The Azerbaijani Embassy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with support of the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) hosted a commemorative event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide at the OIC headquarters.
The event was attended by OIC Secretary-General Yusuf bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, four deputies of the Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Economy, Science and Technology, as well as Palestine, Directors-General and Directors of various departments of General Secretariat, Director General of the International Islamic News Agency, official representative of the Islamic Development Bank, Consuls General of a number of countries accredited in Jeddah, Permanent Representatives of Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to OIC, as well as members of the Azerbaijani diaspora, Azertac reported.
The event started with a presentation on the history of Karabakh, resettlement of Armenians to these lands, the consequences of Armenia's military aggression against Azerbaijan, as well as resolutions adopted by various international organizations, especially the UN Security Council, in order to resolve the conflict.
Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Saudi Arabia and the Permanent Representative of the country to the OIC, Rasim Rzayev, thanked the Secretary General for the opportunity to hold the event within the OIC.
The envoy, informing the participants about the Khojaly genocide, noted that on the night of February 25-26, 1992, Armenian military units surrounding the Azerbaijani city of Khojaly subjected the local residents to mass extermination only for the fact that they were Azerbaijanis. It was noted that as a result of this aggression 613 people were killed, 63 of whom were children, 106 women, 70 elderly, 8 families were completely destroyed, 1275 Khojaly people were taken hostages.
Stressing that the peaceful population of the city of Khojaly was destroyed with incredible cruelty by Armenian armed forces, the Ambassador also noted that even after the Khojaly tragedy Armenian armed forces violated norms and principles of international law and occupied 20 percent of the lands of independent Azerbaijan. As a result more than 1 million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons.
The diplomat highlighted the initiative of the vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Leyla Aliyeva, launched in 2008, the international information campaign "Justice for Khojaly", as a result of which a number of countries have already recognized the Khojaly massacre as genocide. He once again brought to the attention of the event participants the article 117 of the final statement of the 12th Summit of the Heads of Islamic States, held in 2013 in Cairo, where the Khojaly tragedy was assessed as an act of genocide and crime against humanity.
Further the OIC Secretary General on behalf of the Organization and the entire Islamic world expressed deep condolences to the Azerbaijani people in memory of the victims of the Khojaly tragedy. Yusuf Al-Othaimeen stressed that the decisions taken both within the framework of the summit and by the OIC Foreign Ministry Council strongly condemn Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan. He also noted that the position of the Organization in this conflict is unchanged and the OIC will always be on the side of the Azerbaijani people and state. The Secretary General called the Khojaly genocide a serious crime against humanity and expressed the hope that sooner or later the perpetrators of this crime will be punished at the international level.
The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Turkey to the OIC, who spoke later, Ambassador Saleh Mutlu Shen expressed his country's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Khojaly tragedy.
The information about the recognition of Armenian writer Zori Balayan about the atrocities committed by Armenians in Khojaly, as well as about the famous interview of British researcher Thomas De Waal with Serzh Sargsyan and the opinion expressed by the latter regarding the Khojaly tragedy was brought to the attention of the participants of the event.
Then the event participants were shown a 10-minute documentary "Khojaly Genocide", filmed by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
Within the framework of the event they got acquainted with the exhibition of paintings "Khojaly through the eyes of children" and a photo exhibition of the events held within the framework of the "Justice for Khojaly" campaign.