UNESCO Director-General: Destruction of the cultural heritage is unacceptable

The Acting Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Azerbaijan to UNESCO Ayaz Gojayev met with the UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

Gojayev said that as a result of another Armenian military attack on Azerbaijan on September 27 of this year, our army launched an anti-terrorist operation to protect the civilians and facilities and quickly cleared the part of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas from the occupying Armenian army.

On November 10, a trilateral declaration was signed between the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the President of the Russian Federation and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.

The Director-General was informed that according to the document declaring a ceasefire, the Armenian armed forces must be completely withdrawn from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan by December 1 of this year and the IDPs will be returned to their lands. It was noted that according to the preliminary report of the mission consisting of representatives of the relevant Azerbaijani agencies in the territories liberated by the Azerbaijani army, as a result of the Armenian occupation lasting up to 30 years, the cultural and historical monuments, churches, tombs, historical buildings, museums, etc. were completely destroyed, the cultural heritage samples, manuscripts and artifacts were looted and transported to Armenia. It was stressed that the deliberate transformasion of our mosques and places of worship to the pigsties or the stables was an Armenian provocation against the religious feelings not only of Azerbaijanis, but also of all Muslims around the world.

Unfortunately, the Armenian side was not satisfied with this and started burning houses, schools, forests, cutting down trees, looting churches and transporting historical and religious books, manuscripts and religious items to Armenia, in the territories where they must leave in accordance with the document from November 10, 2020. These acts contradict the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

Moreover, it was reported that the Armenian side, defeated in the war, has now launched an ugly campaign in other areas, especially the alleged destruction of the churches belonging to the Armenians. It was stated that it is a complete lie, and on the contrary, the Azerbaijani government, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation will soon begin the restoration of Azerbaijan's cultural heritage destroyed by Armenia. This includes mosques, churches and all other cultural heritage monuments.

Azerbaijan is working to protect cultural heritage not only on its territory, but all over the world. While the Azerbaijani government and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation provide the financial support for the restoration of Christian temples and monuments in France, the Vatican, Italy, Germany and other countries, the idea of ​​destroying cultural and religious monuments in its own territory is absurd and it is a political step of Armenia to confuse UNESCO.

A.Azoulay thanked for the detailed information, strongly opposed the attempts to politicize UNESCO and emphasized that the destruction of the cultural heritage monuments is unacceptable. The Director-General noted that UNESCO is ready to support the restoration of Azerbaijan's cultural heritage.

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