in remarks condemned Armenia for allegedly destroying Azeri cultural monumen’s in Karabakh, an allegation that was highlighted in remarks by both Aliyev and Azeri Culture Minister Abulfaz Garayev.
“All the conflicts in the Caucasus should find resolution and the international legal principles are to be ensured,” said Aliyev adding, “as a result of occupation of Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia has pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing, occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands and over 1 million of people were ousted from their homelands and became refugees.”
In his presentation, Aliyev also said that there were no Azeri cultural monumen’s left in Karabakh as a result of what he called Armenian efforts to destroy these monumen’s.
In his remarks, Davis said "the destruction of memorials in the occupied lands of Azerbaijan affects the entire world."
"I regret very much that the visit of the PACE mission on culture and cultural heritage to Azerbaijan and Armenia is being delayed. This is connected with the differences in both sides," said Davis adding that assessing all the damage would benefit the resolution of this matter.
Davis also said that by not attending the conference, Armenia lost a chance for dialogue.
According to Azeri sources, Armenia’s minister of culture, Hasmik Poghosyan, informed her Azeri counterpart that Armenia would not attend the summit.
Also present at the conference was chairman of the Islamic Education, Science and Culture Organization (ISESCO), Abdel Aziz Ben Osman Al-Twaigry, condemned the alleged destruction of Azeri monumen’s in, what he called, the “occupied territories.”
“Destruction of monumen’s in the occupied territories contradicts international laws and all principles of the UN, and this is unacceptable,” said Al-Twaigry, adding “ISESCO completely supports Azerbaijan on this issue.”