Azerbaijan will ward off all threats to independence

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January 19, 2022 17:54 (UTC+04:00)

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By Vugar Khalilov

Azerbaijan will resolutely respond to all threats against the independence and integrity of its state, the Foreign Ministry said on January 19.

In a statement posted on its website on the occasion of January 20, the national day of mourning, the ministry said: “We will continue to respond resolutely to any possible threat to the independence and integrity of our state and all necessary measures will be taken to bring to justice those responsible for various crimes against the people and the State of Azerbaijan.

The statement adds that Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity following the 44-day war with Armenia in 2020 and that during the 32 years of its independence, the country has become “a worthy, reliable and responsible for the global community”.

“Strengthening the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is the foundation of our state, and we will persevere in our struggle for the unswerving maintenance of these fundamental principles,” the ministry stressed.

It was pointed out that on the night of January 19-20, 1990, by order of the leadership of the USSR, 26,000 Soviet troops invaded Baku, Sumgait and other cities of Azerbaijan, as a result of which 147 civilians were killed and 744 seriously injured. This tragedy became known as “Black January” in the history of modern Azerbaijan.

Prior to these tragic events, Armenia’s spurious territorial claims against Azerbaijan in the late 1980s, the aggressive separatist activities of Armenian radicals in the former autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, the Soviet leadership’s support for these activities and the violent deportation of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from Armenia (from their ancestral lands) fueled the growth of the anti-Soviet movement in Azerbaijan, the statement said.

“Deployed in the country to prevent the national movement and break the will for independence of the Azerbaijani people, the Soviet army committed a massacre against the civilian population, violating the norms of international law and the constitutions of the former USSR and of the Azerbaijan SSR,” the ministry said.

In February 1994, the Azerbaijani parliament called the January 20, 1990 murder of innocents a military aggression and a crime, and in March 1994 a decision “On the tragic events committed in Baku on January 20, 1990” was adopted, declaring January 20 is the national day of mourning, the statement said.

The ministry pointed out that the tragedy was a flagrant violation of international legal documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international legal documents and described it “as one of the most serious crimes of the 20th century by its essence and its scope”

It was pointed out that although 31 years have passed since the tragedy, these events have not yet been subject to a proper political and legal assessment on a global scale.

Former Soviet leaders bear full responsibility for this crime and the events of January 20 must be classified as a crime against humanity under international law, and those who authorized and carried them out must be held accountable, adds the communicated.

“We commemorate with deep respect and gratitude the memory of all our heroes who gave their lives for the independence of Azerbaijan, as well as for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country,” the ministry stressed.

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