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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AZERBAIJANI-AMERICANS MARK 15th ANNIVERSARY OF SUSHA'S DESTRUCTION WITH PROTEST OUTSIDE UNITED NATIONS
AZERBAIJAN SOCIETY OF AMERICA SENDS LETTER TO U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON DEMANDING ACTION ON ARMENIA
New York--Azerbaijani-Americans peacefully took to the street outside the United Nations building in New York on May 8th to mark the 15th anniversary of the destruction of the ancient and venerated Azerbaijani town of Susha by Armenian forces.
Members of the Azerbaijan Society of America (ASA) were among the protestors. Additionally, ASA president Ms. Tomris Azeri sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General demanding U.N. action regarding Armenia. In part the letter said: "We urge you to make the cessation of occupation of Azerbaijan by Armenian forces your top priority, and have the UN to be once again actively engaged on the matter..." The full text of the letter is below.
"Pressure must be exerted on the United Nations to see that its own resolutions regarding Armenia's illegal occupation of Azerbaijan are enforced," says Ms. Azeri. "Fifteen years is too long. The time for waiting patiently for action is over," she says.
The following is the full text of the ASA letter to the U.N. Secretary General.
May 8, 2007
RE: Armenia's Continuing Illegal Occupation of Azerbaijan
Dear Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:
What good is served by adopting UN Security Council Resolutions and UN General Assembly Resolutions if they are not implemented?
On behalf of half a million Azerbaijani-Americans and 30 million Azerbaijanis worldwide, we urge the United Nations to start taking serious steps to implement the UN Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884 of 1993 and the UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/48/114. These resolutions call for Armenia's "immediate complete and unconditionalwithdrawal of the occupying forces" from Azerbaijani territories .
Armenia has chosen FIVE times to ignore the direct resolutions of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. How long must this continue before the international community responds effectively and conclusively?
Fifteen years ago, the Republic of Armenia conducted a war against the people of Azerbaijan in the internationally recognized sovereign territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. According to the UN's own statistics, there are close to one million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), the victims of the continuing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The ethnic Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabagh region and other seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan, numbering close to 800,000, were ethnically cleansed from the occupied territories, and for the last 15 years have been unable to return to their ancestral homes. These acts followed the prior ethnic cleansing campaign in 1988, resulting in deportation of over 200,000 ethnic Azeris from Armenia proper.
The occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenian forces also caused enormous destruction to our cities, villages, and most importantly, to the historical monuments of Azerbaijani culture in the occupied territories. The lands under the control of Armenian forces became an area of destruction, arson, economic disaster and criminal activities. Azerbaijani-Americans are particularly concerned about the frequent incidents of arson fires in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, which have inflicted a widespread environmental damage.
We urge the main UN bodies responsible for international peace and security to force Armenia, a member of the United Nations, to free Azerbaijan's lands and to stop violating the human rights of nearly one million Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs. We urge you to make the cessation of occupation of Azerbaijan by Armenian forces your top priority, and have the UN to be once again actively engaged on the matter, since the occupation of Azerbaijan is beyond the scope of a European organization such as OSCE.
We ask you to express a strong position
of UN in response to the aggression by Armenia against the neighboring
Azerbaijan, the occupation of its territory, and the use of destruction
and ethnic cleansing to make those territories unsuitable for
living and cultivating. The ongoing actions taken by Armenia,
while participating in a mediated peace negotiation process ,
clearly constitutes a gross violation of
May 8, 2007 is the 15th anniversary of the destruction of the ancient and venerated town of Shusha, which was once the centerpiece of a vibrant classical music scene and home to the first opera in the Middle East. It was renown for its musicians, composers, and singers. Now it lays in waste, a victim of Armenian destruction, occupation, and systematic ethnic cleansing. While destroying the cultural monuments of Azerbaijan which still remain in Shusha, Armenian occupants are now building new churches so as to misrepresent this city as a historically Armenian city and to justify their aggression.
On behalf of Azerbaijani-Americans and Azerbaijanis worldwide, we implore you to do whatever is necessary to move this situation along to its rightful resolution.
Ms. Tomris Azeri-President